It wouldn’t be a CP recording without some sort of snag. This one involved wires and boards and stuff not working; Robin would be able to tell you exactly what it was.* Long story short, the well-and-truly awesome Alan made it all okay. In fact, he made it better than okay. We ended up with a more felicitous arrangement of the aforementioned wires and boards. There was much rejoicing. The downside was that we got started a good three hours late (1 p.m. as opposed to 10 a.m.), but it was all good. We had committed to being there, and none of us were keen on rescheduling. We’d been working up to this, darn it! We were ready to SING!
For the first couple of songs, I was in the Isolation Chamber. I’m not sure what it’s really called, but it’s a wee room smack-dab between Sound HQ and the main recording space, more poetically known as the Heart of the Song (which I totally just made up (well, more like co-opted since it’s the title of a Fairport Song), but I like it. It stays). The Heart of the Song was way cool. There was a bank of electronic type stuff in the center, with lots of cords threading from serious black boxes out to various mics. There was one particularly mischievous cable that tripped nearly every one of us, including Alan. Ah, physical comedy! Though I speak from experience when I say it was funnier when you weren’t wearing the headset at the other end. yowch.
So. First two songs were Don’s. I’m totally going to be adoring wife here, but it’s my account of the day, so deal with it. He? ROCKED. He’s so unsure of his vocal abilities, but I’m not alone in recognizing that he’s come leaps and bounds. Don has always been able to tell the story and tell it well, and now his vocal chops are catching up. Y’all are going to love his work on this CD.
I’m really sad this picture of Lionel is so murky. Let’s just call it artsy, shall we?
Ann is our go-to mandolin gal (I initially typed ‘go-go.’ Make a note: the Queen needs white patent leather knee-boots). She’s fronting a couple of songs, including the title track. She is awesome. Just look at that smile.
This go ‘round, Dan’s added bodhran to his repertoire... only I don’t have a picture of him playing. So here! Dan looking contemplative:
And Karen’s microphone tried to eat her face:
I occurs to me that I sort of suck at these candid shots. fmeh. It was a long day. I had a migraine. Bite me.
Oh, but how cute is this?
The bass! It’s so shiny! You guys will be surprised and delighted when you hear Jared’s bass work. Seriously. Give him a hug the next time you see him.
As for me? I’m not fronting anything, but we’re doing one of my songs. Yup! Music and Lyrics by me, traditional reel by traditional musicians of the way back when. It was the hardest track to record - well, for Robin (pennywhistle solo) and myself (could NOT get the frakkin’ harmony. So much fail.) but it all came out all right in the end.
Don snapped a picture of me listening to playback. You can tell it’s not during ‘Distant Drums’ because I’m not 1. wearing a smile of painfully forced cheer or 2. weeping at my ineptitude. I am, alas, rumpled and migraine-y. Still, I’ve enough sense to try to form a Nerdfighter sign. Wow. I look bad. So weary and pathetic double-chinned and wan. I want to give me tea with honey (or Splenda; think of the chins!!!) and then send me to bed.
Alas, I don’t have any pictures of Robin. She had a few bad moments thanks to the burlap dividers in the Heart of the Song, but with some surreptitious draping and a few stints in the Isolation Chamber, all was well. Actually, were it no for this snafu, the Burlap Lobsters might never have been born. Who are the Burlap Lobsters, you might ask? Why, only the preeminent Crimson Pirates cover band! Their polka medley, culminating in an oom-pah version of ‘Skye Boat Song,’ is definitive. I suspect (read: if Ann and I have anything to say about it) that the Burlap Lobsters may - someday - open for the Pirates.
So. Loooong day. Fourteen hours at the studio, ten of which were spent recording. Sixteen songs laid down. Eight bandmates. Zero tension (well, save for that one song, but that wasn’t a personality thing). And one utter meltdown in the last moments of the night... ‘Whiskey in the Jar’ was the first song we got down. There are clapping bits that Robin wanted to overdub (if we did them as were were singing, the sound would have bled into nearby mics or somesuch), so it was decided we’d do that at the very end. We were tired and drained and ready to get the hell home, but hey - it was clapping. How hard could it be? So: last bit of recording. The clock was sweeping ‘round to 11 p.m. Jared, Karen, Don, Robin, Ann and myself stood before mics. All we had to do was clap six times each time the chorus came ‘round: “With me ring dumma doo dumma da” clap clap clap clap “Whack fol the daddy o’” clap clap et al. That was it. And it was simple, really. We were bopping around, dancing dorkishly (and I speak for myself; I found that I do a truly abysmal Robot) during the verses but snapping to attention and smacking our hands crisply at the proper moments.
Until the last verse rolled ‘round. Robin’s eyes grew wide. After a frozen moment, she clapped, utterly at random. The rest of us doubled over, swallowing our laughter, then mangaged to stand up for the final damned claps. We held our breaths, waiting for the cut off sign, and when it came, we all lost it. “I couldn’t remember how it ended!” Robin squeaked. “I panicked!” So that was how the night ended. Flummoxed by clapping, drained by helpless laughter, and sore throats soothed by cold beer.
So that’s it: CD 5, behind the scenes. Little glitches aside, we had a great time, and I think we’ve made some good music. Can’t wait for you all to hear it!
* Had I been listening, I might be able to tell you, too. As it was, I had a mad migraine coming on; it was all I could do to sip my ginger ale and not cry and/or vomit.