Tracklog 03 – Out Of Bad Luck (2007)

Out Of Bad Luck (click to listen, right-click and “Save As” to download)

This is me. I am not Magic Sam, however much I'd like to be.

Once again, “Tracklog” = “Free Music.”  Demos, outtakes, etc.  Enjoy.

This is an outtake from 2007’s Just Like It Is.  I like it about as much as anything that made it on the record, but we recorded too many songs, and I think we felt that a direct cover of a Magic Sam song was not really a high priority to release when compared to a bunch of originals.  I do love Magic Sam, and the Alex Club side of Magic Sam Live completely rewired my brain when I was just a little kid.  It’s a funny thing about the Boston area, too; I’d be willing to guess that more Boston area guitarists would count Sam as a primary influence than in almost any city except Chicago.  I would chalk a lot of that up to two things: Sam’s great disciple Luther “Guitar Jr.” Johnson has been living in New England for decades now, and Ronnie Earl is another Sam follower that has had a huge influence on the local scene.

This track was recorded by the same lineup as the rest of Just Like It Is:

MIKE WELCH – Guitar/Vocal

…and it was produced by Matt Malikowski and myself, recorded and mixed by Matt.  I love the way the bass, drums, and piano careen off of each other through the whole song.  Brad and Mark are currently playing with Duke Robillard, and if you haven’t heard Duke’s new Low Down and Tore Up, you’re missing something really special.  Anthony is of course playing alongside me in Sugar Ray and the Bluetones, and he’s probably my favorite pianist to work with.  If you’re interested about this sort of thing, I’m playing my blue Strat through a Fender Pro Reverb.

(Song credit: Maghett/Benson, Nam Jean Publishing/Conrad Music, BMI, admin by Bug)


Tracklog 02 – This Boy (2002)

This Boy (click to listen, right click and “Save As” to download)

None of these people appear on this track.

Once again, the Tracklog posts will be where I post demos and outtakes for your listening enjoyment.  If some of it is a little rough and/or silly, hey, it’s free music, right?

The Beatles are the reason I play music of any kind, and the first place I heard the blues feeling was John Lennon’s voice.  Even as I’ve made my career playing blues with (wildly) varying degrees of traditionalism, the Beatles’ music is still my favorite of all time.

The idea of recording this track came from a couple of different sources.  I’ve always loved the famous scene of Ringo dejectedly walking along the water in A Hard Day’s Night, which is accompanied by a great, twangy instrumental arrangement of “This Boy.”  When the Beatles Anthology documentary came out, the clip of the Beatles singing “This Boy” on Ed Sullivan in Miami completely freaked me out, with Lennon’s passionate delivery of the bridge (sorry – “middle eight”) burned into my brain from that moment on.  I’ve always tried desperately to get the guitar to sing, and recording this, I realized just how much Lennon’s voice influenced my guitar playing.

For a couple of years in a row, my wife Jeannette and I made CDs for friends and family as Christmas gifts, with a mix of Christmas songs and other things we wanted to sing and play.  I recorded “This Boy” in 2002.  The electric guitars are played on a Fender Classic Series 50’s reissue Strat with Barden pickups through a Line 6 POD (although I think the verse harmony guitars may be direct into Pro Tools with lots of compression – I don’t remember), the acoustic guitar is a Gibson J-45, the bass is a Danelectro Longhorn reissue, and the tap-tapping is me playing a snare drum with brushes.  “Paul” and “George” on the middle eight are both me, as well; I liked the idea of an instrumental with backing vocals.

(The song is of course by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, published by Northern Songs)

Tracklog 01 – Spider-Man Theme (2011)

Spider-Man (click to listen, right-click and “Save As” to downloadThis is Spider-Man.  You may recognize him.)

Sometimes, believe it or not, people ask me if I have new music of my own coming out.  The current answer is that I don’t (although the new Sugar Ray record is one of the best things I’ve ever played on), but for those who are interested, I’ve decided to put some of my demos and outtakes online for your listening pleasure.  Although I may rerecord some of the songs for official releases (and some of these are alternate versions or demos of songs from my records), I’m certainly not going to release these versions officially.  I figured that someone, somewhere, might get some enjoyment out of them.  Some of the tracks are very rough, but I hope they’re worth at least as much as you paid for them.

On to the track at hand: my son Joaquin is great.  He’s a huge, obsessive Spider-Man fan, and I decided to record this as a surprise for him.  The original theme from the 1967 cartoon is on heavy rotation at the Welch house, and it’s formally a blues, so two and two weren’t that hard to put together.  I went for kind of an Albert Collins organ shuffle feel here, like “Left Overs” (which was Albert’s version of Jimmy McGriff’s “All About My Girl”), but I was surprised listening back to it how much Jimmie Vaughan’s approach to the same style influenced my take on it.  The stops toward the end are a quote from the “Spectacular Spider-Man” cartoon theme by a band called the Tender Box; it’s another of Joaquin’s favorites and a great little rock and roll tune that pays homage to the feel of the original cartoon theme, so it was easy to fit in.

Appropriately enough, I put the track together like a big nerd.  The drums are chopped up and pasted from Toontrack’s Blues MIDI drum loops and played through the Vintage Rock kit in EZdrummer, and I wrote out the organ part in ProTools’ Score Editor and went back to add dynamics, Leslie, and drawbar settings with the DB-33 organ sampler.  The guitar is my Fender Muddy Waters Telecaster with Lollar pickups, and I’m running through the Fender Pro Junior and Reverb Unit in the AmpliTube Fender software plug in.

I find overdubbing solos kind of hard.  When playing live or live-in-the-studio with a band, there’s a lot less second guessing after each phrase, because the moment and performance are more important than perfection.  I have to force myself to play that way in overdubs, and not treat every note as a first draft to be improved later.

I hope you enjoy this; there’s much more to come!

(The song is credited to Paul Francis Webster and Robert “Bob” Harris, and I’m trying to find publishing info, but no luck so far)