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Johnbee58

An Old Old Recording

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Thought you might find this interesting.  I found this on an old PC hard drive.

Way back in 1987, this is how I wrote and recorded my music. Years before Cakewalk and digital and Toontrack, Waves, Native Instruments and plugins I had a Fostex X-15 4 track recorder.  Some of you might have gone this route back in the day.  The fidelity is terrible!  Lofi to the highest degree.  You would NEVER consider selling something made in this fashion (cassette based.  Tape speed 1.75 ips).  This was strictly demos only, but you could overdub and bounce tracks.    Oh yes, another thing.  I played guitar back then too.  I still have my Martin D-18 acoustic hanging on the wall in my studio.  I get it off the rack every now and then and play what I can off of it, but I was away from it for so long it has become impossible for me to do anything with it now.  I was even into alternative tunings and fingerings back then. This song was an experiment in an alternative tuning.  I had the tuning and fingerings for this song charted but lost them.  I would love to know how I came up with this but it was 32 years ago and I can't remember.  The other instrument you hear is a clarinet (dubbed twice for harmony).  I played clarinet since my teens (and saxophone).  I still have my Buffett Crampon, but my asthma doesn't allow me to play that much either these days.

The song is called "Should've Known".  I apologize for the lofi but you might like it anyway.

https://www.soundclick.com/html5/v4/player.cfm?songID=13912567

🙂John B

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Hey John, that’s great stuff, always fun when you find something you did a long time ago, and this is a real nice find.Nice bit of fingerpicking .

What do you mean lofi, I used to use two cassette decks and bounced between them and they weren’r even running at the same speed😋

Rik

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3 hours ago, RikF said:

Hey John, that’s great stuff, always fun when you find something you did a long time ago, and this is a real nice find.Nice bit of fingerpicking .

What do you mean lofi, I used to use two cassette decks and bounced between them and they weren’r even running at the same speed😋

Rik

Very early (talking late  70s) I bounced between an open reel and a stereo cassette deck.  After about 4 bounces  it sounded real crappy, but at least I got the idea down.

😀JB

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John,
Yeah lo-fi I guess, but that doesn't take away from the fact that it's a really nice song. Way better than what I was doing back then. Great guitar playing too.

Back in the late 80s I used my home stereo and a cassette recorder to record my music. I didn't do anything that required a mic like sing or play guitar. Had my Atari 1040ST with Dr T KCS and Ensoniq ESQ-M. Eventually I transferred all the tapes to wav files and I listen to them now and then, mostly when I'm feeling nostalgic.

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On 8/20/2019 at 12:56 PM, Johnbee58 said:

Very early (talking late  70s) I bounced between an open reel and a stereo cassette deck.  After about 4 bounces  it sounded real crappy, but at least I got the idea down.

😀JB

Stereo,stereo, I started out in glorious mono on a Grundig portable reel to reel😜

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On 8/20/2019 at 1:58 AM, RikF said:

I used to use two cassette decks and bounced between

I did the same thing.

@Johnbee58 That was a good song. Really well written and performed. Guitar sounded like a 12 string. The Clarinet sounded like a synth!! That is something to be proud of.  
 

Do you remember what mic you used? Was it the on-board mic? Can't remember if they had one. 

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2 hours ago, Grem said:

I did the same thing.

@Johnbee58 That was a good song. Really well written and performed. Guitar sounded like a 12 string. The Clarinet sounded like a synth!! That is something to be proud of.  
 

Do you remember what mic you used? Was it the on-board mic? Can't remember if they had one. 

Grem.  Thank you.

The Fostex X15 had no internal mic.  It was essentially a little battery operated job (picture in link below)  I used a Peavey PVM 38, which is the equivalent of the Shure SM 58.  I still have that mic today and still use it sometimes.  It's a very reliable mic.  My D18 probably sounds like a 12 string because I dubbed it twice.  About 2 years later I "graduated" to a Fostex 160 multitracker.  It was still 4 track cassette but ran at a higher speed (3.75 ips), had more onboard EQ options and you could plug in (via Aux Send) 1 effect.  I bought an Alesis Microverb II for reverb.  I also bought my first drum machine the following year, which was a Yamaha RX17.  I still have both of those toys in my basement.

🙂JB

https://reverb.com/item/26729604-fostex-x-15-recorder?gclid=CjwKCAjw-vjqBRA6EiwAe8TCk-cUg6siP1-SZceOPgGi2m1s4sqVpDkdhA_hXeQF2n97-B8uVdW_DBoCyMYQAvD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds&merchant_id=109799015&pla=1&utm_campaign=672877369&utm_medium=cpc&utm_source=google

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 Cool ,   sounds like a real song from the heart.  The  clarinets also added a lot .  I still have a suitcase full of cassette tapes from a Tascam 8 track recorder.  It played 2x speed ,  I wish I had something to play them on.        mark

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John - I was immediately transported back to Ant Phillips (Private Parts and Pieces), especially with the alt tuning. Nice stuff and great that you still have a copy of this - LoFi and all.

If you re-recorded this digitally, I doubt you would ever re-capture the same soul and expression - even if you tried for a thousand years.

Thanks for sharing - took me back to another time; life sure was a whole lot simpler then.

Andy

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Posted (edited)

Nice John.
You are so talented when it comes to  writing songs/arrangements.
I wish I had your talent...  wish aslo you had the virtual instruments and samples I have,
Your songs would sound huge.

Love your song "Heros"

Edited by garybrun
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Posted (edited)

Mark, Andrew and Gary- Thanks!

@garybrun, I wish I had that Altaverb you used on one of my samples.  That's a damn neat reverb, but unfortunately I can't afford $600.00 for it.

@Andrew Ball You don't know how much I wish I had the fingering and chord charts from this, because I would love to re create it.  It's a total mystery what I used but I sure could polish it up with what I have now.

❤️JB

 

Edited by Johnbee58

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Nice one John.  It did take me back to when I used to struggle with my bare bones 4 track recorder.  No drum clip/loops back then!  This is a very nice song, the lyrics are great as is the musical back up.  And yes, you vocals do sound good on this song.  Your vocals do have a way of selling a thought out song like this.  Perhaps you should give it a re-do on Cakewalk?  Anyway I did enjoy this song.

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Thanks OJ & Freddy!

I'd love to redo this song but it's an alternate tuning which I charted back then but I lost the charts.  I DID redo it about 10 years ago on a Zoom MRS802 but it didn't turn out too great.  This performance and arrangement was  something I've always been proud of but the fidelity it poor.  Just a beautiful song caught at a bad time.

🙂JB

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This is the kind of stuff I love and the way we all used to record our gems. Have to say it has overtones of early John Lennon and the guitar playing reminds me of 'Dear Prudence' .. I was a Tascam man myself from a two track reel to reel to a 4 track but still remember the day I purchased my ultimate recorder Tascam Midi studio 8track running at twice the speed of a normal cassette recorder ... I've rebuilt and repaired twice over the years 'cause it's so dam' good and I still have and use it !

This song cries out to be remixed ... thanks for the post really enjoyed the trip down mems street

Steve

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