Several times during the past year, I’ve referred to or linked to my friend Rex’s 39-40 blog – a project in which Rex recorded and posted a new song every day for an entire year from his 39th birthday through his 40th. Well, today is Rex’s 40th birthday…and he’s posted a full 365 songs (with one more coming soon). As anyone who’s ever recorded anything at all will acknowledge, this is an astonishing achievement…and even though, of course, not every song worked, given the circumstances a very high proportion of them did – a credit to Rex’s ingenuity, talent, and creativity.
By the end the blog became pretty much a family website, with three generations of Broomes contributing: Rex’s father’s band, Thunderhill, was frequently represented, and Rex’s daughters made several contributions (particularly Eden, whose musical growth over the year is rather astonishing: the girl has talent, and I hope she continues to find a venue for it after the completion of this project). In fact the blog ranged more widely than that, with the full-album Foxbase Alpha cover set consisting largely of covers performed by friends of Rex (including myself).
After all that (and after Rex posted two of my own contributions to his project, and covered one of my songs), it seems only fair to pay him back a little. Two of Rex’s songs in particular have always really impressed me (both are available on his band Skates & Rays’ album You Are My Home): “Fort Ashby” is a very personal song, and thus not terribly well-suited for the cover treatment…but “Doubtful Sound” strikes me as a wonderful song also, and its sentiment and situation (however personal they might be for Rex) are pretty much universal at some levels.
So it is that I decided to cover this track and present it to Rex on his 40th birthday, as my tribute cover to his cover tribute website. I came up with the idea several months ago actually (the arrangement is in obvious homage to a mutual favorite artist of Rex’s and mine, John Cale – and in fact, I had its main concept clearly enough in mind that I asked a violist friend of mine if she’d consider playing the viola part…didn’t get it done on time, so it’s fake (and distorted) viola you hear…), but it took me until this month to actually begin recording. For me, the recording was a sort of land-speed record (less than three weeks from start to finish), and that Rex was able to complete a track every damned day astonishes me.
I could yammer on about the recording process (and will, in the comments, if anyone gives a rat’s), but instead, I’ll stop: here’s the track: my cover of Rex Broome’s “Doubtful Sound.” (edit: Out of context, the more “Cale” elements of this track don’t work as well…so I re-edited it a bit.)
Monkey Typing Pool “Doubtful Sound” [original version: see above for new edit] (2011)
Skates & Rays “Doubtful Sound” (You Are My Home, 2009)