Steam Powered Studio
June 27, 2010

Here's another quickie. Maybe bumper stickers with War Feeds America on them would work. We are a culture of vampires. We worship death, and killing. We've become very good at it. We have things called Predator "drones" that we are expected to be "proud" of.

This is the most basic statement I can make about the thing. It makes me sick.

June 16, 2010

those guys
These guys were over last night. Dave Huxta and Craig Wise. This time I believe we got a good version of Kindred Spirits. Still have more to add to it.
studio swag

music catalogue
June 5, 2010

Ketty Lester
So I'm watching Blue Velvet for about the hundredth time, but it's been a while, and this time I'm seeing and hearing different things in it. Movies are great that way. This time I hear the recording of Love Letters straight from Your Heart as performed by this Ketty Lester here.

(I'll wait while you go give a listen)

David Lynch really pays attention to sounds, and he generally picks amazing things for his soundtracks, and this is certainly one of the best recordings of all time. I don't remember it from the first time around- it may not have gotten much airplay here, but it was a hit in 1962.

Talk about the minimal making the maximum impact! It's a piano, string bass, drums, and vocal, but what really sets it (and I'm sure what made it swing for David) is the electronic organ part. It's creepy! But in a good way.

This recording, with that reverb sound and the way the snare smacks, prefigures a lot of hits that are soon to come in the early 60's. It's always fun to find the roots of things.

(interesting to compare the the "official" recording above with this one which was probably done for the "video". Subtle differences in the sound of things, but what a difference!)

June 26, 2010

main street 01

Main Street, USA. Billing itself as an outdoor mall, here's a spooky place in Exton, PA. It almost looks real, doesn't it?

It's just like a main street in a small town, except there are no parking meters, no Mom and Pop stores, no bars, no insurance agents or tax services, no civic buildings or parks. It's all condensed down to high-traffic, high-ticket sales. The pure heart of consumption. For those practiced in the art of consumption.

It strikes me as odd that they tried this approach, rather than an enclosed mall. The only thing I can come up with is that it's cheaper- you don't have to air-condition or heat those streets. Less intensive cleaning, too. Just have some workers hose 'em down at night.

main street 02

Here's how they support the concept. The parking is all "behind" the main street. Fact is, if you don't like the street side, you can enter any of these stores from the back side. Of course, you could end up walking farther from your car to the store than the entire length of main street, but we've learned to accept that little outdoor experience as part of the shopping trip.

The point is, everything is more concentrated, thus better for the merchants. Money drives everything, and always will. What was sad in my case was that I must have looked a bit out of fashion there. Some people were obviously amused by my appearance, probably more so than if I'd been wearing a clown suit. My eyeglass frames are several years old. I was wearing a funky shirt from a thrift shop (see photo below). Jeans and sneakers- but probably not the "right" jeans and sneakers, if you know what I mean. I actually got open-mouth stares from some of the younger teens.

But I've always been a freak. I'll tell you, I got great service in a restaurant. The ditzy hostess hadn't written my name down correctly on the call-ahead list, but the manager stepped right in and gave us a nice table. I'm sure he thought I was going to start a brawl or something. I don't know, maybe he thought I was with the circus...

Hey, it's been a while. There's a new featured song, by The Stokers. Believe in the Moon (it's alright!)
About the Studio
June 13, 2010

Sporting Hill Ramblers

Playin' in the band. The Sporting Hill Ramblers had what some say was their best gig evah! last night at McCleary's Public House. Thanks for the photo, Sharon.

Here is a sample from that gig, a 6-plus minute version of Ain't No More Cane featuring Malone on the instrument that I'm holding in this picture, the famous Red Bouzouki.
June 09, 2010


An early photo of the man, T.A. Edison. I think you could build one of these sound recording machines in your basement with a little effort...
sponsometer Our goal is 3,000 sponsors. At that level we could move into larger facilities and create music for you full-time.
You can help make it happen.

June 8, 2010

Back in January there was a concert in town by the Fishtank Ensemble. A good time was had, and now sponsors of the studio can get an idea of what it was like to be in the audience for that show.

June 02, 2010

Let's go back to the Ron Cook tapes. His son Scott brought in two reel to reel tapes of Ronnie playing with various bluegrass pickers. The tapes had been stepped on a bit by Scott and his sibs when they were kids and just fooling around, but lots of the elder Cook's recordings survived, and Scott gave me permission to post 'em.

This is one Scott says he remembers fondly, the Orange Blossum Special. It's the last in the series of songs recorded in the second session on the tapes, with banjo and guitar. It's a short version- I guess the kids cut off the ending.



Scott says, I remember twice Ronnie getting a phone call from another bluegrass band, to play back up fiddle for a gig at the Ryan House (Grand ole Oprey) in Nashville. He was too modest to go, and didn't want to miss work.

After this there's a bunch of songs recorded at another time in what sounds like somebody's kitchen. Stay tuned.


Featured Song
June 29, 2010


We heard one of these fellows last Saturday. Is this the end of quiet summer evenings?

June 18, 2010


Well here ya go- we got the birds from the Summer Thieves back in and did some nice tracking on When You Knock On My Door. See them again next week!
June 03, 2010

lil' Mesa

This amp, this little amp that I've owned for years, and swore and cussed at for years, because it would cut out at random moments and couldn't be depended on for gigs or anything- this amp is working again.

I fixed it by plugging a cord into the external effects loop jacks. In the 20 odd years I've owned this thing, I've taken it apart several times looking for cold solder joints and loose components, because the random type of cutting out it was doing is generally caused by this sort of thing, but I was too dumb to ever try plugging a cord into the effects loop jacks. I never used that for anything, and it never occured to me that it would matter.

Well, I found out on the inter-tubes that it does indeed matter, and that this is a common problem with these amps. So thank you Boogie Board and Bob Anthony for posting this information there. I have a fun little amp again!