Extra! Extra! Read all about it! Vintage recording on the brink of extinction saved in the nick of time!
Ok, so I've seen one too many old movies. But magnetic tape is not exactly one of the best storage mediums ever invented. And the leader to the now 24 year old master tape was beginning to look a bit too crinkled to let me feel that all would be well in the future. A voice said, “Don't wait too long.” Eventually, I heeded the warning. And all's well that ends well.
What am I rambling on about? Well, a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, I released an album of 12 songs called “Out of the Blue.” (That sounds like all twelve songs have the same title. Interesting idea.) Much more recently, I recorded the master tape onto my computer and since then, when I had the time, I've been trying to use a little digital wizardry to make the songs sound better than they did when they were first released on cassette. For those of you who already have the album but no longer have a tape deck to play it on and would prefer to hear the music as you remember it, it's not that I've changed the songs themselves in any way. I just mean that I improved the clarity of the recording.
Released in 1988, most of the songs would have been written and recorded in the 80's, though I think at least one of them may have come from the 70's. So I guess you could actually call this a Vintage recording, though the music doesn't really belong to any time period.
What genre is it? Hmm.... The genre of Me is about the closest I could come to labeling it accurately. I suppose these songs are the kind of thing you might hear at a folk festival in the sense that I play an acoustic guitar and there's no band behind me. But they don't really feel like folk music to me, at least not Traditional Folk anyway.
Let's see, can I come up with a few more clues as to what the album is like? Well, I tend to play fingerstyle guitar, though there's a couple of songs that are strummed. The voice is mostly solo, but two of the tracks have overdubbed harmonies. Another one is an a cappella song. One of the fingerstyle pieces is an instrumental. There's a happy song about graveyards, a few love songs (big surprise there), a song about Blackbirds (well, sort of), one about a sexy hitchhiker, some wanderings into the metaphysical (check out my poetry and you'll get the idea), one about waiting for your soul mate, etc. In short, there's a little of everything. Below, I've posted some links so that you can hear a couple of the songs. They're fairly representative of what the album is like.
The "Out of the Blue" download includes all 12 songs remastered from the original master tape and converted into MP3 format. It also includes a jewel case cover, two image files, and a 31 page PDF booklet that contains the lyrics for all of the songs, album notes, pictures of the original cassette cover, a beautiful new cover created by Marian Buchanan, a poem, and the complete tablature for “Treetop Sailor” (see above). The two image files can be used to print out the cover with or without the titles, in case you'd like some art for your walls that doesn't have my name on it - what a strange idea.
Rescuing these tunes from the past brought back a strange little story. I remembered that in the years before most of the songs for this album were written, songs were not always easy for me to write. "One Storm Away," for instance, had years between when the music appeared and the lyrics finally showed up. This is where the possible magic comes in, in the form of a small black and white stone, a piece of Snowflake Obsidian. I ordered it from a mail-order catalogue because it was called “A Creativity Stone.” I didn't think too much about it once it arrived. Sometimes, I carried it in my pocket. Mostly, it just sat on the bureau next to my bed. In the next 6 months, I wrote over 40 songs. I didn't really see any connection to the Obsidian till one day I realized how many I'd written in such a short time and thought how unusual that was for me. Cut to camera over John's shoulder as he then looks at the small stone in his hand. “Hmm,” he says, “I wonder.”
Wherever these songs came from, I hope they'll be as magical an experience for you as they were for me. And stay tuned for, “Green to Gold,” the continuing musical adventures from the past of yours truly. Expect these song spirits when the clock strikes June.
To check out one of the songs from Out of the Blue, right-click on this link and select Save Link As to download the mp3 file: There's a Time.
To check out another song from Out of the Blue, click on this link: One Storm Away.
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