74 Songs in the Set

The Preacher Boy Trio

As I was getting ready for last Saturday night’s special Preacher Boy Trio show, it occurred to me I ought to sit down and try and recall how many songs I had available “in current circulation”; meaning, how many songs was I actively playing these days, that I could in theory call on for the show?

I don’t use set lists—preferring to make it up as I go—but it’s always good to refresh the memory every once in a while, because otherwise it’s too easy to start to fall into patterns of always relying on certain songs, while totally forgetting that I theoretically have other ones at my disposal as well.

Now, that said, certain songs I’m almost almost going to want to play. Songs from the new record, for example, or brand-new songs that I’m still working on. Or, that certain shortlist of songs that I’m just morally foresworn to keep playing until I die; those canonical life-blood songs that have kept me going through the good times and the bad: Death Letter Blues, Jesus Make Up By Dying Bed, Sliding Delta, Death Don’t Have No Mercy, etc.

Anyhow, I sat down and tried to write ’em all down from memory, and I ended up with 74 songs. To qualify for the list, it had to be a song that I’d played in the last year—if I hadn’t played it in that time frame, then I didn’t claim it as being “in circulation” (even if I COULD have played it if I’d wanted to!).

And so, presented in alphabetical order, here are the 74 in-circulation songs which could in theory show up at any given time in any given show:

  1. a golden thimble
  2. a little better when it rains
  3. a little more evil
  4. a person’s mind
  5. a thief for every bible
  6. at the corner of the top and the bottom
  7. baby, please don’t go
  8. black crow
  9. blister and a bottle cap
  10. broke and low
  11. casey bill weldon
  12. chop wood, carry water
  13. coal black dirt sky
  14. cold winter day
  15. come back, baby
  16. comin’ up aces
  17. cornbread
  18. de vamp
  19. dead, boy
  20. death don’t have no mercy
  21. death letter blues
  22. dip, dip, and swing
  23. divin’ duck blues
  24. down and out in this town
  25. down south blues
  26. down the drain
  27. evil blues
  28. fixin’ to die
  29. gun
  30. house of the rising sun
  31. i just hang down my head and i cry
  32. i shall not be moved
  33. if i had possession over my judgement day
  34. in the darkened night
  35. jackson street
  36. jesus, make up my dyin’ bed
  37. levee camp blues
  38. maggie campbell
  39. mama, let me play with your yo-yo
  40. milk cow blues
  41. motherless children
  42. my car walks on water
  43. my gold canoe
  44. need mo’ Blues
  45. nehemiah james
  46. new red cedar blues
  47. ninety-nine bottles
  48. obituary writer blues
  49. old jim granger
  50. one good reason
  51. one-way turnstile
  52. preachin’ blues
  53. railroad
  54. revenue man blues
  55. rock skipper
  56. rollin’ stone
  57. setting sun
  58. seven’s in the middle, son
  59. shake ’em on down
  60. shine on harvest moon
  61. sliding delta
  62. spoonful
  63. stagolee
  64. take me back
  65. that’s no way to get along
  66. the cross must move
  67. the dogs
  68. there go john
  69. ugly
  70. umbrella
  71. watered down
  72. whistleman
  73. you been a good ol’ wagon
  74. you rascal you

Something missing from that list you think I ought to work back in? Let me know!

2 responses to “74 Songs in the Set

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