Roots music and folk music are the songs of the people. I think it is important to look back at the musicians who came before us to understand how their musical contributions helped shape the songs we sing and play.
Alan Lomax was one of the more prolific “folklorists” who helped document and preserve many of the treasures of American and International folk music. For those of you not familiar with Mr. Lomax, check out his Wikipedia Page:
Alan Lomax (January 15, 1915 – July 19, 2002) was one of the great American field collectors of folk music of the 20th century. He was also a folklorist, ethnomusicologist, archivist, writer, scholar, political activist, oral historian, and film-maker. Lomax also produced recordings, concerts, and radio shows in the U.S and in England, which played an important role in both the American and British folk revivals of the 1940s, ’50s and early ’60s. During the New Deal, with his father, famed folklorist and collector John A. Lomax and later alone and with others, Lomax recorded thousands of songs and interviews for the Archive of American Folk Song at the Library of Congress on aluminum and acetate discs.
Here’s a clip with Simon Wood going through the original tracks from David Bowie’s classic song, “Space Oddity.” I always find it useful to hear the individual elements of the mix in order to gain a better understanding of the song as a whole. I am especially fascinated the supporting musical elements that make the song, what it is. Note the really excellent bass and drum interplay near the end of the song. H/T Drew Dundon.
In the late 1980’s, while I was living in Pennsylvania, I took my first step into the world of multi-track recording. This is when I purchased a brand new Tascam Porta 05, 4-track cassette recorder. Armed with my new 4 track, a bunch of blank cassettes and a couple of cheap Radio Shack dynamic mics, I started my home recording odyssey.
When thinking about some of the musical gear I have parted with over the years, I sometimes feel remorseful. Sure, there were things I acquired that I am glad I got rid of. (For example, an old Behringer Mixer that was a noisy as Niagara Falls. Good riddance!) There are other pieces of gear, that in retrospect, I wish I still had. At the time, I am sure I had good reason to get rid of some it – financial needs, efficiency or helping out a friend. However valid the reason may have been, I still can’t shake my feelings of regret. Here’s a list of five pieces of gear I wish I still owned:
Hello. My name is Marwood W. And I am a Thrift Store Addict….
Thrift Stores can be a great resource for the self-recording musician. I have found some wonderful treasures rummaging through thrift stores in the Seattle area. Aside from finding useful cables and patch cords for dirt cheap, (For example, Monster Cable products for under a buck.) I have found some other gems that have helped me in my music creating process.
Here’s a breakdown of some of my favorite Thrift Store Scores:
I found this 1960′s or 1970′s “Granada” Japanese made Classical Guitar for under $25.00 at a local Goodwill Store. After replacing the old and mismatched tuning pegs and strings, I ended up with a very playable and good sounding gut string guitar for under $50.00.
Next on my score list is this basic mountain dulcimer I picked up for about $20.00. When I bought it, the thrift store clerk asked, “You want to buy that musical thingy?” While he didn’t know what the instrument was, I knew I found a gem. This dulcimer is not much to look at – in fact, I suspect it was a kit that someone put together. The inside label reads, “Hughes Dulcimer Co. Denver Colorado” with a date stamp of March 20th, 1981. I really enjoy the “droning” sound this produces. Keep a look out for Check out my song, “D-Day,” (which I hope to release very soon) to hear it in action.