September Songs

One of my most cherished, technically challenging, recording studio projects, ever, transpired on this very day in 2002. I owed my project’s success, in part, to being under the creative influence of…

Jose Feliciano: 8-time Grammy Award winner / musician / singer / composer
Sir George Martin: record producer / trailblazing, recording studio wizard / 5th Beatle
Mike O’Brien: DJ / poet / critical thinker (wellknown to Michigan’s 60s Era hippies)

To tell you my story, I need to tell you their stories…

Mike O’Brien had worked in an era where FM jocks were free to program their own music… free to speak their own minds, too. Both his musical and ideological tastes were frequently in tune with my own. Unbeknownst to him, he’d even played a minor role in my choosing broadcast arts as my college major.

He worked the 6 to 9 p.m., M-F gig and, along about 8:55 each night, concluded his broadcasts by playing two Jose Feliciano covers of Lennon / McCartney compositions… the instrumental Here, There and Everywhere [HTE] followed by the vocal In My Life [IML] (both of these tracks culled from the same album… titled Feliciano!).

His DJ MO: With HTE faded low, he’d [1] open up the talk-over mic to deliver his heartfelt, spoken interpretation of IML’s lyrics, [2] wish his listeners a goodnight, and [3] cross-fade / segue to track, fully, thru IML. In time… for reasons unknown… he stopped playing HTE. Perhaps he’d accidentally damaged / rendered un-listenable one of the record library’s, vinyl album copies?

Within two years… again, for reasons unknown… on a late September, Friday evening, O’Brien aired his farewell broadcast. Fortuitously, I had my monaural Sony TC-100 tape recorder rolling… a device (about the size of a Classic Star Trek tricorder) that boasted a fairly respectable frequency range of 50 – 10,000 hertz. Not bad, considering the snail’s pace tape speed of  4.7625 centimeters per second / 1.875 inches per second! Additionally, since I had also purchased that era’s state-of-the-art, Scotch brand, blank cassettes, I was assured sound quality par excellence.

Fast forwarding to 1995… with my own vinyl copy of Feliciano! now stylus damaged / rendered un-listenable, I was thrilled to discover an available CD reissue. However… one OH NO moment did reveal itself during the initial playback. AGAIN…for reasons unknown… reasons that defied all reason… In My Life’s ending had been radically shortened.

It was within that same era that the three surviving Beatles, courtesy of a recording studio, high tech exhumation, had been reunited with their old bandmate, the late John Lennon! How bittersweet that must’ve felt. Although the longtime Beatles producer, George Martin, had not been in charge, undoubtedly, his flair for trailblazing studio wizardry had rubbed off on co-producers Jeff Lynne and JPGR. Their project had resulted in the first new Beatles studio recordings since the band broke up in 1970… namely… Real Love and Free As A Bird. None of this would’ve been possible without Lennon’s home demo cassettes, which, ultimately, breathed new life into his old recordings. All in all, the word extraordinary does come to mind.

Fast forewarding to this day in 2002… It was while reminiscing about those long gone FM radio days of 1970, that it suddenly occurred to me that I possessed all the source material, audio gear and know-how necessary to produce an extraordinary recording of my own. As I brainstormed the procedure, it kinda / sorta felt like I was treading upon Sir George’s hallowed turf.

My Mission: To recreate / restore / enhance the last five minutes of Mike O’Brien’s final broadcast and simultaneously restore the musical measures missing from the Feliciano! CD reissue. The individual parts of the source material could all be played off each other… wind up complementing each other.

My DJ MO: engage my audio mixer to [1] playback the monaural cassette where O’Brien recites the IML poem while mixing in the absent HTE track (at a decibel level he would’ve chosen), [2] wait for O’Brien to cross-fade to IML, [3] at that point, seamlessly cross-fade my synchronized CD copy of IML (to eliminate the FM hiss / static, improve the signal to noise ratio and expand the frequency range), [4] execute a second seamless cross-fade back to the monaural cassette to restore the CD’s missing, song concluding measures and [5] utilize the finished master to burn a CD copy.

My Results: Sound-wise… my sector of the universe was, once more, in balance… everything back in its proper place! There were even a few hints of the very FM hiss / static, which accompanied O’Brien’s last show… so long ago. And somehow, even extraneous noise made it seem all the more real! Project-wise… all in all, the word extraordinary does come to mind.

My wish: For you to hear My Results. However, at present, that wish is not possible to fulfill. Even so… it’s still possible for us to get Jose Feliciano’s cover of In My Life into our lives. Play Back and Enjoy!

 

 

 

BlogCast: Tom’s Top 20 Countdown “2” Christmas: Song 19

 

Jose Feliciano’s Feliz Navidad… is a song found in his heart… is akin to his plea for cultural unity. Each time he performs his masterpiece… each time we play it back… we sense his message traveling outward bound from the music world to all four corners of the Earth. Indeed, his ideas are meant for all to hear and, hopefully, wholeheartedly comprehend and embrace.

Are not such sentiments what Christmas should be all about? Is not the true Christmas spirit more than mindlessly rattling off what, regrettably, has become the meaningless, “Merry Christmas” catchphrase… something on par with “Have a nice day”?

Mr. Feliciano’s far deeper sentiments… expressed during his intro and within his lyrics… do say much. It is regrettable, but imperative that, in light of the unenlightened, present-day situation in DC, I must dampen our festive mood by saying more…

Despite the roadblocks, barriers, wedges and walls, which that intolerant admin insists on erecting between cultures, WE, the kindhearted, inclusive members of our global society can and must prevail.

That’ll be no easy task by any stretch of the imagination. Nonetheless, we must first find ways to cure the narrow-mindedness, which sickens our society, and then try to bring together, not only the Latin and American cultures but all others, which represent the remaining, seven plus billion of us. Let’s hope and pray that our dreams for such a glorious future will not end whenever our alarm clocks jangle and buzz us back to consciousness.

On a technical note… I do know how important it is to many of us (inclusive of yours truly) to return to a song’s birthplace… i.e., to savor each composition’s original recording. So… to hear Jose Feliciano’s studio rendition, click onto Feliz Navidad.

I invite you to stay with me throughout this entire holiday season. My plan is to get as many of us into the holiday spirit as is possible. Towards that future, I’ll continue presenting faves from my Christmas music library… classics all… counting ‘em down one-a-day… from now until the 25th. Some of my future tracks will contain spiritual content and social commentary… others will be secular. And yes… a few will even be downright silly.

Till the next time we meet… let me echo and quote Mr. Feliciano’s lyrical sentiment…

 

I want to wish you a Merry Christmas from the bottom of my heart!

 

Hope you’ll be stopping by, daily, to hear out my entire

Top 20 Countdown “2” Christmas,

as well as give a listen to my regular monthly BlogCast,

slated for Sunday, December 24, 2017.

 

FYI, my past musical presentations are archived within my BlogCast and music categories.

If you enjoyed this post don’t forget to like, follow, share and comment.

 

 

Four-Play (Week #1)

This new day finds me in a DJ mood… perhaps spurred by some lingering REM phase dream (re the radio career I never had)? Regardless of what may’ve motivated me… my blog experiment is to feature a four track long musical set per week per post… for the next 13 weeks.

Don’t expect any in depth musical analysis because I present the selections you hear here purely for the enjoyment of great music.

I do realize that tapping into my vast musical library can involve genres, which cannot possibly please all the people all the time. So… if today’s selections are not your “cup of tea”… do click back again… you never can tell what you’ll be listening to next week.

Blog response will act as my Arbitron / Nielsen “radio ratings”… so… do tell me if you like this week’s program.

Pink Martini – Let’s Never Stop Falling In Love

Jose Feliciano – Billie Jean

Papas Fritas – Way You Walk

Santana – Evil Ways