Sunday, June 20, 2010

50 Years On

My goal for this site has always been to share some of the recordings I love and find fascinating with whoever might share some of my taste. I've rarely used it to share my own songs and recordings, as that wasn't really my intent in starting this site.

Today, though, I'm making an exception. This is my 50th birthday, and I'm taking this opportunity to celebrate myself and some of the music I’ve made in the last 30 years or so. I hope that those of you who regularly listen to the song-poems and other music that I share will have a listen to some or all of these songs. I would love to hear any comments that you’d care to offer.

Since around age 18, I've been writing songs both serious and humorous. I’ll include a handful of each type here. If a few are not really your speed, please try out a few of the others - my songs cover a lot of different genres. Unless otherwise noted, these are one-man-band-and-vocals performances.

First up, two songs written at age 19, and in both cases, recorded about three years later, in late 1982. The first, “Just One Look”, was recorded live with guitar and voice:

From the same period and recording date, and from the other side of my songwriting, here’s “The Devil Song”, with a couple of piano parts and multi-tracked vocals:

For about two years, I was in a band which went through multiple line-up changes, with the only consistent members being the bass player and me (I played rhythm guitar and did much of the lead singing). Here are two of the songs we recorded, both of them written in 1980 and recorded in 1981. The first, “Don’t Over-Rate Love”, was written by the bass player and me, along with one of my closest friends. This tended to be the favorite of our songs, among those who heard us at the time. The recording quality on this one is a bit dodgy, unfortunately:

The other song by this band is called “Another Friend”, and is a song I brought to the group:

From my mid-20s’, and for the next ten years, most of the songs I wrote were of the humorous variety. This next one requires a bit of explanation:

At the reception following the wedding of one of my two best friends, my other best friend laughed at one point and commented that he had just seen the odd site of three people pouring orange juice at the same moment. I observed that “Three People Pouring Orange Juice” sounded like an early Bee Gees song title. With that inspiration, I soon wrote and recorded that song, trying to make it sound like a late ‘60’s Bee Gees track, as well, complete with a bridge section for my version of Robin Gibb to sing. Here it is:

In 1996, having the opportunity to record using Midi for the first time, in my brother’s home studio, I returned to a song I’d written in 1982, and made what remains one of my favorite recordings out of all that I've made. Despite the title, this song, “Savior”, is not religious in nature:

During that same session at my brother's home, I wrote and arranged an instrumental titled after a fictional Middle Eastern spy movie series that my brother and I would joke about. The lead character in our fantasy is named Bashleo Fatghar, and so naturally, here we have “The ‘Bashleo Fatghar’ Theme”:

Around age 30, I wrote and recorded a song called “Locked Away (The Old School Song)”, and about eight years ago, I made a Midi track for it, and re-recorded it. If I had it to do again (the midi file was lost long ago), I’d have edited out that God-awful Chinese Cymbal that I somehow thought was a good touch here, but otherwise, I like this one a lot:

In my late 30’s, I had a burst of song-writing, and made a concerted effort to record enough material to produce a album length cassette of humorous songs, which was titled “The Many Moods of Bob”. From that set comes the deeply bizarre “The Year of Large Jeans”:

And from the same set, comes another personal favorite, "Eightball":

Those previous two songs both began as dreams, where I heard a key moment of the song as I woke up, and both benefit in their keyboard solo sections, from the then newly recent influence of Rodd Keith's records.

Over the last ten years, I have been trying to fit in recording of the various songs I’ve written, while also trying to be as active a father as possible and work an hour away from home. I’m close to having enough material for another full length set of songs, to be called “A Few More Plans”. From that collection, here is the most recent song completed, “The Swift”:

Finally, a taste of what I often do when I get to perform live - folk music. Recorded in 1990 at my parents’ home, here’s my friend Stu and I, singing the great “Way Out There”. That’s me on the verses (tripping up a few times on the words) and on the high harmony of the wordless chorus:

Thanks to all of you who read this blog, and I hope you enjoyed the music I’ve shared today.



Anonymous said...

Happy, happy Birthday, Bob !
Thanks for sharing your life and your music. So very much appreciated. Take care, be well...
- Wolf

Stu Shea said...

Among other things, your taste in guitars has improved.

Stu Shea said...

Not meaning to disparage the music by having made just one "clever" comment, I just wanted to thank you for putting this music up and letting us into your life. Peace always.