Background, 2013 Music

Ron One Person Band

  TILL THERE WAS YOU: I loved the movie the Music Man and the songs in it and always felt that the song "Till There was You" was the best of the movie. I had played this song before on keyboard and guitar, but I wanted to do a more complex work for Valerie - since I thought this was a very pretty love song. Yes, the Beatles also did a version, but I decided to stay with something more formal and closer to the movie version and with a number of more parts and adding strings of course. Yes, the singing took many takes, but I think that was good since after relaxing, I found I was even able to put pauses and some more feeling into the song. I hope Valerie likes it. It has become one of my favorites.

LOVE IS BLUE: Also dedicated to Valerie since this was a song that we both heard a lot while we were dating. It became "our song" at times especially on days when not everything seemed to go right. I wanted to do this song for a long time but never did, perhaps due to the complexity of Paul Mauriat. Doing this song, even at the level I did it, gave me a good respect for symphony orchestras.  While perhaps the notes are no faster, it seemed everything to sound reasonable had to be fairly precise - the timing, the instrument choices, the levels.  Oh well, much fun and good learning.  The lead follows the original I believe and is a harpsichord for verses 1 and 4 (with I gave it a music box assist to be add a small bell sound), verse two is an oboe, verse 3 a viola.  The backup was of course a string ensemble, but also importantly tremolo strings, trombone orchestra hits, and also three "keyboard type pad sounds" to add a newer background, choir aahs near the ending, and of course bass, drums,  and more.  I believe a 14 piece band in this one.

WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD: Seemed like an ideal song to dedicate to our grandchildren. This song was in my archives for a long time as an instrumental and I do not think I ever let it out of archives till now. I redid some portions of it and added the vocal. Hope some day the grandchildren at least hear this piece. Even better if any of them like it.

FOR CARLOS: One could ask me "Why this Herb Alpert Piece? It is not his most famous. I never even heard of it?" Yes, from the SRO Herb Alpert album I believe. Even though it is not well known, I thought that it displayed much of what I call the Herb Alpert style - the power of the Mexican Brass in all of its pomp and glory, but then adding a Herb Alpert Marimba and some quieter guitar. The song was always one of my favorites. It was in my long time archives, and I took it out and changed a lot of it and completed it as an instrumental.

BEYOND THE SEA: I had often liked this song and did a karaoke version of it (to another midi band) that I sent it to a few folks. I realized that the song might actually be better for what little vocal talent I have than most, and so I did my own 12 piece band and made a one person band of it. Whether or not anyone likes the vocal in this, I think it is a far easier song for my range and style than most. I always also liked the song as well.

THE ROSE: This song as it says was done by Bette Midler from her movie of the same name (The Rose). I always thought it was a powerful song, at least when Bette Midler did it. And I wanted to try and do my own version of it.

SOMEDAY:  What?  Ron did a song recorded by others as recently as 1999?  Sugar Ray?  I looked up the song meaning.  The singer Sugar Ray is one of the two song writers for this number and says it is about friendship.  Sounds like a serious friendship and love to me.  Their music video shows an older couple dancing who seem to be fond of each other.  I think that is the real story.  Another in the band commenting seems to have had regrets for not marrying his special someone instead of just traveling.  The part in the song about life passing me by - seems to be speak to growing old rather than anything supernatural.  The thing about taking his love someplace where it always warm and they can swim in the deep blue sea sounds like California and she is from somewhere else.  As for fading away, there seems to be a concern that since they did not marry their sweetheart, whether they can put the romance back together.  At least that is what I get by reading comments from the bands and others.  Another citizen critic thought place is warm without a care meant the song was about weed.  But other commentators said that person thinks every song is about weed, ha ha.  I sort of see it as a band who travels who now mourns the lady they left behind.

As for arrangement and instrument choices, I did what I liked the sound of.  Sugar Ray has a guitar band but I believe his song also includes organ and strings.  The version I did I did have organ and strings as well, but also I used a vibraphone instead of the acoustic guitar lead - since I like the sound better, also added a piano, many keyboard "pad" sounds, choir ahhs, voice oohs, drum rolls.   As for the break after the second chorus, not sure I planned that.  I was doing editing, and just liked the break the way it was... and left it.  Sometimes that happens, "serendipity" takes over and an accident becomes a "wrap".

THE OTHERS: Just songs that I have always liked. In some cases I had played them before on keyboard and guitar, in ----some cases not.



I have been fascinated by bands even quite small if they do well, or are even interesting.  Big bands to me face similar challenges; will they be interesting or are they just 25 to 70 people all playing the same note.  I will not talk about the ones who I think play the same notes.  Ha ha.  But some of the others with great leaders I find quite impressive.  Henry Mancini had quite a range of different styles on his songs and often featured different instruments.  I thought most every song on his Breakfast at Tiffany's album was great, and on Hatari album and of course the movies  by the same names.  Percy Faith had a number of great songs in my opinion, but I think his masterpiece was "Theme From a Summer Place".  His use of Pizzicato Strings where stringed instruments pluck the strings rather than using a bow gave the very distinct background effect in that song.  I would say for my tastes, Percy Faith "owns" pizzicato strings.  Then there was Paul Mauriat whom I speak of above.  He is also quite unique.  The three lead instruments I believe he used in "Love is Blue were harpsichord, oboe and viola, not the standard lead instruments in most groups.  But I noted something even more odd.  I had never used the tremolo strings sound before on a song.  That sound, tremolo strings, seems so very much Paul Mauriat.    How does a violin player do a tremolo strings in real life?  I am guessing here, but I would think that there finger moves up and down a bit on the strings as they bow the notes.  That would give a variation in pitch that to me - would give a sound like tremolo strings.  It added a presence that I really liked very much in that song.  I even worry that I overdid tremolo strings.  Well, I did use some normal string ensemble in there as well. 

But I think what I find interesting is that if a person is given a big band that does not necessarily automatically mean great sound.  It depends on how orchestrated and what the orchestra leader does with it.  But there have been some greats out there like Henry Mancini, Glen Miller, Percy Faith and Paul Mauriat, as well as I am sure, many others, who can take music to what I feel is a whole new level. 

Back to Main Index for Ron Plachno Site