so my buddy skip denenberg had not one, but two projects he was working on that he wanted to get some input from me on before i got on the plane for the boris garcia thing – one of which he was working on with a familiar friend (andy kravitz in his comfy collingswood studio, sound and vision), and one with our mutual buddy gabe antonini (of NBC-10 fame) at the in-house studio there, run by the channel ten offshoot, the studio ten creative group.
since time was of the essence, we scheduled both of them for the same day a few hours apart – so that we’d have plenty of time to get everything done…plus, the stanley cup finals were on that night and i wanted to try to be home for the game. 🙂
the first session was for a “we are the world”-style song that skip had written, called “take me home” – it was for an animal rights advocacy project, but i know little else about it after that…save for the fact that the first voice i heard after the song kicked in in earnest was bj thomas – so they’ve gotten some talent to contribute to this thing, thus far…and they’re angling for more.
initially, we were talking about doubling a lead guitar line that had already been laid down with the pedal steel – and we did put a pass of that on, but we decided to experiment a little with the lap steel after finishing that pass, and gabe liked the lap steel for that part a lot more than the pedal steel…and i could see why. it gave it this george harrisonesque color that the pedal steel didn’t really lend itself to, and the guitar part melded with the lap steel line much more so than the pedal steel.
skip had to leave to head over to andy’s before we’d finished, so he had vacated the premises somewhat early on, while gabe and i continued to work on the track until we’d gotten enough raw material laid down to feel like we’d gotten what we needed. gabe had put quite a bit of work into this song – he played me some isolated passes of some of the stuff he’d woven into the song that you’d never know were there until they were removed…and he was definitely making it work.
the next thing we hit (after wrapping up at Gabe’s and heading over to Andy’s) was the SS United States jingle that skip had written for a TV commercial for the conservancy – the song itself was a full length song, but we were working on a shorter version of it that would be used for the commercial. i brought the mandolin along for this track, as i hadn’t heard anything else that really presented itself as a possibility, based on the demo skip had sent me…it was a three-quarter song, with a bit of a shanty-like bounce to it, and the mandolin worked great as a rhythm element, and that practically finished itself in only a couple of passes…but, as skip is wont to do, he asked if i’d contribute some harmony vocals to the song. andy put up a vocal mic next to the piano (in the customary spot) and i ran through the song with skip to find out which sections he wanted harmonies for, and to cop the lyrics. we did a high pass and a low pass for the chorus, which andy layered in with the vocals skip had already cut, and a couple of other incidental parts here and there throughout, and i blew out to leave skip and andy to mix the song.
i did mention that the stanley cup finals were on that night, right? 🙂