Sunday, April 25, 2010


So yesterday I'm on the internet and I hear Hank Shocklee say this to the Red Bull Music Academy (starting around the 50 minute mark):

"I'll tell you a really cool trip: Go back and take a cassette, nobody fucks with cassettes any more but you can get some really, really cool distortion effects from cassettes. You take a piece of music, record it on to a cassette, and then distort the shit out of it, and then rerecord that again. That’s a different sound as if you were to go in and put a plug-in on it that had an effect. You are not going to get the same sound. There is a warmth to that distortion that’s there, there is a certain amount of enjoyment that you are going to listen to when you hear that. That’s the reason why rock 'n' roll is not doing very well right now as a music because the compression techniques are not the same."

And then, a mere 10 hours later, I'm reading the wikipedia page on that 1968 song "Jumpin' Jack Flash," by that band the Rolling Stones, from a time when rock'n'roll was doing pretty well. Keith Richards says this about how the song was recorded:

"I used a Gibson Hummingbird acoustic tuned to open D, six string. Open D or open E, which is the same thing - same intervals - but it would be slackened down some for D. Then there was a capo on it, to get that really tight sound. And there was another guitar over the top of that, but tuned to Nashville tuning. I learned that from somebody in George Jones' band in San Antonio in 1964. The high-strung guitar was an acoustic, too. Both acoustics were put through a Philips cassette recorder. Just jam the mic right in the guitar and play it back through an extension speaker."  

Thursday, April 22, 2010


V/A Men With Broken Hearts CS, or at least mp3s of it. This is a mix of old country songs released by or with the help of Mississippi Records of Portland, Oregon. Great to hear an earlier version of "Tennessee Stud," a song I previously only knew from its 1994 version by Johnny Cash. Here it's by one Jimmy Driftwood, who as far as I can tell is the writer, and who recorded this in the 50s or early 60s, and who almost sounds like Eugene Chadbourne in his subdued/reverent mode. And it's followed by some proto-Alan Vega drunken reverb yowling from Tex Ritter on "Rye Whiskey" -- hey, that's John Ritter's dad! -- which is followed by the even more deranged "Mule Train," this one by "Tex" (quotation marks theirs) which I can only guess (and hope) is Tex Ritter again... voice sounds the same. And definitely don't miss, just a couple tracks later, Pete Drake's "Forever," a beautiful "talking steel guitar" performance that got up to #22 in 1964, a good decade before Mssrs. Frampton, Walsh, and Perry used the device in a more hard rock setting... speaking of beautiful, it was also Pete Drake who added so much dream tone (sans talk box) to Dylan's "Lay Lady Lay" 2 or 3 years later.

Here's "Forever":

And this is just a reminder:

6/20/10 EDIT: That was supposed to be Dylan's "Lay Lady Lay" from Nashville Skyline, but I guess you'll have to look it up yourself. Or buy the CD. Or a beat-up used copy of the LP for 5-10 bucks. Plenty of people bought the 45 of the song when it came out in July 1969 and went #7 US, #5 UK. Not only did Pete Drake play the pedal steel, but Charlie Daniels himself played bass and guitar on the track. Kenny Buttrey is on drums, and studio janitor Kris Kristofferson held the cowbell for him. Wikipedia also tells me a hilarious story about this song:

Phil Everly of the Everly Brothers has stated in interview that Dylan offered the song to them backstage after an appearance by the duo at the Bottom Line in New York. [citation needed] Phil asked Dylan if he had any new songs that they might record, and answering "yes", Dylan picked up a guitar and proceeded to sing the song so quietly that the Everlys thought they heard Dylan sing "Lay lady lay, lay across my big breasts, babe." Thinking it was a song about lesbians, Don Everly declined the song, saying "thank you, it's a great song, but I don't think we could get away with that." [citation needed] Dylan did not question them about it and went on to record the track himself. Months later, they heard Dylan's version on the radio and realized they'd misunderstood the words. The Everlys felt they'd missed a big opportunity and later recorded the song on their EB 84 album.

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