Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Drawing Closer To Reality

Tuesday night, I did not busk.
Tuesday Night's For Long Necked Girls
I read a lot, and drew a pencil sketch, drank coffee, smoked weed, listened to a bit of the Old Time Rock And Roll station.
My ear, or something, must be getting better, or I am becoming more critical, but I heard a lot of stuff that just wasn't very good in my, formed over the past few years, opinion.
Criticisms Of Certain Old Time Rock And Roll:

"Whole Lot Of Shaking Going On," Jerry Lee Lewis

This recording is pathetic.
First of all: It is a sexually repressed late 1950's guy offering an invitation to "come on over," because there is not just shaking, but "a whole lot of" it, going on. His half hearted, self conscious ejaculations at his imagined scene of people shaking all around him that he was employing in order to inject a party atmosphere into the sound; were those of a nervous geeky, and I would have to add, white, guy. His "screams" on that record were anti-wop bop alu bah wop bop bams. And, Jerry actually at one point freestyles? the line: "You can just stand there and shake," sung with that "nerdy high school kid fumbling with his first bra strap" tone that permeates the song.

Second of all: Jerry's piano solo made me suspect that he plagiarized something from "Teach Yourself Rock And Roll Piano, Book 3" and then messed it up!, producing distinct sections of rock cliche's that don't meld nor resolve, and basically are nothing to shake to. He messes it up because he is a sexually repressed white kid in the 50's unable to let a song about a house full of people dancing sound like one.

The slapback echo on his vocal is consistent throughout and makes him sound like a carnival barker.
I wonder if he is related the the nerdy contemporary artist who goes by the name of Beck.

Ironically, I think it may have been recorded at J&B Studios, which is now a laundromat where I used to wash my clothes. GRADE: D-

"Emotional Rescue," by The Rolling Stones

This song sucks. I realized in the middle of it that the Stones probably had quotas to make with their record company; they might have been obligated to release an album before a deadline and just didn't have any good new material. At all.

The "funky bassline" and Mick Jagger's annoying falsetto that seems to be his answer to what the Bee Gee's or Prince were doing at the time of this album's release; plus the "I'm not just one of the weirdest looking human beings on the planet, I'm a pretty weird drummer too," contrived syncopated drum hits by Charlie Watts that just sound like Charlie was sick of the same old tried and true rock beats and wanted to come up with something more interesting, but couldn't. But recorded it anyway because of the deadline.

And Mick freestyling and improvising on the motif of "You're gonna be mine, mine, mine, all mine, tonight." Yeah, mine, all mine. GRADE: F+

And, I would have to say that half of the songs on the "We Remember When Rock Was Young," station (94.3 FM, New Orleans) that I heard; I thought I could do better than. What I just might be hearing is the undertone of stress that artists were under, when rock was young and studio time was expensive, and music was more kinesthetic in nature, and not all were quick to "get it."

"So Happy Together," by Herman's Hermits (or The Turtles?) was one of the best things I heard all night. GRADE: A

It was around 5 PM that I realised that, in order to busk I would have to get strings. This meant rushing to the French Market, where a guy sells them for 5 bucks.

They sell Martin "SP" strings for twice that amount and for another hour or so after the French Market closes, at The Louisiana Music Factory.

The last set of Martin strings that I got there began to snap on about the 5th night of use, and they snapped in order; 3rd then 4th, 5th and then I put a brand new 6th string on before going out that next night. I think I am a pretty hard picking player; I think the volume at the Lilly Pad is deceptively loud, having a large component of it in the subsonic range that only snakes and probably a few other animals that can put their ear to the ground and find the nearest body of water; can hear.

But it is enough so that, I find myself working on techniques aimed at wresting more sound out of the instrument.

One example might illustrate.

Before (I played for a living), when I would play a single note, I would pluck that single note.

This yields all the volume that a string picked this way can. But, in honing in on that particular string and confining the picking stroke to an arc which will pick it, but not the adjacent ones, that arc, by nature of it being small will not allow for a lot of pick speed. So, one of the techniques that I have been using is to play individual notes in a way that my fingers will be muting the adjacent strings and then -instead of bringing my pick in close so as to accurately strike the one string that I want to sound; --rearing back and slashing the pick in a much longer sweep, through all the strings.
In this way I can play one note taking my arm back a foot or so, and following through, as if playing a loud chord, but getting a single loud note instead.

Whole little melodies can be done this way. It does add a bit of percussiveness, as the pick brushes across the unwanted strings, and there are spots where harmonics will sound from the "muted" strings if one isn't careful where, along them, she is muting.

It is Wednesday and I might busk; probably will; but again must get strings within the next couple hours.....

1 comment:

alex carter said...

Keep in mind Jerry Lee Lewis was born in 1935 in a very backward, hick part of the US where everyone was expected to be hyper-religious, and he *invented* the cliches you hear in his music.

As for the Stones' "Emotional Rescue", there's no excuse, it just sucks.