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Wednesday, October 6, 2010

202. "(Ghost) Riders In The Sky" by Johnny Cash

At least one of you caught it: I missed my deadline yesterday. Best of intentions on a difficult day, filled with more commuting than it should've been, Back to School Night for Miranda halfway across town, that sort of thing... and then when we got home, with "Spooky" a little more than half finished, Eden had her brand new guitar waiting for her. Naturally she wanted to play it. And naturally I had her play it through one of my amps. Naturally she wanted to play it very loudly, and was instantly off writing a song on it. I just can't bring myself to try and stop that, and I calculated that by the time she was finished and in bed, I wouldn't have quite enough time to finish the tune, so I gave myself a break and put it off until the morning.

Which left me with two songs to finish today. So I decided again to cut myself some slack and hold the next round of requests over until tomorrow and do a stopgap offering today. I did go out of my way to select a song that's very seasonal, and which also serves to get yet another long-awaited new recording by the ever-popular Thunderhill to the adoring public. And lemme tell ya, for a stopgap, these recordings aren't easy. There's a lot of editing of the master tracks to do, some of it way tricky; I have to replay all of my guitar and some of Dad's due to them clipping on the original master, and I have to reconstruct harmonies around whatever Rich Frush sang at the show where we recorded them (Rich is brilliant at jumping between harmonies on the fly; I just have to work out what he didn't sing on this particular take). There was also (I discovered after having put a lot of work into the basic tracks) a lyrical mishap on the lead vocal that was totally unfixable. I "solved" that one by singing the line myself, doing my best imitation of Dad's voice. Despite every reason in the world for my voice to sound at least a little like his, it doesn't, so if I slipped that one by you, good on me; in my favor, and something I probably wouldn't have grasped quite as completely a year ago, is the fact that I sang my line really close to about the same kind of mic Dad used at the show, and since I had the completely untreated takes of both vocals that way, there really isn't over much difference in the fundamentals of the two tracks recorded 3000 miles and a couple of months apart.

Just for fun, I extracted the "original" version of the song from a bootleg of a Cash concert at Rocky Gap State Park in Maryland in 1990, which was the one and only time I saw Johnny Cash perform live. Dad was there, too. I even took that photo of Cash onstage.

In any case, one more for your Halloween mix tape, and the second new Thunderhill recording to surface this year.

Jim Broome ~ Lead vocal, rhythm guitar
Rich Frush ~ Drums, backing vocals
Rex Broome ~ Lead guitar, backing vocals
Tom Heckman ~ Bass, backing vocals

Recorded live at the Stray Cat Wing Shack, Keyser, WV, August 2010 by Tom Heckman
Mixed and edited by Rex at Minco Records, CA, October 2010

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