Thursday, May 24, 2007

There She Goes

This is the image I have set as my desktop on my monitor in my little recording studio. When you're working on a particularly tricky guitar part, or trying sing something in tune, it's great to look up and find Johnny Cash expressing his admiration for your efforts right in your face.

Johnny's digit was particularly erect last night as I was putting the finishing touches on a new recording. I've mentioned having borrowed a Rickenbacker 360-12 from a neighbor, and I'd wanted to do some serious jangling in a hurry. I wasted a couple of weeks on a version of XTC's "Mayor of Simpleton," but became unimpressed with my bass playing and knocked it on the head. Maybe I'll pick it back up again, maybe not.

A few days ago in the grocery store, the house PA squirted out a favorite old chestnut that I hadn't heard in eons. (Yes, I get most of my music-appreciation done while shopping for milk and bread these days.) It immediately became blisteringly self-evident that this was the perfect Tribute to the 12-String Rick and decided then and there to work it up.

A few years ago I was in a band, Scooby Don't, that covered this song. The drummer (who occasionally pops his head in here as Xtcfan) sang the lead part, and it will become apparent why -- the melody rather sadistically concentrates itself at exactly that point where a natural baritone such as myself has to break and go into head-voice. On the first pass, I tried to simply sing it an octave lower, but the result made Johnny especially affectionate. I looked up while mixing it and said, "Johnny, you couldn't be righter."

You're gonna hear a wobble or two in there. You snickering baritones -- you try singing it!

Another amusing thing: I discovered that I'd been playing the riff wrong in Scooby Don't. Sorry, former bandmates.

Ladies and gentlemen, from those glorious Late Eighties, the Era of Jangle and Wonderment, I give you the incomparable La's There She Goes!

Slightly later edit: Next up, The Monkees' "What Am I Doing Hanging 'Round?" That'd be a great jangle number.

11 comments:

JC said...

You're working on a cover of "The Mayor of Simpleton"? Neddie, you are the last person that I would have suspected of signing up with the Guiliani campaign. Don't you understand the threat he poses to our civil liberties?

Neddie said...

I can't have been there when brains were handed round
Or get past the cover of your books profound
And some of your friends
Think it's really unsound
To be even seen talking to me...

Tom W. said...

So you're an O'Brian fan?

JC said...

Re: There She Goes

That was you, right? But you used the La's chorus, correct? Or I am just tired and burnt out from reading transcripts all week? If it's you, great job. That guitar sent me right through the Proustian Time Tunnel to 1987, or thereabouts.

Neddie said...

So you're an O'Brian fan?

??? Patrick? Chloe? Conan? Right over my poor little head, Tom...

That was you, right? But you used the La's chorus, correct?

That was, every note of it, me. Including the wobbly metrosexual singing. I'm particularly proud of the quality of the recording; I think I'm finally earning how to use a compressor and an equalizer correctly. Play mine next to the La's version, and I think mine is actually better produced. The La's one is muddy, too much reverb. (Apparently Lee Mavers would agree.) Mine has a space between the instruments that I've spent years trying to achieve. When I listened back to it this morning, after sleeping on it, I was really thrilled.

Anonymous said...

Very nice version indeed!

Of course The La's were a bit of a one hit wonder. They toured Europe after the massive success of There She Goes, and I remember them playing their own songs for some 35 minutes, then some covers, and then they stared at eachother, at a loss, apparently. Out of repertoire.
They just played There She Goes again, and that made those cute young nerdy guys even cuter in my eyes.

Geez, I'm getting old :)

The Viscount LaCarte said...

Thanks for the earworm, Ned.

Just the chorus over and over and over and over and over and over and over.

Nice job all around - I expected the vox to be a bit pitchy, but you reached in there and found out...

XTCfan said...

Nice! Are you going to post SD's version for comparison purposes? ;^)

I love the fact that this song is about heroin...

Neddie said...

I love the fact that this song is about heroin...

The next one, "What Am I Doing Hangin' 'Round," is about autoerotic asphyxiation.

JC said...

In the final analysis, aren't almost all pop songs about heroin? It wasn't until I was in college that someone explained to me that Joni Mitchell's "Clouds" was a sly paean to heroin use. I had no idea. When I later learned that the Heartbreakers' classic ditty "Chinese Rocks" also involved obscure references to drug use, I was shattered. I had assumed it addressed human rights issues under Mao's prison system. I still find it hard to believe that Johnny Thunders and Joni Mitchell used "hard drugs." Maybe they even "shot up" together.

billy pilgrim said...

Keep in mind Johnny's digit there was firmly extended toward the music "industry".

I'm sure if Johnny was listening, he'd just be nodding along, give you a hint or two and then would pick up the battered six string in the corner to play along.