September 29, 2008 1:50 AM

This song will, in less than a minute, explain how to live your life.

There is always a point for me where I am happiest with a song. This point is immediately before I try recording the vocals. That's when I can still imagine what the song should and, perhaps, could ultimately sound like; but every time, once I've drenched it in adenoidal bleating, that illusion is shattered.

I approach this problem like I do most problems: I assume that there is some sort of device that, once I find it, will take care of the issue without any actual effort on my part.

So: For a bone-simple song that's under a minute long, I have done an awful lot of fussing with it. The most recent fussery involves my new ribbon microphone. I'm not sure what exactly a ribbon microphone is, but I am hoping it will help make my vocal tracks less brittle and boxy. This is mostly a problem on more upbeat songs where I sing louder, so while this song came out, I think, okay, I'll be sorely testing the mic in the near future. (Break out the tenterhooks!)

Anyway, here it is. Autoharp, vocals, and a three-dollar keyboard from the thrift store.

posted by Karlos the Jackal (9 comments total)

Aww, hell, Karlos, if you'd only have posted this a little sooner, I'd have included it in my recent body parts in music FPP.

By the way, you probably know about this already, but just in case you don't, John Sebastian of Lovin’ Spoonful fame used to play autoharp quite a bit, and he even made an instruction video.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:55 AM on September 29, 2008

Hay Karlos - you taught me how to live my life.
I'm going disinter my autoharp from the attic (not the woodshed),

And were those reedy tones from the keyboard? Sounded for all world like a cor anglais.


By the way, flapjax, I met John Seb and the Loving Spoonful guys way back in the early sixties.
They were in Stockholm promoting Daydream. The record had an autoharp on the cover photo. Appearing on the TV show my wife was involved in,they demolished the playback illusion by larking about, waving the unconnected guitar cables or suddenly putting their instruments down in the middle of"the solo". No-one had ever done that before.
Then they all came back to my place for tea and stuff.
posted by jan murray at 2:25 PM on September 29, 2008

Ha! Great song, man. I'm sure that this one will be, happily, stuck in my head for quite a while!
posted by snsranch at 5:07 PM on September 29, 2008

I had to look up "cor anglais" (we call it an "English Horn") -- sadly, no -- it's a Concertmate-370 on the "bagpipe" setting.

I am aware of Sebastian but have never gotten around to actually listening to any of the songs that feature autoharp -- I'm not sure I could name one of their songs other than "Summer in the City."
posted by Karlos the Jackal at 5:29 PM on September 29, 2008

I knew a lot of their songs. But on reflection dont remember much autoharp sound on any. Well "Do you believe in magic" perhaps - and of course on the sleeve photo.
They tell the whole story here.
Lots of stuff I never knew
posted by jan murray at 3:33 AM on September 30, 2008

Claps, claps and more claps. Great song, Karlos. And while I can relate to that feeling (everything sounds promising until I put my own voice in it), I'd tell you to be easy on yourself.
posted by micayetoca at 8:45 AM on October 8, 2008

I love the last line. Wish the song were longer.
posted by ErWenn at 8:02 AM on October 11, 2008

Me too, but I ran out of fingers.
posted by Karlos the Jackal at 4:39 AM on October 12, 2008

Hysterical lyrics. I like it.
posted by wastelands at 11:04 AM on December 4, 2008

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