We recorded three pieces. Two of them were cover-versions of existing songs, Mellow Yellow by Donovan, and The Beat Goes On by Sonny & Cher. We also made one original: Congress in Action. We asked Paul to do 'vocals' on a few of the tracks (Congress in Action and the third verse of Mellow Yellow) and also invited then-new (his first year!) faculty member Steve Mackey to play guitar on Congress.
We mastered the songs onto Sony PCM-F1 Beta format (I think), which means that it is essentially dead now, even if I could recall where I stored the Beta videocassettes. However, I heard that at Paul's retirement dinner, Steve had found a cassette dub of the music and played it. Several weeks later, at the memorial for Jim Randall, I ran into Steve and asked him about it. He said: "Yes! I found a recording of it! Would you like it?" He then reached in his jacket pocket and handed me the tape.
Yikes! He was One Prepared Steve Mackey! I promised that I would treat it with the utmost care and create a digital copy of the pieces to post on-line. The results are on this web page (I also have higher quality non-mp3 files for anyone who would like them). Thanks, Steve!
Here are a few random things I remember about these pieces:
-- I list Dave Madole above. He was definitely on the scene, but I can't remember if he was a direct participant in this little project. Doesn't matter, we were all such Happy Grad Students. I'm sorry if I've left anyone out who was involved in this. Let me know.
-- In addition to the IBM PC running the Roland sequencing software, we also used a 4-track tape recorder. I forgot what kind, probably an Otari.
-- The 'computer scat vocals' at the beginning and in the choruses of Congress in Action were created by Andy Milburn on the aforementioned IBM 3081. The digital effect on the "beat voice" at the beginning of The Beat Goes On was also done by Andy on the same hardware. This was non-trivial back then.
-- I mentioned that Paul did the vocals on Congress and Mellow Yellow. I think Andy did the main voice on Mellow Yellow and Martin Butler used his fab British accent on The Beat Goes On. We all sang on various choruses, etc.
-- That's also Paul saying "hey no, that's all wrong!" toward the end of The Beat Goes On.
-- Martin wrote most of the music for Congress, as well as playing most of the keyboard parts. He had actual musical talent.
-- Tom had actual talent, too. He did the drum parts on the pieces except Congress, which used a drum machine.
-- I played trumpet on Beat, I think. I'm not sure who did the
other brass parts; maybe it was also me.
I did the non-3081 vocal processing on all three pieces.
-------> late-brealing info: Again, Martin Butler to the memory-rescue: "The brass parts were mostly played by PAUL! On his horn. What a pro!"
-- Martin also recalled that we used an Ensoniq Mirage sampler for some of this. I don't remember it, but it makes sense for some of the aspects of the recording, and I do remember seeing one around the Princeton studio.
-- To be honest, I'm not sure why we did this, but then again I'm not sure why people (including me!) do most of the things we do. I guess it was so we could rediscover the music years later and think "yeah, we did that."