Friday, October 14, 2016

Busking On No Sleep

The pencil sketch, "Howard," is now in the hands of the eponymous bearer of it's likeness.

I guess what the above sentence is trying to say is that Tim, my caseworker (right) has given the pencil drawing, entitled: "Howard," which he had bought off me for 10 dollars, to Howard, after the latter had seen it hanging in Tim's office and had been impressed by the fact that, at least in his estimation, the drawing "flattered" him. I did kind of smooth over any irregularities of the skin that were visible in the picture that I used to draw off of.

I can draw best when using a photograph as my reference, as it remains stationary.

The trouble that I have recognizing faces (there is a guy in Mobile, Alabama who, if he walked up to me in New Orleans, I would probably greet as Tim, for example; and would be well into a conversation with him, before having it dawn upon me that "Tim," doesn't seem to have a clue about what I am talking about in regards to Sacred Heart Apartments).

I usually have trouble discerning if two separate photographs of a person are indeed the same person, because if their head is at a different angle, I am at a loss to connect the dots...

I didn't sleep after coming home after a 6 dollar Thursday night, when I had started at 11:15 PM and had played until about 1:30 AM.

There was a "one girl who tipped me 5 dollars," again, and who, like the girl who did likewise the previous night, thanked me for making New Orleans "what it should be..."

Elvis Costello is playing tomorrow night, and I have no more ready than the 3 or 4 songs of his that I already know.

It is hard to work out a song when all I can do is jot down the chords with ink and pen, along with the lyrics, off a website, and then try to put them together without the benefit of listening to a version.
I'm working on the problem though. As soon as I am able to burn stuff on to blank CDs (perhaps at Tipitina's) then I can amass a collection of music that I can play along with to learn, and do it at a much lower cost than the $2 per disc that the Goodwill thrift store charges.

I have already gotten "burned" myself on the Beach Boys CD, which is basically vocalists of different styles singing their songs, while they back them up with 3 part vocal harmonies.

The backing bands seem to all have been brought in by the artists, themselves, as they don't come close to supplying the level of complexity of Beach Boy's arrangements, where an ensemble of more than a dozen instruments is common.

That creates versions of songs that everyone has heard a million times, and is used to hearing more than a dozen instruments on, done in a stripped down manner, like 2 guitars, bass and keyboards.
It is like going to a NASCAR event and seeing cars with no bodies racing around the track -just a frame holding an engine and a drive train with the driver propped up in plain view, working the thing.

The worst aspect of The Beach Boy's "Stars And Stripes vol. 1" is that the Beach Boys are singing the vocal harmonies exactly as on the original versions, as if reading them off sheet music.

This has the effect of painting the guest vocalist, who might be twanging along like he is in a roadhouse bar somewhere in Texas, into a corner.

A Karaoke sound is the result.

I kind of blame this on the guest singers.

Laurie Morgan has a voice as country sounding as it gets, and does a good job with "Don't Worry Baby," with the Wilson brothers crooning a copy of the late 60's penned backup vocals behind her- that is, if you can wrap your mind around the gender changing in the song and the fact that she is a drag racing chick in the song, who has pushed the guys too far, but, whose boyfriend is telling her not to worry...

Willie Nelson singing "Warmth Of The Sun," is the best track on the disc that I paid 2 dollars plus tax for. Those two artists' voices are either portable to a variety of background vocals, or those two artists have the sensibility to note that the Beach Boys were staying faithful to the original, and were able to superimpose their styles tastefully over them.

Karaoke, anyone?
"Little Deuce Coup," by some dude named James House is something that I wouldn't put on my own CD.

The lead guitarist (who is probably from the James House Band? and would rather be drunk on stage in a bar than in a sterile studio) actually mis-measures his solo, changing from a cliche riff on one chord to a cliche riff on the upcoming chord a bit too soon, and an attempt is made to gloss that over by Mr. House yelling something about a pink slip.

And it sounds like he is saying that the car in the song has a "pink slip," when I think what Brian Wilson meant when he wrote the song was that he had obtained a driver's permit or a special inspection sticker and was good to go, in that regard...

Sawyer Brown does a decent job with "I Get Around."

I guess the critics will give a thumbs down to an album that has 3 good songs but the rest are garbage, and hence the panning of it mentioned on

It was still a good investment, though, as I have been thrown 2 dollars in tips already while singing "Warmth Of The Sun," in the key of Nelson. 

1 comment:

alex carter said...

It sounds like the Beach Boys are putting out some real crap these days. They were unique and *highly* skilled in their heyday. I guess you need to find CDs that are their classic albums, not accepting anything that isn't verifiable to be a "reprint" of their original stuff.

That being said, I can't imagine how awful their music must sound, played by a street skeezer with a string missing off of his guitar, with a voice that is apparently influenced by Bob Dylan and Elvis Costello.