Sunday, November 12, 2006

Return of the Ghost of Los Blues Guys

You, of course, already know of the legendary Los Blues Guys, the band that nearly everyone was in, a decade or so ago.

I'd like to tell you the most important thing about Los Blues Guys:

We didn't suck nearly as bad as you remember.

I was fooling around with some old cassettes and some recently-acquired audio hardware and software today. I thought it might be fun to find a live LBG performance and see what I could do to it with modern software.

This is the first and only song I played, on the first cassette I picked up:

Texas Flood

It was the kick-off song for our second set at ArmadilloCon in 1992.

I can promise you that you've paid good money to hear worse music. We were at the height of our unnatural powers.

It's being hosted by my nice friend Bradley Denton (sick of that phrase already, aren't you, Brad?)

Vocals and drums by Bradley, bass by Casey Hamilton (I think), and guitar-wankery by, well.... me. I'd like to warn you that there's a lot of loud drum playing and vocals, and especially, guitar-wankery in this song.

It's raw as sushi. Brad sounds amazing, IMHO.

The tape was incredibly messed up. A buzz that was louder than the music, and cassette hiss like a cobra spitting at you. I got rid of those. The mike was at the back of the ballroom, so it picked up every bit of crowd chatter to be had. I couldn't get rid of all of that without badly messing up the overall frequency curve. Sorry about that. Would have done better if I'd had more time.

I kept the process simple, quick, and dirty, so you'll hear it much as the original audience did.

I have complex memories about Los Blues Guys. I always felt stressed, anxious, and vastly under-rehearsed every time we got up. We didn't carry off every song on wings of creative genius, to say the least.

But sometimes we rocked the house.

Software tools used:

Magix Audio Cleaning Lab 10 for recording, de-hissing, and noise-reduction.

Reaper 1.37 used for editing and processing. There will be much more here about Reaper from me in the future. It's a mind-blowing app that you will soon own if you have any desire whatsoever to make music with your computer.

VST audio-processing plug-ins: Voxengo VoxFormer, TLS Maximizer, TLS Pocket Limiter, Voxengo SPAN.


Bradley Denton said...

One minor correction, and one question:
The correction: This gig was AggieCon 1992, not ArmadilloCon. Trust me.
The question: Even with modern software, how'd you manage to dub in Stevie Ray?

Morgan J Locke said...


Rory Harper said...

Hi, guys! This one was lots of fun to make!

And thanks for the Stevie compliment. As a guitarist, I could never even touch his shoes, of course.

I'll change the post to AggieCon, but the label on the cassette is ArmaDillocon...

Jayme Lynn Blaschke said...

Dude, I WANT copies of those tapes!

Steven Gould said...

(Charge 'im. Remind 'im that we gave 'im "Leonardo's Hands" for free.)

Rory Harper said...

Hey, Jayme!! Great to see you here!

...Actually, considering how easy it was to clean the cassette recording up, I'm thinking about doing a CD of 'Greatest Hits of Los Blues Guys'.

You'll be the first to get one, becuase you published 'Leonardo's Hands'.

Unlike Unca Stevie, I am not an ungrateful wretch.

Jayme Lynn Blaschke said...

Once they go Hollywood, it's all about the money...

Steven Gould said...

I've listened to it again, but I just gotta say....

More cowbell.

Bradley Denton said...

It is with great chagrin that I must admit two things:
Rory was right.
Even worse, I was wrong.
This version of "Texas Flood" WAS the one we did at ArmadilloCon 1992.
(I just found the old VHS tape of our AggieCon '92 performance . . . and while it contains "Texas Flood," it's not the same version as this one.)
To make up for my error, I will remaster the track myself -- and dub in more cowbell.

Rory Harper said...

As Bill the Cat would say, "Thhbbbbbttt"!

Rory Harper said...

Also, I'm down with more cowbell... Go to it, dude....