MERCHANDISE - "ACTUAL SIGHS"
I once wrote a tune called "Home Again" where I questioned the old adage "you can't go home again." On a certain level it's true. Returning to the past is not possible. Not that I really want to -- I enjoy the present and look forward to the future. And yet...there is a way in the form of a song to glance back and reminisce, recollect, maybe even reconsider. This album, for me, was a chance to recapture a period of time and music that had slipped away.
I would like to thank the members of the Actual Sighs Ensemble, who sat or stood patiently in our bedroom/studio (also known as the Kit Factory) and bowed beautiful sounds on their violins, viola and cello (Meryl, Spiff, Marla and Julia) and blew into reeds and mouthpieces on their saxophone, trumpet, flute and trombone (Jim, Spiff, Laurie and James).
I'd like to thank some good friends and relatives who generously lent their instruments for this project -- Joey Blackstone for the splendid vintage Stratocaster, Russell Kaplan for the keyboard and Meryl Danzinger for the doumbek. Thanks to my two old Plainfield pals, Vicki Blasucci and Gary Toresco, for their assistance with the photo shoot; to Don Brockway for his promotional skills and enthusiasm; and to Laura Ponce and Joe Quigley for the use of their cars when I had to shlep out to Tony's studio in Sayreville, New Jersey. Sincere thanks to Elinore Heyman, Helen Goldberg, Sol Goldberg and to all my family for their love and support.
Back in high school in the 60's, I knew of this already legendary guitarist from Green Brook, the next town over from Plainfield, New Jersey. Ed Stasium was the first cat around who developed an interest and expertise in the recording process. One day he asked me to bring my drums over to his house to lay down some tracks. I'm proud to say I'm the first guy Ed recorded. Since then, Ed has had an illustrious career as a producer/engineer, and so it is fitting on this lost debut album to come full circle and have him mix several of these tunes.
Tony "Hello Hello Hello" Lewis mixed many of the songs as well. Tony is a super talented producer/musician with whom I've had the privilege of working on my last four releases. I've benefited greatly from the excellent ears, skills and humor of Kurt Reil, who engineered all the drums at his home studio.
A special thanks to my wife Nancy, the person most responsible for the quality of sound and performance on this album, who engineered all the instruments and vocals, and had the chops and musical know-how to make the final judgment on every note played and sung. Without her hard work and dedication, I could not even come close to the end result of this disc.
So maybe this once I can quietly sneak back - at least in my head - to the garage on Kenyon Avenue in Plainfield, where I had my big upright piano, Ludwig gold sparkle drum set and a couple guitars and amps, and regenerate some actual sighs...
RXH, NYC 2006
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