The Ayn Rand Song -- My new song to celebrate the Election of 2012
[Since Paul Ryan, the Republican vice-presidential nominee, is an Ayn Rand groupie, I thought it was appropriate to point out how much of an a-ho' any disciple of Ayn Rand has to be. I played all the instruments as well as doing the vocals.]
[Dedicated to all the women in my life. Some people, especially loud-mouthed women, may find the lyrics annoying (only a really pathetically politically correct sort of person should be able to find them "offensive"; they're really not). If so, feel free to listen to the purely instrumental version. Or, of course, you can always not listen to it at all.]
Svidan'je (The Meeting)--some recordings of what may be my all-time favorite Russian folk song. [I did a piano arrangement of the song, then did a translation of the lyrics into English. I also tried singing it in Russian. I don't even know how bad my Russian version came out, because I don't speak Russian--I just tried to closely follow Dmitri Hvorostovsky's classic recording from 1992. Maybe, with a little luck, I'll never find out--unless some Russian-speaker lets me know at some point: "That was TERRIBLE! " Or however they say that in Russian. :) ]
The Neocon Blues, 2008--a comic song about a tragic situation
A funny, lively, bouncy blues-rock number that made fun of the miserable failures of the Bush administration and the Congressional Republicans over the eight long years from 2001-2008--the crash of the whole national economy, the unfinished wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the countless scandals, the unprecedented incompetence and corruption--and urged everybody to dump McCain and vote for Obama!
I played and recorded all the instruments myself--about eight different ones--and did the vocals. Considering all that, it came out PRETTY DAMN GOOD, if I do say so myself! And if it sounds a little amateurish at certain points, well, it's FOLK ART, and folk art is supposed to sound that way. [Think of Woody Guthrie.] So there.
Enjoy! [Or if you're a committed Republican, change your wicked ways! ;-) ]
Indian Nickel Live at Club Fais Do Do, Los Angeles, May 2007
I used to be the bassist in a top-notch performing blues band out in LA. One of the best shows we did was our night at a local blues club, Club Fais Do Do. These tracks were recorded on a simple hand-held recording device that lost most of the treble and made the bass and drums sort of sludgy, so I used ProTools audio editing software to try to bring the songs back better. Although there are still, shall we say, some anomalies especially up in the treble register, I like the way these turned out--they successfully capture the spirit of the evening.
"Third Degree" / "Statesboro Blues" / "St. Louis Blues" / "Key to the Highway"
Yes, this is sort of ridiculous, but it was fun--I decided to record "Hey Jude" on bottle flutes (glass bottles filled with different amounts of water to raise the pitch and make a scale--two different sets of bottles, one for the melody, the other for the harmony). This was a truly major sound-editing job, and I didn't tweak it as much as it probably needed, but hey--it's folk art.
To take the world's most cumbersome musical instrument(s) and try to get something listenable out of them. It's a man's job.
Anyway, in keeping with the holiday spirit (because it's now the morning of December 10, 2010), here is a little yuletide cheer. Although I am not now and never have been particularly religious and am not a member of any denomination, I have always liked classic Christmas carols a lot, especially the early, traditional ones with roots dating back to the Middle Ages. Great songs, whatever they're selling. And I've always had a special place in my heart for "O Come, O Come Emmanuel" because it so clearly shows its roots in Gregorian chant.
So here's "O Come, O Come Emmanuel" on bottle flutes.
Here's an unedited piano version of "Route 66" with vocals that I did a year or two ago.
I've always liked "Route 66," a swing-era standard that successfully made the jump to the rock 'n' roll age. I also spent a lot of time on Interstate 40, which mostly follows the route of old Route 66, between California and Texas (though a lot more time on the route farther south, Interstate 10). This version is patterned on the Rolling Stones' version from one of their earliest albums back in 1964.
[Yes, I know it needed some editing . . . you don't need to tell me that . . . . ]