Gentlemen Songsters Studio Diary: Session 2

Feb 17  On this day in 1966 Brian Wilson began recording Good Vibrations. On the same day in 1876 Julius Wolff was the first to put sardines in a can. A coincidence? Most certainly. Today was uke and double bass. Again we made the choice to mic up, stand in front of each other and play them live, rather than do each part seperately.

It’s challenging, but in the end simpler that way, and better for feel. We can look at eachother and give and receive non-verbal cues that ensure we’re both on the ball with some of the quirkier elements of the music.

We recorded our first album this way also, and added vocals, bells and whistles later. Tom sets up the mics and get things working. We run through the tunes, ironing out last minute arrangement issues such as the timing of stops and searches for the mystery chord. It could be frustrating at times to get almost to the end of a tune and fluff the coda, which we do, but we get there in good humour.

Each tune is played two to four times and generally a ‘take’ that’s going to work emerges. Some of these drumless tunes are insanely fast and short, so we get them all done by midday. We grab lunch and listen to the results of the first session, selecting, with the benefit of hindsight, the best takes from the bunch. It’s sounding great, even in this rough state.

The bed tracks for the fourteen songs are done. Next are vocals and other instrumental parts, but we’re out of time so we squeeze the double bass into my car and drive back into the heat of the day.

Songs:  You May as Well Smile, Gentlemen Songsters, Kedron Brook, Stairing, RSVP, The Day You Vend Away, Thankyou

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