Posted by: Bruce Proctor | May 26, 2016

Letter to Chuck and Chris about my new “Where I Come From” CD

5-26-16

Dear Chuck and Chris,

I hope you all are well. My best to you all.

Thanks so much for your encouragement for my music. It’s great to have someone who believes in it as much as I do! And an outsider’s perspective.

Enclosed is a new CD I’ve put together of what I feel are the best early recordings (1974-84), based partly on the CD’s you guys made. Thanks so much! You will also find, I believe, a number of songs that will be new to you, songs written after I left Portsmouth. Everything on the album, whatever the quality of the recording itself, has something going for it. I’ve given about a dozen copies out so far, and the response has been excellent. I’m a star in a few people’s eyes! Very gratifying indeed.

I was surprised, going back to that work, just how good my voice was back then. That and the overall insouciant joie-de-vivre–unrecognized by me back then–really stamped that material. I can learn from that now. Not that I can recapture it, exactly. I’m a different guy now. But I can acknowledge it and add it to the basic understanding of what the work is.

I took the opportunity of this CD to go back and “fix” some of the more basic horrors in the recordings, mostly cutting out things that were too long. I wonder if you’ll notice them. I also added tracks here and there to buck up some weak spots. I wanted very much to rock-ify “Spiral of the Storm,” but I couldn’t find a way to do it.

I’ve been doing vocal exercises for some months now. In my recent recordings my voice has had me cringing. Thirty years of dis-use. Range, ease of tone, hopefully power: they’re coming. It is a different voice for sure. Thinner mid-range, where I sang usually back then, but a much richer lower range. The songs on the “Magical” album I want to re-record almost all the vocals.

I had high hopes at the beginning of the year to take that album into a pro studio, but my health (chronic fatigue syndrome) has slowed me down–in many ways. I rarely drive more than half a dozen miles.

I did force myself–at the insistence of friends–to do a solo open-mike performance a while back. Although I thought I was playing to an empty room, word quickly got around town, and I was a sensation for a little while. I asked a lady who was there, how, in all honesty, I had done–this was a couple days afterward. She said, “It was magical! Simply magical.” Thus the “Magical” album.

I found that simple performance physically daunting, and have cancelled a couple other appearances.

You mentioned in the email concern about my musical legacy being lost. I am too. What I lack are the energy to pursue getting it out there, finding the people I need, financial resources. Also, I’m not a natural go-getter. What I have been doing is small steps that I can accomplish and doing the obvious next thing, as modest as it might be, and see if a way forward presents itself. As it is, I make do with a kid coming up to me a couple weeks ago and asking, “Are you a rock star?” That’ll suffice.

My new music is largely solo piano, and perhaps my best work. Made for movies–not made for them, but an obvious place for them. Songs, too, but I’ve had difficulty making lyrics for them. Nice stuff, however.

If you have any ideas about how to get this stuff out there, done right, who do you know, I’ve love to hear your thoughts.

I hope you enjoy this new/old CD. May it give you pleasure!

 

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