Golden Greats Vol. 4

by John Ralston

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Photography: Monica McGivern
Layout: Jacob Kaplan
Handwritten Font: Bailey Kaplan
Camp Thunderbee Records

HOW I BECAME A FISH:
This was the first track of my never-to-be-completed Sci-Fi epic in which an alien invasion descends while our hero is eating his TV dinner. Marc Ward and Jon Wilkins recorded the acoustic guitars/vocals at Elegbaland in 2006 (I think). And then the song just sat on my hard drive in all it's unfinished sci-fi glory with just the vocals and acoustic guitar track that you are hearing now.

Fast forward to 2015 (THE FUTURE IS HERE!). I played the song for Chris Wood. Woody said, "I got you covered on this man" (loose translation). Next thing I know he is hauling handbells, semi-hollowbody basses, and organs into the friendly confines of Hitsville, Fla. He also played the fantastic electric guitar you are listening in on.

Then, when Woody found out that Steve Copeletti was coming by he said, "We gotta get him on this track" (loose, very loose, translation). So the drums you hear are the rock solid 70's Laurel Canyon stylings of the incomparable Steve Copeletti.

Woodrow brought Elliot Shaw by one night to play the organ. This guy can play! Two takes later we had our organ track. It was the rug that tied the room together.

Now, I've had this old Sony reel-to-reel hanging out ever since Greg Lovell and I found it in some thrift store. And when I ran the final mix through it and played it back at a slower speed - I knew this sci-fi epic about a man getting defeated by aliens and turning into a fish wouldn't be complete without it. That's what you are hearing at the end. Along with some backwards masked church bells.

It's ok though, folks. Our hero makes it back to human form on one of the later sci-fi epic installments. I'll have to see about finishing those up.

LIVING'S FOR THE WICKED:
This is the newest track to date. About a month or two back, Steve Copeletti and Chris Conner came by the studio and we recorded drums and guitar for 4 new tunes. This is the first to make it to daylight. Mic'd the drums using 5 mics total: Kick, Snare, Over Steve's Shoulder, Out Front About a Foot Off the Ground, and the Conner-inspired "Trashcan" mic.

A week after we tracked the drums, Nathan Jezek came by and had some fuzz guitar ideas. Took the song in a totally different direction than I had planned ( I heard trumpets for some reason) but ended up being super cool. Think he played my old Harmony Rocket going straight into the LA-610. Was pretty easy to finish from there.

The sound at the end - to me it sounds like barking seals - is my grandma's old Kimball piano which I reamped through an Effectron II.

credits

released 16 April 2015

Drums: Steve Copeletti
Gtrs (Side A): Chris Wood
Gtrs (Side B): Nathan Jezek
Handbells: Chris Wood/JR
Organ: Elliot Shaw
Engineering: Marc Ward (Elegbaland), Chris Conner, JR
Side A Produced by Chris Wood

Photography: Monica McGivern
Layout: Jacob Kaplan
Handwritten Font: Bailey Kaplan
Camp Thunderbee Records

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Track Name: How I Became a Fish
When the paratroopers (stunning!!) made their way down to me, honey, I was eating TV dinners

beneath their flight. By the time I saw them touching down my hopes had fallen. It was far too late

for me to hit the lights.

You know that I would never lie. Well, at first I thought I'd die. But then I thought: "Damn! I'm a

man!" And I fought them back to heaven in hand-to-hand. Hand-to-hand.

The next thing that I know I am awakened by a blow from the last of my assailants from the sky.

He was badly beaten too. Yes, I matched him black for blue. And I held my breath to brace the

blinding lights.

The second shot turned day to night and I swam in it for miles. At first I thought: "This isn't bad..."

but I fought that thought back to heaven in hand-to-hand.

Well, I never do remember being born. But now I am an underwater form. And I miss the way the

sun shone in my eyes. And I guess that most of all (to no surprise), oh, I miss my hands. Two

hands. Hands, two hands.
Track Name: Living's For the Wicked
When your days lean so hard. When your gaze turns blue. When the sun it sets long before you do the things that you wanted to...

Played by their rules that were so wrong for so long.
Well, living's for the wicked.
It ain't a sin to lose your whole mind, or to use it sometimes.
Go on and punch my ticket.

I broke out, busted, ran off - man, I flew the coop. I'd been lost and strapped down up in Heaven's Zoo. But I pulled that tooth...

Played by their rules that were so wrong for so long.
Well, living's for the wicked.
It ain't a sin to lose your whole mind, or to use it sometimes.
Go on and punch my ticket.

A kind word, when spoken, carves daylight into night.
A song here to be your companion in spite of the plight.

Played by their rules that were so wrong for so long.
Well, living's for the wicked.
It ain't a sin to lose your whole mind, or to use it sometimes.
Go on and punch my ticket.