Sunday, October 19, 2008

Making Records

There's a saying that is used from time to time for various things. One of those would be, "I love music more than the air that I breathe!" Well, in a hyperbolic sense, maybe. Technically, we cannot live without air but you get the drift. I could say that statement about music.

Today, I had the idea to go to the bookstore. I called Rosemary and we headed off to one of my favorite bookstores at the edge of town. I was actually looking for a book on dinosaurs for a friend. However, the other day I got to thinking that it would be great if someone wrote a book about the inside workings of a recording studio, the engineering and the whole genesis of putting a musical release together. Well, Rosemary found the book on dinosaurs almost immediately for me. As usual, the heading, MUSIC over the shelf of books drew me its way. It only took me a few seconds and I spotted this book by Phil Ramone, "Making Records." Well, it took me a nanosecond to make the decision to buy the book.

My love for music came at a very early age. My earliest influences were the Beatles, Elvis, Johnny Cash and the Monkees. Quite a hodgepodge indeed! I remember the very first 45 rpm I ever bought. Yes, children, there were things called vinyl records or lps! (Okay, most of you that read this are in my age group, but I couldn't help but throw that in at no charge!) Mom took me to the local music shop in town that sold and rented musical instruments, many to high school students. Back then, in the sixties, we didn't have the major outlets we have now. I plunked down my dollar and some change and picked up, "Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head" by B.J. Thomas. I wore that out. Back then, with vinyl you could literally "wear" a recording out. Now with CD's, it's a different story.

My first 33 1/3 LP was "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" by Elton John. My collecting began. (I know in a previous post I said I never collected anything. Well, I stand corrected, I guess I did.) My collection grew and grew. Along comes the mid-eighties and the rollout of the CD format comes of age. I didn't actually purchase a CD player until 1989 or 1990. Bill, a fellow radio announcer talked me into buying one of those 99 dollar Sharp CD players. I couldn't resist, it had to be done.

The very first CD I ever popped into my new CD player was Christian artist Al Denson's first release. He had sent me an autographed copy of his new recording. Al asked me a big favor that he'd be honored if his CD was the first one I played in my new home CD player. I did! Side note: Al told me some years later that he was nervous when I interviewed him for I was the first radio announcer to interview him when he signed with Benson! What a treat. I know you are waiting with bated breath to find out what my first CD purchase was. Oh, c'mon, you know you can't wait. Ha. It was "Holm, Sheppard & Johnson: Soldiers Again." And so goes the show fellow babies! (Sorry, been watching too much WKRP lately.)

As a kid, music was a very big escape for me from a world that seemed in disarray. Later, dating girls was my major deal...but I still had the tunes along! I chose broadcasting as a career. The choice was pretty easy. I understood music theory but had no talent to sing or play. I tried drums but had no rhythm. So, the next best thing was to get paid for playing music! My first station was in Toledo Ohio in the late seventies. I cut my teeth on Janny Grein, David Meece, Don Francisco, Steve Archer, Chuck Girard, Barry McGuire, and so many more.

While in radio I was fortunate to go to Nashville many times. Tony and Paul from Benson showed me around the studios. (Benson was a forerunner in CCM before they were bought out.) They took me into a recording session. The rhythm tracks had been laid already for this particular CCM artist. The string session players were doing the overdubs and I was just taking it all in. I was in seventh heaven. (If there is such a thing!)

Well, that's a short synopsis for you. I can't wait to dig into this book. I also picked up Max Lucado's "Traveling Light." Hmm...which do I read first? I think my previous paragraphs makes that clear. On a closing note, musicians have always been my biggest heroes it seems. My biggest fantasy has always been to be a lead guitar player in a rock band. The closest I ever got to that was playing my air guitar. However, you don't want to see that, it's not a pretty sight. Ha. Until later, may the peace of Christ be with you all.

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