I remember reading an article when I was a teenager about Todd Rundgren, who is one of my bigger musical influences (as I've mentioned before), in which Todd explained that he taught himself how to use the tools of a recording studio by trying to replicate a favorite album --I think it was Pet Sounds by the Beach Boys. Back in April 2009, I thought of this and decided to try to replicate the recording of one my wife's (and my) favorite songs, this love song by Jimmy Buffett. I recorded it by myself over five consecutive days, April 18-20. I had to fake pedal steel guitar with slide guitar, and I spent hours looping one or two measures of the song at a time and replicating every little piano flourish.
Some recent acquaintances of mine just moved to the North Carolina coast and posted a lot of beautiful beach photos to Facebook, and that reminded me of this song.
Recording details from my studio log: Andy - drums, bass (sampled so far), piano (sampled), organ (modelled), acoustic guitar (2 tracks), electric guitar (3 tracks), vocals (3 tracks). On April 16 (Thu) afternoon I started trying to lay down some basic tracks to do a cover of this Mac McAnally song done so nicely on Jimmy Buffett's "License to Chill" album. The slide and steel guitar are going to be hard to cover, but that day I got drums and bass and arrangement worked out pretty well. On April 17 I worked on the piano, and I'm discovering the piano playing is killer, too. The acoustic guitar part I have down now, with a capo on the second fret being the secret. On April 18 I laid the AAC file right into the Logic project and discovered I could get the tempo to stay in sync for the whole song if I set the tempo to 79.5 bpm (I started out on 80 and kept drifting ahead when playing along with iTunes). Now I can loop over sections and work on them easily. I don't know yet if I'm going for a total clone or if I'll do some guitar solos or something to change it up a bit and make it more mine. I can hardly wait to work on the vocals but there's a lot of bed work to do first. B went to town for errands April 18 and I indeed copped the whole piano track. There's some cleanup work still to do but that came out pretty incredible. And going through all those 1- or 2-bar loops made the subtle organ parts more obvious to me, and that's next. Sunday night 19 April I went through loops and tracked the organ parts that play only in the chorus and outro, and cleaned up the piano parts here and there. I even added a "Fire" quote on the piano in the second verse (same Em9 chord plus 2nd fret capo) right before "it's not that hard to wind up knee deep in the past". (c; Monday 4/20 I put new strings on my Strat and my Taylor, and laid in the acoustic guitar strums, then the Allmanesque harmony melodies, then the slide work that is at times totally copping the lap steel. The bridge came out surprisingly well, thanks to looping one or two bars at a time repetitively until I got it. Then I laid in a bit of Backpacker for the mandolin sound, especially the roll at the very top of the song and strums in that instrumental part. After that I worked on the lead vocal, doing three takes in a row for a verse and chorus at a time. Then I did backup vocals, with several loops in the chorus. I copied those harmonies to all three choruses. Then I did some harmonies in the verses. Mix 1 and 2 were made Tuesday after finishing up the harmonies and doing some comping and tweaking here and there.
Thanks for listening!
Coast of Carolina Little roadside restaurant We artfully complain Groovy tells the waitress That his chicken died in vain Most every day goes by According to design I live this dream but still it seems I have you on my mind From the bottom of my heart Off the coast of Carolina After one or two false starts I believe we found our stride And the walls that won't come down We can decorate or climb Or find some way to get around 'Cause I'm still on your side From the bottom of my heart I can't see the future But I know it's coming fast It's not that hard to wind up Knee deep in the past There's come a lot of Mondays Since that phone booth that first night Years and miles and tears and smiles I wanna get it right From the bottom of my heart Off the coast of Carolina After one or two false starts I believe we found our stride And the walls that won't come down We can decorate or climb Or find some way to get around 'Cause I'm still on your side From the bottom of my heart These days, I'm up About the time I used to go to bed Living large was once the deal Now I watch the stars instead They're timeless and predictable Unlike most things that I do But I tell the wind and my old friend I'm headed home to you From the bottom of my heart Off the coast of Carolina After one or two false starts I believe we found our stride And the walls that won't come down Here, we can decorate or climb Or find some way to get around 'Cause I'm still on your side From the bottom of my heart From the bottom of my heart by Mac MacAnally and Jimmy Buffett