2010/10/10 – Some fun stuff happening these last two months at Black Bamboo:
I’d been thinking how nice it would be to hear the sound of a muted trumpet somewhere on the new record, and remembered the great session master and ‘The Island’ alumni Judd Miller (Michael Brecker). After we reconnected by phone I e-mailed him an Mp3 of ‘Deep Water’. The next morning there sitting in my inbox like an unwrapped Christmas present, was an Mp3 version of Judd’s muted trumpet and “glass” pad parts on the song. I was non-plussed, the guy had nailed just what I envisioned and then some. The Mp3’s were for auditioning parts only. After approval of a part, the part is then re-sent as a Wav file in full 24/96 audio. You can bet Judd will be rejoining us for another session on the instrumental track up next!
Had the great fortune to have bassist Jimmy Johnson (James Taylor) play fretless bass on ‘Deep Water’ for my new record in progress. Can’t even describe how good it feels to hear his playing on this song. Suffice it to say I’m one deeply satisfied songwriter.
Drummer extraordinaire Rick Shlosser (Van Morrison), records drums on ‘The Gift’ and ‘Soldier of Misfortune’ for the as yet untitled CD #6.
The aforementioned Stephen Barncard, producer of my second album ‘The Island’, had the opportunity to transfer the original 1988 muli-track masters of ‘The Island’ into the digital domain. The 15 hour session took place at Prairie Sun Recording Studios, Cotati California. Each tape had to be baked in an oven for just the right amount of time to make them playable for the one-time transfer. The upshot of all this is that its not only great to have the original masters now archived in a hard drive, and be able to play them through our ProTools recording software at home, but there were some out-takes from ‘The Island’ sessions that never saw the light of day. Till now…
One of the out-takes is called ‘Class Of ’65’. A kind of shout-out to the mid-sixties, replete with references to Ray Charles, Aretha, Dylan, the Beatles, and my two great loves of the time; my high-school sweetheart and my ’55 Pontiac. Somehow I don’t remember even writing the song, but we tracked it at Cherokee Studios along with the others. I ran out of scratch for more studio time before we got around to finishing arranging the song, so we left it as it was and it sat around gathering dust in that multi-track tape box unheard for 22 years. Well lo and behold, about two weeks ago Barncard sends me the song, now for the first time in a digital form. How cool is it that now all these years later I can have the song before me on my desktop studio and… and finish it!! And this is what I have spent the last two weeks doing.
On this song my original “guide” vocal was tracked live in the studio with the band so I could be in close contact as we worked on the arrangement. We were thinking I’d overdub my “real” vocals later after the band had nailed the tracks. But I never did redo the vocals, and though this vocal track has a great vibe it is unfortunately unusable because of the band bleeding into my mic as we recorded – I was probably 10 feet from Rick Shlosser’s drum set. So the first thing I did was record a new lead vocal, and then inspired to go back to my roots, added some brand spanking new doo-wop backing vocals.
Since I was already going to be at Mike Ruff‘s studio for an overdub session on ‘Deep Water’ during this time frame, I asked Mike if he wanted to add anything to ‘Class Of ’65’ – as he had originally played a keyboards on the recording date. Upon hearing the song he immediately wanted to re-do his piano part, mainly because he didn’t like the sound of his instrument in relation to how much better they sound now. He proceeded to lay down Wurlitzer, organ and piano back to back and it was done.
Had to add some Motownish tamourine in the chorus’ and threw in some AT mambo jambo arrangement ideas for the intro bridge and ending, and ladies and gentlemen’s there you have it: ‘Class Of ’65’ redux 2010, a true ‘The Island’ out-take. Be sending the song back to Barncard for mixing shortly, then to Dave Collins for mastering. Will try to have it available for listening and download in the next few weeks for those of you who can’t wait to check out this rarity.