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Our Good Old Days

Were the good old days so good?

Our brother-in-law wrote what has become the definitive book on child labor (Child Labor: An American History - he later edited a large volume on world wide child labor). While recently reflecting on the book I wrote what is now the third verse of this song which then lead to four additional "verse vignettes" of the “good” days.

Thinking I might be on to something I asked floyd if he’d like to join in. He tweaked and polished my roughed out verses, rewrote the refrain and sent us a melody. After working together on the arrangement and mix this is the result. Oh, and floyd also added some fine harmony to Janice’s vocal smile

Comments are welcome. Thanks for your time to listen.

Lead vocal: Janice / Rodes NT1 > Scarlett 212 > Logic Pro X > Nectar 2
Harmony vocal: floyd / Nectar 2
Bass: RT 2474 Acoustic Held / Neutron 2
Guitar: RT 2879 Electric, Rhythm AmericanaSparseSlow
Pedal Steel: RT 2666 Rhythm LushChordsSlow
Guitar: RT 1037 Acoustic, Rhythm NorthernRockBallad / Waves CLA Unplugged
Drums: RD AmericanaRoots / Waves CLA Drums
Drums: Doubled snare from above RD file / Waves CLA Drums
Shaker: Logic Pro loop / EMT 140 Reverb sim

The bass, steel, electric guitar and drum tracks were comped from multiple BiaB regens

Mix: Logic Pro X
Mastering: Low end EQ shelf > Waves LinMB > Ozone 8 Adv Imager > Ozone 8 Adv Maximizer

OUR GOOD OLD DAYS
© 2018 Bud Merritt & floyd jane
 
They worked dawn to dusk in a dark underground
digging up shiny black coal, coughing up black lung
paying the price to keep a young america's lights on
then passing that life of misery on to their sons
 
we call em the good ol days
but think of what they might say
thank god you didn't live in our good old days
 
considered little more than their husband's property
they bore the next generation
they raised and fed and taught and tended who we would become
without a vote without a voice without veneration

we call em the good ol days
but think of what they might say
thank god you didn't live in our good old days
 
children at 8 and 9 toiling 16 hour days
robbed of any childhood working the mills
No school, no play, no free day trapped in a man made hell
just so the family could eat and try to pay the bills

we call em the good ol days
but think of what they might say
thank god you didn't live in our good old days
 
sharecroppers working land they’d never own
back breaking labor  broken only by the dinner bell
After each year's accounting sinking deeper into debt
they came seeking haven, just found hell

we call em the good ol days
but think of what they might say
thank god you didn't live in our good old days
 
No amount of money, no position could protect them
for the lack of a shot or want of a pill
the whole family taken by yellow fever
now a cluster of headstones on a hill

we call em the good ol days
but think of what they might say
thank god you didn't live in our good old days
 
what do you think our ghosts will say
about living in our good old days


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Janice, Bud & Floyd,

This is absolutely outstanding... The write and production quality are off the charts - just a stunning sonic wonderland of texture and balance.

The performance by Janice is superb. I love the slow steady emotional build throughout and the supporting background by Floyd - pro all the way. The last note that Janice sings gives the word "days" that slight vocal flutter that is so beautiful.

A new favorite. Will go back for many listens...

Bob

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Major!

an awesome song

so many good lines

and a super performance and mix


Kenny

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This may sound odd, but the song was so good I couldn't finish it. Sorry. Unreal times, and your treatment of it was amazing. I've never thought of the "good old days" that way. Heartbreaking.

I hope it doesn't come across as offensive that I didn't finish it; it just brought me "there" a little too much. It's perfection, so don't get me wrong.

Written great, produced great, performed great...all expected, to be honest. HOWEVER, did you get some new gear or something? J's voice (which is always gorgeous) is SO present. Like, it couldn't be clearer if she was sitting right in front of me. Not harsh, though. Warm, inviting and clear. How? AND with all of the instrument present as well. I'm dumbfounded. That is a killer mix my friend.

I'll stop there; but what an amazing piece of work!


Chad (Hope that makes it easier)

TEMPO TANTRUM: What a lead singer has when they can't stay in time.
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Yep.... another good-un. I like the introspective look back to the lives of the folks from long ago.
There's no doubt that the good old days are actually kick [*****] tough and it really helped to form the generations that had a solid work ethic and a love for the country in it's early years. There is no doubt in my mind that if you could ask them.... they'd all say they;d do it again. Even though things were tough, they were better than the old country, and they were free men here.

What I didn't like about the song: the key changes. The way they were executed left me kinda wondering WTHWT???? Probably could have been done in a manner that made them seem more natural and they might have worked better.

Still got that lazy Janice singing style that we all have come to know and love. The vox were nice. Even Floyd out there in the back.


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Originally Posted By: rsdean
Janice, Bud & Floyd,

This is absolutely outstanding... The write and production quality are off the charts - just a stunning sonic wonderland of texture and balance.

The performance by Janice is superb. I love the slow steady emotional build throughout and the supporting background by Floyd - pro all the way. The last note that Janice sings gives the word "days" that slight vocal flutter that is so beautiful.

A new favorite. Will go back for many listens...

Bob


Thanks Bob for every word you said and for mentioning the build...with no bridge or solo we had to rely on the drums, harmony and the two modulations for a build. I'm very happy it worked for you.

Janice rarely uses any vibrato so it's cool that you noticed the little bit of it on that note...I thought it faded well into the fading RT notes.

We most appreciate your time to listen and comment!

J&B

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Great song and great message. Sadly in some countries this still goes on. Rob

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Superb song... It makes you stop & think!
I enjoyed it immensely.


Jim
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Bud, Janice, Floyd
Excellent message and a well composed and performed tune!

P.S. Every few years I take a ride to Scranton (PA) and take a coal mine tour. Couple of years back I took my son there. Like your song goes, in "good old days" they would hire young Polish boys to climb narrow shafts, where adults could not make it to excavate some of that "shinny black coal". Your song is a good reminder that sometimes we need to look back (and forward) on things critically.

Thank you for sharing.

Misha.

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Janice, Bud & floyd,

That was a musical treat and some hard hitting and thoughtful lyrics.

A beautiful mix, superb lead vocal and harmony, and a strong tune carry the insightful message.

I liked the key changes and all the production touches.
Excellent all round composition.

Peter

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Janice, Bud & Floyd,

A good hard hitting clear eyed write.There`s some Woody Guthrie in the uncompromising lyrics.
The chorus is outstanding - posing the listener that question that gets to the heart of those stories.
I really like the gentle opening and the whole accompaniment is spot on. Very good harmonies and then, of course, Janice sounding like she lived through those times a little.
I`m on the fence with the modulations - they are a bit surprising; need another listen,
but its a fine fine song.

Robert

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Originally Posted By: 44kfl
Major!

an awesome song

so many good lines

and a super performance and mix


Kenny


Glad you liked it Kenny and best to you on your 2019 musical journey. We look forward to your productions!

J&B

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This is the sort of song that makes my inner six year old squirm, because as expertly done as it it, there's a lesson hidden in there!

It reminded me of an NPR broadcast I heard the other week about the return of black lung disease to coal miners. And that's only the first verse!

The writing was excellent, and the mix clear as always. But what really struck me was Janice's excellent singing - in particular, her emoting. Nice subtle harmonies.

The modulations felt abrupt, but they worked as intended to bring some change to the song, so... Can't really complain there, can I?

As always, a treat to hear.


-- David Cuny
My virtual singer development blog

Vocal control, you say. Never heard of it. Is that some kind of ProTools thing?
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Yep,
and today in the brick kilns of India, Pakistan & Bangladesh whole families are bonded workers employed for the dry season and loaned money b y the managers to get through the wet thus racking up more debt against their bond.
As a musical piece, the melody, harmonies and arrangement, it's ACE.
As a narrative it is superb.
As a life long rat bag unionist I say
Thank You.


Cheers
rayc
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A great song guys, in many different ways. Beautifully sung, and I loved the 'loping' drum pattern which fit so well. I found myself singing along with the plaintive melody.
Excellent stuff.

John


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Originally Posted By: HearToLearn
This may sound odd, but the song was so good I couldn't finish it. Sorry. Unreal times, and your treatment of it was amazing. I've never thought of the "good old days" that way. Heartbreaking.

I hope it doesn't come across as offensive that I didn't finish it; it just brought me "there" a little too much. It's perfection, so don't get me wrong.

Written great, produced great, performed great...all expected, to be honest. HOWEVER, did you get some new gear or something? J's voice (which is always gorgeous) is SO present. Like, it couldn't be clearer if she was sitting right in front of me. Not harsh, though. Warm, inviting and clear. How? AND with all of the instrument present as well. I'm dumbfounded. That is a killer mix my friend.

I'll stop there; but what an amazing piece of work!


Wow! Hope you get back to it. Nothing new with Janice’s vocal fx - it’s a nectar preset that I’ve used with tweaking for years. My mastering chain has changed a bit and it may be the Waves LinMB that you hear. It’s a five band multicompressor that can really open up a mix.

Thanks for the great review and best to you this year and beyond!

J&B

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Dear Janice, dear Bud. And of course dear Floyd,

this great song was long overdue.

Why do so many people get trapped by the thought that turning back time would make things easier for them.
Everywhere in the world the 'good old days' have always been only good for a few at the expense of many. Good for the strong at the expense of those not blessed with strength. For those who were born on the right side of the road... No, it's in our hands to make the future become 'the good new days' (although it looks like we have lost our way these days...).

And I'm afraid that I'm not the only one who has a tendency to block out the fact that lots of bargains we buy are still produced by children in the third world. They're still living in exactly those 'good old days'. But won't survive them for long.

Such a song is one little step into the right direction and Janice and Bud, I'm really grateful for it.

Needless to say that it's musically flawless and perfect like any of your songs. Janice, I said it before: I worship you for your voice, your soulfulness, the versatility of your paraphrasing, your endless musicality.

And as good as you may be even without Bud: It's him who lets you sparkle even more - Bud, I love and admire what you do.

And there ain't nothing good that couldn't become even better with Floyd being involved.

So good, so incredibly good !!!!

Love,

Stefan

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Originally Posted By: Guitarhacker
Yep.... another good-un. I like the introspective look back to the lives of the folks from long ago.
There's no doubt that the good old days are actually kick [*****] tough and it really helped to form the generations that had a solid work ethic and a love for the country in it's early years. There is no doubt in my mind that if you could ask them.... they'd all say they;d do it again. Even though things were tough, they were better than the old country, and they were free men here.

What I didn't like about the song: the key changes. The way they were executed left me kinda wondering WTHWT???? Probably could have been done in a manner that made them seem more natural and they might have worked better.

Still got that lazy Janice singing style that we all have come to know and love. The vox were nice. Even Floyd out there in the back.


Thanks Herb. Glad you mostly liked it smile Janice appreciated your description of her vocal. Best to you in 2019 and onward.

J&B

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Gee,that's a wonderful song ...powerful, gripping, while most listenable at the same time.
Special meaning there, for me. Though born to the New England mill life, I spent many adult years in mining country, from W. Va. and S. Ohio to MT, CO, and NV. I remember how kind and gentle the neighborhood moms and pops always were, in spite of the hardships. As a side note, those folks prove that strong and righteous communities can be built about anywhere, if the will is there. K-12 were good times.


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Excellent all the way around. Great lyrics. Great melody.

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