IT’S MY PARTY! returned to the recording studio on October 11. Although the plan was to record tracks for two songs, the musicians decided to table “I Almost Forgive Him,” an original track by Michael Lynch, so they could work out the proper key signature and arrangement. The group instead focused on a remake of the Sherrys’ original “That Boy of Mine,” a song created with that famous Philly sound of the early sixties, of which songwriters Madara and White were a part of. You may know the Sherrys more for their hit record, “Pop Pop Pop-Pie.”
Matt Doi, John Giotto, and Paul Kanack laid down all of the music tracks. First they recorded the bass, guitar and drums live (at the same time). Next, Matt Doi recorded a second guitar part, and then baritone and tenor sax; to say Matt is talented is an understatement. Finally, Paul Kanack and John Giotto added hand percussion, which included slapstick, hand claps, and maracas. There may be room for a symphonic chime part at a later date.
Giotto decided that Sierra’s voice was well-suited for the lead vocal on this track, and she sang live in a separate room during the basic tracks. By singing during the tracking, the musicians gain an extra emotional lift, which can help to elevate a performance. Sierra’s vocal did just that. Sierra will return to the studio at a later date to record the “keeper” vocals” along with Michele and Sarah on backing vocals to complete the tracking.
On a side note, all was going well during the recording session, when suddenly the producer and engineer noticed that the left speaker in the control room was distorting badly, especially in the low, or bass, register. This was odd because all of the equipment, from the interface, to the amplifier, to the speakers, is top-notch. Giotto decided to pull the protective grill from the face of the offending speaker, and what the team saw was not good: The foam around the circumference of the speaker had deteriorated in many spots, leaving gaping spaces where the speaker was no longer supported. An inspection of the right speaker showed tears, the first sign that the foam would eventually fall apart, like the left speaker. Both speakers were removed from their cabinets, and sent to Orange County Speaker, in California, for re-foaming. Any additional tracking and recording has temporarily been placed on hold. If all goes well, the studio should be up and running by December. In the meantime, the group will work on the Lynch tune.
As we mentioned in our September newsletter, another idea 💡 from the team is writing an answer record for a song written and recorded in the late 1970s by a renowned artist, and then covered in the mid-1980s, when it became a big hit. An answer record borrows the elements of the original song, but takes the lyrics in a new direction. We will keep this song a secret until we actually begin the recording in December. We will say that the songwriter of the original song is someone whom Giotto has great respect for, and has had the opportunity to interview on two occasions in the late ’80s and early ’90s, when he worked at WBER, a community radio station, which broadcasts from Penfield, NY. Sadly this songwriter has passed away, and Giotto felt that it was time for a tribute record of sorts. Giotto and Kanack are working on the answer record, which should be completed soon.
Thanks to our fan, Ken Kleinendorst, several live performance videos of our group are now available. Ken makes his way up from Central Pennsylvania on many occasions to catch an IT’S MY PARTY! show, and when he does, he usually brings his video recording gear along with him. If you have been to one of our shows, I’m sure you’ve seen Ken. In his mid-eighties, Ken is still going strong, he has been known to arrive early on the day of a performance and help with the set-up of the equipment, as well as aiding the tear down at the end of the night.
Ken recently sent us a batch of DVDs with footage from shows including Batavia, Hammondsport, Burgundy Basin Inn, and Van Bortel. This is very fortunate because we find it very difficult to set up our own video taping equipment, with so much else to do before the show.
We are in the process of reviewing and then uploading the best performances to our YouTube channel. The first offering is a rendition of “To Sir With Love” from our August 11 show at the Burgundy Basin Inn.
One of the challenges working with Ken’s videos is that, although the footage was recorded in 720p, the aspect ratio was set at 4X3. Unaltered, these videos would display those ugly side bars on YouTube — think old television shows. So, we have to zoom into the frame, cutting off some of the top and bottom information, to create the look of a 16X9 video. We have spoken to Ken about this , and he has set his camera to shoot in 16X9 from now on. Ken is hoping to come up during the December recording sessions, so we will have some nice videos in the near future, which we will pass along to our fans. By the way, Ken performed the sleigh bells on our recording of “You Won’t Even Know Her Name,” so don’t be surprised if he puts down the camera and joins in again on the upcoming sessions. Ken is a great fan, friend and truly a high-energy guy!