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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

334. "Go Tell It on the Mountain (Live)" by The Thunder Hill Singers

So now we're oscillating wildly between the different ongoing subprojects, and I'm really cracking into finishing up the unreleased tracks for the Thunderhill compendium. This might be the trickiest one of the lot, although even the best case scenario won't see me cleaning it up as well as I did with "Take Her Out of Pity". It's a live performance from what my previous labeling has as a 1974 show in the old Keyser High School auditorium... seems to me it would have been earlier than that, but when I researched all this stuff before I was pretty scrupulous about the dates, so I was probably more correct then than I am now.

Anyway, it is a pretty nifty performance, but the original recording is way muddy. Dad really wanted me to see if I could clean it up, so I did my painstaking best here. There was just a hell of a lot of midrange mud in it, so I really busted out my whole arsenal of equalizers and filters, none of which I really know how to use, and scrubbed as much of the mids and lows out of it as possible, and then flew in a very narrowly filtered track with just the cleanest version of the low harmony as I could isolate, panned off to the side a bit. With the bass part pretty much gone, I played a new one, and also added a new acoustic guitar to give a little definition to the rhythm. These both then had to be, ironically, muddied up just a little bit so they didn't poke out at the listener as unnaturally sharp compared to the rest of it. I also tracked in a distant tambourine... there is a pretty serious need for something to keep the beat, especially in the middle where some extraordinarily white people make a desperate attempt to clap along in time and fall sadly short.

I've spent so much time on it and heard it in so many iterations that I can't tell if I've improved it at all, although I'm pretty sure I managed not to make it worse. Unlike previous retro reinventions on 39-40, I'm not digging up another artist's version to post as the "original", partly because I couldn't recall or discover whose arrangement the guys were using as a template for this version, but that's probably for the best... in this instance I would rather post a "before" and "after" anyway. It's again a pretty loose definition of a "cover", but it was quality time spent with grappling and modifying someone else's material, so I say it counts. And in this instance, any feedback on how it worked out is very welcome.

Jim Broome ~ Guitar, lead vocal
Ed Jordan ~ Banjo, vocal
Jerry Marsh ~ Bass, vocal
Unknown (pending Dad's feedback) ~ Harmonica
Rex Broome ~ Retcons
Recorded live in the KHS Auditorium, 1974 (?)

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