What Am I Gonna Do? Virus Blues from Styles Bitchley

I’ve had this one hanging around for a while and updated it for our current condition. I recently added the Scheps Omni channel and a new interface, so comments will be helpful.
Thanks in advance


Why isn’t there a “love” option here instead of a “like”… or why can’t I like something twice, or three times, even?..

This is AWESOME, mate! I love the back porch feel exploding into a knock-down, drag-em-out, beggin’-for-mercy electric blues mayhem-fest!

I absolutely love the perfect, behind the beat phrasing of the vocals. The pocket is so deep there, it practically stinks of authenticity! (and I mean that in the most complimentary way possible!)

I’ve only listened on cans and on my car speakers, but it sounds pretty damn awesome. I’d have to listen on my studio speakers to be any more specific than that.

If there are the usual crickets in response to this post, then I would suggest the membership here collectively check their pulses.

Consider this listener inspired!

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Very cool @StylesBitchley I like this a lot. I just happened to be reading about Robert Johnson and listening to some of his few and very basic recordings and you have made a direct connection to his vibe for sure. Vocals are a little hard to hear towards the end, probably intentional? But great lyrics at the beginning. Electric playing is fine but the acoustic is great, good detailed sound. Ending is pretty sudden but that’s cool, it’s gotta end some way.


Thanks, mate. Sometimes it is easier to just do what comes naturally. I’ve been messing with a totally electric version since before the virus, and since my Baby Martin is in the family room it inspired me to go a little more down home with it.

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Thanks very much. I was going to fade the vocals at the end, but I ended up liking how they clashed with the guitar.
Robert Johnson is very interesting. His playing is actually quite intricate at times, but I didn’t get into him until I’d heard his music interpreted by the electric blues guys. He made amazing music, and some of his stuff must be difficult to duplicate on the acoustic and sing at the same time. He sounded like he was 60; died at 27.
The ending is abrupt on purpose; to me it signifies how fast things change these days. I didn’t want a polite or overly dramatic ending to a simple idea, I guess. Thanks very much.

Love the groove to this, from gentle schmooze to raw explosion.
Fab sing/scream guitaring and lovely gritty vox… IOU up the Wuhan… priceless…
I’m only able to listen via laptop at the moment and when the drums started they felt a little unplaced to me… my laptop emphasises the high freqs and they sort of popped out over the vocal… all sounded great and fine again when the mix fleshed out, it was just in that quieter bit the hi hat (?) sounded a little tinny. But as I say… highly likely to be my playback.

Loved hearing this… yes, we folk are still making music!


Fun song! It’s got character and a great vibe. Often blues songs bore the hell out of me. They have to be really interesting and have something other than the same old boring run of the mill patterns and stylings. This one has plenty of that. :+1:

When I first listened to this through my laptop speakers I thought the vocals over the acoustic guitar were too loud and the acoustic was too soft, and when I heard the full band kick in I thought that something sounded a bit odd with the thick vocal effect and the vocal sounding like it was coming mostly from the right speaker. Things sounded a bit squashed too…

Then I listened through my headphones and I liked everything. The vocals didn’t seem too loud when I listened through my headphones and I wasn’t bothered by anything that I mentioned earlier.

I like the way you push the vocals. That’s my kinda blues! This whole thing has a full, hard rockin’ blues attitude.

At about 1:38, during the acoustic solo, I noticed that the bass guitar and hi hats lose the groove a bit and go their own ways. They’re a little bit off time but I don’t think it matters very much. The vibe still works well and who wants quantized blues anyway?

You did a helluva job on this one!

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Thanks very much for listening. I heard a bit of the right balance on the voice too, I’ll have to check that. The bass does get a little off with the hi-hat, I need to see if I can fix it. The bass was played to a click, I should have put the hi-hat in first and tracked to that. I was going for a bit of a drunken feel at the start but that may have been one too many.

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Thanks, Emma. I tried fattening the hat a little and actually turned it up a touch. I may have a little hearing problem in that range, so I"ll try the low volume mixing test to see if it helps. Glad you enjoyed it!

mistake…this was supposed to be a PM…typical me

Very cool tune, I really dig the journey it takes us on, from the front porch to the arena! Nicely done.
My only criticism, listening through cans, is that, in the big rockin’ part, I was wanting to hear more drums, especially the snare. I think a big bombastic drum kit might fit the vibe here nicely. My two cents anyway…
I’m new here and looking forward to hearing more of your work.

Took some of the suggestions and made some tweaks to the mix to fix some obvious misses.

[quote=“feaker, post:10, topic:5345”]
A vox in one ear. Interesting. Yup, quite a trick. A stereo compressor on a mono track. Thanks for the listen, hope you come back after all the election stuff is over, if it ever is.


I agree with this. The drums are a little bit buried and I think they’d help the song if they were louder in the mix.

Someone mentioned this early and it bears repeating. I think this song can appeal to a wide swath of people. Very entertaining !

Thanks so much. Eventually it will have a live drum track with a real drummer. I used EZ Drummer 2 to get the idea out. Eventually there will be a real drum track with my buddy Aaron hitting things properly. Ironically, he can’t get into the studio he uses because of the virus. The circle will be completed.


Outstanding work Bob! Love the vibe, and love the buildup to the big explosion. You’ve already got the hat/bass timing noted, and that the drums could come up more – second version gets most of the way there I reckon, good enough until you track it with a human. And as always, your playing is killer! Totally tearing it up. Great stuff!


Just had the first chance to listen to this on my studio system. (Listening to updated mix) Still sounds great! A few things:

  • I agree that the snare needs more prominence at the end of the song. It might be partly because the kick is playing a “4 on the floor” rhythm, so every so every second snare hit coincides with a kick hit. So there is some frequency masking there. Usually it means taking some low mids (around 100-200 hz) out of the kick, and adding some extra “bite” to the top end of the snare to achieve some more effective separation. Of course, it may not be anywhere near that complicated - it might be just a matter of turning up the snare!

  • The second thing is more of a personal taste thing - In the “full band” section, I can hear different guitar parts left and right, but the left tends to dominate - the right hand part doesn’t often counter-balance it. I’m all for “unbalancing” the left and right, but I generally find it more satisfying when something draws my attention to the one side, and then something else draws my ear to the other…Kind of like an eye being drawn around a painting. I guess I prefer things to be “short term unbalanced”, but “long term balanced”… if that makes any sense at all!

Top job Sir Bob! :beerbanger: :beerbanger: :beerbanger:

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I’ll check it out, I haven’t gotten too involved in automating the guitar parts, but that should be pretty easy as far as balancing them better.
I can also go back in and change velocities on a lot of the snare hits, there are a lot of lighter hits in the groove sample that can be brought up. I raised the high pass on the snare to help a little, but I can try a notch to get more room for the kick and add some smack to the snare. It will eventually be a real drum track, but It’s easy enough to fix for now.
Thanks for the ears!

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It’s like Gut Bucket Blues meets Our Lady of the Holy Amplifier! :joy: Nice ‘Bob’ Johnson tip o’ the hat.

The vocals seem strongly off to the right side. I don’t know if that was your plan. It seems out of the ordinary, but perhaps “artfully unbalanced” per that other thread (“Thoughts on balanced mix”). Very nice guitar tones and playing. Yeah the drums could be fancier, but you said you’re going to replace them with a live drummer, so it will be interesting to hear it again when that happens. :crossed_fingers:

Thanks, Stan, hopefully the second version fixed the vocals. If not my ears are shot, which is a possibility. I was using stereo compression when it should have been mono.
There are a few tweaks I’ll be doing, so I’ll check again.

Ah, I didn’t read the whole thread so I missed #2. Yes, much better for vocal placement.