johnny9fingers: (Sri Yantra)
…When you actually do the practise.





Of course, I'm not a smackhead like ol' Joe was (and Charlie Parker, and Miles, and 'Trane, et al) but I will never be as good as Joe without putting in the hours. But it is also about the lucidity of Joe's playing and thinking that really comes through here, and that needs more than work and application.

He was a great genius of the guitar.
johnny9fingers: (Default)
Up at 6am on Friday morning. The boss and Frankie turned up in the people carrier at 8am. Mark (bassist) was on time, Nicki (sax) was late....then realised she had forgotten her passport. After a small detour to retrieve aforementioned passport, we headed for the chunnel. We arrived at the terminal at about 10.30am. Delays abounded and it was 2.20pm before we actually embarked. Through the tunnel and then Martin (drums and our leader) drove solidly for some four hours to get us to the venue, which was a farmhouse somewhere on the Le Mans circuit, where we had just enough time to set up, change, and eat, before we went onstage. Three songs into the first set my amp blew up.

Now as an aside, my Fender Blues Deluxe, though a wonderful sounding beast, ain't exactly the most reliable amp I've ever owned, but it is a damn sight more portable than either my Marshall half-stack or even my blackface 'twin'.

So I called the soundguy over and asked him if he had a direct box, into which I plugged my Digitech GNX3, and used one of the stage monitors as a surrogate amp. It took less than a verse and a chorus to reconfigure and get a proper sound together. Good job from the soundman.

Difficult gig, and not because of blown amp. Too many chaps of a certain age not interested in dancing at all: which rather makes a dance band redundant. However, by the end of the second set we managed to get a few of them moving, so all not lost there.

We got offstage by midnight, local time, and packed up and then started drinking.

All stayed in different B & B's in local villages, then back to the farmhouse for breakfast the next morning. We left to try to reach the tunnel for 3.30pm. Back home by Saturday evening.

So, today I picked up the Fender Blues Deluxe from the soundman and took it to Dickinson Amplification, in Crystal Palace. Now I knew Jon Dickinson when he worked in Tin Pan Alley, so we bantered a bit about old chums and then I asked about the possibility of customising the Blues Deluxe. We looked at various options, including a hand rebuild on a point-to-point hand-wired board. Then I tried a single channel, volume knob only, 45W 2x12 he had built some weeks ago as a prototype.

The upshot of all this is I've got him to fix the Blues Deluxe, and I've got to try to persuade SWMBO that we have enough room to store the 2x12. Now I'm going to get myself a new floorpod from Line6, and I'm rather hoping that set-up will be pretty bulletproof. Fingers crossed.
johnny9fingers: (Default)
As the mixes have been getting to a more complete stage (awful construction that - complete shouldn't take a modifier) I've been thinking about the music I'm listening to.
Some of the songs are just beautiful fragments of melody and harmony wrapped about an extraordinarily articulate artist baring his soul. Some are the songwriting equivalent of Haiku. Some are Sonnets, and Some... 
The arrangements are sparse, and in general acoustic. Even in Jacques Brel or Scott Walker I've never heard so melancholy a sound as Dave's Accordian. (As an aside, when a drummer plays keyboards and accordian, you just know this ain't an ordinary band.)
I'm going to ask Pod (Karl) to show me around the mandolin - next on my buying list, or if not next, pretty high up the order.
Some of these are the slowest songs I've ever heard.
It is a melancholy (that word again) album that's strangely uplifting.
Much of it is lyrically quixotic: balancing squalor and humanity; lust, love, and morality.
Steve's doing a damn fine job on these mixes.
There are no explosions, no distortion pedals, no special effects (some nice reverbs). It was just recorded with good mics and pre-amps in a good space with a good vibe (in general - though there was some production friction earlier, but when isn't there?)

This music bleeds humanity, my dears, and I am smit.
johnny9fingers: (Default)
Lyndon has promised a track from the album to for preview, if that's the word. He'll allow me to put it on LJ. When it comes through I'll post it and you can all give me your comments if you want.
I worry that I'm too close to the whole process to judge accurately, but I'm an old cynical studio dog: it really takes something for me to get this enthused.
I have a feeling I'll dine out on this for years to come - It's unreal in its brilliance, passion, and restraint.
johnny9fingers: (Default)

I am listening to the rough mixes of one of the best albums I've heard.
Of the 24 songs Songdog have recorded they'll only have space for 14. This might be a crime against the art of songwriting.
Of course, no-one else will ever listen to it: but this album (when it comes out) should propel these guys into the stratosphere. Comparisons are often odious...nevertheless if you think of the best and most humane albums from songwriters of whom you know, this album (as and when) should be in your top twenty.
Aside of shouting it from the rooftops, I don't know what else to do.
When one stumbles upon great art one has certain duties.
The first is dissemination, and this I must do.

johnny9fingers: (Default)
Ah. There have been some developments.
Steve has agreed to mix the tracks and pass them to Nick (the producer) for approval, in the old fashioned way. Steve's a very good mixing engineer, but now the pressure's on him, poor bunny. A position exposed to a huge amount of scrutiny, and one he didn't expect. I remain confident that he'll get the best from the tracks.
In the middle of all this kerfuffle I had a 'phone call from a New York based company asking if we had any time today for one of their artists. I had to explain that we were booked out for the next week, and couldn't help. I didn't even find out who the artist was. Bright man, Ninefingers.
Oh well.

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