We had three basic traditions in Burl recording.
1. Live in One Take
Every song, no matter how many tracks you think you hear, was recorded live in one take. Dare to dream, anyway!
2. Bud Tallboys
Is an explanation needed?
3. Punishing the Singers
The majority of the Burl songs were sung by me or Mark McClusky. We both have fine singing voices, maybe not radio-ready, but perfectly passable. Mark fronted Lakeside Rebar, an alt-country band in San Francisco, for years. I’ve done recordings for the Greencard Cowboys project where people actually say, “Hey, that sounded OK” in shocked tones.
The reason they’re shocked is for every “Deck the Halls”, a fun shouter, there were barrels of clunkers and missed notes, and “clearly he can barely remember the lyrics”.
And as lot of those performances began with an idea Spingo found ineffably funny: “Morgan, why not sing that in a falsetto?”
Or because we had a track that was unsingable, and played peer pressure games: “Come on, McClucky, we already have the track! All you have to do is sing!”
And as to WHY Mark or I would agree? See tradition #2.
So tonight, I will present two examples. “Heat Miser” and “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”