Old Man (cover)

May 31, 2011 3:22 PM

My best effort to turn a Neil Young song I've always disliked into a big blustery rock thing.

I'm pretty happy with what came together; I played with the arrangement off and on over the last couple of weeks, and I think the result is a more cohesive rhythm section than on some of my more rapid-turnabout recordings.

I accidentally got the distance mic instead of the close mic track for the three electric guitar tracks on this, which made for some nice happy-accident ambiance on the lead fills and such but did make the whole thing a little muddier and less crunchy than I had been intending. Backing track wasn't intended to sound quite so much like my entire basement.

Vocally, doing this in this key was probably a dumb idea; the original melody sits too low and is too low energy to really stand up against the rocker background track, but the gutsy bluesy stuff really was too high for me and tore the hell out of my throat. And, ironically, landed me in reedy territory vocally despite my intent to get the hell away from Neil's timbre. Oops. But by the time I really figured that out it was too late to try and rerecord everything, so here we are.

I'd love to hear this belted by someone who can indeed belt.

posted by cortex (8 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

I've never heard the original song, but I liked the arrangements in this a lot. And your voice isn't Neil Youngish, but I felt it worked just fine how it was.
posted by Rory Marinich at 3:34 PM on May 31, 2011

So cortex, do you like this song any more now since you've nailed it down so awesomely and made it your own? From here it definitely sounds like you connected with it!

Even as a NY fan I could just as easily get my NY fix listening to this as I could from listening to any of the old originals. You breathed a lot of new life into this.

Your voice sounds really great too, BTW. Too bad it was so painful.
posted by snsranch at 4:18 PM on May 31, 2011

I'm definitely on better terms with the song than before, yeah. I started actually digging the production on the original once I sat down and listened to it a bunch to get the original arrangement and melody stuff fixed in my head for reference.

And having sort of crammed on the original like that a couple weeks, I hadn't listened to it since while I was putting my version together, and it was pretty fun and gratifying to finally listen again today and verify that, yeah, I really did get a fair distance from Neil's recording.
posted by cortex at 4:24 PM on May 31, 2011

The way the banjo works in with this in teh beginning is so wonderful. I think the vocals make it sound more... R&B which is a neat take on it. The meter is great. I love the original song and I think you've done it justice.
posted by jessamyn at 9:00 AM on June 1, 2011

red light king's hip hop version, now on a radio station near you - well, at least grand rapids' wgrd
posted by pyramid termite at 9:14 AM on June 1, 2011

Wow, that was really great. That arrangement would totally shred live.
posted by COBRA! at 11:07 AM on June 1, 2011

I think you're a terrible person for hating the original, but I love your arrangement.
posted by Et En Arcata Ego at 4:31 PM on June 1, 2011

This is, for me, your best recorded vocal performance ever. It's really, really good.

Also, love the truly lo-fi quality of the mix, how everything sounds a little dull, a little far away. The opposite of crystalline digital crispness, and it works really well here.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:19 AM on June 5, 2011

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