This is an old cover song that I’ve played and sung throughout the years. It’s one of my “go too, standards” when I have an audience. You know, the old campfire classic. My brother used to sing the background harmonies and I would take the lead vocal and acoustic guitar, but he wasn’t available for this recording so I had to do it myself for this recording.
I don’t want to reveal the writer and original performer of this song just yet, but it’s possible someone may know already. I’m expecting one guy in particular will know who wrote and performed this on their album…But, please, if you know who’s song this is, please don’t mention it here just yet…I just want to wait for a bit before revealing that bit of info. I’ll explain later.
As always, I’m interested in hearing any and all opinions on any aspect of the recording, performance , etc, etc.
Well I don’t know the song and I never would have guessed the apparent writer. It does have a seventies sound I guess but I wouldn’t be surprised if you said something earlier because it has sort of a sixties British invasion vibe to it. I wouldn’t think of this as a campfire song but hey it’s your campfire!
I like your version here though, good job on that. I’m interested why the bass is so prominent, I’ve always wanted to mix bass higher than most do so that’s fine my me; waiting now to hear the rest of the story!
I like it. Having once been a potential recruit for the KISS Army, I’m sad to say I never heard this song before. Not that I can recall anyway. I just didn’t get too interested in the boys’ solo album releases back then. Ace had a couple good ones that got some airplay, and I have heard Gene’s version of “Wish upon a Star” before (never would have seen that one coming! ).
This one reminds me a little bit of “Hard Luck Woman”, which was a KISS song. It looks like Paul Stanley wrote that one (sung by Peter Criss), so my theory of Gene’s involvement in it is out the window. The acoustic and bass vibe seem similar in both songs though.
Just out of curiosity I looked up Gene’s album, and was pretty surprised and delighted to see all the people who contributed to it. People like Joe Perry, Bob Seger, Rick Nielsen, and host of others. Even Katie Sagal from Peggy Bundy TV fame.
How did you know it was Gene Simmons? Did you google the lyrics or have you heard the song before?
I believe I tend to err on the side of “dry”. There’s a low to moderate reverb on the drums but that probably doesn’t come out too much because the drums are not prominent in the mix. The acoustic guitars have zero spatial effect on them. I have a decent amount of delay on the vocal but it could be that the mix would benefit with a little more. I might try adding some reverb to the guitars and ramping up the delay a bit on the vocal.
I didn’t do much as far as mixing goes. I just tried to capture the relative volumes of each instrument so that they would work fairly well together. I’m not sure if I even did any EQ adjustments or compression on any of the instruments. I recorded this back in late summer or early fall of 2020…Uh, let me correct myself (I just checked my notes). I recorded this in January of 2020. Yikes !! I’ve got so many songs that I’ve been working on over the last few years that it’s messing up my memory! I just opened this song up in my DAW about a month ago and decided I might as well fire up a mix and make an MP3. I didn’t want to spend much more time working on a cover song because I’ve resolved to put more effort into my own songs instead. There’s a ton of half finished recordings (or 3/4 finished) of my original songs that I need to complete. I’ve been bouncing around from song to song for well over a year.
Haha, there wasn’t any de-essing. That was likely me trying to avoid excessive Ssss in the performance. I usually watch the Ssss’s like a hawk. There was a video that you posted recently, I think it was a Miles Kennedy video/ song and right near the beginning of that song I was very surprised to hear what I felt was a HUGE ssssibilant in his vocal. I was going to mention it but then I figured I might come across as a hater, so I didn’t say anything. It was a very good tune and production, but that S seemed really “in my face”. Maybe I need to focus less on the S in vocals and less on excessive string slide noises on guitars. Those high frequencies seem to catch my ear.
Gene Simmons has a few other nice ballads on his 1978 solo album. Personally, I love the ballads from that album, but I’m a biased KISS fan who grew up with that stuff, so it has an special place in my heart.
Yeah, I find it has a Beatles vibe. KISS were big Beatles fans, especially Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley.
When I was mixing this I kept changing my mind about the volume of the bass…I thought some people would think the bass is too loud, the way I mixed it, but I liked it loud because the acoustic guitars themselves don’t really do anything special (the bass doesn’t either but…) to make the song better and I always tend to like loud bass, especially in mellow songs like this. It just felt right, to me.
The reason I didn’t want to mention that it was a KISS song …, “especially a Gene Simmons” song is because I know how hated Simmons is, and how maligned KISS is. I didn’t want anyone’s preconceived notions about the artist to play a part in the comments.
I’m shocked, Stan! You were the one person I thought would have known this song. But, I guess it understandable, because it’s not exactly a KISS staple and doesn’t really follow the typical KISS songwriting stylings.
I like all their solo albums except Peter’s. His was embarrassing, IMO. Ace’s album was quite solid with a few average spots but quite a few really good spots. Paul Stanley’s album had some really strong songs but had one really horrible ballad (Hold Me, Touch Me). The opener to Stanley’s album is great (Tonight You Belong To Me). Simmons’ album was a bit of a “hit and miss”…His ballads are really good and there’s a few other songs that I like but he has some junk songs on there too (True Confession and When You Wish Upon A Star, I particularly dislike!) Even he had some crappy songs on that album, the good songs make up for it. Maybe it’s the kind of music where “You had to be there to feel the vibe” and maybe I was just too emotionally available as a KISS fan. Back then I even liked some of their worst songs, haha!
Yeah, Paul wrote that one. IMO, Paul was the best songwriter in KISS. I think he fashioned Hard Luck Woman after Rod Stewart’s Maggie May. It was Paul’s intention to sing Hard Luck Woman but the producers and other members of the KISS team wanted Peter to sing it because he had a similar vocal rasp as Rod Stewart. Simmons created a nice bassline for that song. He’s not very respected as a bassist but he had really cool basslines for many of those 70’s era KISS songs. He often played those walking basslines like McCartney and Jack Bruce used to do.
Yes, Simmons was going “Hollywood” around that time. He dated Cher and Diana Ross for awhile. I seem to remember reading that he had lived with one or the other too…, maybe both. Cher did some vocals on that album too, I think. She definitely did a “talking” cameo on one of the songs on that album. Check out the middle section of “Living In Sin”. You’ll hear Cher calling Gene on the phone and acting like a rabid fan/ groupie. It’s a bit of light-hearted comedy.
Thanks for the listen and the comments, Stan @Stan_Halen
Yeah, I just didn’t get into the solo albums way back then, and only heard bits in more recent years. That was the point I thought they did it as a gimmick and had gotten too commercial or desperate. Before that, I loved pretty much everything they did. But about the only thing I liked about their made-for-TV-movie “Kiss Meets the Phantom of the Park” was Ace’s crazy laugh.
I really liked his bass playing. It definitely worked for the songs, and that’s important. He did have a certain distinctive style which showed up from time to time (i.e. “Christine Sixteen”). I liked his bass tones too, and especially that Gibson Grabber bass he used in the early years (i.e. KISS “Alive”).
Haha, yes that is a terrible movie! It’s so bad that it’s almost a classic B movie. I think that the whole band regrets making that one and I’d bet that everyone who worked on that movie is ashamed of it.