The Linear Canvas
This journal is about the wrongs and rights of the world, as I see them.

The Linear Canvas

My Recorded Cover Songs – Snowblind (v0.93b)

November 22nd, 2011 . by Alexander Fisher

Alexander's StratocacasterI said I was going to record Snowblind , a song written and originally recorded by the band Black Sabbath,  a few weeks ago. The song first appears on their “Vol 4”  album which in my opinion is the greatest Black Sabbath album. I wasn’t sure if I’d manage to get it done, but I’m here to tell you that it is nearly done, almost nearly done at that. All I need is to add some strings starting at the last verse and record the ending guitar solo.

I should say I need to learn the ending guitar solo. I had never played that deep into this song before to ever need the ending. So yesterday was the first time I ever looked at the sheet music for it. I think I can do it, but it is a lot of string bending and hammer-ons. The tuning on this song is 1.5 steps down from normal anyway and that makes the strings so loose that I swear you can see your breath moving them.

I just fade this recording out near the end. The finished total song length will be nearly seven minutes and the final solo is about one minute itself. With the holidays upon us, I hope I can finish it soon, but two weeks may be the best guess. It depends on how obsessed with it I become.

Snowblind (v0.93b)

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If there is one thing I regret in recording this song, is using the the same key that Black Sabbath played it in. My fingertips are intact and I think my vocals could have benefitted from a step or two higher in key. Also I used my Stratocaster. Tony Iommi used a Gibson SG guitar, which I think has a much fatter sound. My Strat has a humbucker pickup like an SG, but I still think the sound is slightly thinner.

There are some other things in the song that I will probably change too when I finish it. I think the bass guitar is too loud in this mix, for one. Some other things I notice I may just live with, making the American Idol excuse that I’m making it my own. I love that.

When I finish the song I will repost it. As I said, It’ll probably take me a week or two before I’m confortable recording the ending solo. I just thought that I wanted to share it now, because it rocks. Really.

My Recorded Cover Songs – Thank You (Led Zeppelin)

October 25th, 2011 . by Alexander Fisher

Led Zeppelin IIWhenever I pick up an acoustic guitar, I end up playing something by Led Zeppelin. I have all of Led Zeppelin’s albums and I have several videos and music books. I guess I’m a fan.

I hadn’t recorded anything new for awhile. I was just busy doing videos and things. I hadn’t played Thank You for quite awhile either and started playing it in the the last few weeks. I decided to go ahead and record a cover of it. I haven’t heard the original in months, so I did the arrangement from memory, which I think was faulty. But as they say on American Idol, I think I made it my own, for better or worse.

It only took me about forty-eight hours to finish this project. I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to play a certain part here or there, but after a little practice, everything went pretty smoothly.

Thank You

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Thank You was written by Jimmy Page and Robert Plant. I didn’t use any rhythm boxes or a click track to make this recording. I just recorded all the tracks using my own built in tempo. I didn’t even use a count in. I just knew when the other tracks were starting. I do that on occasion. Sometimes because I have all this electronic stuff around, it makes me feel better when I minimize its use and just go with my instincts. I think the tempo varies in places, but I meant it to.

The guitar is my Takamine G series acoustic. The bass is my Rickenbacker 4001. The drums are Session Drummer 3 and a Roland Octapad. The organ is from the Dimension Pro plug-in using a Roland MIDI slave keyboard.  I recorded and processed it with Cakewalk Sonar 8.5 Producer and Sony Sound Forge 9.

My Recorded Cover Songs – Sweet Jane (re-mix)

August 4th, 2011 . by Alexander Fisher

MotttheHoopleAlltheYoun108_fI just posted my recorded versions of One of the Boys, and Ready for Love. Both songs were from the Mott the Hoople album All the Young Dudes. I didn’t realize they were both on the same album. After I realized they were, I wondered if I would be re-recording the whole record. I was only half not serious. I got to looking in iTunes for the contents of the album and I remembered that I had also recorded Sweet Jane. It is a Lou Reed song that Mott the Hoople had on that album also. I do a hybrid of the Lou Reed “Rock and Roll Animal” version and the Mott version. But I hear more Mott than Lou in it.

I just did a re-mix of that Sweet Jane recording, so here it is. I don’t see me recording anything else from the album. Not even Jerkin’ Crocus.

Sweet Jane

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Sweet Jane was written by Lou Reed. The guitar is my Fender Stratocaster electric. The bass is my Rickenbacker 4001. The drums are Session Drummer 3 and a Roland Octapad. I originally recorded the song on my Fostex VF-16 digital multi-track recorder and then processed it with Cakewalk Sonar 8.5 Producer and Sony Sound Forge 9.

My Recorded Cover Songs – Ready for Love (re-mix)

August 2nd, 2011 . by Alexander Fisher

Cat in the windowRecently I did a re-mix  on another Mott the Hoople song I recorded (One of the Boys). It made me start thinking about this song, Ready for Love. The song was written by guitarist Mick Ralphs and was originally recorded on Mott’s All The Young Dude’s  album. When Mick left Mott to form Bad Company, he took this song with him and it was recorded for Bad Company’s first album as well.

I have always felt I do a bit of a cross between the two versions. Probably a little louder than either one though. I also do an After Lights ending like was originally recorded by Mott. Not note for note, but the same feeling, I think.

Ready for Love

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When I started to look for it, I couldn’t find any of the original recorded tracks anywhere. I looked on all my old hard drives. I checked both the computer drives and the drives for my digital recorder. They were no where to be found. The mistake I was making was that the original mix sounded so good, I assumed that I was dealing with digital files. What I found was that the recording was probably one of the last I did on my analog Yamaha four track cassette around 1999. By then I had acquired a Sony MD recorder. It wasn’t much of a digital audio recorder, but it did work. I replaced my dbx cassette deck as the sub-mixing deck with it. It made a big difference. But I only used it like that a few times as I bought a digital multi-track just a little while later.

The guitar is a Fender Stratocaster electric. The bass is a Rickenbacker 4001. The drums are Ludwig’s. I originally recorded the song on my Yamaha MT100II. I transferred it to my Fostex VF-16 multi track recorder and then processed it with Cakewalk Sonar 8.5 Producer and Sony Sound Forge 9.

My Recorded Cover Songs – One of the Boys (re-mix)

July 10th, 2011 . by Alexander Fisher

Ian Hunter ticketI was thinking about Mott the Hoople the other day after I was discussing Bad Company. Lead guitarist Mick Ralphs, left Mott the Hoople and formed Bad Company in the mid 1970’s. Some say it was because Ian Hunter couldn’t sing as well as Paul Rodgers. I heard it was because Ian wouldn’t or couldn’t sing Can’t Get Enough which was Bad Company’s first hit. Hunter was the main guy in Mott anyway and Mick needed some elbow room. It was a real Spinal Tap situation (when Nigel quit) for awhile. Ian was really mad that he left. I have a Mott the Hoople music book that was put out about that time and fails to mention Ralphs, except in a couple of song credits. It almost seemed like Ian was trying to scrub Mick from Mott the Hoople history. I also read at the time, there were some bad feelings. It must have been resolved because I have heard live concerts they did together much later. Ian also made a pretty good living after Mick left. So that probably didn’t hurt either.

One of the Boys

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As a big Mott the Hoople fan, I was very disappointed. Mick Ralphs was replaced by guitarist Ariel Bender who had gone by Luther Grosvenor, his real name, in the band Spooky Tooth previously. I wasn’t very excited about Mick leaving at all. The last Mott the Hoople guitarist was Mick Ronson. Ronson was famous as the guitar player from David Bowie’s Spiders From Mars.  I saw Ian Hunter and Mick Ronson together in 1979 after the official Mott the Hoople split up. The rest of the band made some albums as just “Mott”, then came back as The British Lions.

I also thought about the recording I made of One of the Boys. It was always one of my favorites from Mott the Hoople’s All The Young Dudes album. It’s a very basic power rocker and it is fun to play. The song was co-written by Ralphs and Hunter. I had recorded it a few years back. I was still recording on my Fostex 16 track at the time. I had some issues with that mix and wanted to take the time to re-mix it someday. The original mix just had a lot of things wrong with it and needed some work including a better stereo image.

I also have recorded Ready For Love, a song recorded by both Mott the Hoople and Bad Company. I may re-mix it too.

One of the Boys was written by Ian Hunter and Mick Ralphs. I sing and play all the instruments on this track. I am playing a Fender Stratocaster electric guitar, Rickenbacker 4001 bass guitar and Ludwig drums. It was recorded on a Fostex VF-16 digital multi-track. It was processed with Cakewalk Sonar v8.5 Producer and Sony Sound Forge v9.

Music Video – Rain

July 8th, 2011 . by Alexander Fisher

After my mom passed away I heard this song in my head constantly. I recorded it and then made this video using a green screen. I’ll probably do one of my originals green screen next time.

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My Recorded Cover Songs – Rain

July 2nd, 2011 . by Alexander Fisher

Sidewalk SurferAround the time my mother passed away last month, I was listening to a lot of Patty Griffin. Her song Rain was the one I listened to the most because I felt a connection to its sadness. I said I was going to record it.
This is a little undone. It’s the scratch vocal and you can hear a rhythm track in the background. Actually I kind of like it that way. I may do some more on this song, but I liked its simplicity. Just one vocal and one acoustic guitar, plus a little reverb in glorious monaural.

Rain

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This song was written by Patty Griffin. I sang, and played my Takamine acoustic guitar. I processed it with Cakewalk Sonar 8.5 Producer and Sony Sound Forge 9.

Cover Songs with Heather Cox – Never Had It So Good

January 9th, 2011 . by Alexander Fisher

hjc_BWThis is another song I recorded with my niece Heather Cox at my former home in Ada, Ohio in the 1990’s. She sang and I played guitar that day. Later I recorded drums and bass guitar. I recently digitized the tapes and remixed the tracks. I recorded a new keyboard part yesterday and added it to the final mix.

I have been a fan of Mary Chapin Carpenter since the first time I heard her play. I have all of her CD’s including her most recent recordings. I suppose I must have been playing Never Had It So Good at the time Heather came over or something.

Never Had It So Good

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The analog tracks were originally recorded on a Yamaha MT-100 II 4 track cassette recorder using  dbx noise reduction.

I played guitar on a Takamine acoustic . The bass was a Rickenbacker 4001. The drums and cymbals, plus some analog editing, are from the original recording using my Boss Dr. Rhythm drum machine sounds and a Yamaha MIDI drum pad. I recorded the keyboard part using a Roland MIDI slave keyboard and the TruePianos plug-in.

This song was written by Mary Chapin Carpenter and John Jennings. Heather sang lead and background vocals and I sang background and played all of the instruments. I processed it with Cakewalk Sonar 8.5 Producer and Sony Sound Forge 9.

Cover Songs with Heather Cox – Jonas and Ezekiel

December 19th, 2010 . by Alexander Fisher

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My niece, Heather Cox, came to my house once when I lived in Ada, Ohio in the 1990’s. She stayed long enough to record a few tapes of me playing guitar and her singing. I took those tapes and recorded some other instruments and voices with the songs we recorded. I mixed it all up and distributed it all on cassettes. So Hi-Tech…

I have been working on all of my analog tapes and converting them to digital and remixing them. I had always thought  our version of the Indigo Girls song Jonas and Ezekiel was done pretty well. The other day I decided to update the recording. I cut and pasted some of the song to other places and made it seem like there was more of this song than I had recorded. It certainly sounds bigger.

Jonas and Ezekiel

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The analog tracks were originally recorded on a Yamaha MT-100 II 4 track cassette recorder using high speed (3.75 IPS) and dbx noise reduction.

I played electric guitar on a Fender Stratocaster. The acoustic Guitar was a Takamine. The bass was a Rickenbacker 4001. The drums and cymbals, plus some analog editing, are from the original recording using my Boss Dr. Rhythm drum machine sounds and a Yamaha MIDI drum pad.

This song was written by Amy Ray. Heather sang lead and background vocals and I sang background and played all of the instruments. I processed it with Cakewalk Sonar 8.5 Producer and Sony Sound Forge 9.

My Recorded Cover Songs – A Man Needs A Maid

September 17th, 2010 . by Alexander Fisher

Alexander Fisher 1977 I bought a Neil Young music book about twenty years ago and learned several of his songs. I have only recorded this one. This recording features me on keyboards, more than usual. I was sick of recording guitars and decided to record this song with less of a guitar sound. Although the electrics get a little loud in the chorus’. I put a lot of effort into the performances, as opposed to my normal treatment of covers. This is still the only song I can play on piano reasonably well. I think I recorded this somewhere around the middle 1990’s.

A Man Needs A Maid

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I made a real breakthrough editing out of sync recordings during this re-mix. The best process is to find the tempo of the original or base recordings. Then using the slip stretch feature of Sonar, adjust any one track of the other set of recordings to match the beat. Find the stretch percentage and apply it to the rest of the tracks in that set. The tracks should be in sync to within a few percent. There’s really a lot more to it than that, but that’s a separate blog, coming soon.

The analog tracks were originally recorded on a Yamaha MT-100 II 4 track cassette recorder using high speed (3.75 IPS) and dbx noise reduction.

I played electric guitar on a Fender Stratocaster and probably on an Ibanez Les Paul. The bass was a Rickenbacker 4001. I played keyboards on a Casio CZ-101 FM synthesizer. The drums and cymbals, plus some analog editing, are from the original recording using my Boss Dr. Rhythm drum machine sounds and a Yamaha MIDI drum pad.

This song was written by Neil Young. I sang, and played all of the instruments. I processed it with Cakewalk Sonar 8.5 Producer and Sony Sound Forge 9.

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