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#480035 - 06/30/18 03:52 AM [User Showcase] Headin' West (25 year old recording feat. Randy Howard)
Registered: 12/05/11
Posts: 10738
Loc: GA USA
Janice & Bud Offline
Veteran

Registered: 12/05/11
Posts: 10738
Loc: GA USA
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.
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#480037 - 06/30/18 04:07 AM [User Showcase] Re: Headin' West (25 year old recording with Randy Howard) [Re: Janice & Bud]
Registered: 11/30/07
Posts: 3929
Loc: Ontario, Canada
BlueAttitude Offline
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Registered: 11/30/07
Posts: 3929
Loc: Ontario, Canada
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!

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#480039 - 06/30/18 04:37 AM [User Showcase] Re: Headin' West (25 year old recording with Randy Howard) [Re: Janice & Bud]
Registered: 12/29/12
Posts: 5532
Loc: Originally Missouri ... Now Al...
Al-David Offline
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Registered: 12/29/12
Posts: 5532
Loc: Originally Missouri ... Now Al...
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
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#480043 - 06/30/18 05:06 AM [User Showcase] Re: Headin' West (25 year old recording with Randy Howard) [Re: Janice & Bud]
Registered: 12/12/11
Posts: 3275
Loc: York, England
ROG Offline
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Registered: 12/12/11
Posts: 3275
Loc: York, England
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.

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#480069 - 06/30/18 09:23 AM [User Showcase] Re: Headin' West (25 year old recording with Randy Howard) [Re: Janice & Bud]
Registered: 06/09/16
Posts: 3128
Robertkc Offline
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Registered: 06/09/16
Posts: 3128
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

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#480077 - 06/30/18 11:41 AM [User Showcase] Re: Headin' West (25 year old recording feat. Randy Howard) [Re: Janice & Bud]
Registered: 08/09/10
Posts: 4889
Loc: New York
rsdean Offline
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Registered: 08/09/10
Posts: 4889
Loc: New York
Janice & Bud,

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

Loved every minute of it...

Bob

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#480084 - 06/30/18 12:40 PM [User Showcase] Re: Headin' West (25 year old recording feat. Randy Howard) [Re: Janice & Bud]
Registered: 09/27/10
Posts: 4327
Loc: Sacramento, California
dcuny Offline
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Registered: 09/27/10
Posts: 4327
Loc: Sacramento, California
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
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#480090 - 06/30/18 01:34 PM [User Showcase] Re: Headin' West (25 year old recording feat. Randy Howard) [Re: Janice & Bud]
Registered: 05/02/14
Posts: 3180
Loc: The Netherlands
RnAM Offline
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Registered: 05/02/14
Posts: 3180
Loc: The Netherlands
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!
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#480138 - 06/30/18 06:25 PM [User Showcase] Re: Headin' West (25 year old recording feat. Randy Howard) [Re: Janice & Bud]
Registered: 12/06/03
Posts: 4351
Loc: Sydney Australia
PeterF Offline
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Registered: 12/06/03
Posts: 4351
Loc: Sydney Australia
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

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#480147 - 06/30/18 08:59 PM [User Showcase] Re: Headin' West (25 year old recording feat. Randy Howard) [Re: Janice & Bud]
Registered: 04/07/13
Posts: 6459
Loc: South Carolina
Charlie Fogle Offline
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Registered: 04/07/13
Posts: 6459
Loc: South Carolina
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.
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#480159 - 07/01/18 04:46 AM [User Showcase] Re: Headin' West (25 year old recording feat. Randy Howard) [Re: BlueAttitude]
Registered: 12/05/11
Posts: 10738
Loc: GA USA
Janice & Bud Offline
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Registered: 12/05/11
Posts: 10738
Loc: GA USA
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.
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#480175 - 07/01/18 12:10 PM [User Showcase] Re: Headin' West (25 year old recording feat. Randy Howard) [Re: Janice & Bud]
Registered: 06/19/17
Posts: 2613
Loc: Victoria, BC
Ember - PG Music Offline
PG Music Staff

Registered: 06/19/17
Posts: 2613
Loc: Victoria, BC
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!
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#480198 - 07/01/18 04:35 PM [User Showcase] Re: Headin' West (25 year old recording feat. Randy Howard) [Re: Janice & Bud]
Registered: 05/29/00
Posts: 14607
PeterGannon Offline
PG Music Staff

Registered: 05/29/00
Posts: 14607
Janice and Bud,

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

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#480206 - 07/01/18 06:43 PM [User Showcase] Re: Headin' West (25 year old recording feat. Randy Howard) [Re: Janice & Bud]
Registered: 12/27/03
Posts: 16002
Loc: Hamlin NY
MarioD Online   content
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Registered: 12/27/03
Posts: 16002
Loc: Hamlin NY
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?
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#480309 - 07/02/18 04:10 PM [User Showcase] Re: Headin' West (25 year old recording feat. Randy Howard) [Re: Janice & Bud]
Registered: 08/10/12
Posts: 9497
Loc: Florida
floyd jane Offline
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Registered: 08/10/12
Posts: 9497
Loc: Florida
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

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#480316 - 07/02/18 05:25 PM [User Showcase] Re: Headin' West (25 year old recording feat. Randy Howard) [Re: Janice & Bud]
Registered: 10/31/08
Posts: 17381
Loc: Australia
Noel96 Offline
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Registered: 10/31/08
Posts: 17381
Loc: Australia
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
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#480403 - 07/03/18 12:36 PM [User Showcase] Re: Headin' West (25 year old recording feat. Randy Howard) [Re: Al-David]
Registered: 12/05/11
Posts: 10738
Loc: GA USA
Janice & Bud Offline
Veteran

Registered: 12/05/11
Posts: 10738
Loc: GA USA
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
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#480449 - 07/03/18 11:42 PM [User Showcase] Re: Headin' West (25 year old recording feat. Randy Howard) [Re: Janice & Bud]
Registered: 05/11/15
Posts: 2176
Loc: Aichi, Japan
animarorecords Offline
Veteran

Registered: 05/11/15
Posts: 2176
Loc: Aichi, Japan
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

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#480482 - 07/04/18 07:21 AM [User Showcase] Re: Headin' West (25 year old recording feat. Randy Howard) [Re: Janice & Bud]
Registered: 02/15/17
Posts: 3414
Deryk - PG Music Offline
PG Music Staff

Registered: 02/15/17
Posts: 3414
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
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#480567 - 07/04/18 04:44 PM [User Showcase] Re: Headin' West (25 year old recording feat. Randy Howard) [Re: Janice & Bud]
Registered: 12/21/13
Posts: 6327
Loc: Davis, CA
Greg Johnson Offline
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Registered: 12/21/13
Posts: 6327
Loc: Davis, CA
Gotta tap your foot to this one!! Great story, and a great blast from the past. THanks for posting guys!! Take care. Greg

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