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making of the CD "Play To Win"
This was the last CD worked
with an analog sixteen track tape recorder, synced up to a computer.Times were changing
and the computer was taking on more responsibilities in the studio.
The recording sessions for "Play To Win" started immediately after I finish
"Look Before Crossing". I was all charged up after completion and knew it was
the right time to write and record for the next full scale CD. The first song recorded was
"Dancing The Night Away" and had a happier, upbeat tone, which led the way for
the forth coming tracks.
The second song recorded was "sneakin' " and I knew I was onto something. I
wanted to write a collection of songs that had social commentary this time around. I then
decided to mix them with love songs, so it would not come off heavy handed. I also let my
comical side come out to defuse my messages, as I certainly did not want to preach from a
soapbox. I guess if I had done so I would've called the CD "Soapbox"!
Recording all the instruments is a slow process, and time consuming with each song lasting
6-8 weeks. After "Sneakin' " I began work on "Out On The Highway".
With the arrival of my new
Synth, I worked this instrumental with the intention towards experimentation. Playing the
song it was decided to write lyrics for it and I soon realized, that it was recorded in a
key too low for my voice. So I re-recorded the analog tracks in a higher key, and somehow
it lost it's magic. I left it unfinished and with the remastering of "Look Before
Crossing", the instrumental version was added to the collection of songs.
It was time for a lighter moment and
so I composed "Eyes On You", which sounds like a 1920's song. I sang the lead
vocal with my hands cupped around my mouth and sang as nasally as possible to achieve the
old Victorian sound.
Photo shoot outtake from
publicly package sent out to newspapers, & radio for promotion for
"Play To Win" CD
Off in another direction
came "Blue Days, Blue Nights". I had wanted to write a Sun record type song. The
opening chord is an A major just like Elvis's "Mystery Train". My lead
guitar was played in the style of early Johnny Cash too. The result a country rocker!
"Here We Are" was
next and I had programmed congas and percussion to create this love song. I wrote the song
from the feel I created with the percussion tracks. This song features all acoustic guitar
with Spanish style lead guitars. Also used was a Kawaii K1 module which enhanced the
romantic ambiance of the song.
"You Better Watch
It" came from an argument and I had blurted out the title. Realizing it was a catchy
title I left in mid-sentence and wrote the song. This song was the defining moment of the
album. With this song came a new sound and I certainly wanted more sounds like this. If I
were to describe the tonal sounds, it would be almost like circus swirls, meshed together
with slingin' electric guitars.
After that came "Round
Peg, Square Hole", Strait Jacket, and "Breaking Point". All intended to
pursue this new sound of mine. "Why" was written next and is the big political
theme, asking questions about humanity. Written in a style and a nod to John Lennon's
"Play To Win" was
conceived while I was out jogging, and originally had 13 verses. I then decided to edit it
way down to three, and focus on three main characters instead. I felt this was the core of
the album and so the CD now officially had it's name. Second runner up name was
"Round Peg, Square Hole", but the other had a positive upbeat title.
After that the last track
recorded was called "Turning blue over you". While giving a voice lesson my
student Dave said wow "slow down I'm turning blue". I instantly wrote the idea
on the spot and completed it later (thanx Dave).
After arranging the songs in
sequence to begin hearing how the album was taking shape, I realized I needed one more
slow song and so I wrote on a rain soaked, smoggy day, "The Void". The mood on
this song is very much from the rainy aural that was cast that day.
Once the CD was mastered,
the photo shoots began, and the concept of the visual aspect began. I wanted a funny back
cover and so four "fun" pictures were chosen and put together in the center.
(used as a background on this page). The cover shot was a full head to toe and just looked
right, a more serious pose but with a big smile to show to the world I meant business.
Pamela Davis 2003
CD price $9.99
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