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Bob Ferguson Songwriter / Blog

Tour dates for Netherlands November 2013

Dates for my Celtic Horizon duo tour in Netherlands

Celtic Horizon Netherlands November 2013 Tour dates so far:-

Friday (night) 1ST November Irish Pub Molly Malone Enschede

Saturday (night) 2ND Chillers Emmeloord

Sunday (afternoon) 3RD Het Wapen van Barradeel Tzummarum

Monday 4th (open to offers)

Tuesday 5th (open to offers)

Wednesday 6TH (open to offers)

Thursday 7TH Waiting details soon

Friday (night) 8th The Irish Cottage Oude-Niedorp

Saturday (night) 9TH Irish Pub Tigh Barra Joure

Sunday (?) 10TH Herbergh 't IJsselmeer Oosterleek

double album recording progress October 2011 part 2

O WHERE ARE YOU MY LOVE -happy gentle song. I plan this one to be sung by the girls in my other band CELTIC HEARTS. A young woman waits eagerly at her door and windows for the return of her husband. He has been away from home for a long time and she longs for him and smiles, as she see’s him returning.

I AM EASY -This song is about the moment that someone knows they are over something that caused them great grief. For me it was the death of my mother. For you it could be anything tragic. I am easy =I am okay. Funny it’s the one thing we never really say after something like that.

DON’T YOU REMEMBER -Funny little song about a musician who has spends a couple of days with another musician. Years later, he hears her singing one of his songs on the radio and it’s a big hit. Had she stole it from him? He gets in touch with her but she pretends she doesn’t remember him.

THE BOYS FROM BONNIE SCOTLAND - Happy up-tempo song about Scottish musicians love of life and parties. Ha ha

DANCE ACROSS THE ROOFTOPS -recorded this song on JOHNS TREE album by BEGGARS ROW. This new arrangement. The song is about a champion Scottish fiddler coming to a town to court the most beautiful and famous Highland dancing girl in Scotland.

HEAVE IN HAUL AWAY -A song of fishermen leaving home never to return again.

SCOTTISH AMERICANS -Up-tempo song about Americans of Scottish descent and their right to claim their Scottish heritage.

LET’S KEEP THE WALLS DOWN -Up-tempo and very happy song about peace and friendship.

GLASGOW BOYS - similar theme to The boys from Bonnie Scotland. Very up-tempo and happy.

CAULD THE WINTERS NIGHT -A sad song about a Young Scots mother whose husband is killed fighting for Scotland. Her struggle to survive and provide for her baby.

MADAME BOUCHET- one of my wild cards, song about a true story of one of our friend’s daughter. She had to take drastic action to defend herself with a bucket! Song is funny one.

P H U C K O P H song.-This song is about a young Glasgow man who gets wrongfully arrested for supposedly shouting that famous phrase and police which means - Go away- he is released by the judge on condition he never gets caught saying these two words ever again-however he has a plan that goes terribly and funnily wrong ha ha.

WHERE THE DEAD MAN LIVES -Children have a strange way of seeing things as in this funny song a traveller finds out when he asks one for directions.

This is it so far-tomorrow I will have some songs added to that list.

I will also be uploading blogs about CELTIC HEARTS, and CELTIC CRAZY CLAN soon. Much is in the planning with them. I am also hoping to have a parody man CD released by January 2012. In the meantime, also look out for at least 40 more Scottish traditional songs uploaded to my Reverbnation and LastFM websites for free download.

See you all soon Cheers Bob Ferguson

Double album recording progress October 2011 part 1

Bob Ferguson Blog 12th October 2011

Two albums recording project as of now.

Well here I am finally well on the way to recording my first two solo albums of my own music. Well actually if I speak the total truth, really I am working on three solo albums. I will explain! A few months ago, I decided to record a solo album of al the songs I had recorded with Beggars Row and some other songs. I planned to totally re-arrange them so they would be different to the original. On this project, I am setting no time. I am experimenting totally with the arrangements and its sounding good. However, it will not be ready until probably spring 2012.

In the meantime, I have the two solo albums of my own songs I am working hard on every day just now. If you could feel my throat, you would believe me. It’s only tired end of each day. The two albums just now started with a list of about 80 of my own songs and I need to get that down to about 30 songs and then 24. That will be two Cds of 12 songs on each.

Now I have 19 songs short-listed (and one poem) and by Friday, I should have the short list of 30 songs.

To find these final 24 songs, I am singing every song and working on arrangements as I go. Testing different ways of singing them, experimenting with the melodies, changing them where needed. The main aim is to get them sounding good enough to perform solo before I add other instruments and vocals to them. In doing this I have had tremendous fun. One of the big advantages of doing something solo is that I can put my stamp on everything, I can do crazy bits, funny bits, anything I like and don’t have to get agreements from any band members who are not as crazy as my imagination ha ha. Not for the first time this week have I burst into fits of laughter when finding new experiment with a song that works. Indeed some of the songs in the list of 19 now, I never thought would be anywhere near good enough. Why did I put them in? Wild cards! I like to throw some of those in, one it lets you measure how good your final songs are, and two, sometimes it makes you stretch your imagination to get them to work, gives you something very different from what you had planned.

To find the final songs, I set up one Microphone on a mic stand in middle of studio. I position it at a point somewhere between my mouth and guitar. Wearing headphones and with a touch of reverb in the sound. I experiment with the songs, listening to the sound in my headphones only. This saves my voice some and helps me learn how I can use the mic distances to shape the vocals of the song.

The songs in the list of 19 so far:- EVICTED -fast powerful song about the eviction of farmers in the 17th century in Scotland to make way for sheep. I am also considering this one for Beggars Row.

SHIELD OF LIGHT -gentle song about the need for the protection of a loved one who is seriously ill. In this song, it was about my wife and me during her cancer.

SAME OLD GLASGOW CITY -A song about Glasgow where I was born and about leaving it

I HEARD THE WIND BLOWING -seems this first list of songs is about sad things-there’s happy ones coming. This song is about someone whose partner has passed away. During these times, all sorts of feelings come into a grieving mind. In this instance, the surviving partner has children that they have to carry on life for. Standing outside somewhere private, they talk to heir lost partner and imagine they hear an answer in the wind.

OOLLEE ALLEE AY -Ina sad little town an old roving man appears in the main square and plays music that makes everyone happy again.

IN THE SHADOWS OF THE NIGHT -Accapella probably! A man is approached by a beautiful lady of the night. He finds her the most beautiful woman he has ever seen. There is an instant attraction between them. He refuses her because of how and what she is. At the end, her tears weaken his resolve and he gives in to her.

Scottish folk songs promotion part 2

As the recordings are done in busking style, that means there is no more than one voice, a guitar and a harmonica in recordings. This makes it very easy to learn the songs by ear. Some songs will be just voice and Bohdran, There may be a few that's just accapella. In time I will try and put all the chords on the website with the lyrics also. My main aim is to try and get Scottish folk music out there and more well known. There are so many beautiful Scottish folk songs that many folk lovers will not have heard.There are also many Scottish folk songs that are mistaken as Irish folk songs. I have sang many Irish and Scottish folk songs over the years and the number of times someone has asked me to sing an Irish song request for them and it has turned out to be Scottish is amazing. It is not surprising though. The Scottish and Irish have lived with each other, drank with each other, sang with each other and married each other for hundreds of years. Irish songs have become regular songs in Scotland and Scottish songs have become regular in Ireland. It appears that there are more Irish folk songs than Scottish. That may be true as after the battle of Culloden in 1745 much of the Scottish music culture was suppressed by the British government. How much Scottish music was lost then will never be known. Those days are gone and new Scottish folk songs appear all the time. Although I will only be recording Traditional Scottish folk songs for free mp3 download.

The confusion between Scottish and Irish songs may be highlighted by examples of two of the more recent Scottish folk songs. Namely Willie McBride (or Greenfields of France or No mans land) as its also known. Many people think this is an Irish song including many Irish. However the song was written by that famous Scottish songwriter Eric Bogle. Willie McBride was also Scottish. He lived near Auchtermuchty in the county of Fife. This on the east coast of Scotland. Another song is Dirty Old town sung by the Pogues and thought by thousands as an Irish song. However the author of this song was none other than Ewan McColl.

I could list many more but that's not what this blog is about.I am offering free Mp3 downloads of Scottish folk Songs to everyone who joins my free mp3 download mailing list.

I will upload mp3's and mail everyone as they are uploaded. That way you can download if you wish at anytime.

Thanks and hope you enjoy the songs.

Bob Ferguson

Scottish folk songs promotion part 1

Hi everyone, just thought I would write a blog about my Scottish folk song promotion campaign. Over the years it has been very obvious that Irish music was better known worldwide than Scottish music. There are some songs that are well known.Mainly though, most of the Scottish folk songs are not so well known.

I think that there are lots of Scottish folk songs that are as good as Irish folk songs. Over the next 12 months I intend to record these traditional songs in busking style and make them available for free download to anyone who joins my mailing list. The initial target is to have 50 Scottish traditional folk songs available for free download within 4 months.

This may seem a large amount in so short a time. However I have already tested out how to record these songs busking style in a short time and know how to mix them quickly now for upload to web.

I already have 2 songs uploaded on my REVERBNATION player on my Scottish song lyrics website at www.scottishsonglyrics.co.uk (check it out) already there are hundreds of Scottish song lyrics there for you to download free.

The two songs already on there are A MANS A MAN FOR A THAT and COMING THRO THE RYE with a small part of MHARIE'S WEDDING INCLUDED in there.

Eventually I intend to have a Traditional Scottish folk mp3 track for every song on that website for free download. This will be available to everyone on my mailing list. This could eventually mean that at least 250 Scottish folk songs could be in your music collection free. This would suit anyone who just wants to listen to Scottish folk songs. It will also be a very useful method for other musicians to discover Scottish folk songs that they can add to their repertoire.

Update on the daily recording of my albums

Well the 30 minutes are up and I am back in the studio and work on what ever of the 2 albums I feel most like doing.

Working this intense really speeds up the recording time on each track. I will do the entire keyboard tracks say for every song that has them in it. Working on the one instrument you just get later and faster through the songs and your ear really gets tuned in like radar on every note.

After the last session I head downstairs. Sometimes my wife has dinner ready again on the dot. If not then I now she is not feeling to good so I make the dinner. I actually enjoy making the dinner after a long day in the studio. It’s because I have been sitting all day and my seat is feeling it. Making the dinner I can walk around and get the legs moving again.

The rest of the night I make all the cups of tea and supper if we need it. In between that I will watch TV while working on internet business on my laptop.

I try to finish laptop by 10pm and we watch TV till I head to bed around 11.30pm with a historical fiction story book by one of my favourite authors. That has me sleeping in 30 minutes maximum-same time as my tea breaks.

Next morning and here we go again.

Will do another Blog soon-thanks for stopping by

Cheers

Bob

Update on the daily recording of my albums (part 3)

So my day may go like this 8am tea and cornflakes with banana in it and a cup of tea. Finish breakfast and kettle reboiled for cup of tea number 2 and sit and chat with my wife Helen. During cup of tea number 3, I pick up the notes from the previous day and do a quick scan to remind me where I am at with recording and what needs done-also writing down any ideas I had in bed before getting up.

As soon as I pour cup of tea number 4, I head straight into the studio and place the tea mug somewhere safe away from the electrics (you never know).

I go through the routine of switching all the gear on. Roughly about 10 items plugged in. set computer up and check levels okay and then on with a song for my folk album.

2 hours later and switch off and go have tea break with my lady.

30 minutes later with cup of water in hand back into studio. This next 2 hour session working on same album.

2 hours later and down for lunch. Because I work to a schedule my smashing wife has a mug of tea and lunch ready on the dot. When finished I do the dishes ha ha! And pour 2nd cup of tea for both of us-only mine goes to studio with me.

30 minutes have gone by again so I am back in the studio and change to mixing the Celtic Hearts album. I pick the track I am working on and do as much as I can.

2 hours later again (have I said that before?) And this time I usually make the tea as my wife wakes from afternoon nap (health reasons) we chat and in most of the breaks we also love to watch the American comedy sitcom TWO AND A HALF MEN.

update on the daily recording of my albums (part 2)

ABBO KINTAY is a big production and planned to be around 10 to 12 minutes with 4 or 5 different sections in it. Let’s hope it works. Soldiers of Peace will be in a different key and slightly different mood.

The 2nd album is a selection of some of my favourite folk songs traditional and modern and this will probably be finished before my own songs album. It may also include a couple of my own songs on it also. Many of the songs I’m arranging as I go and experimenting a little. In fact with my own songs album it is the fact I am taking what ever time needed to find the best arrangement with as much originality as possible that is going to take so long.

I am loving taking time to experiment and try out different things. With every album I have been involved in before with all the bands there was always a time scale and that limits your inventiveness.

Another side shot of all this recording time is new song ideas keep popping into my head and I have to note them down before I forget them.

Working on so many songs and albums I have had to organise the folders on my studio shelves very accurately to keep notes and ideas on each song and album.

Every morning I wake up with the same thoughts-ideas on arrangements for different songs. The minute I realise I am awake the brain kicks off into studio creative mode and I just pray I have not woke up too early as I know I will not get back to sleep.

In one of the sessions each day usually in the middle somewhere I spend time mixing on the Celtic Hearts album. This refreshes my mind as I have to think differently than when recording. The brain can switch off if you stay on the same theme too long and needs a fresh challenge. Well mine does!

update on the daily recording of my albums

Bobs album recording November 2011 (part 1)

Just thought I would do a little blog and let everyone know how my recording is doing.

Well for a start this is probably the most organised I have been in the studio ever in my life and I feel its showing the rewards. I enjoy working on more than one project at a time. It keeps me interested. In the past however I have had too many projects and when my wife got seriously ill everything got messy in the studio.

Now I get up before 9am (achievement for me) remember I don’t get home till 4am from concerts sometimes.

I’m in my studio for between 9am and 10am and work in two hour sessions. In between each session I have a 30 minute tea break with my lady.

I try and do 4 sessions minimum so that makes it a minimum of 9 ½ hours a day at least required for the studio-although I have done 14 hours one day when I just could not press the off switch.

I am working on recording 2 albums at the same time as well as mixing the Celtic Hearts Album (due out early in 2011-cd launch date in Holland announced soon)

The first album is my own songs and finally I have got well into it and no rush-this album will be ready when I have it right. I am recording 20 songs and will pick the best 12 tracks from them for the album.

I am doing ABBO KINTAY, TAKE ME HOME, SOLDIERS OF PEACE and A THOUSAND MILES FROM HOME. The arrangements are totally different from previously recorded with Beggars Row.

Recording of my new album

Well it's started a couple of weeks ago finally. Up until now I just had been doing some rough demo's to get folks opinions. Its a good way of making sure that your own bias isnt affecting your judgement. when folk gave me their choices of the 3 best songs there were a couple of suprises in there.

Well day one and the hardest decision I had to face yet-which song to record first. I had made my mind up to record 20 at most and pick the bestfrom that. In among the songs I had decided to do were 4 I had recorded before with Beggars Row and Celtic Horizon. I had been wanting to do my own version of them so I decided to start there first. So what was the first song?-TAKE ME HOME-Its being arranged so different from the Beggars Row version and in a different key also. I spent the first 3 days messing around with the song trying things and experimenting. I dont usually get much time to do that with my other bands because of time restraints. But as my studio is in my home then I have all the time in the world to do it. When you have time to experiment-you find sounds and arrangements you wouldn't have thought of before. You also get the chance to fix anything your not absolutly 100% on.

After those first 3 days with take me home it was time to leave it for a couple of weeks to get fresh ears on it.

After a weekends gigging next song was Abbo Kintay. This has always been one of my favs of my own songs and for years I have had this other idea of arrangement for it. Its a big arrangement-the biggest I have ever undertaken. So big that I have to record the song in sections of 3 to 5 different pieces. I suppose in my terms to me it will be an epic-if it works-first day was just laying down the intro section and experimenting with it-all the ideas that have been swimming in my head for years were all trying to come out at the one time. I had to think how to get them into their right sections, which items should be in the intro. Even as to "how do I get that sound?" After 3 days I am still working on the intro and beginning to realise that this song will probably never be radio friendly on mainstream radio. It looks like being between 6 and 10 minutes long. Normally this is a problem but I am hoping as I introduce the different sections, sounds, melodies it will all work out.The main thing is that for the first time I am really letting my imagination run loose at the recording stage.

Now everyone that knows me I have some serious imagination ha ha. so where we end up who knows. The main thing is that I get the feeling of Africa as we percieve it across to all who listen to it, as the song is a protest song to make us aware of problems in Africa. Well that's it so far now. I am gearing up for another day in studio. I will write next blog when at another stage. cheers Bob Ferguson

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