I began playing guitar and singing in high school, learning folk and pop tunes, sometimes playing with friends and relatives, but mainly alone, for my own enjoyment. Around 1969 I started writing songs. Both these activities continued through the 1970s and 80s, when I had a lot of free time and would often play for hours.
Another thing I enjoyed was making audio tapes, and in 1971 I bought my first good reel-to-reel tape deck, and a better one in 1976. That year I set up a simple recording studio in my living room and started making lots of recordings of myself and others.
From the mid 1980s to now my life got busier, and I picked up the guitar less and less. By 1993 both my tape decks had ceased to work, and when I looked into fixing them, I learned that reel-to-reel was a dead technology, and no one was doing that anymore.
Starting in 2000 I decided it was time to try to reclaim some of the old tapes. I found a reel-to-reel tape deck similar to mine on eBay, but in working condition, and bought it. Then I transferred and edited the material on my Mac and put together some CDs. Below are samples from the first one, NEW-FASHIONED BALLADS, and a new one I've put together recently, TIME WAS. If you're interested in hearing more, both are available on the BUY STUFF section of this site, click the tab at the top of the page to get there.
I might add that you shouldn't expect too much here. My voice was never that great, an untrained low tenor with a limited range of an octave and a half on a good day. And it's gone downhill since. My guitar playing, largely in the finger-picking style, is a little nicer, but there are plenty of places where I wish I'd played better. Still, this music is something I've had a lot of fun with over the years, and I thought I'd present some of it.
NEW-FASHIONED BALLADS was first created in 2000 and sent out to friends and family. All the recordings on it were made between 1976 and about 1986. Some of the songs were written earlier. I was using a Teac quarter-track deck that allowed me to do up to four synchronized tracks, though most of these songs used only two. Kathy Corcoran joined me on vocals for tracks 6, 13 and 20, and wrote the words for 6. Brenda Sloan wrote the words for track 11 ("Summer's Gone"). All the rest are by me. Highlighted tracks are mp3 files you can listen to or download. (If you have trouble accessing the music tracks, try clicking on the mp3 labels at the bottom of this page.)
TIME WAS is a collection put together this year. In 2002 I was motivated to make some new recordings, after months of listening to the old ones, as I transferred and edited them. I needed some new equipment, though. I bought a small Boss BR-8 digital recorder that allowed me to record up to eight synchronized tracks, one or two at a time. It was designed for the solo guitar player, and had built-in drum tracks, and for guitar, a wide range of digital amps and effects. These were really intended for electric guitar, though, so I also bought a used one made by Harmony in the seventies, a Fender Stratocaster knock-off.
Six of the songs on this CD were recorded in June, 2002, including "Goin' To See Her" and "Distant Voices". I had hopes of doing more, but as usual, got busy with other things, and never did find the time. So, in an effort to get something new out, I've filled up this CD with older recordings that didn't make it onto NEW-FASHIONED BALLADS. Again, the highlighted tracks are mp3 files you can listen to or download. (If you have trouble accessing the music tracks, try clicking on the mp3 labels at the bottom of this page.)
I'd like to get back to making new recordings some time in the future. Meanwhile, I hope you find something here you like. Let me know if you do.
All text and images ©Todd Klein, except as noted. All rights reserved.