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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Mystery Band CD - It's Done

So the Mystery Band CD project languished for the past five months. I have been busy, and trying to squeeze in the editing/mixing in the evenings was not working out well. I was slightly ill yesterday, so I did my "day job" out of the house. After puting in several hours, I called Jim Reeves (pictured above) and his studio was free. I went over in the afternoon and we worked into the night. We finished the mix and mastered the CD. Jim Reeves is an amazingly meticulous professional - I am lucky to have him working on my project. Spending time with him caused me to conclude that great sound engineers suffer from obsessive/compulsive disorder (but in a good way).

I feel very happy to have this product in the can. I spent this morning writing liner notes and credits for the CD package. I have the master and the specs for the recording; I need to design the artwork and layout for the case and find a good CD manufacturing shop. With luck, I can have it ready before Christmas.

The Mystery Band recorded these tunes back in late March. Some of the songs had topical lyrics that are already past their "freshness date." I think I will leave them on the record. This CD is a snapshot in time, sorta.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Slim Harpo Covers Johnny Cash

Slim Harpo (real name - James Moore) is a deceased harmonica player/vocalist/guitarist. Slim made this record for Excello in Nashville in late 1969, then returned home to Louisianna where he died of a massive heart attack in January 1970 at the age of 46. Slim Harpo invented the whole "swamp blues" thing and was a hero to many rockers (including Mick Jagger). His tunes ("I'm a King Bee," " Got Love if you Want It," etc.) have been covered by many. It is a hoot to hear him covering a tune by a country artist - Johnny Cash. Here is a link that will take you (eventually) to an MP3 of the record).

Monday, November 24, 2008

First Snow/Citigroup Bail-out

Those of us who live north of Chicago awoke to the first snow of the season. It was that lovely stuff that the forecasters call "wintry mix" - snow changing to sleet/rain, then changing back to snow. It is sloppy and it doesn't stick. The sweaters are out of the closet and the earmuffs are back on for those of us that trudge downtown in the early morning.

Here is my favorite quote regarding the Citigroup bailout (thus far):

In the news this morning is $20 billion of new capital to Citibank from TARP but still no money for the Big 3. I can already hear the scream out of Detroit. What’s the difference between the two? Well, to put it bluntly, giving cash to Citibank is like performing the Heimlich maneuver on a choking man while giving cash to the Big 3 is like giving mouth-to mouth to a recently dug up corpse.

John P. McNulty, Publisher, Private Equity Professional Digest

Bleah. But quite colorful.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Presidential Oratory

The nation is amazed by Barack Obama, a president that naturally speaks in complete sentences and doesn't blather. I remebered one of my favorite speeches from a president who was killed when I was a kid - JFK. And, thanks be to the Internet, I found the speech on line. Kennedy was another articulate leader who didn't blather much. Here is the link to the speech. I sometimes wonder if this speech, and Kennedy's move toward more peaceful rhetoric, may have unleashed the forces that killed him. I am not a conspiracy theorist, but I wonder nonetheless.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

On The Road........Phoenix

So I am in Phoenix AZ, home of Camelback Mountain and desert critters like the Road Runner pictured above (mmBeep beep). The weather is marvelous here - high 70's/low 80's during the day, upper sixties in the evening. Unfortunately, this is a business trip so I have been in conference rooms and offices for 12 hours each day. Once we have exhausted ourselves with work, I stumble out of the office building and go next door to the hotel. This project has hit a snag, I have a lot of time and energy invested, and it may go down the pipes. It is tough to get anything done with in this "fear and loathing" economy.

Last night, I went for a walk - there is an underpass that allows one to cross the busy 6-lane boulevard (Camelback Road) without dealing with traffic. On the other side is the Biltmore Fashion Park - a massive mall housing a Macy's, an Apple Store, a Tommy Bahamas, Williams Sonoma, Brookstone, California Pizza, Ralph Lauren and many other temples of consumption. There was a local shop called "This Little Piggy Loves Cotton," which I gather has something to do with children's clothes.

Also in the Biltmore Fashion Park - many fountains (fountains in the desert? This is disturbing). Elderly couples huddled on the benches near these fountains, engaging in heated, loud discussions (deafness may be a factor in the high volume). I finally got tired of strolling around the mall and found a joint called "Sam's Southwestern Grill." I stumbled in and ordered a Grand Canyon Margarita. Sam's was a little busy on a Tuesday night with young women drinking and complaining about their boyfriends/husbands. I drank up and fled back to the hotel.

The economy is a burning platform and we have invited Barack Obama to take it over and make it into a paradise. He is going to try things that won't work (every president makes mistakes). The liberal rhetoric on the current crisis is wrong - it isn't deregulation alone that caused our problem, it was collusion between the political class and the titans of the financial sector. It took a long time to create this mess; we will be in the shit for years to come. Obama has a very tough job.

I get to go home and see my womenfolk tomorrow. Can't wait.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Here is Scott Nev, The One-Man Band dude.

I found a picture of Scott Nev on my hard drive! Here he is with my good friend, the bass player E.G. McDaniel. Scott is on the right....

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Scott Nev - One Man Band

I don't have a photograph of Scott Nev, but I have a cartoon that represents him. Scott is a multi-tasker. He plays guitar, kick drum, hi-hat cymbals and harmonica all at the same time. And he is a great singer, too! Since it is all I can do to play harmonica, his ability to cover all these instruments concurrently astounds me. Scott has worked the blues scene in Chicago for many years, but he isn't a die-hard blues guy. He will uncork rock tunes, R&B and country if the mood strikes him. I had the opportunity to sit in with Scott during his recent gig at the Morseland in Chicago. The guy is a real whirlwind of musical activity.

Scott has a day gig and a young family. In addition to the Morseland, he sometimes plays the early acoustic set at Buddy Guy's Legends in Chicago. Scott also put together a "kiddie music" act which he performs at schools, birthday parties and the like. He claims that the kid gigs can be fun, but they also can be unmitigated misery. Ah yes - the exciting romantic life of the working musican....

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

The REAL Surprise About The Presidential Election

The press and the people are all marveling that the United States has elected an African American president. Yes, that is significant. But the REAL revolution is that, for the first time in our country's history, our government will be led by a die-hard fan of the Chicago White Sox. Here is President Elect Obama throwing out the first pitch during the 2005 American League play-offs, back when he was still pretty much unknown outside of Chicago.

He is charismatic, intelligent, articulate and level-headed. AND he is a White Sox Fan. So we should be OK, people.