The “Living in the Past” Project
Yeah, I know. You’re thinking, "What’s he doing starting off the year with such a pessimistic sounding project?". I dunno. Just my nature, I guess. But work with me for a moment folks.
The Olden Days
Waaaay back in The Olden Days (ie. 1975) I recorded my eponymously titled first album. Musically, it ran the folk gamut: an Child ballad performed a capella, instrumental ragtime guitar pieces, a few traditional English folk songs, a couple of Americana tunes (although back then we just called that folk music), and a bluegrass instrumental to round it out. It was all served up solo on guitar, 5-string banjo and vocals.
Five hundred copies were promptly pressed in the 12″ vinyl format. Over the next few years ALL of those copies were SOLD!!! Or given away … or lost … or I guess if were going to be completely honest … some might even have been thrown out when we moved.
In The Olden Days, that would pretty much have been the end of the story. The album’s story would have run it’s course. One or two copies might still reside, forgotten and collecting dust, in the collections of only the most fastidious record enthusiasts. But for all practical purposes, the album would be long forgotten by now.
So Long Olden Days …
But that was then. This is now. In today’s Wonderful World of Google, it turns out nothing ever really gets forgotten. And thanks to services like EBay, all of those formerly forgotten things can actually be found and purchased.
I first noticed copies of the Blue Album, as people referred to it, surfacing for sale on EBay about six years ago. Since then I’ve seen it pop up a couple of more times.
Over the same period, I’ve received a number of inquiries (granted, probably countable on a near-sighted carpenter’s two hands) about whether I am going to re-release the album on CD.
The short answer is: I’m not.
The slightly longer short answer: I’m not, for a number of reasons. Not the least of which is the master tape is long gone.
However, it did get me to thinking it might be fun to revisit those tunes as a little side project. So, Im not going to re-release the album as a CD. But I am going to re-record those songs over the next little while and make them available through my website to the insatiably curious.
Maple Leaf Rag
To start things off, here’s one of the ragtime guitar instrumentals I included on it: Scott Joplin’s Maple Leaf Rag. Now the keeners amongst you will say, "Wait a minute. That’s cheap. You recorded that on Dr. Bob’s Acoustic Tonic last year."
Well, yes and no. The version on DBAT was a vocal based version that included an obscure set of lyrics for the tune. However, it is true the instrumental portion of that recording was the same arrangement I played all those years ago on the Blue Album. Sue me.
So, for those of you who have always wondered what this piece might have looked and sounded like if I’d been forty pounds heavier in my youth, here’s a Youtube video of me playing it today … well a couple of days ago actually, but you get the idea.
Once again, for the guitaristically inclined, I’ve uploaded a transcription to my website for those who would like to have a go at it themselves.
Ok, that’s it for kicking off the Living in the Past project. Watch for more tunes in future newsletters. Thankfully, they won’t need to be as long winded as this one explaining the project.
Enjoy. That’s all for now.