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The Joe Show Episode #2 Is Coming...


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I learned something about the Tascam I didn’t know. If I’m going to record a long 4-track piece all at once—like the soundtrack to the “Joe Show”—it better be less than 7-1/2 minutes. That’s all the Tascam can hold. The first draft of “The Joe Show, Episode Two” was 8-1/2 minutes long, and I couldn’t mix it—and I have to mix it before I transfer it to the computer, because the computer can’t read the unmixed files. (There is probably a way around this problem, but I don’t know what it is.) I had to erase what I had, and re-do it. Making the discussion part of the show shorter was easy, but I still recorded and mixed (and transferred to the computer) the discussion and song parts separately the second time around—I was not going to risk the “memory card full” problem again.

I wanted to clear out the Tascam’s memory card anyway, because I had a quick project I wanted to do—the musication of a folk song I ran across, by a British writer, Jon Harrington. It was a classic Scottish ballad—a ghost story, in fact, hight “The Haunting of Harbury Hill.” Like many a Scottish ballad, it’s written in waltz time—but when I played it on the guitar, it came out inadvertently as a two-step (4/4 time, in other words). So that was how it got recorded. The idea of a ghost story you can dance to was perversely attractive—there aren’t many of those, I imagine. And Jon said he liked it, and wanted to perform it, and record it himself, so I sent him the chords.

The song has no chorus (doesn’t need one—the hook is in the final line of each of the seven verses), and still came in at 4:45 with a lead break (which it had to have, so I could show off my guitar playing). So I gave the song an “A” part and a “B” part, in alternating verses, like a lot of old fiddle tunes have. The “A” part is a straightforward three chords, all majors. The “B” part, though, starts out acting like it’s a chorus—with more of a rock beat—and then ends on a minor (the only minor chord in the whole song). From which it segues back into the “A” part. It was a lot of fun to do, and I hope I’ll have the chance to do more of this guy’s stuff.

Jon re-recorded it himself, using my music, and sent me the result. He did it as a waltz, which is definitely more traditional folk music (it may be only country boys like me that “default” to a two-step), but kept the same tempo—which makes it 25% faster. (I did the math.) One definitely wants to dance to this. And he added an extra line at the end of the “B” part, easing the segue back to the “A” part, and that’s really nice.

I have also acquired a big pile of computer equipment. The local community college was having a garage sale (they’re moving to new quarters, and had a lot to dispose of). For five bucks, I got three computers, a monitor, two keyboards, two mice, and cables. The ‘puters are old, but one of them is supposed to have Windows XP and another has a 20GB hard drive. The goal is to assemble a computer for the studio, that I could use exclusively for music and video. It would be nice if the three computers’ RAM chips were compatible—I don’t know that yet, but none of the three has a whole lot of RAM, and music work (especially video) uses a lot of RAM.

The next step is to clean the garage studio (which I haven’t been using—I’ve been doing my recording in the house, since I can do it anywhere), and make space to work on and set up the Music Computer. Another thing I’d best do while I’m unemployed and have time.

Episode Two of the Joe Show is done; finished today, and it’s 8 minutes long. (And it’s not posted yet, for those who were looking forward to watching it. I have to “devour my young” a few more times first, to mqke sure everything’s all right.) These videos take three scriptings; I have to script out the discussion, the slides, and the overlay text—and they have to be related enough to not be confusing, and different enough to not be boring. A fine line to walk.

Joe

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