On Friday, September 9, 1988, I recorded my first album.
The recording session started at 6:00 pm and was held in Mayer Auditorium on the campus of Phillips Exeter Academy, Exeter, NH.
I had the help of a trio of gifted and very generous friends.
Frank Cunningham was the recording engineer. He brought all of the recording equipment including a brand new digital audio tape deck that he’d acquired on a recent trip to Japan. (They were not available in the US at that time.)
Anne Black, violist, and Jim Howe, Jazz bass violinist were the “guest artists.” They added their distinct and beautiful musical voices to the proceedings, each of them playing on two songs.
I brought three guitars, a harmonica, my voice and 12 original songs.
The guitars I used were a sunburst Ovation Legend acoustic, a mahogany-bodied Harmony acoustic (my first guitar) and a Gibson ES-125 archtop electric that I amplified with a Polytone amp.
Since we were recording live to stereo – no over-dubbing, multi-tracking or editing allowed – the plan was to get as many songs captured in the “first take” as possible. As it turned out, the plan only worked for one song: “Anytime.”
“Anytime,” soon to become the album’s title track, had been a standard of my performance repertoire since its completion in July of 1983. To this day, I introduce the song with the story that the initial inspiration for the lyrics came during the week in between the predicted due date and actual birth of my daughter.
“Anytime that you like would be nice, any day that you say will be all right. But if it’s all the same to you, I was hopin’ we could make it soon, but either way, it’s ok, anytime.”
However, looking through my songwriting journal, the first entry with those lines is on the page following an entry dated December, 1982. My daughter was born in February of 1982.
Well, even though the math makes it seem unlikely, I like the story and I’m sticking to it.
For your listening pleasure, here it is!
A few final notes: Frank mastered the album using the Lexicon Opus Audio Production System. Anytime was released on cassettes that were duplicated in real time on chrome tape with Dolby B noise reduction.
My plan – it’s always good to have a plan – is to eventually post all of the songs from the album.
I’ve already, however, included one of these songs in a past post. “The Ladies of Fairburn,” featuring Anne Black’s gorgeous viola playing, was included in “This Historic Day… My Mother,” that I published on March 8, 2011. I hope you’ll take a few minutes and give “The Ladies…” a listen, as well.