Thursday, November 12, 2009

Karmic Debt

In the process of hunting up as many versions of “Gary Cooper” as possible, I came across a true treasure. It is a rehearsal tape of Scot working out with his band “Folklore.” I have intimated here in the T. Scot Halpin Memorial Blog that when we reached this juncture—with this body of music, I thought for sure Scot was on to something that would bring on board the people we needed to help move things to the next level. The reason I think this tape is a treasure is because the mix allows us to climb inside the structure of the music—its sophisticated simplicity.

The song is about a homeless person. Sadly, and with no disrespect, a lot of these people were veterans. This song is about a guy who trades his worn out nylon hose for a rubber dingy, because the rain is coming down and his wife shaves with 'Nair'. We lived in downtown San Francisco for the last twelve years we were there. We live half a block from an elevated freeway, no longer there thanks to the Loma Preita quake in 1989. There were tens of thousands of homeless people living there, most of them had bad mental problems and were substance abusers in a big, big way. There was a huge cohort of Viet Nam Era Vets.

We tried to book “Folklore” all over San Francisco in 1987. I guess the timing just wasn’t right. Frustrated, Scot dropped the project like a hot potato. Today’s track is one of the few bare bones representations of the band that we have. The band played two private parties—one at the Roosevelt and one in a loft south of Market Street, neither of which were documented.

There are two official recording sessions and this one rehearsal tape. That’s all we have of “Folklore”. I plan to play most of this tape. There are some KA drum parts being played by our friend Johnny Law. Scot loved Johnny’s orchestrial style. Edward Bachmann was Scot’s main man at the time. They did tons of creative work together over the years backing each other up on their project. Edward is the man playing also very orchestrial bass on the track. Scot was really at the top of his game with his vocals. His guitar playing was tight thanks to all those years of Rockabilly gigs. There are a few klinkers in the tape, but actually—not that many, and what there is, is a lot of very raw and very powerful music. This recording was made on Tuesday, January 27, 1987.

Today’s art entry is a ‘throw away piece.” Something has either been spilled on it or it’s growing something. It’s been cut up and severely cut into, but the eyes say it--they speak their own volumes. “A man for all seasons, who didn’t pack no clothes” living in a jungle—where the monkeys don’t mind and the zebras don’t care. “Soon the moss grew in his toes and arms.” A throw away drawing is one thing—throw away people quite another.

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