I received something very nice in the post the other day. For the past couple of years I have been working with my uncle Joe Dooley on an album of his songs. They are performed by just Joe with his guitars and produced and mixed by me. Joe had written a number of story songs and though that together they would make a great album.
I’m very pleased to say that the album is now complete, Joe has had them manufactured and my copy is in my hands right now. The album is called ‘Taller Than Stories’ and looks like this:
Joe has written some great sleeve notes about each of the songs on the album which are very interesting. I must say that I really do love the artwork, in particular the back cover with the names of the songs on the book spines:
The album was great fun to record and involved a lot of tea drinking and biscuit eating. Joe would come round to my studio with his acoustic guitar, for some songs we used his Lowden and for others we used his Martin. We’d tended to record the guitar part first and once we were happy with the take we’d record the vocal.
When recording vocals I always like to make sure that I record a few alternative takes, even if the first one happens to be really great. This is because it’s only later when you starting editing the vocals that you might notice an odd noise or a strange inflection that you hadn’t spotted at the time it was recorded. Re-recording vocals later is troublesome because you have to take time getting the same levels and mic positioning so they vocal match each other. Fortunately this didn’t happen to much. Having lots of takes is also good for comping them together to produce the best overall take.
After Joe and I had finished recording he would leave and I would get on with producing and mixing the songs. This is pretty much a solitary operation for me and to be honest, that’s exactly the way that I like it. I edit all the takes, choose EQs, Compressors, Reverbs and so on that I think sound nice and suit the songs well. I then mix the tracks down and master them with some more EQ, Compression and Limiting and send copies to Joe to see what he thinks.
Fortunately for me Joe was very happy with how the songs turned out and we only needed to make a few final tweaks and everything was good to go.
The only exception to this was the last track on the album, Nadesan and Perumal. For this song we decided to ‘band up’ and I added Drums (NI’s Battery 3), Bass (Logic’s ESX24), Piano (NI’s Akoustik Piano) and Hammond Organ (NI’s B4II) and Joe added some rather splendid Harmonica. We thought that this would be a nice ending track for the album.
I’ve made a sampler for the album which contains a little taster of each of the songs. You can have a listen here:
I hope you enjoy what you hear as much as we enjoyed making it.