Party Planners

Whitney Houston’s death is a sorrowful event acheter cialis andorre. Much will be said about her in the next few days.

I don’t want to take anything away from her or the many who will miss her, but something in the news report of her death in the Houston Chronicle caught my eye.

According to Beverly Hills police Lt. Mark Rosen, “police received a 911 call from hotel security about Houston at 3:43 p.m. Saturday. Paramedics who were already at the hotel because of a Grammy party were not able to resuscitate her, he said.”

Really? Paramedics were already at the hotel because of a Grammy party. Okay.

Let’s hold a party and invite a bunch of musicians. What will we need? Let’s see: Booze, food, music, security, paramedics….

A Little Bit Country

I mentioned earlier in this space I purchased an audio interface for my computer, an interface capable of processing sounds at specifications equal to professional quality recordings.  It was a Christmas present to myself and in some was the realization of a lifelong dream of owning a recording studio. Technology has reached a point where a lot of the expensive equipment that used to be required to record music accurately can be replaced for little to nothing in the manner of software on a computer. The mixing and mastering of songs recorded can be done “in the box” or with computer programs instead of dedicated equipment; expensive hardware being replaced with inexpensive or even free software.

Putting together a recording studio mostly on a computer is now easy.  Learning to use it is as involved and as difficult as it ever was. The tools are now easy to come by, but they are still tools and mastering any tool takes study, practice, and time.

The first major recording project I jumped into was to record some songs performed by a Country & Western band that calls themselves The Republic Band. My recording interface only allows for a couple of inputs at a time, so three songs were recorded over a period of about three days.

There were problems with the recordings such as noise introduced along with some of the instruments and such that were my fault, due to my inexperience with recording, not the fault of the band. My audio experience has been mostly limited to live music.  Then taking the raw recordings and trying to mix them into something that demonstrates and compliments their talents turned out to be no small task, again no fault of theirs. Sometimes, due to my inexperience, the more I worked on a recording the worse it sounded. I’d stop, study some more, go back and try again.

So, I’m finally ready to release a little bit of the product of all of that work. It still has some problems with instrument levels in some places and maybe it could do with a touch more eq on a spot or two… but. I’m reminded of something I once heard, that a poem is never finished, but abandoned.  I’ve got more projects in the works so at least for one of the three songs I recorded with The Republic, here it is:

Play – Folsom Prison Blues

The Republic Band:

  • Keith Rowe – vocals, rhythm guitar
  • Gary Donald  – lead guitar
  • Jimmy Bussey – drums
  • David Martin – keyboard
  • Charlie Brown – bass

They are a talented bunch and gentlemen all. You can visit their Facebook fan page HERE.

A Smoldering Spark

I have long been interested in recording music. Some of you may know I worked years ago with a company in Dallas called Sound Productions. They provide equipment and services for live music events. Since I had for all practical purposes sought my electrical engineering degree to find out how my stereo works working with professional audio gear was a big treat for me. It built on a high school dream of owning a recording studio. Now, at more than 50 years old, a lot has happened since then but the dream, if only a spark, is still alive.
This Christmas Santa brought me an audio interface for my computer. Almost all computer’s come with an audio interface in the sense of a sound card that will both play music or sound and record through a microphone input, but this one is a more specialized item suitable for professional quality recording. The common sound cards, built in to today’s computers are very inferior, and even many gamers, or those who optimize their computer’s for the high specifications needed for today’s computer games invest in a better sound card for their computers. Those sound cards are usually optimized for playing sounds. My Christmas present, while it has output to play music or sound,  provides a great deal of flexibility and professional quality signal handling on the recording side of audio signal processing.

Made by M-Audio, my interface sports the model name Fast Track Pro. It bills itself as a 4×4 audio interface, meaning it will record 4 channels or sources simultaneously and play back four signal streams  as well. That is a little misleading in that two of the inputs/outputs are digital. Digital interfaces are found on many or most newer items such as CD/DVD players and recorders. In a practical sense, the Fast Track Pro (FTP) is mostly useful as a two channel interface.

The FTP connects to your computer via a USB 1.1 interface. This makes it perfect for traveling with my laptop which was the goal here. It is also comparable with my Linux operating system, really important to me as I detest having to work in Microsoft windows of any stripe.

While it is limited to two analog inputs it is well equipped to handle those. Two combination jacks good for either the XLR connections expected by microphones as well as balanced ¼ inch inputs are available. The pre-amps are regarded as good quality, and switches are present for selecting instrument or line level inputs as well as a 20db pad. These options are coupled with the capability of recording at 24-bit 96kHz levels, although the FTP is limited to 48kHz if you are using inputs and outputs at the same time. As CD quality is presented at 44.1kHz and 16-bit at that the overall effect is that the FTP is capable of recording music at signal qualities common to professional audio processing.

Rounding out the package are headphone jacks, RCA outputs, and 48 volt phantom power for condenser microphones. Also included is I/O for midi devices. While it is capable of running from an external power supply non is needed when the FTP is connected to a computer as it derives it’s power from the usb connection.

I’ve had the opportunity to put the Fast Track Pro through real world applications the last couple of weeks and my complaints are minor and had mostly to do with my own confusion in handling the flexibility of the device as it was new to me. Without a doubt it was up to the job I gave it of handing 24-bit 44.1 kHz recording. When used properly the resulting recording are clear and concise; I would say sometimes stunning in clarity. Santa was good to me this year.

The Legend of Quincy Jones

Quincy Jones 2006

By most counts Quincy Jones is not a celebrity. Not that many people outside of the world of music know of him or if they do they are unclear as to much about him. But to many he is nothing short of a living legend. In fact, he won a Grammy Legend Award in 1991. He has been nominated for a Grammy Award 97 times, the most in the history of the award. Of those he won 27 times, the most of any living person (only the Hungarian conductor Sir Georg Solti has won more with 31).

It is impossible to read of even a part of his work in the decades he has been involved in the jazz and pop music scene without being impressed with the names of people you most definitely have heard of with which he has worked closely. I’ll not try to name even a few of them here. From what I have seen those that have worked with him love him, for he seems to treat others with dignity and conduct himself with a sort of graciousness and class.

He’s been mentioned here before for a phrase I heard him talk about: “Leave space for God in the room.”

This last Sunday there was a terrific piece written about Mr. Jones in the Washington Post by Deneen Brown. I’d encourage you to learn more about this musical and artistic giant from the article by following this link.

An Open Door

Delusions of grandeur make me feel a lot better about myself.
– Jane Wagner

When July began in 2006 I started to feel disoriented and clumsy. Two medications I was taking which had been getting along together decided not to play nicely with each other. My condition deteriorated over a very few days. At the suggestion of my doctors, my wife and son took me to Methodist Hospital at The Medical Center in Houston. This was on Friday, the 6th.Watch Full Movie Online Streaming Online and Download

I remember quite a bit of the trip to the hospital and my being examined in the emergency room. I remember being taken down a hallway and elevator toward Intensive Care. By the time I reached ICU I was unconscious and unresponsive.

Several days later the doctors told my family they were “not optimistic”. Despite all they had done I was not responding. It started to dawn on my wife she might be called upon to attend to funeral arrangements.

I heard music and got up from my hospital bed where members of my family had gathered and I went searching for the source. Traveling up some stairs near my bed I found a small chapel or cathedral directly above my bed on the lower floor. Inside the chapel were five towering beautiful black speakers. I went up to one of the speakers and examined it.

I was overwhelmed by the music coming from those speakers. I realized the sound coming from the speakers to be angels singing.  It sounded like the very voice of God. Standing in the center of the room with tears in my eyes the waves of music washed over me.

I walked out of the cathedral and was greeted by a young woman. We sat at the top of the curving staircase I had climbed moments ago and listened to the music. She insisted on tending to my bare feet.

After a short while I left to go back down the stairs and tell my family of the cathedral I’d found on the floor above my bed. I was eager to tell them of the beautiful speakers that rang out with the voices of Angels.

Only there was no cathedral. No speakers. No stairs. I had not left the bed. They told me days later what had really happened.

Five men came to my bed at the hospital and introduced themselves as members of the Harbor Light Choir, a division of the local Salvation Army. They came to the hospital weekly and visited beds at random. They asked for permission to sing and pray around my bed, and were given that permission. As they started to sing I started to respond.

Over the next few days I gradually and slowly recovered, making my way back to the people who love me. It was not instantaneous. It involved straight jackets, breathing tubes, and a visit to a tavern filled with creatures I could only describe by referencing the bar scene in the first Star Wars movie. It involved more attention from my doctors, my parents and my wife. It involved walkers and embarrassment and a lot of time spent regaining my strength. But all of that came after the visit to the cathedral meilleur site pour acheter cialis. To my mind it was as if I woke up from a long sleep to hear the music.

I recently read a few members of the Harbor Light Choir visit Methodist Hospital every Thursday. I was told some people in the hospital turn them away rather than give them permission to sing and pray. They bring the voice of God, music from the angels, ask for nothing in return, and are turned away. What a shame. What an unrivaled pity.

Note: The image above is from a painting by my wife, Melinda Patrick.

Good Weather

Sunny Days… and I’ve had a song in my mind for a while now. Harry Nilsson:

Everybody’s talking at me.
I don’t hear a word they’re saying,
Only the echoes of my mind.
People stopping staring,
I can’t see their faces,
Only the shadows of their eyes.

I’m going where the sun keeps shining
Thru’ the pouring rain,
Going where the weather suits my clothes,
Banking off of the North East wind,
Sailing on summer breeze
And skipping over the ocean like a stone.


From NPR:

Morning Edition, November 8, 2007 – The power of Wal-Mart can now be measured on The Billboard 200 music chart.

The Eagles are No. 1 this week. Their new album Long Road Out of Eden almost didn’t make the trip to the top because of Billboard’s longstanding rule that albums must be sold in more than one outlet. But, if that one outlet is Wal-Mart, just maybe that rule could be changed. And this week it was changed, bumping Britney Spears Blackout from the top spot.

Personally, I like WalMart. They save me a lot of money.

The Top 10 Commandments of Bluesville

Alright. Maybe it’s more than ten. But you can pick one from each column for ten:

XM – Bluesville: 10 Commandments

1 a – “Support live blues at the Juke Joint of your choice, every Saturday Night.”
1 b – “He who has the blues, has a good thing.”
1 c – “The nighttime is the right time to be with the one you love.”
1 d – “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbors ass… Unless it’s cute, of course.”
1 e – “Thou shall honor Robert, B.B., and Stevie.”

2 a – “Work with what you got, whether it’s a little or a lot.”
2 b – “Honor the forefathers and the foremothers of the blues.”

3 a – “When it comes to the blues, formal music training is accepted, but not required… From the heart is required.”
3 b – “Wild women don’t get the blues.”
3 c – “Thou shalt not kill… Unless another mule’s been kickin’ in your stall.”
3 d – “One monkey don’t stop no show.”

4 a – “The blues are the sheet music of life.”
4 b – “The blues ain’t nothing that a good woman can’t fix.”
4 c – “Sometimes blues is more than just a color, an attitude, or fleeting emotions.”

5 a – “Nobody loves you but your mamma, and she might just be jiving you too.”
5 b – “You can’t spend what you ain’t got. And you can’t loose what you never had.”
5 c – “Never underestimate the healing strength of the Blues.”
5 d – “Life ain’t worth much if you ain’t with the one you love. But, you can always love the one you’re with.”
5 e – “The blues will heal.”

6 a – “The blues ain’t nothin’ but a good man feelin’ bad, thinkin’ ’bout the woman he once was with.”
6 b – “Always let your back-door man know when your front-door man is coming home.”
6 c – “Thou shall not take the name of thy ‘King’ in vain… B.B, Freddie, or Albert”
6 d – “When it all comes down, you got to come back to mother earth.”
6 e – “When you ain’t got nothin’, you got nothin’ to lose.”

7 a – “There ain’t no peace in the barnyard, since the little red rooster been gone.”
7 b – “When your life is on empty, return it to full. Tank up on the blues.”
7 c – “The highway is like a woman… Soft shoulders, dangerous curves and slippery when wet.”
7 d – “Always get your mojo working 24/7… No exceptions!”

8 a – “Hey Everybody, let the good times roll!”
8 b – “Now work is made for two things… that’s a fool… and a mule.”
8 c – “You are never too old or too young to get hooked on the Blues.”
8 d – “Thou shall not steal other blues artists works. But remember, imitation is the greatest form of flattery.”
8 e – “Live the life you love, and love the life you live.”

9 a – “Never let your left hand know what your right hand’s doing… Know what I mean?”
9 b – “If it’s good to you, it’s gotta be good for you!”
9 c – “If you have the blues, share them with somebody.”

10 a – “You need to get yourself some of those dead presidents. ‘Cause you can’t expect romance without finance.”
10 b – “All blues is welcome at the table in Bluesville. And welcome to the table… eat heartily, but drink responsibly.”
10 c – “When life gets you down, let the blues remove your frown.”
10 d – “If you’re gonna love your woman, love her with a thrill.”

Oh, by the way. The top 10 commandments of Bluesville are always subject to change.
~ Terry
If you’re looking for me, I’ll be at Low-Fi’s.
(SkyFi3, SkyFi2, RoadyXT, Boombox II)