Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Sunday, July 26, 2009
Monday, July 20, 2009
Today’s musical offering is a super-spacey solo demo Scot put together for “Folklore in 1988.” This song is called, “Johnny Sat Distracted.” In this track, Scotty takes a trip east in his production and instrumentation. Nice poetry too.
Today’s artwork is an intreging visual double play. It is a pen and ink drawing colored, by suggestion, with a hint here and there of extra transparent acrylic wash.
Sunday, July 19, 2009
Way down inside. I want to give you my love. Who needs? You need. I ain’t foolin’. Way, way, down inside. Don’t need no schoolin’. Gonna give you my lovin’.
I totally remember the first time I heard this song. I must have been all of 14. I was entering ‘the record store’ in Cinderella City Mall, in (?) Denver, Colorado, in (?) say 1969. Cinderella City was, at the time, being promoted as the world’s largest mall. I wonder how many communities were being told this at the same time? This tune, Zeplin’s “Whole Lotta Love,” was cranked and the groove was making its way out into the molecules of all us teens and even pre-teens. I remember being transfixed. I remember hearing something cool. I remember buying the album because.
This musical track is a BC cupcake. BC meaning Jerry Farnsworth, Kenny Wright and Scot Halpin, this night joined by Mike Stigletz. Scot sang a lot that night, a lot in a similar key. I can remember crossing the country in our white shark of a GMC Sierra pick-up. Scot would rhapsodize when we’d get within range a standard mid-west town of less the 5,000’s, no holes barred, HEAVY METAL station. Scot had a standard lecture, which he would deliver, before breaking out into his own accompanying falsetto heavy metal shreak.
Here’s the secret James and I were told so many times, there in the front seat of our in motion truck. “A lot of those heavy metal guys actually sang at a whisper.” That’s the secret. Try it. You can really get into that kind of voice at low volume. Anybody who actually sang at the volume this kind of voice sounds like, either shredded their voice and retired early, or they continued on and because of their nodes, sound like a rag--tired, bleached out, and wishing someone had some respect.
Saturday, July 18, 2009
“Momma take this badge off of me. I can’t use it any more.” What does this mean? “Knockin on Heaven’s door” I can understand. “Momma put my guns in the ground. I’m sick and tired of the war.” Oh yeah--Momma. Here we go again. Circle around. In my own aural plain, I’m into the bass and guitar and drum interaction around 2:23.
I’ve learned now, when you have a big commitment, don’t be afraid to bring out what you know is strong. Today’s musical track is a ‘for real’ rendition of the “Guns & Roses” prayer/visualization, known as “Knock, Knock, Knockin on Heaven’s Door.” For some reason, the MP3 is not picking up Jerry and Scot and Kenny, harmonizing with each other, from their corners of the room. Boo hoo. Any regular listener can by now, probably close their eyes and listen along and hear all these parts that could have been and are still yet to be.
Today’s (can you tell) “Art By the Ream” piece is a charming contemplation of contemplation itself. I love the gaze of love being so whole-heartedly dished out by out little fishy friend. He seems to be a very aware little trout. A trout with high expectations/aspirations. Aspirations cover the gap between the spaces of the world, in a breath. And just what are our trout-man’s deepest aspirations? They seem to be quite a bit about trying to communicate despite the obvious.
Friday, July 17, 2009
Went looking for another little gem today. What I found was a beautiful golden nugget, plucked out of the gravel and raging current of my life. I’m thinking I may have only heard this song one time before. I don’t remember it on any other demo or set list. What a shame. I love the kicky beat and snappy lyrics. There’s one more version of the song, coming up almost immediately on the tape. I’ll save that for another day. Calling it, “Do Do Do Do?” Once again, Scot is playing all the instruments on the demo, as well as doing all the singing. This track was recorded the winter of 1991 in the living room of our house in Iowa City Iowa.
Today’s drawing is an “art by the ream” piece I pulled out of the pile. It is a ball-point pen drawing, done—yes--on typing paper, so not-archival. I really recommend that you blow these drawings up.
Thursday, July 16, 2009
Time is twisting for me again, primarily because I ‘m once again left here filling in so many, many blanks. Tomorrow I’m going to talk about pirate treasure. Today I’m going to talk about reaching into a jar at the dentist’s office and pulling out that adjustable two-carat sapphire ring—non-tooth-rotting dentist pay-off—TREASURE to any magpie. Today’s track is just such a prize. I’m pretty sure this tape you’re hearing is the ‘master’—meaning—that this is it. This is probably the one and only existent version, in the whole wide universe, of this song-- and you, loyal followers, are hearing it here first.
Today’s artwork is another ‘Art By the Ream’ piece. Scot actually invested quite a bit of time here on this drawing, developing the stance of the girl on the plane, cross-hatching out some tension. I like the multiple versions that stretch over quite of bit of narrative landscape.
GNO. It starts with an absolute.
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Got dragged off to the water today. My friends Katie and Bernie called me last night—late—and asked James and I to go out on a party boat on Lake Monroe, the next day. When I woke up, it was pouring rain, dreary as can be, and downright chilly! I called Katie at 8:30. She said yes, Bernie says it’s going to blow throw fast, and then be fine. I headed out skeptically, only forty minutes late. Gosh darn if he wasn’t right, and as a result, we basically had the entire lake to ourselves on this wonderfully cool and blustery day. In four hours we passed one sailboat, one speed-boat and two other party boats. That’s the kind of kidnapping I like. Let’s go be kids. Let’s go have fun.
Today’s musical track is a gem straight out of the pirate’s booty chest. Big Bad Bobby Burns singing lead vocals and rhythm guitar. Scot and Bobby, as I have mentioned previously in these pages, still stands a lot like Scot. He’s a big ole bear of a guy, and he sings and had instincts very much like Scots. On this track we have Scot backing of Bobby singing some super-fine harmonies on top of Bobby’s version of the Jaeger/Richard song, “Dead Flowers.” Wonder what this song was about? See if you don’t here the similarities between Scot and Bobby’s voices? It’s almost like double tracking! Scot is also playing bass on this track. Jerry Farnsworth is pickin’ through the golden coins on lead guitar, and blessing be upon him, Kenny Wright, so there on drums. Also playing on this track is my friend Larry Vessily, sliding in and out of the groove on his organ. I love this track.
The art for today is a quick nautical piece. Here’s an example of the type of drawing Scot would do, day-in, day-out on anything, with anything handy. People used to ask me in our booth at the art fairs, how long it took Scot to do a certain piece of artwork. People are so used to equating the amount of time it takes to make something, directly with its value. In Scot’s case, it was hard for me to separate that particular piece out from the fifty other million drawings he did. Here’s the answer I always wanted to give, “A life time.”
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Tonight’s musical track is a short medley of songs Scot put together for a “Funhouse” demo in the mid-1980’s. This tape was probably made to give to booking agents. “Funhouse” line-up: Scot Halpin on lead-ythm guitar and vocals, Judy Tampa playing rhythm guitar and singing harmony, Edward Bachmann on bass and Leland Monagle is the drummer. Today’s medley contains snippets of Frankie Ford’s classic, “Sea Cruise,” Chuck Berry’s anthem, “Roll Over Beethoven,” and finally a bit of Hank Ballard’s fabulous, “Searchin,” being performed here by the fun and fabulous, Judy Tampa. I used the call her ‘the littlest girl in rock and roll.’
Today’s artwork is a pen and ink drawing done on the back of the cover of the Bristol Board pad cover. Another nice little medley.
Monday, July 13, 2009
This according to Jesus. I believe. I have been trying to operate from that love zone more myself. Today’s musical track is a solo demo of another original meditational/affirmational piece by Scot, called “Raise Your Love Level.” As I think I mentioned earlier, Scot did record this song and a few other affirmational anthems in a highly produced way. This track is repetitive, musically and lyrically, but I find its message all the more compelling in the spareness of its message.
On this track, we’ve got nothing but Scot’ sweet voice, cast in quite an intimate setting. We hear him clear his throat, as his voice tires a little, about half way through. We hear the squeak of the chair at the end of the track as he reaches over to shut-off the machine. These sounds are so very familiar to me. Hearing them makes me feel like he’s could be alive and here in the room with me. For some, the track may seem another one that is over-long, but I think if you allow yourself the five plus minutes it takes—you might find yourself being momentarily transformed. On a track like this, I often find a part and sing along. The repetition, like a mantra, quite carries me.
Today’s artwork was drawn with a Japanese calligraphy brush. Scot loved the push pull of this kind of line—fat here, skinny there, down to a point there. Most of the color was brush applied, but I also see some airbrush highlights here and there. I think it’s interesting the Jesus did not say, “Love casts out hate.” Or “Love castes out anger.” I think Jesus was right by naming fear as the antithesis to love. I love this little lady and how she seems to float above her work, carving away all that is not love.
Sunday, July 12, 2009
Firing away, “Lyric Jam #2. Here’s one way that Scot wrote so many songs. Was reminded at church today, UU BREAKOUT CONGREGATION that it is, about the concept of justice. In a nutshell, there are those who believe that justice has to do with following the laws. Here’s the rub. Not all laws are just. We know that. Slavery. Women’s’ right to vote. So…for anyone who has a sense about these things, or who has thought more than five minutes about the subject, justice is not measured by laws. It is not measured by assumptions. It is measured by the thin, obtuse, yet translucent film of truth. Truth is a measure that can’t be tweaked.
Today’s entry came together in pieces. Making up for lost time, I worked simultaneously on four entries today. For those nine of you who tune in everyday, I’ m sorry. It must be somewhat confusing, if not distracting to tune in and not find a loyal entry, there and ready to ingest. Doing what I can, which is, after all, one third of the twelve words.
I’m calling today’s musical track, “Lyric Jam #2.” Here’s the real thing. Scot Halpin in the middle of his creative process. Once again, he is playing all the tracks and setting up the situations for him to move into a melodic trance, setting out with the hope of returning with a few sacred poetic jewels. I do not think this song was ever developed beyond this track.
Saturday, July 11, 2009
Blow Back’ is shorthand for the primal construct that points to the fact that, “for each and every reaction, there is an equal and opposite reaction.” I first heard the term ‘blow back’ in relationship to the funky ass shit the CIA has been up to, in our names, for the last 50 years. I use the term today as short hand for ‘hang-over’. For every party, there’s an equal and opposite reaction.
I chose this song today because of its rangy, leading melody, plus today, I feel like the guy in the bubble. Here is Scot, once again, laying out all the basic tracks—doing his funky duty. Next comes a vocal/guitar tract that flits with the fundamentals, and then invites them to come along on his lyrical journey. Scotty does Persia. Welcome aboard.
Today’s artwork is a hand colored etching done in the late 1980’s. This piece is hand-colored with transparent acrylic; the fluid that seems to flows forth, like blood, from the heart of Scot’s color work. The texture along the top of the etching was created by running a roulette wheel (of another kind) across the surface of the acid resist. It is hard the resist acid, even for a metal plate
Thursday, July 9, 2009
Greetings Friends. Glad to have you on board. Tonight’s music is a long trek. It’s just over seven minutes of a Scotty Jump Jam. He starts out ultra striped down He would set up his drum track, some kinda bass line, and then sets out to improvise—to grow a thing. I think this one is worth the 7:03 worth of working it through. I tribute a lot of the playing on this track to Scot’s love of Terry Adams’ (of NRBQ fame) keyboard style, which this piece is definitely a nod to.
Today’s artwork is a delicate pen and ink drawing. It’s sort of a little collagey in its layout. Things are tucked in here and there. I was looking for a piece to illustrate a concept that I was dished out today. A friend, who knows a lot about classic Osteopathy, mentioned this concept of a finding a balance point that allows of aligned integration. This drawing had a little bit of a feel of a totem pole to me—another kind of fulcrum point altogether.
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
Today’s artwork is another piece done on a map. This lady has the Soviet Union on her shoulder. Her lungs are full of the Arctic Ocean. She has Greenland below the belt and the U.K. at her point. WOW! Beautiful. This is an India ink drawing/painting, done in the late 1990’s – early 2000’s.
Today’s music is another Jamula piece, for the moment designated as, “Jam the Day.” Jamula, for the record, was largely put out as an idea by Tom Smith, the mouth organ player. He and Jerry Farnsworth go way, way back; and once Scot hit the mix, the Jamula brew--came through. Scot played is groovy, groovy bass thing in Jamula. Bass became a lead instrument in the ensemble. Jamming along tonight on drums is the late, lately seen on the Lost Hi-way, Kenny Wright. Tom Smith is kicking ass on mouth organ, and Jerry is right there too. Jamula’s music was special.
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
Today’s entry started out with its title—an audio tit-bit I captured today out in the world. With that in mind, I went looking for a piece of artwork to go along with it, and saw today’s piece sparking before me, within arm’s reach. This piece started out as a graphite drawing and the semi-abstract color wash came second. Scot would often do it the other way around, laying down the color fields first and then envision his drawing upon the fruited plane.
Today’s musical track is a really neat version of Bob Dylan’s cool song about sweet revenge. Irene, the voice of “Blue Jazz” has a nice take on things, and kind of flips the sweet revenge thing on it’s tush. “Blue Jazz” once again, was started as a “Basement Collaboration” project and blossomed. Irene is someone who can kick ass with her own rendition.
Monday, July 6, 2009
Ah, Monday. Hold your hands together on your heart and get ready to bop. Anyone here know how to Lindy? I grabbed a song I’ve been saving for just the kind of Monday this Monday has been. I‘ve had such a busy day, massaging my to-do list, now with the extra hard knot, it’s forming under its shoulder. It’s been a good, busy, productive day. Today’s soundtrack is a tune written by Fats Domino and ___(have, will provide soon)___, called “Blue Monday.” It’s being admirably worked out here in a ‘Snake Doctor’ rehearsal. I get a kick at how Carlyn swings it right into gear. Now there’s a girl with transmission fluid.
Today’s artwork is another piece I found behind the painting I moved because I spilled a glass of water. This is beginning to sound like one of the open verse songs that can truly go on forever. I had this piece right by my bed for a long time. I treasure the even-ness of it—-its reach. I love the delicate, patient inked line; colored with the sparest of magenta washes. To me, these folks are the archetype of ‘The Fertile King and Queen.”
SUNDAY, JULY 5, 2009
THE RHYTHM OF LIFE
Living the creative life, out on the bluffs where the muses are known to whisper, there are perils. Today, I choose a song which tributes our lost formative music makers. My minister (UU) talked today about the drumming and how it brings forth the rhythm of life—sacred, like the human voice. Blessings be to Michael Jackson, who now joins the crew on the Lost Hi-way, along with our own dear Scotty.
The truth is, I could hardly wait to get back to the magical harmonies of Judy Tampa and Ramona Torch, singing here again with Edward Bachmann, on a personal project of his,
“E. B. White.” The year was 1989, the song, “Down the Lost Hi-way,” was written, I believe, by Edward. Scot is playing the drums on this track. Dig that back beat!
The artwork for today is a piece I’ve had sitting by my desk for the last few days. I’ve even tried it for and entry or two, and changed it. It’s on for today. It’s seems to capture that sweet soft spot, that being in the embrace of a loved one triggers. Being in the lea of your loved ones. It’s also about caring for a beautiful, tender thing, with admiring sensibility. This is once again, an original pen and ink drawing. The paint is a transparent acrylic. I occasionally realize that perhaps this piece might actually be unfinished, what with that white dress and all?
Saturday, July 4, 2009
Circling around one again to the Fourth of July. Round here, that means we’re having a party, the excuse this time being that we can watch the big firework display from our neighbors from lawn. I picked today’s track because I liked the spacey, ethereal quality of the piece, and because the little popping segues do seem to suggest fireworks being set off. The funny march in the middle conjures the upcoming parade. The abrupt end might even be a prediction of an abrupt, wet end to the show. Cross your fingers.
Today’s musical track is another in the Loop de Loop Series. This one is #8. Scot recorded these tracks at home, using a series of keyboards he could link up. Being able to solo electronic music was always a healing balm for Scot. He could enter the music in his own time, in his own way, and be able to create a rich, almost celestrally orchestrated sound. While creating these tracks, I very much believe he was communing with his own version of the divine.
Today’s artwork is another pen and ink drawing, colored with acrylic wash. There is a whole series of these pieces with the lovely purple skies. I choose this one because of the sweet feel of independence it brings to me. Riding a bike is another way to experiment with alignment. This piece was done in 1991.
Thursday, July 2, 2009
Getting ready for Independence Day. Ask anyone who knows me—ask him or her-- “Is Robin independent?” Those who actually do know me would automatically say. “YES!” On the other hand, it’s true; I freely committed myself to Scot--by some standards, slavishly. Many friends who knew me ‘before Scot’, remained (throughout our thirty year relationship), slightly concerned at my dedication—-fearing (I think) that I was ultimately submitting myself to some kind of cultish domination. I'm here to tell you, it had nothing to do with independence. It had nothing to do with domination. Scot and I had a ‘thing’, and our ‘thing’ was ‘IT’ (for both of us). Still is—certainly for me (and I personally gather for him too, whatever that might mean).
Today’s artwork is a portion of a painting that currently hangs on the wall of the official T. Scot Halpin Archive, here in Bloomington, IN. My 17-year-old son recently commented that it was kind of embarrassing to have this 'whole' painting, hanging so front and center. To quote Scot, “Em-bare-assing?” This is a painting a la Steve Teraberry—at least three paintings survive under this surviving painting. We'll leave that to the 'restorationists.' One can see these painting (if one looks for them, being virtually ready to break through, the way they are. This was a painting that I finally took away from Scot, and added to my personal collection.
I got this idea when we were in Venice in 1981. There was this fabulous collection of work on display, in an equally fabulous--storybook--Venetian palatcio—-a “PERSONAL COLLECTION” of ‘one of Picasso’s wives’. Fortunately for me, Scot only had one wife. With one of Picasso’s widows in mind, around 1995, I began collecting Scot's original drawings and prints that, after a season or two on the “Art Fair Circuit," had inexplicably to me, been overlooked by the public. Somehow, luckily, these pieces had NOT managed to be snatched up. These were things that had I been John Q. Public, I would have wondered at. I'm wondering if I could have actually passed by them, given the opportunity to claim them. I came to assume a posture of great patience, knowing that there would be plenty left to astound me. I have boxes and boxes of this work. I can’t wait to mount my exhibition!
Today’s musical track is a Basement Collaboration (BC) treasure. Mind you. Basement Collaboration tracks are ALL essentially first time out of the rack jams. With that in mind, please dig the following version of the (glad to say) ‘traditional,’ “Going Down the Road Feeling Bad." Scot is laying out both vocals and bass line (thank you, Jesus). Long live Jerry, and I don’t mean Jerry G. Kenny—thank you for this kick ass track. Also there and seizing the moment are Nelson Batalou on soprano sax, an out-front instrument to ‘jam’ on—and Nelson knows that and deals with it. Also on tonight’s track is guest guitarist, Ric Dagger. Thanks Ric for those tasteful accouterment.
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
Last little piece to catch up on here. What’s to say about this song? “1980’s Cowboy?” A true total time capsule. I want to remind you all that there was a time, not too long ago, that a CB radio was quite a high tech affair—communicating through the air! Now that we are all connected the way we are—‘just about‘ wherever we are--it’s hard (if not impossible for those of you born after 1990) to conceive of the fact that we used to have to have a physical connection in order to communicate—some kind of wire, at least.
We’ve so far, so fast. We’re at a crossroads that call for nothing short of true metamorphisis. That’s one of the biggest fact’s there is. At this point we’ve already progressed (?) to the state that the physical connection is now reduced to a wave (or is it a particle?). WOW! Only someone born before 1963, can physically/bodily understand this fundamental transformation. Before 1963, (the long and short of it ) we (I hope I’m included) were left to understand what was happening based on the stories our grandparents told us, period.
Something has changed. I wonder how many truckers now use CB radios vs. cell phones—these days? Here’s what Scot was writing and singing and playing about—so plaintively--way back then. Things are so changing. Back in the 1980’s, when Scot wrote this song, it was clear that the life on the prairie had changed—but what the future brought was not clear. Things had gotten more mechanized—so technical—so downright corporate. I see different things happening out on the prairie these days.
There is a plea here in this song—a plea to please remember the lives of those real cowboys. Those folks who worked a hard day as they happened across the amazing prairie--hopefully successfully guiding the herd through plain and mountain valley both. There, at night, those cowboys must have stared up into the heavens --once they’d ‘bedded down’--and then been left to suckled on the tit of the great beyond. I’ve done it too. It’s something most of us who have done it, remember. Sadly—it’s something now rarely seen by all of us who have migrated to our world’s cities. There are those still--around the world--who get to see what human generations have marveled to, and tried to notice and name, from our common beginnings.