Dug out a few dusty, worn cassette tapes of some of my old demos, projects and experiments, last night. Probably 10-15 years old, by now. And since I’ve already been doing some restoration and conversion of some other tapes for the folks at the Jackson County Historical Society, I thought I’d take a crack at these too.
Back in the 90’s, Wes King’s brother, Mitch, had loaned me a well-worn 4-track cassette recorder that about half worked…I had one cheap microphone, no effects (like reverb or delay), and a complete lack of patience when it came to recording things “correctly”. :) The 4-track had lost the ability to “punch in” so everything I recorded back then was just in the raw. No second takes. No fixing it later. Just “you get what you get”, one-shot stuff.
Nevertheless, I recorded a LOT of music back then and looking back on it today, I can say that I’m glad I did…even though I cringe when I listen to some of it. Hopefully, I’ve learned (and matured) a good bit over the years though.
One particular tape had a variety of things on it…some original demos, some instrumentals, a few covers of some Dylan and Eagles and Sister Golden Hair. But two of the pieces were of me doing some stuff with my boys, Cameron (around 5, at the time) and Caleb (about 2, at the most), probably about 1998.
We knew Cameron was unusually bright and could already read about anything we asked him to. I recorded him reading a passage from my bible as the lead-in to a song I was working on. He was amazing…so small sounding, but so growny. So proper. It made me think so much of Emma, now. She's just like he was...nothing seems to be beyond what she can learn.
Then Caleb and I did a little informal chatting, and then he sang a line of Jesus Loves Me as the lead-in to an arrangement of that, that I was also fiddling with. It was crazy, how much he sounded like Jude (who is also 2, now). I could hardly believe it, and just sat there getting teary eyed as the tape played, horribly out-of-tune guitar and all!
It was a real thrill, hearing my boys. And I’m so glad I was able to save and convert those recordings. It was almost too late though…the tape was already starting to go bad. You’ll hear…lots of sound dropping out already, “wobbling” and all that.
Still, I wanted to share these with everyone. Aside from the lack of sonic clarity, I hope they’ll come across as more than just sweet, cute recordings (which, of course, they are). But I hope they’ll maybe inspire us to appreciate a little more, the times we have with our kids.
Caleb started high school this year. And Cameron has already graduated…becoming a man. So many years gone, so very, very fast. And sadly, one thing I cannot do is get them back.
So for my two oldest boys…”I love you, and I’m so proud of the way you were and the way you are.” Seems like I surely didn’t say or demonstrate that, nearly enough when I had the chance.
Hope everyone enjoys, have a great day...and go home and hug your kids. Twice.
*** BTW, obviously this recording is me and Caleb, and the Cameron one will post tomorrow.