I’ll Be Home For Christmas

I guess I don’t have to go anywhere to be home for Christmas.Home For Christmas

I have two brothers and two sisters, but both our parents have long ago left this world, so we will not all be getting on planes tomorrow and traveling somewhere to get “home” for Christmas. The notion always appealed to me, though, when we used to do it. Now that I think of it, I realize that home was where Mom was, wherever that might be. It felt good to be together with them all, in her warm home.

As I mentioned in my previous post (and elsewhere), I love Christmas music, and after Blue Girl teamed up with Neddie Jingo to give us all a song for Christmas two years ago I decided I’d like to get in on the fun. Since Blue Girl wouldn’t do it with me (sing, I mean) last year I performed alone. It was so much fun for me that I’m doing it again this year, and since I really am home, the song I chose is “I’ll Be Home For Christmas,” by Buck Ram, Kim Gannon and Walter Kent, made famous by Bing Crosby in 1943.

Too late, I realized that it was beyond me to pull this one off. I ended up spending this evening just trying to make it presentable. I promise next year I’ll tackle something that is within my power. In the mean time, won’t you please give a listen to my 2008 Christmas song?

For last year’s selection, go here.

And I have to tell you that you really should check out Blue Girl’s and Neddie Jingo’s three Christmas Collaborations, here, here and this year’s surprising tune here.

I wish every one of you a very Merry Christmas, unless you celebrate something different than me, in which case I wish you peace, love and beauty.

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For those geeks who might like to know this stuff, here’s how this was recorded: I used a monster PC that I built myself, and a multitrack recording application called Sonar 7. The gorgeous electric piano is actually a Roland D-50 Linear Synthesizer, an 80’s-era relic that can make sounds which have still never been duplicated. The guitar is a Schecter Blackjack solid body with Seymour Duncan humbucking pickups (I used only the neck pickup) played through an old Line 6 Pod. The orchestral sounds are string samples from a Roland software synth (inside the PC), triggered by me playing the D-50. So there are just three instruments and one voice on the recording, all performed by me, even though I don’t know how to play keyboards.

Here’s my log of the evening’s activities:

7:13 PM (PST): Have to finish this thing tonight, or else I might as well wait until next year. Six vocal takes last night, for a total of 13. I think I finally got a usable one, but was too tired to listen to it. This really makes me feel like an amateur. I hope my singing is good enough. Nuts to those jerks who say “Good enough, isn’t.”

7:48 PM: OK, the vocal will have to do. A little reverb, and brighten it a bit. Now must fill up long, boring passage in the middle where nothing is happening. I’d like to do something with chimes or some Christmas-y sound, but no time. Must be guitar – only instrument I actually know how to play.

8:28 PM: This would sound better on acoustic guitar, but I’d have to put new strings on the Gibson, plus it would really hurt my fingers. I’ll try for a Larry Carlton vibe with the Blackjack.

9:44 PM: FUCK! I’ll never finish this. I’m in over my head. What was I thinking? I can’t play this kind of song. Plus, I used the electric guitar, and my fingers hurt anyway.

10:10 PM: Well, the guitar part ain’t good enough, but it isn’t gonna get any better tonight. Now, let’s see about the string part.

10:54 PM: Strings. Ha! Who needs string players, with their prima donna attitudes?

10:56 PM: It’s sparse, but I think it’s finished. I should learn to stop before I clutter it all up.

11:10 PM: Why is the mix so lopsided?

11:11 PM: Barb’s gone to bed, so I have to finish this on headphones. I hope it doesn’t suck when I hear it in the morning.

12:25 AM Christmas Eve: OK, I’m putting it up. I’m worried about the mix, but it’s too late to fix. Must get some sleep.

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7 Replies to “I’ll Be Home For Christmas”

  1. Ah, Larry. Your recording is just beautiful — including your guitar and voice. I’ve always loved “I’ll be Home for Christmas” … and I loved last year’s “Jingle Bell Rock”, too.

    I wish I could sing, but chickens fall over dead and cats start yowling when I try. Thanks for making me smile. Now I’m off to bake some peach/raspberry pies and wrap presents. Merry Christmas!

  2. I think I finally got a usable one, but was too tired to listen to it. This really makes me feel like an amateur. I hope my singing is good enough.

    It’s tough to do this all alone, isn’t it? Every year I wish I was with a bunch of music lovers who could give me feedback. (Although, I don’t take direction very well! lol — I can still dream, can’t I?)

    Your singing was *great!* Like I wrote in my little post — reminded me of Leon Russell.

    I’d love to hear you do “A Song for You.” One of my very favorite songs ever.

  3. Ha! Willie Nelson, Leon Russell. I love those guys, but they are only allowed to sing in public because they are great songwriters. Since I don’t have that gift, I guess I’d best polish up my singing a bit more. Thanks for listening, though!

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