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Steve Wilson

A Couple Of Toe Tappers

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Here's a couple of songs to get the toes tapping.

 

The first is one is fairly well known in Oz and was done by Australian country singer Kasey Chambers, an inane song of lost love, her bloke takes off with another gal. I was wondering about changing the words to make it gender correct for a male singer but then realised I didn't have to. These days it's not unusual for a wife or girlfriend to dump their bloke and take up with another lady! Kasey sings it with a contrived American accent. I had to be careful to avoid that country twang. Here ya go.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mj4jIILT1vI

 

Here's another, the old San Francisco Bay Blues.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WIch3lDVzC0

 

I like that these songs are a bit boppy. Both have a click beat, you'll see. I've been trying to develop a style of rhythm with my playing but am undecided about whether I'm really happy with it. Sometimes the chording sounds a bit too full perhaps. They're recorded with my little portable digital recorder which probably doesn't help.

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Perhaps the concertina is a bit strong in the mix ? Could you play it more quietly whilst singing ?

 

I guess if you were using a voice mic ,on stage, the balance that you are creating would be corrected but it sounds as if your recorder is closer to the concertina than your voice.

 

However all that, you are doing some good stuff on the 'Leather Ferret' thanks for posting!

 

Geoff.

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Very nice efforts, Steve - charming and confident!

 

As to critique, as Geoff said, the tracks don't seem to be really well-recorded. However, I guess I would try to break up this very compact sound of your accompaniment, make it somewhat lighter in the outcome (however you may approach that)...

 

Long live self-accompanied concertina song...!

Best wishes - Wolf

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Perhaps the concertina is a bit strong in the mix ? Could you play it more quietly whilst singing ?

 

I guess if you were using a voice mic ,on stage, the balance that you are creating would be corrected but it sounds as if your recorder is closer to the concertina than your voice.

 

G'day Guys,

 

The Parnassus is such a loud instrument. It responds well when played quietly too but gosh it requires a very light touch on the bellows. I'm working on it. I was conscious of balance while recording and did my best. The recorder sat next to the camera and was angled to face above my head but the concertina woundn't be subdued.

 

For stage I have a wonderful mic, a Sennheiser Mk4, and also angle it high to refine the balance. No more mics hanging off the concertina, no wires, I can move around a bit. I haven't been able to get it to record very well at home, issues with my sound card or program perhaps. Shall have to get it sorted.

 

cheers

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The Parnassus is such a loud instrument. It responds well when played quietly too but gosh it requires a very light touch on the bellows. I'm working on it. I was conscious of balance while recording and did my best. The recorder sat next to the camera and was angled to face above my head but the concertina woundn't be subdued.

 

This, for me, is a very interesting point Steve. I know well that different concertinas of the exact same model can vary quite a bit in their sound output, often to do with how they are set up or the period they were made, but your old Wheaststone is not one of the quieter types surely?

 

So,you are saying the Parnassus is soooo much louder that you are having difficulty concentrating on getting a delicate enough touch on it to get a good balance with your voice.....Hmmmm! For my use,playing in a dance band, I do have a loud EC with good dynamics but the tone quality can get slightly 'edgy' ( cutting). This crisp/sharp tone probably accounts for some of its carrying power and, although it is not as annoying as some models, I would not mind to have a fuller, rounder tone that I think I am hearing from your new baby.

 

My spy on the ground, downunder, has sent a descriptive report which is very interesting, your Parnassus made a positive impression!

 

I'd be interested in your, or anybody's, assessment of the sound and tone.... don't look like I'm going to get down to OZ any time soon. Perhaps there is someone in Europe who has bought a Parnassus that I might try ?

 

Geoff.

Edited by Geoff Wooff

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Steve, do you always perform standing ?

 

Yep, always when performing and rehearsing, mostly when practicing. On stage people can see one more easily(as I can them, and relate to them) and standing exibits a degree of authority and control of the performance. Plus when I play I actually transfer energy from my whole body to the concertina.

 

 

 

The Parnassus is such a loud instrument. It responds well when played quietly too but gosh it requires a very light touch on the bellows. I'm working on it. I was conscious of balance while recording and did my best. The recorder sat next to the camera and was angled to face above my head but the concertina woundn't be subdued.

 

This, for me, is a very interesting point Steve. I know well that different concertinas of the exact same model can vary quite a bit in their sound output, often to do with how they are set up or the period they were made, but your old Wheaststone is not one of the quieter types surely?

 

So,you are saying the Parnassus is soooo much louder that you are having difficulty concentrating on getting a delicate enough touch on it to get a good balance with your voice.....Hmmmm! For my use,playing in a dance band, I do have a loud EC with good dynamics but the tone quality can get slightly 'edgy' ( cutting). This crisp/sharp tone probably accounts for some of its carrying power and, although it is not as annoying as some models, I would not mind to have a fuller, rounder tone that I think I am hearing from your new baby.

 

My spy on the ground, downunder, has sent a descriptive report which is very interesting, your Parnassus made a positive impression!

 

I'd be interested in your, or anybody's, assessment of the sound and tone.... don't look like I'm going to get down to OZ any time soon. Perhaps there is someone in Europe who has bought a Parnassus that I might try ?

 

Geoff.

 

 

I think I know that spy. CG001 your cover is blown. I wish I could give an authoritative assessment of sound and tone but I really don't have the experience or the ear. All I can say is it seems pure of tone and it's improved a lot since I've been playing it for nine months. Next time I cross paths with CG we should sit down with it and I'll take notes.

Edited by Steve Wilson

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Very nice efforts, Steve - charming and confident!

 

As to critique, as Geoff said, the tracks don't seem to be really well-recorded. However, I guess I would try to break up this very compact sound of your accompaniment, make it somewhat lighter in the outcome (however you may approach that)...

 

I'd agree with Wolf here Steve. Lovely performance, but I find the accompaniment a bit heavy, in particular the long held LH notes seem to me at odds with what you're doing rhythmically. I could imagine a sparser, more punchy approach to the LH would work better, and the 2nd piece in particular cries out for an alternating bass line - to give it a sort of ragtime feel.

 

I wouldn't worry about faining an American accent - as long as you put your heart into it, the emotion will come through and nobody will worry about the accent. In the UK we had to wait for the Sex Pistols to get real English accents in pop music!

 

 

Steve, do you always perform standing ?

 

Yep, always when performing and rehearsing, mostly when practicing. On stage people can see one more easily(as I can them, and relate to them) and standing exibits a degree of authority and control of the performance. Plus when I play I actually transfer energy from my whole body to the concertina.

 

Me too, for the same reasons. I also find it helps with singing - at least I feel I can give better support standing.

 

Hope this helps,

 

Adrian

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I'd agree with Wolf here Steve. Lovely performance, but I find the accompaniment a bit heavy, in particular the long held LH notes seem to me at odds with what you're doing rhythmically. I could imagine a sparser, more punchy approach to the LH would work better, and the 2nd piece in particular cries out for an alternating bass line - to give it a sort of ragtime feel.

 

Adrian

 

 

Thanks for the critique Adrian, much appreciated. I'm reasonably happy with "Lonesome" but "San Francisco" I agree is a bit heavy. There is quite a bit long holding of notes (chords) with the RH too, but there is the melody line tucked in, perhaps a bit swamped. I'm going to to lighten up this song. As for an alternating bass line, there's not a lot of bass on an english treble but you've motivated me to give it a crack.

 

Cheers Steve.

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Steve, you are my hero. What fine stuff. Made my day to hear it.

 

Yes, about the mic placement. Just put it lots closer to your mouth and give a test listen before recording to avoid less than perfect surprises with balance.

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Oh yes, I've also been working on standing when performing and practicing songs. Steve you are so right about that, but I know I play better sitting, so I think of it as a compromise. I am very happy with a bar stool if it's on the short side, so I can both stand and sit at will without changing levels too much.

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Oh yes, I've also been working on standing when performing and practicing songs. Steve you are so right about that, but I know I play better sitting, so I think of it as a compromise. I am very happy with a bar stool if it's on the short side, so I can both stand and sit at will without changing levels too much.

 

I think it's just a question of balance, and dogged determination to make it work standing. I often think I need to learn things twice, first sitting, then again standing to re-align my fingers with the buttons, but it is hard work and can be tiring. In the past, when I felt like giving up, I watched that video of Percy Honri chucking his huge duet around while standing and that gave a lot of inspiration! There are not many pieces in our repertoire that have defeated me thus far, though my big FC is a heavy beast, and some of the more classical pieces we play, I do sitting. I occasionally like to sit for more intimate songs, where I feel it can be a bit "in your face" to sing them standing, and putting them in a concert gives arms and shoulders a bit of relief. Without wishing to take this post too far off topic, has anyone from the Irish tradition ever played standing?

 

 

Adrian

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