Headin' West (25 year old recording feat. Randy Howard)

Posted by: Janice & Bud

Headin' West (25 year old recording feat. Randy Howard) - 06/30/18 03:52 AM

Many years before our current Americana days the two of us were members of several bluegrass bands. But when our friend Randy Howard would visit from Nashville we had loads of fun as a trio with me (Bud) on upright bass, Janice on guitar and Randy on anything that had strings smile Randy was a prodigious talent who was grammy nominated and a 12 time national fiddle champion (he also won flat picking guitar contests, was a world class mandolin player and played a mean banjo). He played on many major projects including Garth Brooks “Seven.”

Alison Krauss once told us that as a kid she and her mother chased Randy all over the country so she could learn from him (she dedicated an album to him). Sadly he passed away too young at 39. The first bluegrass band I (Bud) played in was with him and his dad in the 70’s.

A little info on Randy can be read HERE on our website.

We recorded a lot with Randy and released a trio album after his passing. I’ve often wanted to post one of our songs (with an RT added of course) but nearly everything we recorded was a bluegrass cover - common with traditional style BG bands!

Janice and I did write one little ditty that we recorded live with him 25 years ago on a 4-track Tascam cassette recorder. This was a living room recording with us afterwards bouncing a few tracks to add some harmony, Randy’s mandolin and leaving a spot for a friend to play banjo. By the time you bounce a few tracks on a cassette recorder there’s not a whole lot of quality left…but, what the heck, we added a RT for the showcase and here it is — poor recording quality and all but a brief two minute glimpse into his talent.

BTW, Randy was the first to encourage Janice to sing! So here’s her in the “high lonesome” bluegrass days.

Hope you enjoy it and RIP Randy.

Headin' West

Randy: mandolin and fiddle
Janice: guitar and vocals
Bud: bass fiddle
Bandmate friend: banjo
RT 938: A guitar “chop” on the upbeat I added that pretty much doubles Randy’s mandolin rhythm chop.
Posted by: BlueAttitude

Re: Headin' West (25 year old recording with Randy Howard) - 06/30/18 04:07 AM

Yeah!!!!!

I don't know much about bluegrass and haven't listened to much of it, but I love this!

Janice sounds great, and man, Randy could play! And you sound pretty fine too, Bud! Not to late to get back into playing IMHO.

Quality of the song and the performance vastly overcomes any limitations with the quality of the recording, which actually doesn't sound too bad considering the source.

Thanks for posting, enjoyed the listen!
Posted by: Al-David

Re: Headin' West (25 year old recording with Randy Howard) - 06/30/18 04:37 AM

Sounds terrific to these old ears! Based on what you said in your intro narrative, I was expecting a rather dull sound. But the tone is quite good. And the playing is excellent! This is Bluegrass as it was meant to be played. Excellent in all regards. Thanks for the couple minutes of listening pleasure! And yeah, Ransdy was quite the musician!

ALan
Posted by: ROG

Re: Headin' West (25 year old recording with Randy Howard) - 06/30/18 05:06 AM

Hi there J&B.

Fabulous! Nothing wrong with that recording at all. It's amazing the quality we used
to get from cassette back in the day.

Loved the song and the superb performances that shine through from all that time ago.

Thanks for digging this one out!

Cheers, ROG.
Posted by: Robertkc

Re: Headin' West (25 year old recording with Randy Howard) - 06/30/18 09:23 AM

J&B,
Wonderful, joyful sounds that are pretty clear for the cassette/living room method.
The fiddle chops of your friend shine and its cool to hear where you guys came from musically.Those old videos of your band are fun too - is Randy in them?
Nice work recovering this jem.

Robert
Posted by: rsdean

Re: Headin' West (25 year old recording feat. Randy Howard) - 06/30/18 11:41 AM

Janice & Bud,

Now that was a treat! Very cool the way you went back and resurrected this one.

Loved every minute of it...

Bob
Posted by: dcuny

Re: Headin' West (25 year old recording feat. Randy Howard) - 06/30/18 12:40 PM

Sounded awesome over my speakers! Whatever the deficiencies you heard in the recording, they never reached my ears.

Ironically, one of the features is a sampled guitar library that was released recently is an option to use the version that was recorded through a Tascam tape recorder for a "vintage" vibe. So pulling it off an old recording probably actually adds to the quality. smile

Also, I don't think there's a requirement that BiaB be used in every song you post. At the top of this forum it says:

If Band-in-a-Box or RealBand have been used...

Given that you frequently posts songs done in BiaB, I don't think occasionally posting something that doesn't have BiaB on it breaks any rules. Just let us know you didn't use BiaB, or we'll be thinking you ran across some cool RTs we hadn't heard yet! wink
Posted by: RnAM

Re: Headin' West (25 year old recording feat. Randy Howard) - 06/30/18 01:34 PM

Wow, we are impressed!
Such smooth banjo picking, mandolin and fiddle.
We were particularly struck by Janice's youthful vocals laugh with super tight backing.
Thanks for posting this one!
Posted by: PeterF

Re: Headin' West (25 year old recording feat. Randy Howard) - 06/30/18 06:25 PM

Bud & Janice,

The recording sounded great on my speakers (couldn't tell the RT was added the other day) - the performances by all absolutely stellar!

World class stuff there, a real treat for members of the forum!

We should get to hear more of that bass playing.

Peter
Posted by: Charlie Fogle

Re: Headin' West (25 year old recording feat. Randy Howard) - 06/30/18 08:59 PM

Authentic Bluegrass from top to bottom. Enjoyed my listen. Very nice job getting the cassette to play so nicely. I have a lot of fun playing with older recordings and it becomes so much more of a treat when you're able to work on a recording to preserve musicians no longer with us.
Posted by: Janice & Bud

Re: Headin' West (25 year old recording feat. Randy Howard) - 07/01/18 04:46 AM

Originally Posted By: BlueAttitude
Yeah!!!!!

I don't know much about bluegrass and haven't listened to much of it, but I love this!

Janice sounds great, and man, Randy could play! And you sound pretty fine too, Bud! Not to late to get back into playing IMHO.

Quality of the song and the performance vastly overcomes any limitations with the quality of the recording, which actually doesn't sound too bad considering the source.

Thanks for posting, enjoyed the listen!


Thanks Dave! I really wish I could post some of the songs where he really cuts loose. They were on our trio CD and we have licenses for them but I do respect the showcase policy on covers. Randy had a killer album called Survival of the Fiddlist.
Posted by: Ember - PG Music

Re: Headin' West (25 year old recording feat. Randy Howard) - 07/01/18 12:10 PM

Wow, you weren't kidding when you said Randy could play. This song is lovely, and honestly, on the speakers I have at the office to listen to music, I can't hear an issue with the sound quality at all! I think it's a great tune.

Thanks for sharing!
Posted by: PeterGannon

Re: Headin' West (25 year old recording feat. Randy Howard) - 07/01/18 04:35 PM

Janice and Bud,

That was just beautiful! You all sounded great, and Randy's playing is spectacular.
Thanks for creating this.
Posted by: MarioD

Re: Headin' West (25 year old recording feat. Randy Howard) - 07/01/18 06:43 PM

Bluegrass at its absolute finest!

Randy was a hell of a player but you two ain't no slouches either.

That old recording sounded great on my near field monitors. Did you have to remove tape hiss or do anything to the tape to make it sound this good?
Posted by: floyd jane

Re: Headin' West (25 year old recording feat. Randy Howard) - 07/02/18 04:10 PM

WOW!

I had that 4-track Tascam cassette recorder (still do). I can guarantee you...MY recordings NEVER sounded like THAT!

This is truly wonderful. Authentic. Would not be surprised if someone said this was a National Recording Registry recording. Or something from NPR when they are searching for "the real thing".

No question that Randy was a very talented man. But so is Bud Merritt. And as for talented women, few approach Janice Merritt.

A stunningly good recording.

Y'all are the Real Deal.

fj
Posted by: Noel96

Re: Headin' West (25 year old recording feat. Randy Howard) - 07/02/18 05:25 PM

Janice and Bud,

This was a really wonderful listen.

I was sitting here at my computer switching back and forth between reading an article on gravitational waves and scrolling through Users Showcase. I always find it best to have some distraction when I'm reading physics as I often find myself dozing off (not because it's boring but because physics does that to me -- I've never worked out why).

Anyway... When I started this song up, you added a whole new level of energy to my morning. Thank you for that. It was just what I needed.

Janice, your singing is super!!!! You have a serious knack for engaging the listener and pulling him/her into the song's journey.

Bud, your bass playing is excellent. I'm always pretty critical of bass because its melodic movement is something that I monitor in BIAB tracks because BIAB does not always make the best note-by-note choices. At the end of this recording, I just smiled.... not a milligram of critical thinking remained in my brain.

Randy (RIP), you were an incredibly talented man (and then some)!

Best regards to all,
Noel
Posted by: Janice & Bud

Re: Headin' West (25 year old recording feat. Randy Howard) - 07/03/18 12:36 PM

Originally Posted By: Al-David
Sounds terrific to these old ears! Based on what you said in your intro narrative, I was expecting a rather dull sound. But the tone is quite good. And the playing is excellent! This is Bluegrass as it was meant to be played. Excellent in all regards. Thanks for the couple minutes of listening pleasure! And yeah, Ransdy was quite the musician!

ALan


Thanks Al. We were privileged to play with someone of his caliber. You would be amazed at the list of albums he played on. He left our little town, went to N'ville, and his dream was realized within a few months. A rare story.

J&B
Posted by: animarorecords

Re: Headin' West (25 year old recording feat. Randy Howard) - 07/03/18 11:42 PM

Hello, Janice & Bud

It is a truly historical recording!
I agree with ROG.
Fabulous! Nothing wrong with that recording at all. It's amazing the quality we used
to get from cassette back in the day.
Randy's playing is spectacular. And so are the others' playing.
I was using Teac's 4 track multi-channel tape recorder (The model number was A-3340S) when I was young, but I had never recorded such a wonderful performance.
Enjoyed my listen a lot.

Best regards.

Shigeki Adachi
Posted by: Deryk - PG Music

Re: Headin' West (25 year old recording feat. Randy Howard) - 07/04/18 07:21 AM

What a tune! This is absolutely stunning. As other's have mentioned, Randy's playing is superb on this. He was obviously an incredibly talented guy. But truthfully, on this one the combination of what all 3 of you achieved is the impressive thing. There is so much chemistry between you all here, and it really shined through on the song.

Not a thing I'd change - you guys absolutely crushed this one. Thanks for sharing smile
Posted by: Greg Johnson

Re: Headin' West (25 year old recording feat. Randy Howard) - 07/04/18 04:44 PM

Gotta tap your foot to this one!! Great story, and a great blast from the past. THanks for posting guys!! Take care. Greg
Posted by: Deej56

Re: Headin' West (25 year old recording feat. Randy Howard) - 07/04/18 05:33 PM

Janice and Bud,

This is absolutely wonderful—beautifully done. Great listen—your friend Randy was something else on that fiddle. Killer!

All the best to you both,

Deej
Posted by: Rob4580

Re: Headin' West (25 year old recording feat. Randy Howard) - 07/04/18 06:43 PM

Thank you for the wonderful back story. Classic bluegrass for me and an excellent tune.
Thanks for listing this.Rob
Posted by: Scott C

Re: Headin' West (25 year old recording feat. Randy Howard) - 07/05/18 06:37 PM

What a cool song. So much fun to listen too. Boy can Randy pay wow. Super vocals and harmonies. Loved this song
Posted by: Janice & Bud

Re: Headin' West (25 year old recording feat. Randy Howard) - 07/09/18 12:42 PM

Originally Posted By: ROG
Hi there J&B.

Fabulous! Nothing wrong with that recording at all. It's amazing the quality we used
to get from cassette back in the day.

Loved the song and the superb performances that shine through from all that time ago.

Thanks for digging this one out!

Cheers, ROG.


Thanks ROG. It was fun revisiting it.

J&B

Originally Posted By: Robertkc
J&B,
Wonderful, joyful sounds that are pretty clear for the cassette/living room method.
The fiddle chops of your friend shine and its cool to hear where you guys came from musically.Those old videos of your band are fun too - is Randy in them?
Nice work recovering this jem.

Robert


Thanks Robert. No, those band vids were after his passing. Janice and I played with him as a trio. Mostly “just playing” but sometimes at gigs.

J&B

Originally Posted By: dcuny
Sounded awesome over my speakers! Whatever the deficiencies you heard in the recording, they never reached my ears.

Ironically, one of the features is a sampled guitar library that was released recently is an option to use the version that was recorded through a Tascam tape recorder for a "vintage" vibe. So pulling it off an old recording probably actually adds to the quality. smile

Also, I don't think there's a requirement that BiaB be used in every song you post. At the top of this forum it says:

If Band-in-a-Box or RealBand have been used...

Given that you frequently posts songs done in BiaB, I don't think occasionally posting something that doesn't have BiaB on it breaks any rules. Just let us know you didn't use BiaB, or we'll be thinking you ran across some cool RTs we hadn't heard yet! wink


smile Thanks!

J&B
Posted by: Janice & Bud

Re: Headin' West (25 year old recording feat. Randy Howard) - 07/11/18 07:20 AM

Originally Posted By: RnAM
Wow, we are impressed!
Such smooth banjo picking, mandolin and fiddle.
We were particularly struck by Janice's youthful vocals laugh with super tight backing.
Thanks for posting this one!


Thanks! I definitely had to sing higher during our bluegrass days.

J&B

Originally Posted By: PeterF
Bud & Janice,

The recording sounded great on my speakers (couldn't tell the RT was added the other day) - the performances by all absolutely stellar!

World class stuff there, a real treat for members of the forum!

We should get to hear more of that bass playing.

Peter


Thanks Peter. You are too kind about my simple BG bass playing!

Bud
Originally Posted By: Charlie Fogle
Authentic Bluegrass from top to bottom. Enjoyed my listen. Very nice job getting the cassette to play so nicely. I have a lot of fun playing with older recordings and it becomes so much more of a treat when you're able to work on a recording to preserve musicians no longer with us.



Thanks Charlie. I ran it through Ozone which vastly improved the sound.

Bud


Originally Posted By: Ember - PG Music
Wow, you weren't kidding when you said Randy could play. This song is lovely, and honestly, on the speakers I have at the office to listen to music, I can't hear an issue with the sound quality at all! I think it's a great tune.

Thanks for sharing!


Thanks Ember. Randy was a genius...and we don’t say that lightly.

J&B
Posted by: Janice & Bud

Re: Headin' West (25 year old recording feat. Randy Howard) - 07/11/18 07:23 AM

Originally Posted By: PeterGannon
Janice and Bud,

That was just beautiful! You all sounded great, and Randy's playing is spectacular.
Thanks for creating this.


Thank you so much! I wish Randy could have experienced BiaB. He would’ve loved it!

J&B
Posted by: cliftond

Re: Headin' West (25 year old recording feat. Randy Howard) - 07/11/18 08:27 AM

Now there is a song!!!! Love this style a quick Blue grass, Randy was quite the player, janice you had this down pat, Bud are you playing the Bass here? Excellent song!!!!
Posted by: rayc

Re: Headin' West (25 year old recording feat. Randy Howard) - 07/12/18 03:25 AM

That's excellent quality regardless of format, (mind you I love a 4 track cassette machine and the mind work forced upon me.
Excellent little piece - sounds authentic as well as fun.
Posted by: David Snyder

Re: Headin' West (25 year old recording feat. Randy Howard) - 07/12/18 12:35 PM


Totally awesome!

Can't believe you did that on a Tascam 4 track.

I had one of those.

Wow!!

smile

Awesome job folks.
Posted by: Janice & Bud

Re: Headin' West (25 year old recording feat. Randy Howard) - 07/18/18 09:07 AM

Originally Posted By: MarioD
Bluegrass at its absolute finest!

Randy was a hell of a player but you two ain't no slouches either.

That old recording sounded great on my near field monitors. Did you have to remove tape hiss or do anything to the tape to make it sound this good?


Thanks! I ran it through a noise gate and Ozone.

Bud



Originally Posted By: floyd jane
WOW!

I had that 4-track Tascam cassette recorder (still do). I can guarantee you...MY recordings NEVER sounded like THAT!

This is truly wonderful. Authentic. Would not be surprised if someone said this was a National Recording Registry recording. Or something from NPR when they are searching for "the real thing".

No question that Randy was a very talented man. But so is Bud Merritt. And as for talented women, few approach Janice Merritt.

A stunningly good recording.

Y'all are the Real Deal.

fj


Thanks for the great review! Your thoughtful comments make this whole music thing worth it all. Really.

J&B