Patterico's Pontifications

4/22/2015

The Patterico Music Project: The Original Version of “Alien Song”

Filed under: General,Music,Music by Patterico — Patterico @ 7:34 am

Here is the original version of “Alien Song,” which I debuted here. Lyrics are here.

I’m slightly mortified as I visualize the reaction to this one, because my guitar playing is so inaccurate. As I post this, I am listening to it again, and I challenge anyone to listen to this track without cringing. Upside: if I can find the courage to post this, I can post anything.

In my defense, the guitar part is pretty hard to play: furious arpeggios moving around the fretboard . . . and I’m not very good. I’m much better at stuff like, you know, strumming.

It’s a tribute to Parthenon Huxley that he could listen to this track and get past the horrible performance to hear the possibilities in the song . . . because I think it’s actually a pretty decent song.

The benefit of hearing this is mainly hearing what Parthenon Huxley did with the song. As you can tell, he did a lot. So you can hear for yourself the difference, I am also including Parthenon’s version below. If you haven’t heard that yet, do yourself a favor and give it a spin. If you have heard it, listen to it again. It gets better every time you hear it.

My original, inaccurate version from around 1992:

And Parthenon’s excellent version:

The fifth song in the project will likely not come for several months, at a minimum. You are off the hook for a while.

4/20/2015

The Patterico Music Project: “Alien Song,” Performed by Parthenon Huxley

Filed under: General,Music,Music by Patterico — Patterico @ 6:13 am

It’s time for Song #4 in the Patterico Music Project.

On February 1, I told you:

I am working on a little personal project in which I try to convince some of my musical heroes to record some of my songs. I have found three victims so far, who have promised between them to record five songs in all.

The identity of these performers is a mystery/secret. For now.

The secret is gradually being revealed. So far, I have published three of these songs, all recorded by former Northern Pikes front man Jay Semko. All of these were acoustic versions recorded “live off the board” in a single take done in a recording studio. I posted the first one on February 2, titled “Creation” (song; lyrics; original version). I posted the second one on February 9, titled “Was It Really You?” (song; lyrics; original version). And I published the third one on February 23, titled “The Same Mistake” (song; lyrics; original version). If you never listened to those, I encourage you to check them out.

But today, I have something really special for you.

Today, I am publishing a version of my song “Alien Song,” recorded by my musical hero Parthenon Huxley. Parthenon, also known as “P. Hux,” has been making great music forever. His Web site is here and his bio is here. Check out some of his music here. His fans tend to be devoted collectors of all his albums, and I am no exception. The guy is a genius, and has a beautiful and unique voice. It’s a special thrill for me that he agreed to record one of my songs.

The song you’re about to hear is about reptilian, multi-headed aliens, conquering the world through their strange music. And, if I do say so myself, I think the effect of this particular recording is pretty amazing. This version is highly produced. Parthenon put a lot of effort into the arrangement and the recording, and it shows. It’s whimsical and has many touches that complement the subject matter of the song. I could go on and on about Parthenon’s performance, but I think I’ll just let you hear it for yourself. Since he emailed it to me last week, I have listened to it probably three dozen times. I don’t expect any of you to be that enamored with it . . . but it does repay repeated listenings.

You’re in for a treat. Click the play button, and enjoy.

P.S. Tomorrow I will publish the lyrics, and on Wednesday I will publish the original version I recorded in the early 1990s — which sounds throughout like a much poorer version of the first 45 seconds of this version (minus vocal effects or harmony).

P.P.S. It would be premature to reveal the identity of the third performer in this series, but when you hear who the artist is, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

4/15/2015

The Patterico Music Project (Hopefully) to Continue on Monday; UPDATE: It’s a Go!

Filed under: General,Music,Music by Patterico — Patterico @ 8:50 pm

I’m just securing permission from the artist to share his work. I am cautiously confident that the permission will be forthcoming.

The cover is (in my opinion) very, very entertaining. It is, in many ways, very different from my original song, but in a way that is whimsical and delightful and utterly satisfying. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

In the meantime, enjoy this utterly unrelated video by an artist who may or may not be the man who covered my song.

P.S. If reader Rich Horton is not immediately and painfully envious, I will consider all of this to have been in vain.

UPDATE: Permission secured.

Rich Horton has heard the song and seems to like it. All is right with the world.

2/25/2015

The Patterico Music Project: The Original Version of “The Same Mistake”

Filed under: General,Music,Music by Patterico — Patterico @ 6:18 pm

Tonight I am sharing the original version of “The Same Mistake,” which I debuted here Monday evening as sung by Northern Pikes front man Jay Semko, one of my favorite singers Of All Time. (Lyrics are here.)

As in the past, I ask you to bear in mind that these are primitive recordings done on primitive equipment — namely, a cassette-based TASCAM recorder, operated around 1992 or so. Details about how I did these recordings are here.

As with the others, you will note some differences between this version and Jay’s. I have two guitar parts and a faux-bass line, accomplished by playing the top string on my little nylon-string acoustic guitar, and turning up the bass on my TASCAM all the way for that track. This version has harmonies and background vocals that Jay could not replicate in a “live off the floor” performance.

Oh — and then there is the most salient difference: on my version the singing is poor, while Jay’s singing is completely awesome.

Without further ado, here is my version:

And as a reminder, here is the version Jay Semko did for me:

P.S. This will be the last entry in the “Patterico Music Project” series for a while. Today I received an update from one of the other musicians performing one of my other songs. It’s in process, but I don’t expect a final recording any time soon. Quality takes time. I am, therefore, in no hurry. So, look for entry #4 at some unspecified future date.

2/24/2015

The Patterico Music Project: The Lyrics to “The Same Mistake”

Filed under: General,Music,Music by Patterico — Patterico @ 9:57 pm

I debuted the song “The Same Mistake” here last night. It’s all part of my crazy project to have professional musicians record songs I wrote in the 1990s. Details on the project here.

Consistent with my pattern, I am publishing the lyrics here tonight. I’ll go ahead and include the song again with the lyrics, below the fold. As I said last night in a comment, the lyrics may be a little goofy, but it has one of my favorite couplets of any song I have written:

Insulting your intelligence would not concern me now
There’s not much chance that it would take offense

The lyrics are meant to be heard and not just read, so hit the play button and follow along as Northern Pikes lead singer Jay Semko sings a song I wrote.

(more…)

2/23/2015

Music by Patterico, With a Little Help from Jay Semko of The Northern Pikes: Part 3: The Same Mistake

Filed under: General,Music,Music by Patterico — Patterico @ 6:33 pm

Tonight I am sharing the last of three songs that I wrote in the 1990s, and that Northern Pikes front man Jay Semko recorded for me this year. I posted the first one a while back (song; lyrics; original version). I posted the second one a couple of weeks ago (song; lyrics; original version).

Here is the last one, a little ditty called “The Same Mistake.”

It’s a joyous little breakup tune, where the boy wishes he could have the girl back . . . to give her the treatment she truly deserved, but which he never gave her when they were together.

2/11/2015

The Patterico Music Project: The Original Version of “Was It Really You?”

Filed under: General,Music,Music by Patterico — Patterico @ 7:46 am

I am blogging the second of three songs that I wrote in the 1990s, and that Northern Pikes legend Jay Semko recorded for me this year. I posted the first one last week (song; lyrics; original version). I posted the second one Monday (Jay’s version and lyrics).

This is my version of the second song: “Was It Really You?”

Be kind. My recording resources in 1992 were sparse. Details about how I did these recordings are here.

You will note some differences between this version and Jay’s. Mine has some harmonies and background vocals. There is a faux-bass line, which I played by playing the top string on my little nylon-string acoustic guitar, and turning up the bass on my TASCAM all the way for that track. The guitar-playing style is a bit different. And the singing is poor, unlike Jay’s masterful vocals. Here it is:

And here is Jay’s version, for comparison purposes.

2/10/2015

The Patterico Music Project: The Lyrics to “Was It Really You?”

Filed under: General,Music,Music by Patterico — Patterico @ 7:43 am

Yesterday I debuted a song written by me in the early 1990s, and recorded by Jay Semko of the Northern Pikes this year (2015). It’s part of the Patterico music project, a quixotic project in which I try to convince my musical heroes to record songs I wrote in the early 1990s. I posted the first one last week (song; lyrics; original version) and posted the second one last night.

What, you didn’t hear it yet? Let’s fix that! Here it is again:

Below are the lyrics to that song. It’s a breakup song, and those are generally whiny by definition. (Although wait until next week, when we will have a breakup song in which Our Hero laments the fact that he didn’t treat the woman worse while he still had the chance!) The general theme, as you will see, is that Our Hero wonders whether he has just lost The Perfect Woman — or whether, instead, he was fooled by a woman who posed as The Perfect Woman, without really being her.

Remember: it’s not a Shakespeare sonnet; these are song lyrics. I don’t recommend reading them on their own. I have a much better idea: hit the play button above, and follow along as you listen to Jay.

WAS IT REALLY YOU?

I knew that it was true
That I could get to know you well
And love you in a way
I’d never loved before

They said I was a fool
My friends all said to take it slow
“She could be the one —“
“Or hurt you like before”

I’m not asking why
Why it was you said you had to go
But there’s just one thing
Just one thing that I would like to know

Was it really you I thought I loved
One summer night in July?
[‘Cause I have got to know]
Or was it the person
You wanted me to see?
[Was I only dreaming?]
[Was it really me?]

Where did I go wrong?
‘Cause if you never lived a lie
Pretending to be someone
You knew you’d never be

It must have been my fault
I couldn’t place the blame on you
How could I resent
The woman made for me?

It doesn’t matter why
People breaking up is nothing new
I just want to know
Was my perfect woman really you?

Was it really you who seemed so right
Like you were born in the sky?
[‘Cause I have got to know]
Or was it an image
That I should just let die?
[Was I only dreaming?]
[Was it really me?]

Please tell me the truth
Don’t lie to me now

What should I do now?
I think about you every day
Or think about a girl
That I once thought was you

I’ll never know the truth
Even though I know that you don’t care
I’ll ask you once again
[Ask you one last time]
I guess it’s just a cross I have to bear

Was it really you I thought I loved
One summer night in July?
[‘Cause I have got to know]
Or was it a person
You wanted me to see?
[Was I only dreaming?]
[Was it really me?]
[I’ve got to know]

Was it hard for you to tell the truth
Or was it harder to lie?
Should I be sad you’re gone
Or just be glad to say goodbye?
[Was I only dreaming?]
[Was it really me?]

Astute listeners may note that Jay left out a line at the end: “Should I be sad you’re gone?” I haven’t asked him about it, but I’m not sure it was deliberate. I think I contributed to the problem. As you’ll hear tomorrow, I screwed up that line in my performance, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Jay was thrown off by the variance between the lyrics I wrote and the lyrics I sang in the recording Jay was working off of. So I am chalking it up to the vagaries of a live performance — one which I absolutely adore. You live with the imperfections of a live performance, just as you revel in its spontaneity and honesty.

Tomorrow I’ll let you hear the original recording I made around 1991 or so.

2/9/2015

Music by Patterico, With a Little Help from Jay Semko of The Northern Pikes: Part 2: Was It Really You?

Filed under: General,Music,Music by Patterico — Patterico @ 5:50 pm

I forgot to post it this morning. Here’s song two in the (so far) three-song series. I gave the background here. The thumbnail version: I wrote some songs in the early 1990s. Musician Jay Semko (of the Northern Pikes) recorded three of them recently. I posted the first one last week (song; lyrics; original version). Below is the second song: a wistful post-breakup lament. Lyrics tomorrow; original version Wednesday.

2/4/2015

The Patterico Music Project: The Original Version of “Creation”

Filed under: General,Music,Music by Patterico — Patterico @ 7:47 am

On Monday I debuted a song written by me in the early 1990s, and recorded by Jay Semko of the Northern Pikes this year — part of my crazy project to persuade my musical heroes to record my songs. Yesterday, I shared the lyrics.

Today, with no small degree of trepidation, I am releasing the original recording that I did well over 20 years ago. I’m going to stop apologizing for the muddy sound quality and the poor playing and singing, and describe how I did this and what you’ll hear.

I did the recording on a cassette-based TASCAM recorded that allowed me to lay down as many as eight tracks. I played and sang everything and take full blame for the whole thing. On this recording you will hear piano as well as an acoustic guitar (a three-quarter-size guitar with nylon strings, which helps explain the sound quality). Since I lacked any vocal effects, I tried to make up for it by simply double-tracking every vocal line. Put simply, I sang and recording each vocal line twice. You will also hear background vocals in a couple of places — something Jay Semko could not pull off as a solo musician doing a live recording. Because it’s three-part harmony and I am double-tracking the vocals, that’s six of me singing there. (The mere thought of it is enough to make me second-guess publishing this.)

Astute musicians will notice a few differences between this recording and the one by Semko. In addition to the piano and the harmony, you can hear that our fingerpicking styles are different. I use standard alternate thumb picking, while Semko uses a rather unique style that he hilariously described to me as a “mutant form of fingerpicking.” It’s actually very interesting and creative. Also, you may notice that his vocal line is occasionally a smidgen different from my original, and at least one of the chords is changed.

Oh — and also, my version is horrific and his is awesome. (Nothing gives you appreciation for a good recording of a song as much as a bad one.)

One final note, about the band name. I called my “band” (which was just me) “Mangled Grapes.” I was a fan of the Grapes of Wrath as well as the Northern Pikes, and the name was a tribute to the Grapes as well as to the fact that I was mangling the songs. In keeping with my penchant for double meanings, I consoled myself with the idea that even mangled grapes can sometimes develop into fine wine.

And sometimes, they just remain mangled grapes. Which is as good a lead-in as any to my version of “Creation”:

As a reminder, for comparison purposes, here is the version recorded by Jay Semko:

Next Page »

Powered by WordPress.

Page loaded in: 0.1716 secs.