My Favorite Mule Short Excerpt-click here to hear
|The hat out of a backpack that David the water jug player|
|is having me store at my place...|
- Harmonica In My Mailbox
- 10 Dollar Wednesday
I am going to keep pace with my last year's outputting of music by re-doing and re-releasing it on the anniversary of last years date; that way I only have to keep up with the less than manic pace that I set last year.
In that spirit, I am posting a "one year later" bit of the mule song above.
This is, by no means the final production of "My Favorite Mule," it is only about a minute and a half, but goes through the first verse sloppily and then gets to the last part, where I worked out the multi-voiced harmonies that will ultimately go on the finished song.
It is also an experiment with using wooden blocks to play a percussion part that is meant to represent the sound of a mule trotting.
When I deem the songs to be complete enough, I will put them on the "Snowball Era" sidebar, replacing, in many cases the "Crappy Recordings Made Outdoors," that have been there for a while and, which sound so bad that I can't even listen to them myself; but had just wanted to use the technology at my disposal to post something; anything; on this blog.
Bye To Lo-Fi, Hi To Hi-Fi
According to the "statistics" on the mp3 hosting site, and a follow up investigation into who had listened and downloaded; I have discovered that I have actually attracted the attention of a handful (out of a billion) of "Lo-FI" affectionados.
I guess they enjoy recordings made on a shoestring; stuff like the sound of someone singing over a payphone line, recorded onto cassette and then used as the vocal track of a song -the crappier sounding, the better.
I have to make a recording, using my phone's "voice recorder" feature, of one of the mules clopping by so that I can use that cantor as a percussion track for the song. What is heard on the above version, if it is the right one, was myself using wood blocks to play the mule, but not actually knowing the exact rhythm of their hooves. Horses give a "triplet" beat, and music students are often advised to count out the triplets that they encounter on sheet music as "gal-lop-ping," as in ONE-Gal-lop-ping-THREE-FOUR.
But mules might have like a double beat where the front and rear hooves impact basically together, but at slightly staggered intervals, giving it a "flammed" effect, which, to a drummer is akin to hitting a skin with both sticks, but slightly out of time with each other, so that the two impacts sound like one "fat" one.
10 Dollar Wednesday
Last night, I went into the Quarter around 7:30 PM, with my laptop in my bag, and stayed in Starbucks, drinking coffee off of one of the gift cards that The Lidgeleys of London.
Leaving there at their closing time of 9 PM, had me on pace to actually arrive at the Lilly Pad earlier than I have in the past week or so.
I got there at about 9:40 and played until I had 7 dollar bills and some change in my jar. I was having fun, but kind of got sick of playing, especially after the guitar went out of tune and I discovered that I had left the tuner at home. I guess I am spoiled by the thing, which gives an accurate reading, despite any loud background music.
When I was tuning to the C major harmonica, I could use the notes from the piano player in Laffit's Blacksmith Shop Tavern to fine tune, but, now that I am tuning down a half step to accommodate the E flat harp, it is rare that the guy in there is playing in the same key.
I guess that, just like any other instrument, it is easier to know "a million" songs, if you know them all in the same few keys of C, G and their minors of Am and E minor.
Working On Music
"Like A Rolling Stone," is the song that I "released" on 2/21/2015, and so I now go to lay down the vocals in the next hour.
My focus is going to be on vocals, since that is what most listeners focus upon.
When I Should Be Busking
I will then take a trolley into the Quarter with only 2 dollars and change on me.
My food card balance is 0 for the next 8 days; such is life.
I figured out that the way to make my card last for the whole month would be to pay 40% of my purchases in cash, and put the other 60% on the card. The card has been consistently running out around 60% of the way through each month.
I decided to check my mailbox, earlier today. I do this because, if a resident lets too much of the junk mail pile up in the box, then someone might be dispatched to his apartment to see if he is still alive.
There was a good deal of advertisements for things targeted at apartment dwellers, pizza delivery and Satellite TV, as well as furniture to sit on while you eat pizza and watch TV.
There was also a small package from UPS; but, beyond that, I don't know where it was from.
Squeezing the bubble wrapped contents inside on the way to my apartment, it felt like there was a harmonica box inside.
I was hoping this was so as, before leaving the apartment to go check the mail, I had blown into my E Flat harp, shook my head in dismay and said out loud: "No wonder it sounds out of tune on the recordings."
I opened the package to reveal a very nice Marine Band harmonica, in the key of C. There was no note, and I couldn't find any clues as to its origin in the cryptic codes of the UPS label.
It is larger than the ones that I have been playing and I will have to modify my harness in order to have it held while I play guitar, but I can do that by using plastic bags, twisted into a spiral until they form a slightly flexible string which I can use to tie the thing down tightly on the harness.
I am also breaking it in by playing it softly. All the notes sound clearly and musically and the bigger size is going to be easier to play, I can tell already.
It is a "soloist" type of Marine Band.