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Me and Pops…….Part Two

May 13, 2012

The band was composed of accomplished musicians and all easy to get along with. Joey Brasler, the guitarist and writer has gone on to have many credits as has been noted previously. Steve Haberman, keyboardist added the beautiful Brahms Interlude at the end of Silver Bird. Mark “Mujel” Leon drums and percussion. Bryan “Bug” Tilford bassist also sang lead on Silver Bird. Bob Zimitti percussion. and of course Pops on fiddle and lead vocals. Reid King had many functions within the day-to-day needs of the band. He also played acoustic guitar on Hezakiah. This is the basic line up of the recording and touring band.

We had rehearsed in a practice room before going into the studio so we basically had the arrangements but things always happen that brings a surprise to the project.  Pops was always touring so we had to get the basic tracks pretty fast. I think it took about a week to get what was needed so that when they left town I could still record the guest stars. Michael Girard put on a synth and Joey Carbone added a piano part to Silver Bird.

David LaFlamme from the group, “It’s a beautiful day” was the first he was also a soloist on Silver Bird. We spent the better part of a day experimenting with his violin as Pops wasn’t in the studio so I had to make sure there was no stridency between the two fiddles. Remember we’re talking about the violin, it’s a real challenge to keep it in tune. We liked it but it was always going to be up to Pops and the band.

We scheduled a late night session with Johnny “Guitar ” Watson. He was fashionably late but it was worth it. I didn’t know Johnny at this time but I became close friends with him over time. When he came into the studio he spotted the acoustic piano in the room and proceeded to play with amazing ability. I thought seeing as how he had “Guitar” stuck in the middle of his name that his only instrument would be just that. I was wrong.  I went to see him perform years later at The House of Blues.  When he came out he was having trouble with his amplifier so he played the gig on keyboard. Everybody was amazed but me. He did not have any trouble at the session. We hooked him up direct and he played in the booth. Needless to say he did it in very few takes and it was everything I hoped for. Johnny Watson was one of the funniest most intelligent people I ever met. I hope he is resting in peace.

Pops was in the studio when Charlie Daniels came in. Charlie is a huge gentle man . He showed nothing but respect for Pops as they had known each other for years. I guess fiddle players are cut from the same cloth. It was great watching Pops and Charlie trading off and playing together on “Southern Strut”, one of Joey Brasler’s compositions. Charlie is almost un-recognizable without the huge cowboy hat but it became obvious that  Charlie Daniels heart is as big and soft as any super-star I have ever been around. 

Darcus is a beautiful woman with great singing talent. She was produced by Bobby Monaco who’s credits include Rufus (Tell me something good) and many other acts. Bobby also wrote the book,”Platinum Rainbow” which became one of the bibles for the music business.

I saved Dr. John for the last due to the fact he changed my life. Dr. Johns real name is “Mac Rebennack” so when he walked into the studio I greeted him as Mac. It would have been impossible to not know who this imposing figure was. He had shoulder length hair, a beret pulled to the side, dark sunglasses. layers of clothing and a huge bag over his shoulder. Needless to say I was a little stunned to come face to face with someone I admired as much as Mac. When he responded to “Hi Mac I’m so glad you could make the session”, he said something that sounded like “dats pano on da bado dere” I wasn’t sure what that meant but I didn’t care. This was Dr. John, who I had seen at the Troubadour in Hollywood the night John Lennon, Elton John, Bobby Womack and Bonnie Bramlett joined him on stage. It was amazing. Not the music, the ambiance. After a short time Mac went out to the live room. I had put the sheet music on the piano, We were doing.”All the world loves a winner”, I asked him whether he needed it but again I’m not sure what his response was. He said something but I didn’t know what language he was speaking. The first thing I noticed was, he didn’t take off his glasses, he didn’t take off the beret, he didn’t remove the giant bag from his shoulder and he put the headphones on over everything. I ran a few bars so he could check the mix we had on the “cans”. He approved it and we rolled back. I remember turning to the engineer and saying,”we’re going to be here for the rest of our lives”. This is the exact moment that my life changed for ever. I learned the significance of, “Never assume” and “You can’t judge a book by its cover”. I sat back in my chair as the first run thru was sent out to Mac. I knew there was no need to go into record after all this was the first time he had heard the tune. Nothing could have been further from the truth. If  I said he played it perfectly I would be underestimating his performance. When I had to tell him that I wasn’t in record I felt so embarrassed but it didn’t seem to faze him. I took it three times and printed all three and asked him to tell me the difference, which he graciously did. I had never seen anything like this and still haven’t to this day. Dr. John, is a genius and to think his first instrument was guitar. Before he left he put an organ part on “Southern Strut” but this time I was sure to get it on the first take. I am proud of this album even though we didn’t burn up the charts. It did have some success in other countries and when I was digitizing the record it brought back wonderful memories.

All The World Loves A Winner 

Silver Bird

Southern Strut

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2 comments

  1. […] Me and… This entry was posted in acoustic, acoustic guitar, All, and, band, basic, EA, for, guitar, How […]


  2. Dearest Father “Drop – So great to read about those times from your perspective. I’ll always love what you brought to the record, and, of course, every record we did together. You’ll always be my hero!



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