Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Cats in the Crib

The progress on my wife's album continues. Today was spent fixing a bass part by the talented Steve Mackey (Wynonna, Trisha Yearwood). I had recorded his original bass line too hot and there was a bit of clipping (distortion) on a few notes that I could not massage away with the many digital gizmos at my disposal. This time around he brought "Clyde", a choice Fender P-bass so named because the original Funky Drummer, Clyde Stubblefield, had autographed it years ago. Steve played another tasty part, I got the levels right and the mix is coming together. Thanks for the mulligan, Daddy Mack.

We tracked guitar genius Bob Britt (Dylan, Fogerty,etc.) a few days ago on a different song from the album. He played several brilliant parts, we comped the best sections of each, added a simpler, lower-pitched second track to fill out the sound a bit, and that was that. Watching Bob play guitar humbles me greatly. I used a complete take from earlier on in the morning as a "ghost track". What that means - to me at least - is a track mixed far in the background where just snippets and echoes can be heard during the quieter sections of the song. I slathered on plenty of reverb and delay. The end result is a sense of depth and space, where the main guitar part might play a line and the "echo" you would expect to hear after it is in fact a different melody compliments of the ghost track. Cool.

Hammond B3 expert Steve Cox (he's the guy playing all of the fab synth parts on The Dazz Band's "Let It Whip", btw) laid down some spicy organ via the internet. I did a rough mix with the drums up and the vocals down to give him a strong reference point, sent it over the Internet via "YouSendIt.com, a file storage/transfer site, and he tracked his parts at home, using a real live Hammond. He then sent the files back to me, I downloaded them into the project, and hey presto - I have an organ track. Then he cranked up the vintage Moog and added a slick reso-bass synth part during the bridge that builds up to coincide with the climax of the section. Oh yes.

I had thought that this particular song, "After Dark", would be difficult to get a handle on. Not so, once I got the cats involved.When we cut the basic tracks, it was more acoustic guitar based, now it's a vibey seduction piece with swirly electrics and swooping Hammond. Thanks, fellas!

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