Live And In The Studio - Liner Notes
John, Don and I are first and foremost good friends and musical partners, and less a trio than an "ensemble of three" in which each supports the others in various ways- contributing vocal support and/or additional instrumentation. It was a pleasure to record this music with my fellow "Bakery Boys" who energize you and complement what you hear in a song.
John R. This project was a true melding of tunes and techniques. Coming from a technical background and having done demo recordings in the 70s for Boston-area musicians, I was most concerned about recording the individual instruments and vocals in an "isolated" manner so that those tracks could be adjusted in terms of EQ and volume without effecting the other tracks. In a perfect world that would have been done but in practical terms, it was impossible. The instruments themselves posed challenges with their relatively low natural sound levels. Contact pickups helped isolate the sound but presented other issues which produced a more "unnatural sound" and, in some cases, noise and signal breakup issues. In the end, we tried to simply use microphones to record the instruments to preserve their natural tonal qualities. This presented another issue - that of "bleed-through" when vocals were recorded at the same time. When this happens, adjusting the volume level of an instrument will also adjust the volume of the vocal signals also present on the track; I guess this is all why recording studios and their engineers make the "big bucks" (or at least charge them)!!! The end result is somewhat a compromise between a true, live recording of the group and a more, polished studio production. I like to think of it as what we "could" sound like "live" with a good sound system and engineer at the controls. There are, of course, a few exceptions to this statement where one of the members plays more than one instrument or sings more than one vocal part but I hope you'll forgive this anomaly and enjoy the end result...
The CD Tracks Themselves
Jack's Maggot/Saint Anne's Real - Traditional
An English Country Dance Tune dating to the early 1700's. We pair it with St. Anne's Reel a popular French Canadian Dance Tune. John C.
I heard Greg sing this in concert in 1980 Ė adapted it to the dulcimer and Iíve been singing it ever sinceÖ. Don B.
I first heard this song from Don Burger when he and John C. did it for the local Unitarian Church music program. In terms of writing, I consider it to be another example of Greg Brown at his best - still one of my favorites... John R.
Gold Watch & Chain - A. P. Carter
By combing the hills, the hymnals, their own memories, A.P. and the Carter Family took the songs of their mountain community and presented them in a way people could understand, and call their own. This song was the title to the complete Carter Family Victor recordings of 1933-34. The pathos of desperate, seemingly unrequited, love still comes through after almost eighty years. John C.
My Darling Hometown - John Prine/Rodger Cook
I grew up in a small city, in a neighborhood where we were like one big extended family. Years later, after both Big City life and Living in the Woods failed to give me that feeling of home, though I kept listening to songs like this gem from Prine, full of vivid, simple imagery. I found my way back. (This song can also be heard on Appalachian Dulcimer - 2008 Fellenbaum, #1086.) Don B.
New Harmony - Craig Johnson, 1977
New Harmony in Southern Indiana, was Craig's Grandfathers home and this song captures Craigs fond memories of going home from New Harmony down to the tow boat landing in Mt. Vernon, Indiana. John C.
Living On The River - Jay Rasmussen
Ships - Greg Brown, Hacklebarney Music, ASCAP
I heard Redbird do this on their only CD and really liked the harmonies and feel of it. What a shock to discover it as being penned by Greg Brown! In any event, I changed in only slightly in arrangement and lyrics from their version. However, the production on this somewhat tends to channel Phil Spector's "wall of sound" in a way - I hope it doesn't suffer for it... John R.
Gentle Annie - Stephen Foster
The original song and melody was written by Stephen Foster in 1856. The tune made it's way to Australia and this version was first recorded by Martyn Wiyndham Read. John C.
Seamus O'Brien - Traditional
A lovely old Irish Waltz. The lyrics to the tune were published in 1867, by Will Hays as an answer to Hays' earlier song, Nora O'Neal. John C.
Waltz Across Texas - Earnest Tubbs
One of the great sing along chorus'. Always enjoyable to play and sing. John C.
Blue Mountain - Fred W. Keller
Canadian Whiskey - Tom Russell, 1984
"Her eyes were the color of Canadian Whiskey, pure blended whiskey, so light brown and fine". Another favorite from Tom Russell with an original (mine) extra verse. John C.
Sweet Song from Yesterday - Bob Zentz
I first heard Bob do this one at the Old Songs Festival in 1990 or so, and it became an enduring favorite for me, lending itself easily to singing along and celebrating the traditional folk music that I play and listen to myself. Iíve played it thousands of times since & never get tired of it. Don B.
Heavens & The Years - Bill Staines, 2007
A poignant look at life and memories. "I will feel the world a-turning through the heavens and the years"... John C.
Our Little Town - Greg Brown, Hacklebarney Music, ASCAP
Another Greg Brown song - this one I heard on his CD "One More Goodnight Kiss" and immediately felt a connection with it. To me, it describes the conditions I see here every day in my rural, western NC community. It states simply the events seen all across our nation and asks the question often left unspoken - "What's going to happen to our little town?". Greg's version was so compelling that I tried not to change a thing except for a minor lyric change to allow this to be done for all audiences and a slightly more nostalgic ending. Thanks, Greg... and I hope you approve. John R.
Pack Up Your Sorrows - Richard Farina
I heard this done by Richard and Mimi Farina back in 1965 on a compilation album (yes album - and I still have it!) and always loved the sound of the dulcimer on it. We have changed very little from that original version other than the instrumentation. John R.
Georgia Calls - Don Burger
Don wrote this tune while travelling through Georgia and when he played it for us it struck a harmonic chord, reminding me of the road trip I made moving back to Florida from New Hampshire. It was a cold October morning when I left Manchester and drove through Washington DC into Virginia before stopping for the night. The next morning I headed out early and by the time I reached Georgia it was warm enough to open the sun roof and bask in the warm, morning sun. At that moment a solitary thought passed through my mind, "I'm going back home". With that mindset, I made some alterations to Don's basic arrangment and chord structure; what you hear hear is the result. John R.
Will There Be Chickens In Paradise - Emily Luertzing & Neal Walters, 1998
"Hatchin' and Layin', Peckin' and Prayin', Crowin' a Heavenly Chord." A fun song with a great chorus. John C.
Maybe the less said about this tune, the better. This is one of our most requested tune though - go figure... John R.
It's Great To Be Alive In Transylvania County - Don Burger
Don Burger's anthem for Transylvania County and all its residents - a great tune, masterfully written! John R.
As always, we'd like to thank Rocky for hanging around and taking pictures for us while we attended to the business at hand.
We thank her for her patience and understanding when things didn't go as planned and took longer than we'd originally thought
they would ... way, way longer ...
Please remember that your comments and suggestions are always welcomed. We take requests; we don't promise to play them but we take them, none the less... Keep those electronic cards and letters comin', folks!
Send comments to: BRBBoys@comporium.net
Changes last made on: Saturday, May 19, 2012 at 1:17pm