It’s December

It’s December and time to tell everyone about my songs in my It’s December album for everyone’s December holiday, especially the song, “It’s December.” It mentions all the December holidays.  Hear it at Spotify at  https://play.spotify.com/album/5qxEjBVSrNPRuuxzhZTVou  And if you like it you can download the album or any song in it at http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/donmeehan1, or any of your other favorite sites like iTunes, Amazon, etc. My favorite line in it is: “Some will celebrate the eight days of Hanukah.  And some will decorate their big Christmas trees.  There’ll be folks lighting candles for Kwanzas. And the prayers of one and all will be “let there be peace.”

It was  a great pleasure making this Holiday album from top to bottom.

Jingle Bell Rock is my jazz five part harmony rendition of my old songwriter friends, Jim Booth and Joe Beale.

“It’s December” is a song I always wanted to write to celebrate all the holidays in December. The lyric goes: “Hey, it’s December And high time to celebrate For gettin’ through another year. Its been a long time waiting for the months to go by. But the great days are here again with tons of good cheer In December, can’t wait for the holidays and the great ways for spending time with family and friends you wish it wouldn’t end when you hear ’em playing Auld Lang Syne.”                                                                                      

Bridge: “Some will celebrate the eight days of Hannuka and some will decorate their big Christmas trees. There’ll be folks lighting candles for Kwanzaa and the prayers of one and all will be let there be peace. In December, the days we’ve been waiting for and kids like me lovin’ snow Comes the twenty-first and wintertime, ain’t  nothing like December time and it will never grow old.”                                                                                                          

“Hallelujah Rock” (Arr. Don Meehan) is another world record overdubbing my voice 136 times and put to a rock beat, with yours truly also doing all the instruments.                                                                           

“Hallelujah Chorus” (Arr. Don Meehan) is the a Capella version of my 136 voice “Chorus of One.”                                                                                                                                            

“Silent Night Out There Somewhere” (Arr. Ray Moore) is the sound track to my music video that is at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V4gG_8qdRdU.  Global probes into the far reaches of space, and especially the recent Orion Project to probe possible life on Mars has prompted me to produce this video. Thanks to some Public Domain images and videos from NASA, Hubble, and STSci, and the video from Jet Propulsion Laboratory California Institute of Technology of “Curiosity Entry/Decent and Landing celebration, this video strongly suggests a realization and belief of a possible Christmas event with the birth of Jesus on some other planet, light years away from Earth.                                                                

 

 

Quoting from Wikipedia: Spotlight is a 2015 American biographicaldrama film that follows The Boston Globe‘s “Spotlight” team, the oldest continuously operating newspaper investigative journalist unit in the United States,[6] and its investigation into cases of widespread and systemic child sex abuse in the Boston area by numerous Roman Catholic priests.

Latest reports from the Vatican, and continued news of how certain cardinals globally continue to sidestep the issues of survivors of sexual abuse by the clergy, merely amplify the notion that it is business as usual with the centuries old device of protecting the Faith and the money at all costs.

 

Setting Up & Reading Teleprompters

 

It Is Such A Bore to Watch Some Speakers Reading Teleprompters  – The act of Reading Teleprompters is truly an art. But it has really become obnoxious with some speakers. Most every one of them I have seen lately reading two glasses is totally unacceptable, especially amateur apprentice speaker Donald Trump. He is obviously new at it and an inexperienced amateur, who actually stares at one glass for minutes at a time. Hillary Clinton has developed a very natural way of reading, going back and forth while also genuinely connecting with an audience and with the camera.

The Prompters are usually Always Set At the Same Height as the Speaker – But the rub is that they are usually always set up at the speaker’s eye level and focused way above the audience’s heads. And there is no eye contact. The problem lies with the fact that the speaker is usually elevated on a stage about two feet or so raised. This puts a person speaking with eye level at approximately five feet, plus stage height, whereas the lower sitting audience eye level is somewhere between three and a half feet, sitting.

Reading Teleprompters With Proper Eye Contact – Addressing a crowd who are all sitting would require the speaker to have eye contact with them by looking down to their eye level. However, the person responsible for the Teleprompters placement usually always places them to each side of the speaker at his/her eye level on stage. Therefore, when the person reads with the head moving left to right, there is an obvious appearance of him/her looking out not into the eyes of the live audience, but way above them, and in fact, a good three and a half feet over their heads.

A Proper Adjustment Provides A More Sincere Approach – A simple solution appears to be to simply lower the prompter glasses about six or eight inches on each side and do a slight adjustment with its angle. This would have the speaker now looking at and through the prompter glass as if they are also having eye contact with the audience. This is not off the wall since here is copied from an ad showing the adjustment:

“VARIABLE HEIGHT/ANGLE ADJUSTMENTS – The best speech is one where the speaker can achieve direct eye contact with the most people. That is difficult to achieve when his/her head stays in one, fixed location. Every speaker who walks up to the podium is not the same height. Nor do they read best at the same angle of screen. This is why we have created the most adjustable glass for stage teleprompters on the market. Easily adjustable angles will ensure that the speaker can have great eye contact with the audience, while seeing and reading the text clearly.”

However, the ad shows Obama, but he’s always looking out over their heads in his speeches while reading teleprompters. Why can’t they get it right so the person speaking doesn’t appear so obvious and phony? And so I ask, if they may possibly be using outdated stuff that doesn’t adjust, or is it that they just don’t know any better how a speaker should be reading teleprompters?

More about Simon and Garfunkel’s Sound of Silence

I know I have been promising to write more about Simon and Garfunkel’s Sound of Silence. I will have some really great news about the latest events in my favor, but I had to stop and put all my efforts into releasing my new Holiday Extended Play CD. I am really proud of it and will have what I believe is some real good and unique holiday listening for all my fans. It will be called It’s December, and will be available on CD Baby and all of its outlets internationally. I’m really grateful for all the interest and many readers at Steve Hoffman’s Music forum and now the Japanese forum,  Simon & Garfunkel Web Forum at http://www.sandgforum.jp/

Meanwhile, here’s a glimpse of my new It’ December CD.

it s december cd photo

The title, It’s December, is derived from my new song which may be s first that mentions and appreciates the different belief celebrations in December, including Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa. My favorite line is, “And the prayers of one and all will be let there be peace.” Hopefully, that will happen. It even mentions snow and Auld Lang Syne.

There are a couple more surprises on the new CD that I will get into here when it is released in a couple days. Please stay tuned. More later.

Update About Simon and Garfunkel’s Sounds of Silence

For all who have tuned into my posts about the lack of credits on my Simon and Garfunkel’s 1965 original mono mix on Sound of Silence, I apologize for not posting some more sooner as I promised. But there will be some important surprising new information which I expect to reveal very soon and a lot more to share with you. I am delighted to see a recent increased record number of visitors here.

Since we are nearing the fiftieth anniversary of Sound of Silence being one of the greatest songs ever written, I will have even more interesting stuff to share with you very soon. It’s the kind of information that you want your great-great grand-kids to know about. Please pass this along to all your friends who have recently visited me here, and ask them to come on back and stay tuned.

Truth About Simon and Garfunkel Sounds of Silence

UPDATE NOV. 30, 2014

Columbia Records, Sony and RIAA have finally gotten it right and issued the proper credit on the single and album in question and here it is. I will be doing a follow up post but meanwhile, here is the RIAA Three Time Multi-Platinum Award with the Official RIAA engraving. No fakes, all genuine. It only took fifty years but is is done.

 

SOS CREDITS

 

And here is the award. Please pass it along to your friends who doubted and some of whom shouted, “sour grapes.”  I am totally proud of this!

 

SOS RIAA AWARD

 

ORIGINAL POST CONTINUES HERE

Simon and Garfunkel could have fixed this credits problem a bunch of years ago, but they didn’t. Paul knew but chose not to and the other guy rode to fame with them.

When it appears that someone may have stolen from you, covers it up, and gets away with it, you have not so fond memories about it with the possible loss of many thousands of $$$ from it hurting you big-time.

No sour grapes intended, but recording credits really do matter. And I could name a couple clichés that might fit. But I just want to finally get the truth out there once and for all to finally set the Simon and Garfunkel story straight on what may be one of the biggest credit thefts in music recording history. Some might say THE biggest. Note that I say “may” and “might” based on my knowledge of the facts. And I’d be willing to swear in an Affidavit that these are the facts.

When I came to Columbia in ’63, I am proud to say, I was the top pop editor-mixer for some time, and favorite of most all of their pop A&R producers. Unspoken was that we actually co-produced with most producers who put it all in our hands of how a record should sound. It was a few years later, when our begging for credits finally became a reality, and I finally got my first Gold Record with the Looking Glass’s Brandy.

In the sixties the norm at Columbia Records was that studio engineers laid down the tracks and we mixers edited and molded the final mix. The studios even had rotary pots. For the layman, those are the volume controls for each microphone or tape track. Any engineer will tell you that they are totally impossible to properly mix with. One could never achieve what I did on the single and the album working with rotary pots. But that’s what the Columbia studios had until our move to Fifty Second Street.

They called us “editors” but we mixed and gave the records the final sound, and then the mastering engineer, with tasteful limiting, not messing with eq, echo and stuff done nowadays in mastering, then got the highest level possible on the disc. Just off the street, and having worked (singing and playing) in just about every studio in town, I was the only engineer at Columbia who knew and understood rock at that time, with my limiters, compressors and equalizers cooking. The other engineers laughed at me and ridiculed me. But I managed to get the highest and hottest level possible for the mastering engineer. Classical producers hated me and one die hard union engineer threatened me when I laid out a musical score on the console to read. That’s another good story.

This was just a few years before we engineers pleaded and begged, and finally got credits on records. But it was too late in this case and a few more. On July 26, 1965, A&R producer Tom Wilson brought some newly overdubbed tracks down from Columbia’s 799 7th Ave Studio A to my mix room 607 to mix. They were Simon and Garfunkel’s original tapes of Sounds (or Sound) of  Silence and Somewhere with Bobby Gregg’s drums and some guitars added, I believe, by Vinnie Bell and Bucky Pizzarelli. I pulled out all the stops and made the mono mix. And here are those mix notes.

 

SIMON  GARFUNKEL S O S MIX crop072665

My mixing notes from Simon and Garfunkel’s Sounds of Silence mono mix, July 26, 1965

Engineers reading here might notice the heavy high end Pultec equalization boost on the voices, low end roll-off at 60 Hz and 200 Hz boost to get the bass to sound on small speakers like the one I mixed on (See photo). Being a bass player, this was my little secret. It goes without saying that I had a limiter in each of the four channels. Note that, that night and the next day I mixed the great Teo Macero’s Sax Fifth Avenue album, which is out there to this day, and once again with no credit to me. Five days before that, see notes of mixing a Judith Raskin single.

Paul Simon was in Europe at the time, returned a few weeks later and we drove together in my car and played a bar mitzvah club date together in Jersey, whereas I told him of the events. I also moonlighted playing and singing with bands and the bandleaders would usually hire a guitar player to join the conventional dance band to play and sing some rock songs of the day, thus, why Paul was there. His daddy, Lou Simon was my competitor, who also was a bass player with the club date bands. See about Lou Simon 

Fib Lafayette speaker # 99-4551 - Copy

My little speaker I used to mix my mono records on, and also use to this day like an earphone to sing 

Their record made it to the top and Simon and Garfunkel were back in the studio and more overdubbing with Tom Wilson (with rotary pots). And here is how it was glossed over in a 2005 interview when the interviewee admitted that Simon and Garfunkel had no idea this was happening, and he said, “Paul was in England and Artie was off teaching somewhere. And we do these overdubs, and it’s released, and Sounds of Silence became a huge hit, and all of a sudden it’s “get these guys back!”

Note that he doesn’t say here that he mixed it, but obviously, to the unwary reader it is implied and understood. It is assumed he did it all. He says “And we do these overdubs, and it’s released.” He obviously forgot what he had said moments before in the interview with the facts about studio and edit-mix rooms at Columbia: “In those days, the studios were studios, the editing room was an editing room, and the mastering room was a mastering room-all separate. Dates were done, the tapes came into an editing room where they were edited and mixed down to a two-track and a mono, from there to a mastering room.”

He says, “the tapes came into an editing room where they were edited and mixed.” Later, as Sounds of Silence was climbing the charts, Tom Wilson came to me to mix the mono Simon and Garfunkel album. And Tom brought Bob Johnston in and he mixed the stereo album with Mike Figlio. Johnston also took all the credit down the line in his interviews. The stereos at that time were really throwaways since mono ruled.

Months later, we moved to 49 East 52nd Street. Unbeknownst to me, the studio engineer had stepped in and taken all the credit obviously implying he was the hero who did it all, especially the original mix and the album mixes, using the studio rotary pots yet. Tom Wilson was no longer there and Bob Johnson was on the scene.

RoughmixdDon overdubbing a world record

Me in 1967 singing with my little speaker using the first one inch 16 track at Columbia. Yeah, that’s the machine they recorded Bridge Over Troubled Waters on.

1DONSINGPHOTO

Me, today overdubbing and still using the little speaker. Note the Gold Record (The Looking Glass) behind me was one of the first with engineer credits. It would be nice to have one of the Multi-Platinum Awards of Simon and Garfunkel hanging next to it and Dylan’s later Multi- Platinum Desire and Hard Rain.

Then came Bridge Over Troubled Waters. I was proudly moonlighting, paying dues to SAG, AFTRA, Local 802 Musicians Union and Local 1212 Electrical Workers Union, and Clive Davis had signed me to sing four sides on Columbia. So, I booked time through the Columbia A&R Department. I was busily recording my Columbia sides with our new one inch 16 track machine. And then one day, my boss came and ordered me to release it to Simon and Garfunkel and the “other” engineer, and deliver it to them in Studio B.

This was the studio engineer who, from all indications, had taken all the credit for their new hit and was now a big man at Black Rock and Simon and Garfunkel’s hero. There was more behind the scenes politics that had taken place before and after our move to the new studios, whereas we had new mix rooms and some studio engineers were mixing in the studios. So, I rolled the monster on down to Studio B and also invited myself to listen to Cecelia. It was a throwaway. Never make it, they thought. Everyone hated it and I guess I pissed them off when I said it was really good and I liked it. During a break I invited Paul up to my mix room to hear a cover record that Columbia Arranger-Producer Ed Shanaphy had me singing on Sounds of Silence for the Columbia Record Club. He even hired Bucky and Vinnie to play on my cover record. Paul stood there with his mouth open and uttered, “Wow! It sounds like us.” Duh! Well, that, along with my other covers singing Almost Persuaded, Jackson, and Gentle On my Mind, at least it got me AFTRA scale, sounding like the ones who did them originally and had the hits. 

As Paul started to leave the mix room I cornered him and reminded him once again that I had done the original mix that launched them to stardom on Sounds of Silence and his words were, ”But I thought ___ did it.” Right, he did all that fancy mixing in the studio using rotary pots. And I said, “No, man. And I told you all about this on that Jersey club date.”  There was no response but just a blank stare. “Enjoy the machine,” I said, as he walked out. I was still pissed that they interrupted my sessions and  took the 16 track machine away from me. But I was just a nobody.

DON CASHBOX AD - Copy

Well, at least Columbia promoted my Al Kooper creation of House in the Country with a nice big ad in Cashbox 

And so, I had to wait for them to finish “Bridge” before I could finish overdubbing my sides, one of which was a world record of overdubbed voices. Who knows if maybe I had had the mixing credit on Sounds of Silence, my name would have been seen by millions and one of my records may have jumped out there. Weird, that if you click on this website  there is copy of House in the Country for $130. One of my other releases with about thirty overdubbed voices at that time was My Silent Symphony, that you can hear if you click here. I only wish that a DJ somewhere would start playing it again and create a new buzz on it. It still sounds great, I think, and not dated. Tell me what you think with a comment.

After “Bridge” it was more fame and fortune for Simon and Garfunkel with the other guy riding along with his best kept secret about the credits. I guess he was deciding that nothing would be undone since my name would never be printed on the labels and couldn’t prove anything. After all, no one would know nor care. I saw Paul once after that. They had split up and he was in the studio with a different producer-engineer.

I guess I could rationalize and say that maybe the other guy never said he mixed it, but just rode along for the ride with the implication and certainly cashed in. Well, I’d like to undo it and I believe the world needs to know, even if it is almost 50 years later.  I am damn proud of that mix.

I’ll say now to Paul “fix it. You knew. It’s never too late. Since Tom Wilson is no longer with us to dispute other claims by Bob Johnston who also took credit, you knew that I did the mix that started you on the way to being international stars. This is especially after my recently reading that Paul Simon is a 12-time Grammy winner and member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. I can truthfully say that I was also one who helped you get there.

Strangely, the Columbia box #5029  that I initialed containing the mono tape and signed on that date, was replaced and the mono tapes and mono album that I mixed were nowhere to be found according to a source. They don’t exist. But my mix & equalizer notes do exist from that day and those notes are here for all to see. And I don’t lie. And if anyone disbelieves my notes, I invite you to have them checked for the timing of the forty-nine or so years that have passed, and the age of the paper. Of course, there will be doubters. There always are and I guess they’re entitled. But if they want to do any proving, they can play the stereo and the mono side by side and listen for the extreme high end EQ and play on small speakers and check the bass on my mixes.

And so, I propose that Columbia/Sony take the mono vinyl album and re-master it with the proper credit and give some credit where credit is due.