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Commotion Session

This past weekend on August 3 & 4, I was back in the studio (Karma Frog in Reseda, CA) to cut my contribution to an upcoming Creedence Clearwater Revival tribute album. My task was to cover the compilation's title track, "Commotion." The song was originally recorded by CCR in 1969 for their smash LP, Green River, which features their iconic "Bad Moon Rising."

My usual producer, Adam Marsland was at the helm and he played the majority of the instruments as well, including some amazing organ parts. I took up my trusty American Fender Jazz for the funky bass. The session was a brisk two days. Musicians teleported from 1969 would have been pleased by the brevity of the time it took to record the side. None of this 21st Century month to record and tweak a track.

We had a blast. After the rhythm tracks were put down, Adam asked do you want to put down a guide vocal or try a lead? Well, I went for it, and it was full-tilt chooglin' boogaloo after that. Our "Commotion" just got spookier and spookier. There were magical things conjured up in the voices and the instruments that followed. Part of it for us was that we just went crazy. Neither of us wrote it and it is not one of the better known CCR songs, so we felt we had some breathing room.

It was a challenge recording the vocals, post-stroke. But, I've come to terms with my stamina and what I can achieve with my instrument. Doing the multi-layered backing vocals was the most fun for me. What began as an improvisation became the presence of a spectral choir complete with handclaps and tambourines that will make sure you shake your derriere for three minutes.

What ingredients did we toss into the gumbo cauldron? Gris-Gris. Voodoo. Swamp. Funk. Mud. Spiritual Hot Sauce. Church! Ghosts. Laissez les bons temps roulez. CCR always was swampy. We wanted to take them to the logical conclusion. The recording is of a piece with my "Huckleberry Finn." Like The Empire Strikes Back; it's the moody, dangerous middle section. Don't know what comes next...

Here's what Adam said about the session:

"Norman Kelsey's new track "Commotion" shoots to the top of my list of very favorite things I've produced at Karma Frog. Smokin'!"

High praise from the boss. My track has a lot of stank and green onions on it. Delicious. It's very different from anything I've ever attempted before in its blues-rock heaviness. I am looking forward to releasing this record and shooting a music video for it, too. So watch out for updates in the coming months.



Adam Marsland said…
So is "Ewok Celebration" on the agenda?

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