Patterico's Pontifications

4/29/2016

Friday Night Music

Filed under: General,Music,Music by Patterico — Patterico @ 9:41 pm

For no particular reason (which is a lie, as you’ll soon see), here are the Tories with Gladys Kravitz:

Yes, I am aware that I have posted it before. What of it?

And, because I let YouTube run and do its thing, and it started playing other things, here’s another thing it played:

Gotta love YouTube.

P.S. What a weird choice of categories for this post.

1/11/2016

David Bowie, RIP

Filed under: Music — Patterico @ 12:16 am

Well, this is a shock.

David Bowie, the infinitely changeable, fiercely forward-looking songwriter who taught generations of musicians about the power of drama, images and personae, died Sunday, two days after his 69th birthday, according to his publicist.

Mr. Bowie’s death was reported in posts on Facebook and Twitter, and confirmed by the publicist, Steve Martin, on Monday morning.

“David Bowie died peacefully today surrounded by his family after a courageous 18-month battle with cancer,” according to a statement on Mr. Bowie’s social media accounts.

More than 10 years ago, I described David Bowie as “one of my all-time favorite performers.” He is a “musicians’ musician” — and I know this because the musicians I like always want to cover his stuff. He had a reputation as this sort of non-serious “glam” artist, but he was a hell of a songwriter and had a hell of a voice.

One of the first times I went out with Christi — at a time when I think we were friends, and not “dating” — I invited her into the bedroom of my one-bedroom apartment (where the stereo was!) and dimmed the lights while I put on “Sweet Thing” from the “Diamond Dogs” album. I told her I wanted her to hear the range in the singer’s voice, beginning with a low gravelly sound to a controlled soprano wail.

She told me later that she thought I was trying to make a move on her. Dimmed lights, sitting together on the bed, playing music . . . yeah, I can see why she thought that. But I just wanted her not to have any visual distractions — so she could concentrate on how great David Bowie’s voice was.

He was 69 years old. It’s a horrible loss for music.

UPDATE: If I’m going to talk up “Sweet Thing” then I should let you listen to it, shouldn’t I?

Give this 90 seconds. You’ll hear Bowie’s full vocal range in a way no other song of his quite displays.

10/9/2015

John Lennon’s 75th Birthday

Filed under: General,Music — Patterico @ 6:58 pm

John Lennon would have been 75 today. Let’s celebrate what we had:

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.

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