Navigation for 50's Rock and Roll
The Recording Session N.Y.C.
Early Fall 1958
There is a lot to tell you so lets get too it. In the early fall of 1958 after playing gigs and rehearsing, more gigs, more rehearsing, it was time to hit the big time. Don sr. felt that we were ready to move on too, so he arranged for a recording session at Bell Sound Studio in NYC. Boy was this great or what. Here was the deal. We would pack up the cars, (one of which was mine an old 49 Chevy bomb) and early Saturday morning drive to NY via rt.5 and the Merrit Parkway. I didn't know how to get there but I was assured everything would be ok if I just followed them. Yea right. I had some vague idea of the address. Saturday came. Fresh and excited we loaded up. John Kozik and the big, big, Bass wound up in my car. Then, being 17 and fearless, off we went.
Times square 1950s
We didn't arrive in NY until after it was dark. I lost Don on one of the one-way streets but then spotted him again, so I zoomed over two streets to meet up. Wrong! NYC's finest stopped me and pulled me over. He said that I just can't drive any where I want too. I have to obey the laws... Oh... I put on my best humble and apologetic face and he let me off with a warning. Phew... was I lucky or what. Any way we were here. Yea.... The Big Apple... Bright Lights and the Northern Lights. Is life great or what?
The recording studio was on the second floor which meant we had to lug all that stuff up the stairs. I remember following the base fiddle. The room itself was a good size but not huge. It was packed with baffles and a lot or mikes and cables music stands etc. and on one end there was glass window. That's where the control room was. We were told how to set up for getting the best sound. The drums over here and guitars over there and so forth. We each had our own mike. Cool...
After about a half hour or so of setting up and making the appropriate tune up noises we were ready to go. Don Sr. disappeared into the control room and we heard a voice over the speaker system. Alright lets hear one of your numbers for the purpose of setting the levels then we'll let you know when we're ready to start. So we played one of our numbers. Oh man did we sound awful. The acoustics were totally dead. It was like playing in a closet full of clothes Then a voice came over the speaker system again. We were told not to worry that we sounded good. I sure hope so. Al right were ready to start, keep an eye up here for your cues.
After 2 or 3 numbers we were told to take a break for a while and listen to what they had so far. With that they played back one of the recordings. WOW what a difference. It didn't sound very good when we were playing and it was hard to concentrate because of the dead acoustics, but when they played back recording with the mix and reverberation it was another world. That's more like it.
With renewed enthusiasm we settled down to the work of getting all our best songs recorded. We were amazed what they could do with the sound quality. Isn't electronics wonderful?
The recording session didn't end until around midnight and we were pleased the way it turned out. It definitely was worth the trip and the effort that we put into it. That being said, It was time to go home.
We were still flying high from the events of the day but that faded as the long journey home progressed. I can remember being very tired but thinking about what the band has accomplished and where we might go next. The possibilities seemed endless. Yes folks we did it all in one shot. Down and back. Today it wouldn't be so hard because of the interstates but then it was a long long drive, with regular roads most of the way. Needless to say we were vegetables when we arrived home.