Monday, March 26, 2012

Garth Hudson, Joe Flood & Georges Brassens

A while back I worked on an interesting record for my friend Joe Flood who is a multi instrumentalist and great songwriter who's tunes have been covered by a lot of people including the Bottle Rockets, Levon Helm and the Band.  His latest project was recordings of his own English translations of the songs of noted French writer Georges Brassens.  Translating lyrics is a very tricky thing.  You have to get the meaning of the son across and you also like to preserve some rhymes.  I can't speak French beyond menu speak but I love Joe's translations of Brassens lyrics.  Part of the project was done in Brooklyn at my place, Cowboy Technical Services but the other half was done at Mark Dann's in Woodstock, NY.  We had Garth Hudson on the session.  I could talk about his musicality endlessly but rather than continue to type I'm posting this clip I grabbed with my iPhone while Garth was doing a melodica overdub.

If you are wondering how all of that could possibly fit into a song you can follow this link to hear Joe's finished version of Brassens' "The Gorilla" at Bandcamp.

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Sunday, June 19, 2011

Warning-Gearhead post (new pickups)

Norio at his shop w my Les Paul.

I got my '06 Chambered R-8 Les Paul back from Norio Imai this friday. He had done a setup on the guitar and also installed a set of Peter Florence's Voodoo '59 pickups. I've been lusting after a set of these pickups for years but haven't had the right humbucker guitar to put them in. I had Norio use the Burstbucker covers 'cause they are already pretty worn in looking. I also had Norio turn the magnet on the neck pickup 180 degrees so I could do the "Peter Green Thing".
Peter Green wiki

IMHO Best test of any gear is to play it on a gig. last night I played at the Lakeside with Spanking Charlene. They are a great band that I produce and I play with them from time to time as the 2nd guitar player. It was a great test of the new pickups/wiring setup.
Both I and the other guitar player Mo Goldner were playing through the Lakeside's house Pro Jr's. Always a good match for the room.

The out of phase middle position worked much better than I thought it would. I set up the amp to have a good rock rhythm sound in the middle position then I would go to the bridge or neck for a louder part. I used the Mad Professor Sweet Honey Overdrive for solos both in the mid position out of phase setting and for the full single pickup humbucker sound.

The mid position thing was really great. Plenty of beef and much more bite than I can usually get out of that position. I've got to play a gig as the only guitar player to really get the full picture but my initial feeling is that the PG Mod is pretty incredible. It put a lot of Telecaster like 'fight' back in the guitar. Its defeatable on the fly too. If you just turn down either one of the pickups a little the phase trick no longer applies.
Pretty exciting.

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Tuesday, March 22, 2011


A while back I was asked to contribute some music for a film set in New York City.  Of course there was no dough so I waited until the studio was set up for tracking during one of my producing clients sessions and came in there early with my engineer Timbo to give it a go Gringoman style.  

Gringoman would be my don't want to ask any friends to play for free do it myself one man band thing.  

Amps were miked up. Drums were set up and miked so I grabbed a guitar and looked into the drawer of pedals for some things I didn't usually use.  I quickly plugged in a couple of boxes then went to a couple amps and told Timbo to "hit record".  I tapped the guitar, picked the guitar, scraped the guitar and banged the guitar while turning knobs on the boxes and kicking pedals in and out for a while then I let the noise die.  Timbo hit stop then I went over to the drums.  
"Ok, hit record again".  

I know a couple of beats from playing to records when it was my parents turn to let my high school band practice at our house so I listened to the squall and played along till it seemed to be time to stop.  At that point with a half an hour till the band I was producing was supposed to show for their session Timbo clicked over to mix and we put it all down.  Great. Done. Put this stuff away before the band gets here.

A few days later after watching some of Lucas Brunelle's crazy bicycling footage I decided to name the 'tune' after NY City's premier Alleycat race Monstertrack.  Of course the 'tune' didn't make it to the film but I'm very happy to present it to you now.  "Monstertrack Suite"

Eric Ambel

"Monstertrack Suite" is the first Eric Ambel recording to be released on Kasey Anderson's Red River Records

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Monday, December 06, 2010

Gig For Chip 12-12-10 Lakeside 7pm


If you can't attend and would like to send a little something for Chip you can go to this site (corrected)
and click the 'donate' link.

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Monday, October 04, 2010

A year at Gordy's Pier

I'm full of cliches.
One of which is "I've been everywhere twice".

Semi-true. The rock and roll has taken me all over the globe. Lucky for me
the second time I got a better look at things. The other half of my personally
generated cliche is "...but Lake Geneva is the only place I've ever missed."

More specifically Fontana, Wisconsin on the west end of Geneva Lake. I could go
on and on about Lake Geneva, Fontana, Chucks (the benchmark of Wisconsin taverns)
but that would detract from just looking at the lake.

Gordy's Sept 21 2010

You can read the history of Gordy's on their site.
Gordy the man was responsible for the little marina that blossomed and also a bar named Chucks a few doors down.

A little over a year ago one of my lake buddies David McPherson let me know that Gordy's had a 24 Hour Webcam
up in the office pointed at the lake. It became an instant personal favorite. I could see the lake. I could see what kind of
weather they were having. I could occasionally even see somebody I knew.

I'd check it all the time, especially in the morning. I'd check it before I called my Dad.
Some people thought it was nuts for me to keep an eye on the webcam.
But a lot of people liked to follow along to the posts at Facebook.

Well, I found a link that anybody (you don't have to be signed up to Facebook) can use to see one whole year of pics grabbed from
Gordy's Webcam. Open the link then to go from picture to picture just click on the
picture itself. A lot happens in a year at the lake.

Link to a year of pics from Gordy's Webcam

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Friday, September 10, 2010

My Father's Obituary w info

My father Melton Sterling Ambel died at his home in Fontana, Wisconsin this Wednesday Sept 8, 2010 at 6:15pm.

Melton S. Ambel, 82, of Naples, FL and formerly of Batavia, IL, died in his summer home in Fontana, WI on September 8, 2010 after a long, courageous battle with cancer. Melt was born in Aurora, IL to Melton and Augusta Ambel. As a child, he enjoyed playing the saxophone in the East Aurora High School band. After graduation, he enlisted in the U.S. Army, where he served in the Korean War. Melt founded Chapple West, Inc. , a pre-engineered building franchise which he owned for over 40 years. He had many hobbies and interests including love of art and music, sailing, skiing and golf. A stroke of luck seemed to follow him (two “holes-in-one”), but Melt worked hard at everything he did; including all the great friendships that he made over the years. He attended the Vanderbilt Presbyterian Church in Naples, FL and was a member of both Pelican Marsh and Big Foot Country Clubs.

Melt was preceded in death by his parents and two sisters, Eileen Hilderbrand and Anita Fitzgerald. He is survived by his caring wife of 54 years, Carylsue (Covert) Ambel, son Eric (Mary Lee) Ambel, daughter Sarah (Brad) Hecht, grand-daughter Emily Freiny and step-grandchildren Taylor and Mallory Hecht, god- daughter Sarah Kinnally Hunt, nephews Rick, Tom, David Fitzgerald, Mike and Tim Hilderbrand and niece Susie Hilderbrand. Family and friends can rest assured that Melt will be waiting for them in Heaven with a glass of red wine and cigar in hand.

Visitation will be held at Toynton Funeral Home, 328 Kenosha St., Walworth, WI on September 15, 2010 from 4:00-8:00 P.M. Memorial service will be held at Fontana Community Church, 275 Kinzie Ave., Fontana, WI on September 16th at 11:00 A.M. In lieu of flowers and because of Melt’s love for children and Lake Geneva, a memorial fund has been established at Holiday Home Camp for economically disadvantaged/at-risk-youth (P.O. Box 10, Williams Bay, WI 53191).

Obit by Sarah Hecht, Photo by Eric Ambel

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Wednesday, June 02, 2010

The Studio: Springfield, MO recording home of Lou Whitney


328 South Avenue
Springfield, MO 65806
Lou Whitney: Producer, Enginner, Owner

The Studio is located in the thriving downtown of Springfield, MO within walking distance from many restaurants, coffee shops and bars. The Studio features a very accurate control room and a spacious live room with 14' ceilings, one ISO booth and a comfortable lounge. The Studio is also tied into the Outland Bar for live recording.

Selected Clients include: Wilco, Bottle Rockets, Robbie Fulks, Blue Mountain, Exene Cervenka, Dexter Romwebber, Jonathan Richman, The Del-Lords, Eric Ambel, Joe Flood, Jono Manson, Domino Kings, Hadacol, Mary McBride, Syd Straw, Morrells, Skeletons, Redd Volkaert, Brian Capps, the Cowslingers, the Cropdusters, Bel-Airs, Big Smith

Recording Gear

Soundcraft TS 24 Recording Console
40 input 24 bus

KEF-103.2 Monitors (2 pair)
SLS-S8R Monitors with Ribbon Tweeters

Otari MTR 90 2" analog w 24 and 16 track heads
Studer A 80 1/2 analog
Studer B 67 1/4" analog
Mackie 24 bit 96k Hard Disc Recorder
Digidesign Pro Tools HD coming soon

Amek 9098 Mic Pre/EQ/Comp
Audio+design Compex Pre/EQ/Compressor
Audio+design Scamp S31 Compressor (6)
Audio+design Scamp SQ4 Parametric EQ (4)
Audio+design Scamp S30 Expander/Gate (2)
Audio+design Scamp S02 Pre-amp (2)
Audio+design Scamp S25 De-esser
BAE-API 312 Card Mic Pre (2)
Broadhurst Gardens/Decca dual Mic Pre
dbx 160 comp
dbx 163 comp (2)
dbx 166A comp
Demeter VTCL-2 stereo tube comp
Telefunken V627/2 Mic Pre
TL Audio Dual Valve EQ
TL Audio Dual Valve Pre-Amp/Compressor
TL Audio 5012 Dual Valve Compressor
Urie 1176 LN Compressor (4)
Urie LA-4 Opto Compressor (4)
Universal Audio 175 (Bill Putnam Tube Compressor)
Valley People Dyna-mite comp/gate (2)
WHR Studio 4 RE-312 API card Mic Pre (2)

Eventide Harmonizer
Eventide H3000
Lexicon pcm 41 (2)
Lexicon pcm 60
Lexicon 244 XL

414 (2)
451 (2)

PZM (2)

Electro Voice
RE-20 (2)

U-47 FET (2)
U-87 (4)
KM-86 (2)

421 (8)

SM 81 (2)
KSM 32 (2)
SM 58 (10)
SM 57 (5)

8 x 10" cabinet
B-15 Portaflex (2)

Deluxe Reverb '72
Vibrolux Reverb '65

Hammond C-3
Leslie 145
Kimball 6'7" Grand Piano
Wurlitzer B-200
RMI Electra Piano
Fender Rhodes

Studio Drum kit with many snare drums and cymbals
Ace Session Musicians Available

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Saturday, April 03, 2010

Lunch Encounter Bounce

the Lunch Encounter blog
written by famous food stylist Lisa Cherasky bounced
a few of my food pics from the Del-Lords
tour of Spain earlier this year. Lunch Encounter is focused on the Sandwich.

Hope over there and check it out.

mini bocadilla

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Thursday, March 18, 2010


I like to stop by the Lakeside on my bike late in the afternoon. More often than not I find our Soundguy Alex
Feldesman there opening up and getting things in order for the looming happy hours. My partner the Hound
has staffed the place with great people for the last 15 years and most of 'em have pretty great taste in music.
Alex is no exception. All the staff iPod's are packed with cool stuff. Alex's rig usually has a particular slant.
He likes a lot of Richard Thompson, The Small Faces, a lot of outakes and live stuff. That one live Byrd's record
that rocks so much harder than it supposed to in particular always fakes me out.
So I usually sit there and find out which bands I booked actually brought some folks to the gig, which ones ran
some people out. That kind of stuff. Invariably I end up asking about some song or other. "Who's that"?

After all this time I suppose that I should know but usually the answer to my question was "Chilton".
Just when you think you know about Alex Chilton is when you'll find out that you just don't know about
Alex Chilton. The range of his music was pretty darn wide and his musicianship was wild also.

One time I saw him do a solo acoustic show at CBGB's. His guitar strap broke. He would accept no help. He didn't take
the other performer's guitar (Dexter Romwebber) the way his fellow Memphian Elvis Presley had taken Scotty Moore's guitar
at the '68 Comeback Special. Nope, Alex Chilton finished the set standing on one leg like the Karate Kid with his
guitar on his knee. It was great.

But back to the Lakeside and Alex the Soundguy's Happy Hour iPod. Here's a song that I heard on one of those "who the hell" occasions that turned out to be the Alex Chilton.
As we lament Alex Chilton's all too early death I hope you'll enjoy this crazy romp through a very unexpected tune from our youth.

Sugar Sugar

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Wednesday, February 24, 2010


After 20 years the Del-Lords got back together, recorded a few new songs palyed a couple tune up gigs. We are heading for Spain today to play the rock and roll. Check out some new music and the dates.

Del-Lords house concert
Photo by Robert Spencer

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