Released 12/13/2021. A live-on-the-production-floor recording of my song "The No Snow Blues" made at a 90s holiday event.
In addition to myself on voice, acoustic guitar and test engineering, the recording features Brian Wood on lead guitar and tech support , Frank Sarcia on drums and Opus support, Jim Fabiano on bass and test engineering and Mike Dejadon on keys and marketing (Lexicon Marketing that is, NOT marketing for my cheezy song).
Also check out the interactive web page I created for the song: the No Snow Blues
"Tell me more Bob"
The song enumerates a hypothetical skier's personal inventory of ski gear and feeling of "the blue" when it doesn't snow. With any such skier's song it, of course, devolves into a police chase and FBI standoff. And it`s a blues song with to much kick drum but a great guitar solo by Brian Wood.
The new release is an enhancement of a legacy recording of the song made with a group of then Lexicon employees at a holiday event in the 90s but I've created an interactive preview page for the song that gives it a little extra. In addition to some light snow and occasional mocking rain the page shows the lyrics in a karaoke format with triggers you can click to playback parts of the song and links to purchase options.
Featured on the recording are the musical stylings of Frank TE (the emperor) Sarcia on drums, Jim Fabiano on bass, Brian Wood on electric guitar, Mike Dejadon on electric piano and yours truly on acoustic guitar, voice and other funny business.
You can also get the songs: here but the animated page includes direct purchase links as well.
This is such a weird recording it is worth recounting the way it came about while the brain cells allow.
It all started with the Otari 24 track tape machine that sat in the machine room at the second Lexicon building in Waltham (I forget the address). A major Lexicon product being developed at the time (Opus) interfaced with such machines so it was the in house example of big-time-studio equipment. And it was beautiful. Far too beautiful to sit largely unused, its heads never touching the very expensive tape that normally would caress it. Something had to be done.
Five totally independent things happened that made this a reality: 1. Lexicon had some business that could only be completed the day before Christmas (early 90s I reckn) so the company could not offer its normal half day. One for all and so on. 2. We had a pretty significant amount of people who worked at the company who had little idea what the stuff they built, sold and accounted did. 3. There was a change going on in the floor plan of the production area leaving a large space big enough for a band temporarily open. 4. I was able to find enough players to pull it off. 5. I could come up with the $150 for the tape (early 90s money here people).
I don't how I summoned the moxy to bring an idea to Lexicon management but they agreed to allow myself and a bunch of other corruptible lexoids (I think we even had a committee) to coordinate a "Get To Know Your Products Day" through the late morning and afternoon the day before Christmas that year. At the time Lex had second, third or maybe fourth generation surround sound and an amazing listening room that people could watch movies on, we had listening stations set up in the test department for people to try out the reverbs they were building at the time. I'm pretty sure these were the LXP years but we had stations set up for each product so people could check them out.
The big culmination was going to be a live recording followed by a demonstration of mixing using the new recording. Sounds like a lot huh? It was. We, and when I say we I mean Dave Chislett, caught the live performance of the No Snow Blues and a few other songs on the Otari but that's about as far as it went that winter afternoon. I'm pretty sure everyone had a good time even though they had to stay at work but we ultimately ended up with enough to try and mix it.
At some point Joe Waltz convinced his brother Tom who owned and operated Waltz Audio near Berkley to let us mix the tape and even add some sound effects.
I should point out that original recording was far from perfect. Silly me, I launched into the No Snow Blues straight away with no significant sound check. It's a miracle we got anything. Dave was not only making sure the levels going to tape were good but also doing a live mix for the room. Oh and the "mixer" was actually two 16 track Mackie mixers that we wired together in a late night soldering session the night before.
The setup managed to record everything except the bass guitar which we had to overdub but a full evaluation didn't happen until we brought it to Tom's. The lead vocal was cranked through the first verse and horribly distorted and the levels were off on a few other tracks for the first few bars. We had automation at Tom's place when we mixed it but it was still a challenge and the result is my least favorite part of the song. There's always one. We did manage to use the live lead vocal but I ended up doubling it last month for this release to fatten it up a bit and make it more legible. We were obviously very excited about the kick [trigger] but some of the sound effects we dropped in at Tom's are fun. I'm hoping to get a multitrack transfer of the tape and do a new mix at some point but this mix came out all right all things considered.
"But why release it now BBBBob?". Well, as it turns out my new music distributor allows me to release as many of my own songs as I want per year for a flat rate and this one was sitting in the vault collecting digital dust. With Christmas approaching, I wanted to get my one song with the word "Christmas" in it out there to cash in on the holiday frenzy. Oops. Oh Well. The song includes the line "the green Christmas depression" and I actually had an idea for a graphic: my old unused ski gear so I put the release in the DistroKid queue for Dec 23 (no need to rush things on the 24th. Ha.). As it turns out the song did in fact come out in time for Christmas but I was so far behind on Wake Me roll out that I wasn't able to do a proper one till now. For the sake of my blood pressure and sanity I've learned to be content with whatever I'm able to accomplish. At least it's still winter:) Enjoy! Bob
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Float your music collection:
With Bruce Alger on keys, Brian Templeton on accordian and Todd Sellon on foot stomping.
"What`s all this then?"
"The River" was originally slated for the "Sing For Your Stew" CD project in 2005 but wasn't ready in time and landed on a back burner until last fall when I came across a mix of the song and was pleased to find that the recording project was intact [on my computer] and sounded pretty dang good with the latest e-lec-tronic drum sounds and audio plugins. That and nearly 20 years was required apparently. The song was fully Bob'd though I had to pull triggers off my acoustic drum performance which I could then..make-right:) A professional drummer, I am not.
The song was pretty far along though, with a bass guitar, electric guitars, acoustic guitars, percussion, some midi keys, a decent vocal take and even some foot stomping from my son Todd but I was not loving the vocal part I came up with for the middle verse, so much so that I pulled it from the CD project. When I worked on it again in the fall of 2021 I just muted the vocal part I didn't like and continued working on the song without it adding some new lead guitars, some additional midi keys in a few spots and a new lead vocal take with altered (improved) lyrics.
As it turns out the de-vocaled middle verse actually sounded pretty cool so I was nearly ready to call it except that it was already October by that point and outside the normal tubing season in the northern hemisphere. I decided to hold off on it for the following spring or, as it turns out, summer, mentioning it to my friend Bruce Alger in case he was looking for a project to hibernate by over the winter. He did express an interest and sent me over some new organ and clavinet parts that I integrated into the mix along with yet another lead vocal take (even more lyric changes) resulting in the mix I'm sharing. Having now heard the song thousands of times, I'm happy to report that I still always listen through to the end when I put it on so I think it might be ok.
Not surprisingly, this song emerged (pardon the pun) from a rafting trip on the Penobscot river in Maine in the late 90s where the collective passengers on our raft did early inquires on death after failing to navigate a class 5 rapid, luckily surviving with only minor bruises and a renewed appreciation of air. In fairness, the song is really about our time tubing on the White River in Vermont for which we had zero near-death experiences and, in fact, many wonderful days afloat on the river (see cover photo). I don't know if I wrote the song at the now defunct White River Campground but we camped there a lot through the years and I usually had my guitar so it is certainly possible. I think of the river in that area when I sing this song. Anyway, I hope you enjoy it. Bob
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Released 6/5/2022. A spanking new version of the song amidst the angst of the 2022 summer heat.
"It`s hot, so hot. But still I want you near."
"Tell me more Bob"
I got into the remix because I needed a version of the song with no bass guitar for training and the plugins used for the original mix were no longer available. As with any mix, it involved listening to the song dozens of times which can normally suck pretty bad but I found I still enjoyed listening through the whole mix at the end so I figured it might be a good candidate for a release.
There were lots of improvements but the stand-out change was the inclusion of a keyboard-flute solo by Bruce Alger that he gave me along with his other keyboard tracks for the song back in 2004. At the time, it felt like it didn't work with the guitar solo (which was one of my favorite parts of the song) but taking a fresh look in 2022 I think I found a way to wrap the two together into something pretty cool. Since I was in tinkering around I fixed a few notes on the lead vocal that were gnawing at me and actually ran it through a guitar overdrive plugin to soften it up. I feel much better about how the lead vocal sits in the new mix compared to the original. Another fairly big change was the level of the acoustic guitar which is more compressed and is now being fed through a rotating-speaker effect. I also brought up the level of the rain at the line "..but I hear it everywhere". Enjoy! Bob
Also see our Cool This Summer remix promo page
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Released on 7/3/2021 this is a new mix of the song which appeared on my out-of-print Sing For Your Stew CD.
"Crazy Jane made her mother cry; meltdown on the Fourth of July. "
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Released on 6/9/2021, this is the original version of Cool This Summer that appeared on the [discontinued] Sing For Your Stew CD.
This is the original version of Cool This Summer that appeared on my Sing For Your Stew CD.
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