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Reelin’ in the Years – 1988

Baul (traveling musician) in West Bengal, circa 1988

It’s 1988 and I’m 26 years old. I’ve been studying in India for a year, doing a degree in Comparative Religion. During summer break the heat was intolerable so I returned to Canada where the temperatures are great in the summertime.

Somewhat out of touch with Western ways, I immersed myself in family, friends, and of course, pop culture. I needed to update and take some tapes back to India for my second year of studies.

James Taylor’s Never Die Young is one of the albums I took with me, so I really got to know it back in my little Indian room with a beautiful view.

Indian kids circa 1988

There were several good tunes I could have chosen for ’88. But Taylor’s “Home By Another Way” sits best with me today.

James Taylor has one of those amazing voices that doesn’t require any studio tricks to stand out in a mix.

I was first introduced to Taylor with Sweet Baby James and the classic, “Fire and Rain.” His music came back into my sphere with Gorilla, which is another great album. JT and others followed. Seems James Taylor never really disappeared, still doing concerts on PBS from time to time.

This song is about overcoming evil not by taking it head on but by going around it. Christians are told to be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. That means know what’s going on but don’t let life’s monsters realize you know. And skirt them if you can.

A king who would slaughter the innocents
Will not cut a deal for you…

But Herod’s always out there
He’s got our cards on file
It’s a lead pipe cinch, if we give an inch
Old Herod likes to take a mile

It’s best to go home by another way
Home by another way

The Moody Blues expressed a similar idea in their 1969 album On the Threshold of Dream.

Face piles of trials with smiles
It riles them to believe
That you perceive
The web they weave…
And keep on thinking free

I’m saddened that I haven’t listed a classic Moody Blues song in my 70s recollections. They are one of my favorite bands. I was focussing on pop radio for that decade, and The Moody Blues songs that made the radio were good but not my favs.

Image via discogs.com

Reelin’ in ALL the Years

 Eagles Add New Dates to 2018 Tour Schedule (news.radio.com)

 Why India has better things to do than hang out with Justin Trudeau (nationalpost.com)

 Canadian PM Trudeau roundly mocked for political, fashion blunders during disastrous trip to India (businessinsider.com)

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Beyond the Night

Here’s a cinematic, atmospheric one that I worked pretty hard on. It began as a slightly chaotic assemblage which slowly came together. My main learning point was how to use a sequencer for drum samples, making it sound less robotic than sequencers can sound.

The sequencer I used (Megababy) allows for manual timing changes (called “humanization” or possibly “swing” when using midi). So I spent some time on each note, trying to imagine myself as a percussionist and how he or she might actually drum. To me, the kick drum sometimes sounds like it could use a bit of editing, other times it sounds okay.

Not exactly tearing up the SoundCloud charts, it was, as I say, a great learning experience.

As to what this composition is about, just follow the link to SoundCloud if interested.