My Musical Anthology

Thar’s A Skunk in the Outhouse….

Over my lifetime as a struggling musician I have written several songs falling into several different genres but it was late in my musical tenure before I was inspired enough or tempted enough to write a song that by any stretch of the imagination could actually reside the Bluegrass genre. I have always really liked Bluegrass but just never was in a position to play that type music.

But in the late 1990’s that is indeed the challenge I embarked upon. I had actually been inspired to do so indirectly by the branch manager of the company I was working for at the time. He came in to work one morning telling of this incident occurring the night before at his home and about how they had to deal with a skunk that had gotten into their garage. For some inexplicable reason my mind immediately made the strange correlation of that skunk in a garage to a skunk in an outhouse. Both subjects, the skunk and the outhouse, bred thoughts of unpleasing odors course based on the odors one might incur when approaching either. Besides, if you approach an outhouse and are met with a unpleasing odor, how do you really know it’s not because there is really a skunk in the outhouse? 🙂

Skunk and Outhouse

Shortly thereafter I came up with the title, “Thar’s A Skunk in the Outhouse” for a song I had yet to write. So there I was, I had the title… all I needed now was a musical ditty to carry the title. I immediately got to work in my little studio with the synthesizers that I loving refer to as “The Electric Key Orchestra” and in a short time we had that little musical ditty, for better or worse.

And that, in conclusion, brings us to my music selection posted below….

“Thar’s A Skunk in the Outhouse” – featuring The Electric Key Orchestra

I’ve never really been sure if the critics who watch over the Bluegrass genre would bring me up on charges or sue me for claiming to be a Bluegrass songwriter but given the fact that only a handful of people have even heard the song, I feel fairly safe. I do however have a good Facebook friend who is quite versed in the genre who may report this as Internet abuse to Mark Zuckerburg once its shared to an unwary public….

The Mater Man….

Featuring “The Mater Man Song”

Tomatoes - 05Somewhere down in Elmore County, Alabama legend has it that he still roams the hills and hollers of that county looking for hallowed ground to once again lay the seed of his beloved tomato plant. Some say they’ve seen him, others have said they’ve only smelled him but were the truth to be known, no one knows for sure. There are two mysteries that still seem to haunt the Old South, one is the illusive Sasquatch and the other, the Mater Man.

Thinking back now on how it all started I recall it was around 1988 and I had recently been transferred to a General Electric Lexan Plant located a few miles from Montgomery, Alabama where the company I worked for was doing some modification work at that plant. What was great about that assignment was that my best friend whom I had worked with for a number of years had also been transferred there, which was a real plus for him since he was from the area. His name was Jimmy and he and his family had a really nice place with some acreage in a small little village called Santuck, about twenty or so miles from Montgomery.

Now Jimmy loved tomatoes and decided that spring that he was going to raise some tomatoes on part of his land. Well, when it was all said and done, he had put a piece of land in tomatoes about the size of a football field. When I asked him what the hell he was going to do with all those tomatoes when those plants started producing, his response was, “We’ll give a few of them to family and friends of course but the large majority of them we’ll eat.” I could only cautiously nod at his response while continuing to harbor my doubt.

Tomatoes - 04

Well when the tomatoes came in, as luck would have it he had by all accounts a bumper crop. They produced and produced, and then they produced some more. Can you imagine a family of five with a football field of tomatoes getting ripe on the vine? He ended up an undeniably big mess but for me it was a joy to watch and a source of unlimited humor. And he was eating tomato sandwiches for weeks at work. But to the point of this post…..

I decided I needed to try and write a little musical ditty in an effort to immortalize my friend and his tomatoes. Musically speaking, I had everything I needed to accomplish that project including a pretty sophisticated tape recorder that allowed me to lay down multiple tracks which allowed me to sing along with myself and over-dub up to four different tracks so I could get fairly fancy with my creation. I also decided that rather than writing a new melody, using the tune for “The Banana Boat Song” would do perfectly for my project. So it was that one particular Saturday I sat down, wrote some words for my ode to Jimmy’s tomatoes and recorded the song which I have posted below. Perhaps for your listening pleasure – perhaps not!

(“The Mater Man Song” – featuring Alan Ginocchio)

Well, as I understand it now, the recording has become a family heirloom much to the dismay of Jimmy. Oh, he loved it, but you would never get him to admit it. It’s rumored that the following year that his wife had suggested he plant some of those giant sunflowers in lieu of tomatoes. Now I’m not sure how much land he put into sunflowers that following year but again rumor has it the Atlanta Braves and a host of the southeast United States minor league baseball teams had gotten their summer stock of sunflower seeds for that year from a secret location somewhere in Elmore County, Alabama.

I’ve seen Jimmy a few times over the years since then and he doesn’t seem to want to talk too much about his days as a part time farmer. He did confide in me that he still loves tomato sandwiches but I did notice during our visit that he was continuously spitting out sunflower seed shells. I understand that this there is a serious pumpkin shortage this year and pumpkin growers are hoping for a better year next year. I suppose I should suggest to Jimmy the possibility of putting his land in pumpkins this upcoming year but I really do hesitate to do so. You just know once I do that, Halloween will just never be the same…

And then there was the gospel music tour….

Featuring “Mercy Rewrote My Life”

Alan Ginocchio - Album Art 02There have been times in some of my past blogs I have posted some of my personal music and recordings for public consumption but it has always been quite limited. I often think that the reason for that is that I just don’t want to give any wrong impressions of who I am or even more importantly, what I think of myself when it comes to my music. Music is one of my first loves… I loved playing it and especially loved singing it because singing is a way to express and share your personal emotions with friends and strangers in a way you could never do otherwise. In the truest sense it’s a very honest way of saying, “This is who I am.”

Although those days have since gone for me unfortunately and I am no longer able to express myself through music any longer, the desire within still remains. I lost my voice for the most part in the mid 1990’s and pretty much due to that loss, several years later donated ‘all’ my musical equipment and audio gear to North Little Rock High School.

With that said, I have decided to start posting recordings of a lot of that music that I have accumulated over the years. A few of the recordings will have been previously posted in earlier blogs while others will not have been.

As odd as it may seem, I finally came to a conclusion that I wanted to do this basically for me. There will come a day not too far into the future for me that indeed will reflect the line from Don McLean’s “American Pie” which is “the day the music died”. Call it my last musical hoorah if you will. So with that perhaps somber prelude I shall begin….

It seems that many musicians and singers over their lifespan of entertaining seem to enter their ‘gospel’ period. There can be a number of reasons for this change in their chosen musical repertoire but be that as it may, we often see the transition.

My personal embarkation into the gospel realm would occur in the early 1990’s and perhaps in a way could now be perceived as somewhat of an omen as to what would follow only a few short years down the road. That being the complete loss of my singing voice and regardless of the quality of one’s talent in that realm, losing that voice is in all truth heartbreaking. I try to look a lighter side of the ordeal and just tell folks that apparently the good Lord decided that I may have chosen to ruin a lot of other folk’s songs but His music wasn’t going to suffer from the same fate.

I’ve written, or at least written at, several gospel songs over the years but the only ones I ever actually got around to recording were those I did using ‘tract’ tapes of other folk’s songs. Those of course are commercial music tracks of specific songs that are recorded and when played allow an individual to sing along, karaoke style if you get my drift. One of those songs, the song posted below, was the first of those gospel songs that I recorded and remains one of my personal favorites….

“Mercy Rewrote My Life”

To be continued, for better or worse… 🙂

The Electric Key Orchestra’s rendition of “Smile”….

Technically speaking, we know it as a ‘pseudonym’ although it is more commonly known as a pen name, a nickname, or even a stage or screen name. In my particular case, it is used to identify both a musician and the instrument which I play. And that brings us to our subject, “The Electric Key Orchestra”, which is the name I coined for myself some years back based primarily on the fact that I play synthesizers. Synthesizers are normally keyboard instruments (thus the “key”), electrically powered (thus the “electric”) and containing a sundry of internally generated electronic sounds, many of which imitate various musical instruments thus giving way finally to the “orchestra” reference.

So within the context of my own personal musical anthology when you see the name “The Electric Key Orchestra” associated with any of my recordings it is normally going to be an instrumental piece of music consisting of various orchestrated synthesizer sounds, the majority of which are emulating various musical instruments whether it be drums, brass, strings, bass guitars, pianos and/or organs.

My last little home studio where I played, arranged and recorded synthesizer music is encapsulated for the most part in the photograph below. I dismantled the studio sometime around 2007, then donating my equipment to the local high school.

Music Room - October 2006(Click to Enlarge)

As a particular example of the music I was producing prior to that time, I have posted one of my own personal favorites below. Written by none other than Charlie Chaplin, it had its roots in the 1936 movie “Modern Times” and was an instrumental theme used and played in certain scenes of that film where it was intended to convey the thought that no matter how bad things might get in our lives, there was still always something left to ‘smile’ about. At that time it had neither a title nor lyrics but in 1954 a couple of modern day lyricists, John Turner and Geoffrey Parsons, added the song’s lyrics and title, still remaining completely true to the original intent of the music. The song would be titled “Smile” and shortly thereafter released as a recording by Nat “King” Cole which would peak at #10 on the Pop Charts that same year.

The song is normally presented as a slow, melancholy ballad but in my arrangement I have tried to lighten that melancholy mood and have tried to extract the more positive message of the lyric’s intent which is to just smile and get on with life, therefore I have constructed a much more lively arrangement.

(“Smile” – The Electric Key Orchestra)

Old Rugged Cross….

Perhaps almost impossible to imagine in these days and times, religious songs in days long gone by would from time to time make it into what we refer to these days as the “Pop Charts” which did exist in those days, just perhaps in a somewhat different format along with a much different way of tabulation.

And one of the songs in particular making its way onto those charts which may surprise some was the classic gospel song, “Old Rugged Cross”, which entered the “Pop Charts” of those days in March of 1921 and was to peak at Number 5 during its tenure on the charts. The song was released on Victor Records and was sung by Homer Rodeheaver and Virginia Asher.

It became over the years one of the ‘standards’ in the gospel genre and still maintains its popularity today with many, including myself. One of the songs I recorded in the early 1990s on ‘trac’ tapes was the “Old Rugged Cross” and I have included it in my post today….

(“Old Rugged Cross” – featuring Alan Ginocchio)

Recorded in the fall of 1994, this would be the last song I ever recorded, vocally speaking, due to the deterioration and subsequent loss of my voice. And although it was sung in the upper range of my voice where I seldom spent any quality time, it remains one of my favorites of what few songs I did record.

“When He Was On the Cross (I was on His mind)” – Alan Ginocchio

Bill Clinton and My “Yellow Bird”….

Bill ClintonOn a previous blog a few years back I related the story of an encounter I had with Bill Clinton while moonlighting at a restaurant playing organ and singing back in the mid-seventies. I submitted the story this morning for publishing consideration to our local state newspaper and thought, “What the heck, why not just post it and expand on it a bit here on the blog!”

The story revolves around a song made popular back in the sixties. The song titled “Yellow Bird” was released by a group called the “Arthur Lymon Group”. The year was 1961 and the song charted on the Pop Charts at Number 4. The famed “Lawrence Welk” also had a version that sustained some measure of popularity. If you don’t quite remember the song – then give it a listen….

“Yellow Bird” – Arthur Lymon Group

But as to my association with the lovely song and what if anything it had to do with our past President Bill Clinton, well I’ll let you decide for youself. Below is the article as submitted….

“Bill Clinton & My Yellow Bird”

Yellow BirdI think it would be fair to assume that most citizens who exercise their right to vote do so with some measure of discern and understanding – both on the issues and in regard to their chosen candidate’s positions. Perhaps on the other hand however there are those of us who from time to time make casting their vote more of a personal thing. I would like to say that I have never found myself to be quite that superficial in choosing a candidate but alas, that is something that I cannot say unfortunately. I can certainly recall one particular instance that instigated that to be precisely the case.

It was in the early fall of 1976 and as I often did back in those days, I was moonlighting filling my evenings by playing organ and singing at a local restaurant, The Marina, located in Lake Dardanelle State Park in Russellville, Arkansas. It was your typical weekday evening and business at the restaurant was relative slow on the evening in question.

As I recall I had barely begun playing a favorite old instrumental of mine from my repertoire, “Yellow Bird”, when the front door of the restaurant opened and in walked a young man in gentlemanly attire and smiling for no apparent reason from ear to ear. He immediately started shuffling from table to table, greeting the customers with a loud voice, laughing loudly and talking to any mouth not encumbered with chewing or shaking any hand that wasn’t preoccupied with an eating utensil.

As I earnestly labored at the task of weaving the melody of the beautiful “Yellow Bird” between the loud talking and laughing I became more and more irritated at this loud-mouthed imbecile who had rudely interrupted my digestive concert. At some point I finally cut my song somewhat short and curtly announced to my unsettled audience I would be taking a break. In fact, it crossed my mind that perhaps inviting the a** hole who interrupted my lovely “Yellow Bird” out to the parking lot might be in order – business suit or not.

Well, the first thing I did after leaving my bench behind the organ was to approach the owner who was sitting at a small corner table by chance and immediately queried her as to who that loud mouthed idiot was? She chuckled and informed me it was some ‘not so dry behind the ears yet’ wanna-be politician named Bill Clinton running for State Attorney General and he had apparently stopped in to do a little campaigning. I immediately chimed in with a rather loud and emphatic, “Well the a** hole won’t be getting my vote!”, secretly hoping of course that my words of displeasure would somehow knife their way across the room imposing on his rhetoric and raining on his parade.

I then got myself a glass of refreshment, lit up a cigarette and went and found my own corner of despair and drowned my misery in my iced tea! He finally left shortly thereafter and things in my world were seemingly restored back to some semblance of order so I returned not long after to my musical perch and finished out the evening.

But when November rolled around a month or so later, well I suspect I don’t have to tell anyone who I “did not” vote for! I suppose in hindsight my self-sought justice was for naught since casting my vote in perhaps a vindictive manner to keep it out of the hands of my yellow bird nemesis had little bite since he was elected to his first public office in spite of my efforts. And is often the case, misery sometimes manifests itself in “3’s” as we’ve all learned. That proved to be the case because in the election cycle two years later my yellow bird nemesis was elected Governor of Arkansas – that’s “2”. And after years of continued convalescing from the traumatic event I had suffered, in 1992 he gets elected to you know what – President of the United States and that’s “3”!

Pets - 004That was almost forty years ago and as I think back on it all now, I suppose in my old age I have mellowed out and don’t any longer hold any measure of grudge against the fellow. He never, ever got my vote but as these things often turn out – it seems he never needed it. And you know he actually turned out to be quite a likable fellow when it was all said and done.

But, just as most folks probably think of Christmas anytime they hear “Jingle Bells”, so it remains to this day that anytime I hear “Yellow Bird”, well I’m forced to think of Bill Clinton!

That’s pretty much the whole thing I suppose. After initially posting this story on my blog some years back as I mentioned in the beginning, I did decide to play and record my own version of this piece of music in the quite of my home studio well away from any possible interruptions. Although I never quite completed it, which was not unusual for me when I was still writing and arranging, I have included just a short excerpt of my recording and arrangement below and I should again note that “The Electric Key Orchestra” was a pseudomym I used in lieu of my real name – but then that in itself is another story.…

“Yellow Bird” – The Electic Key Orchestra

And with that, I leave you with yet another blog post that just seems to go on and on and on…. :?’

The Organ Man….

Organ Man 1(The Organ Man)

I recently posted something on Facebook which I thought should certainly appear here, if for no other reason than posterity’s sake, especially given the fact that my record for staying with Facebook is even more dismal than that of my so called blogging career.

When I began my moonlighting career as a ‘piano man’, well in my case I played an organ rather than a piano so I have always considered myself an ‘organ man’. In fact if I may, let me take a moment to address a tad-bit of awkwardness with regard to that situation….

When I began my moonlighting career playing and singing music in restaurants and lounges there was no definitive term or title for my particular expertise. Most musicians who played in restaurants and lounges had come to be known as a “piano man”, which as many may know was so eloquently immortalized in the song by Billy Joel of the same title. But for me and select others who had chosen the organ rather than the piano as their instrument of choice, being referred to as an “organ man” seemed to carry a distasteful connotation of sorts. So those musicians like me had to be to a degree somewhat careful with how they worded and discussed their particular talent.

Case and point – I recall my mother relating a story to me about one of her friends who had shared with her a comment she had made about my organ playing. Seems my mother’s friend had told one of her friends about my playing and told her I could make an organ talk. The friend immediately responded that she would like to meet any man that could make an organ talk! So…. Perhaps that will help a little in understanding just what organ players have to deal with from time to time.

Anyway, back to my subject story! A somewhat similar incident that was a little more difficult to escape occurred while I was living and working in Russellville, Arkansas in the mid-seventies. As was usually the case I was doing a little playing on the side while living there. At the time I was playing at a restaurant whose owners would, from time to time, run an ad in the local newspaper touting one of their weekly food specials and would also advertise the fact that there was live entertainment also at the restaurant appearing at select times during the week.

I awoke one morning to find one of those larger-than-life advertisements greeting me that I just knew was going to cause me a tremendous amount of grief from my co-workers who could be absolutely relentless in delving out good-natured kidding. And the ad which was going to be supplying their fodder for days, if not weeks to come, is posted below….

Organ Man 2(Newspaper Advertisement – Russellville, Arkansas)

Certainly one could easily pass blame around for this fiasco, starting with the newspaper itself. But then if you are in my shoes you have to try and make something positive out of it. Being the single guy that I was I finally decided, “What the heck, a little advertisement never hurt anyone!” 🙂

Back to the Sixties…. 1962 to be exact!

I have in the past, with the exception of the previous post, posted very little in the way of daily posts relating to me and my long-time association with music. The biographical information posted in “The Dawdler’s Music” along with associated chapters found under the “Pages” section on my blog’s left-hand menu present more of an overview. I have decided to at least post a little of that detailed music and personal history from time to time in the coming weeks and months here on the blog, if for no other reason than for biographical scrapbooking purposes. The days have long since come and gone when I nurtured dreams and aspirations with regard to the fame and fortune of a celebrity status. Now, for better or worse, it is simply what it has always been – one’s love for music and the conduit it provides to share one’s soul with others.

I began writing music as a teenager, not long after taking up the accordion and beginning lessons on that instrument. I penned my first song around the age of seventeen or so and that was the beginning of my music writing. I was not a prolific writer since time constraints of life seem to imposition themselves, distracting me from the solace and quiet that I seemed to need for my writing. I eventually recorded the first four songs I had written whose writing had spanned several years.

It was in the mid to late fifties that I began nurturing dreams of becoming a famous recording star. Elvis Presley and Ricky Nelson were little aware of the threat I posed as I stood lurking in the shadows of future stardom. I’m sure most can relate to those type fantasies fed by our youth.

It was in 1958 when I wrote my first song with both words and music and had titled it “I Wonder Why I Wonder”. I guess you could say it was somewhat in the style of those old fifties songs, a mournful teenage ballad. The next year, in 1959, I wrote my second song titled “I Remember the Night”. Of course, like many song writers, the inspirations as to subject matter was to a degree based on personal experiences – especially at that age.

Although I played the accordion and my idols played the guitar, I was determined not to let that hold me back. After I joined the Air Force in 1961 and after completing my basic training and graduating from Air Force tech school in mid-1962, I was transferred to Clinton-Sherman Air Force Base located some 100 miles or so due West of Oklahoma City via the famous Route 66. The air base, however, has long since been closed.

After getting to my new base in Oklahoma I penned a couple more songs, “A Lonely, Lonely Boy”, which was also a ballad and my first upbeat song titled, “Arabian Love”. So my illustrious song writing career spanning some five years had netted four songs and little else.

While stationed there at that air base I often played my accordion along with a couple other guitar pickers who resided there in the barracks. Eventually one thing led to another and one of these fellows started dating a girl who sang and was a member of her high school trio in a nearby town. After meeting her myself at some point, I began wondering if she and the other girls in the trio might consider getting together and singing sometime. I finally asked the girl who my friend was dating if she and the other two girls in their trio might be interested in forming a singing group for the sole purpose of recording some songs I had written. After hearing the songs she and the two other girls agreed to getting together and working out some arrangements.

In the meantime, I began searching the Oklahoma City phone book to see if there was a recording studio somewhere that we could make a demonstration record and that I could afford. After all when you’re making $85 a month in the military, you are likely to be quite limited in your choices! I finally found one and to make a long story short once we got our act together I made an appointment with the studio for a particular Saturday. In addition, the studio furnished musicians who would provide the music for us so I had finally reached the “big-time”. Oh, and in case you’re wondering, the cost was to be $90 and they were going to give me three months to pay it off.

Prior to going to Oklahoma City we thought we should have a name for our group and we eventually came up with “The Laurels” (law-rels). A week before our scheduled appointment one of the girls decided she wanted to drop out so instead of me and three girls, it would be me and two girls. But we still thought it would work.

It eventually all came together, that long anticipated Saturday had arrived and the girls and I, or should I say The Laurels, were off to Oklahoma City and to a real, big time, recording session.

All seem to go well at the recording session, given the fact we were all nervous wrecks. We finished recording the four songs late that afternoon although as a matter of historical note I should mention that I actually finished writing the song, Arabian Love, while we were outside in the car waiting for our recording session to start. After doing the recording we immediately headed back home. We had ordered ten records to reflect our endeavors. The records back then, by the way, were much like the old 78 acetates as you will probably be able to note if you listen to any of the audio clips below. Here is an actual photograph of one of the original records (Clip on the image to enlarge).

First Recording Master - 900x900

It was a few weeks later that we received the souvenirs of our outing and were of course elated. When I left there for an overseas assignment I lost contact with the girls but it was a special time for me and I hope for them, it was the same.

But now to the songs which I have posted below but I must warn they are in terrible shape. They sound worse than your mother’s old 78’s but one can get some sense of the music. I still have one of those old records which is where these recordings came from so you can imagine from the scratchy, muffled sounds of the music the shape that old record must be in. I have also included the lyrics to the songs in case some may actually want to know what is being sung!

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“I Wonder Why I Wonder” – The Laurels (Written by Alan Ginocchio)

I wonder if she loves me
The way I hope she loves me
I wonder why I wonder
Why must I always wonder, wonder, wonder

I wonder if she dreams of me
The way I pray she dreams of me
I wonder why I wonder
Oh tell me why I must just wonder

I wonder if she’s crying
The way I feel like crying
I wonder why I wonder
Oh darling please don’t make me wonder, wonder, wonder

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“I Remember the Night” – The Laurels (Written by Alan Ginocchio)

On the first day we met we both fell in love
And I knew you had been sent from the heavens above
But with tears in my eyes – and pain in my heart
I remember, remember the night your friends tore us apart

I told you how I loved you each hour of the day
And with each breath your name I would say
But your friends were telling you I was untrue
I remember, remember the night they broke your heart into

On that night they told you I found someone new
And I’ll never, never know just why you thought it true
But I hope you’ll remember the tear in my eye
‘Cause I’ll always remember the night our hearts said goodbye

Remember the night…..

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“A Lonely, Lonely Boy” – The Laurels (Written by Alan Ginocchio)

A lonely boy can dream of a girl
But without her near it’s a lonely world
For a lonely, lonely boy

He sees her beauty thru the roses in the lane
He sees her tears in the sadness of the rain
But in his heart the hurt still remains
Of a lonely, lonely, lonely boy

The stars give him the sparkle in her eyes
The clouds write I love you across the skies
Yet in the wind you hear the lonesome sighs
Of a lonely, lonely, lonely boy

And this lonely, lonely boy
In this lonely, lonely world
Will someday find a lonely, lonely girl

Moonlight dresses her in satin and lace
The sunlight gives him her warm embrace
In every crowd you can always find the face
Of a lonely, lonely, lonely boy

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“Arabian Love” – The Laurels (Written by Alan Ginocchio)

Alone in a desert which nature had fled
I looked to the flame which burned near my head

Oh flame of night who’s so warm and so bright
Bring a love to be with me tonight
The flame then towered and reached for the skies
The thunder roared – lightning blinded my eyes

Then out of the flame came a large white steed
His eyes were flashing – his legs burst with speed
Upon his back rode an Arabian girl
Her beauty could never be seen in this world

So burn, flame burn
Give off your magic light
An Arabian love you gave me tonight

As she came to me her splendor I could feel
Only the flame knew she wasn’t real
Then as she kissed me I lost track of time
Arabian love tonight your mine

Then the night shadows ran from the dawn
Like a thousand angels running from the wrong
Then the thunder roared – the lightning flashed
And her love disappeared into the ashes

So burn, flame burn
Give off your magic light
An Arabian love you gave me tonight

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The End

 

The Electric Key Orchestra – Article 1

The songs featured on this page are those songs which have been featured in associated blog posts and are those selections that I have either arranged and recorded or those songs which I have written, arranged and recorded under the pen name of “The Electric Key Orchestra”.

After retiring some three years ago I decided that I would spend some time pursuing some personal musical endeavors in which I had an interest. I have a bit of a passion for older music, some tunes going back as far as the late 1800’s, and that is not music which had a large appeal to my audiences when I was playing in supper clubs and the like. So since retiring my focus in my music endeavors has been toward that type music in particular, along with some of my own music that I have written and arranged.

I suppose now, realistically speaking, my association has now become one which is more of a hobby in nature than any quest for fame and fortune. And in this process I chose a pen name or pseudonym if you will to correctly describe the literal origin of the music I produce and arrange. Since it was in reality electronic music originating from synthesizers, sound modules, and effects processors I decided on the name “The Electric Key Orchestra”. All the music and sounds are initially generated by playing a keyboard so walla…..The Electric Key Orchestra. Below are listed the members that made up The Electric Key Orchestra….

VFX-SD

The first or founding member of the orchestra was purchased in 1988 while I was living in Montgomery, Alabama. It was a synthesizer manufactured by the Ensoniq Corporation and was an Ensoniq VFX-SD synthesizer.

SD-1

By 1991 I had relocated back to North Little Rock, Arkansas which is my hometown and added to my equipment a new generation synthesizer again manufactured by Ensoniq called the Ensoniq SD-1.

SC-55

In addition to the new synthesizer, I also added my first sound module to my setup which was manufactured by the Roland Corporation and was the SC-55.

Alesis Quadraverb

It was in late 1992 that I added yet another member to the orchestra which was an Alesis Quadraverb which was a new generation of effects processors.

JV-1010

In the year 2000 I added yet another sound module by the Roland Corporation which was the JV-1010.

JV-2020

And then in 2005 I added what I consider to be the final member of the orchestra which was yet another sound module from the Roland Corporation and was the JV-2020.

Not unlike other synthesists who have a high regard for the particular equipment they have chosen, the hope is to showcase as best one can those choices through the music produced by them.

The Ensoniq SD-1 synthesizer, which is my designated master keyboard, along with the Ensoniq VFX-SD synthesizer comprise the centerpiece of The Electric Key Orchestra’s sound with additional complimentary sounds being provided by three Roland sound modules. The Roland JV-1010, XV-2020 and the SC-55. An Alesis Quadraverb effects processor rounds out the orchestra’s equipment makeup.

Although both Ensoniq synthesizers have “on-board sequencers”, the sequencing or recording is accomplished utilizing a Dell desktop computer and Cakewalk Sonar software. Any supplemental required sequencing along with any pre-sequenced musical sections may be provided through SoundTrek’s Jammer Pro software and/or PG Music’s Band-In-A-Box software.

TEKO Studio
This photo is an overall look at the small in-home studio where I spend much of my time these days, whether it be blogging or doing a little music production.

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“Smile” – The Electric Key Orchestra

“Thar’s A Skunk In the Outhouse” – The Electric Key Orchestra

“Let Me Call You Sweetheart” – The Electric Key Orchestra

“The Dance of the Northern Sea” – The Electric Key Orchestra