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#366076 - 09/19/16 03:55 AM [] The Ballad Of The Chessie Cat: 2nd Contest Submission by John Ford
Registered: 12/20/00
Posts: 11783
Loc: Pensacola, Florida
jford Offline
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Registered: 12/20/00
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Loc: Pensacola, Florida
The Ballad Of The Chessie Cat

by Christopher P. Werle and John E. Ford
(c) 1999 by Christopher P. Werle and John E. Ford

Here is another song by my buddy Chris and me, where I took a song we did a long time ago and redid it using one of the new XTRA styles.

This song uses the _ALLNITE style (also called "All Night Rock 'n' Roll boogie), which is in the Country Collection of the XTRA styles.

This song was inspired by a "Christmas In July" cruise Chris was invited to on his boss's yacht, which was called "The Chessie Cat". They were out on the Chesapeake Bay on a beautiful July day, with lots of other boats around, with everyone celebrating and having a great time.

Chris wrote the lyrics and chord progression. I wrote the flute solo and came up with the arrangement. Chris and I share the vocals on this one.

The _ALLNITE style itself is used completely throughout the song, except that the harmonica solo comes in and out when appropriate. It consists of:

RealTrack 519: Bass, Electric, Pop HalfNotes Ev 120
RealTrack 2151: Piano, Acoustic, Rhythm NewOrleansBoogieKevin Ev 165
RealTrack 884: Guitar, Electric, Rhythm TexasBluesRockLowA-B Ev 165
RealTrack 881: Guitar, Electric, Rhythm TexasBluesRockHighA-B Ev 165
RealTrack 685: Harmonica, Background Pop Ev 120
RealDrum: RockHardModernEv8^2-a:Snare, HiHat , b:Snare, Open HiHat

Then added to the song is a MIDI guitar part that captures how Chris fingerpicked the accompaniment (the original recording was in the song mix, so I couldn't extract the audio of him playing, so transcribed it to MIDI instead - not the same, but wanted to preserve it). I used the AAS Strum Acoustic plugin on that track, although its somewhat buried in the mix (intentionally)

The song also includes some strings (rendered from the Cakewalk TTS-1 softsynth) and a flute solo (rendered using the Ketron SD2 external synth).

Everything was done with a combination of BIAB and RealBand, to include using the built-in TC-Helicon harmonizer; however, final touchup to the audio file was done using Diamond Cut DC8.5 audio editor.

Hope you enjoy it!

Lyrics:

VERSE 1
Saturday mornin' comin' down,
Blue skies and sunshine all around.
What do you do on a day like that?
Set out for a cruise on the Chessie Cat.

VERSE 2
Early evenin' comin' 'round;
Close friends and good times all abound.
The lines are stowed and the crew is pat.
Headin' cross the bay on the Chessie Cat.

CHORUS
Forty eight feet long, three stories tall,
Split hull, tandem engines.
Chessie's got it all!
Glides over the waves so neatly,
Relaxing the soul completely,
'Til the summer winds give way to fall.

VERSE 3
Back at the slip we gather 'round.
Bright lights float by with a jolly sound.
Who would expect an event like that:
Christmas in July on the Chessie Cat.

VERSE 4
Winter mornin' comin' down.
Blue skies and sunshine all around.
What do you do on a day like that?
Yearn for a cruise on the Chessie Cat!

ENDING
Next year, plan to be here.
Fresh air, friends and good cheer.
Headin' 'cross the bay on the Chessie Cat.
_________________________
John

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#366079 - 09/19/16 04:17 AM [] Re: The Ballad Of The Chessie Cat: 2nd Contest Submission by John Ford [Re: jford]
Registered: 05/02/14
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RnAM Offline
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Hello John,

Well, a lot of music software went into this ;-)
You both done a very nice job on this. Especially the choruses have a very full sound to them.
The strings of the Cakewalk TTS-1 sounds cool. We have to say, as for MIDI, the TTS still works surprisingly well when it comes to its piano and strings patches.
The flute solo from the Ketron sure adds another dimension to the song.

Rob & Anne-Marie
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#366082 - 09/19/16 05:12 AM [] Re: The Ballad Of The Chessie Cat: 2nd Contest Submission by John Ford [Re: jford]
Registered: 06/05/12
Posts: 10837
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
VideoTrack Online   content
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Registered: 06/05/12
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Loc: Melbourne, Australia
John & Chris

Great song, with great fun lyrics, and lots of nostalgic meaning.

The harmonies and vocals on the chorus really packed the delivery, filling it out so nicely.

This is really well presented.

Great job, all.
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#366096 - 09/19/16 08:04 AM [] Re: The Ballad Of The Chessie Cat: 2nd Contest Submission by John Ford [Re: jford]
Registered: 08/29/14
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David Snyder Offline
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This is really fun guys!! Good job!!
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#366155 - 09/19/16 01:50 PM [] Re: The Ballad Of The Chessie Cat: 2nd Contest Submission by John Ford [Re: jford]
Registered: 10/31/08
Posts: 16477
Loc: Australia
Noel96 Offline
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Registered: 10/31/08
Posts: 16477
Loc: Australia
John and Chris,

This is excellent! I really enjoyed your presentation. Your song is a perfect match for the style. Your performances, arrangement and mix reminded me of the easy-listening, relaxed feel of Bobby Goldsboro's songs. The harmony is awesome and, as Trevor has already indicated, definitely seals the deal!

All the best,
Noel
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#366166 - 09/19/16 02:44 PM [] Re: The Ballad Of The Chessie Cat: 2nd Contest Submission by John Ford [Re: jford]
Registered: 12/20/00
Posts: 11783
Loc: Pensacola, Florida
jford Offline
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Registered: 12/20/00
Posts: 11783
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I really appreciate all the positive comments. This has always been a fun song for us, but the XTRA style really changed the sound from what we originally did. And I love having the harmonica.

The harmonies were created by using the built-in TC-Helicon harmonizer (which is somewhat dated, but still works).
I did a 2-down/1-up for my voice and then the same for Chris' voice, for a total of six harmony tracks. I selected the 2nd entry for vibrato for each harmony voice(can't remember the name of it right now), which is very light, but creates a little more warmth and reduces the "computer-generated" sound. I also made the harmonies a little more "loose" (one of the settings in the harmonizer). I then panned them opposite to where we were singing (as my lead voice is panned a little right and Chris' is a little left), so my harmonies ended up on the left and Chris' harmonies on the right. The high harmonies are farthest out in the stereo field and the low harmonies are closer to the center. Then it was a matter of adjusting volume and applying a little reverb.

I could have used a ton of plugins (I'm not lacking) and what not, but I'm a "keep it simple" kind of guy. I'm sure someone with much greater skill than I could have created a much better mix, but hey, I had fun, and learned something, and it's my mix. So there! smile

Although when I choose to, I can sing my own harmonies, when all I have is a melody track from someone else, I obviously can't sing harmony "using their voice", so that's why I like having the harmonizer. As I've said before, I wish there were an updated harmonizer that took advantage of newer pitch stretching technologies to avoid some of the chipmunk-ness you often get.

Now I've got to go listen to some of the other recent submissions in the contest. This has been great, and fun, both from a "creating" perspective and a "listening" perspective.
_________________________
John

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#366214 - 09/19/16 06:41 PM [] Re: The Ballad Of The Chessie Cat: 2nd Contest Submission by John Ford [Re: jford]
Registered: 04/07/13
Posts: 5621
Loc: South Carolina
Charlie Fogle Offline
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Great tune with a very relaxing feel. I think the Bobby Goldsboro is a good match for the feel although you guys have your own unique sound. A good listen.


Charlie
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#366288 - 09/20/16 07:42 AM [] Re: The Ballad Of The Chessie Cat: 2nd Contest Submission by John Ford [Re: jford]
Registered: 11/13/14
Posts: 552
Loc: North Yorkshire, England
receder Offline
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Registered: 11/13/14
Posts: 552
Loc: North Yorkshire, England
John,

Really enjoyed this. You have managed to bring together so many elements to create a cohesive sound.

Loved the harmonies and the general feel which captures the mood perfectly.

Nice one.

Rec
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#366601 - 09/21/16 11:25 PM [] Re: The Ballad Of The Chessie Cat: 2nd Contest Submission by John Ford [Re: jford]
Registered: 08/25/03
Posts: 3076
Loc: wales
gibson Offline
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Loc: wales
What an aural delight!!
great chorus

All in all an excellent production, I do like the flute solo, excellent!

enjoyable listen

Alyn
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