New Adventures in Old DAT

I recently acquired a working DAT machine for the studio. This has enabled me to dig into a number of DAT tapes that we made in the 90s. I’m looking forward to getting these songs transferred and made available to anyone who wants to have a listen. I was able to get two of these old tapes salvaged and transferred over to the computer this past weekend. I have two tapes from the Every Little Flower period.

The first is a live two track recording that was mixed by Lee Bargeron at Airwaves studio in the early 90s. It was one of those sessions where we had four or five hours to set up and record what we could. I think this tape has ten songs on it. Since it is a live recording, it has it’s small performance flaws and limitations. Still, there are some pretty good performances. The other tape has the Every Little Flower “Shouting Hossanahs” sessions that were recorded to digital four track by Jason Elgin at Synchromesh studios.

Every Little Flower is a band that I formed with vocalist, lyricist David Parker (aka Jonas Grey) [vocals, lyricist], William Nailen [keyboards, vocals, lyricist, songwriter], with whom I had worked in various original, local bands since the mid 1980s and drummer Kenneth Shiflett (my brother and long time collaborator.) E.L.F. went through a couple of bass players: Brendan McClary (who plays on the live 2 track recordings) and finally, Andrew Reid, who has since worked with me in some capacity or other on everything except “Workingman’s Bread.”. E.L.F. marks the moment when the chemistry between Kenneth, Andrew and myself took root. The three of us would eventually become the first performing version of Alamantra. Every Little Flowered toured extensively throughout the South Eastern region for a couple of years playing Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, Louisiana and Mississippi.

The other set of tapes cover the material I recorded with Frank Pigott at Studio 6 in the Woodlawn section of Birmingham during the mid 90s. He had a 16 track analog combined with a digital setup.

We recorded Professor Marvel’s:The Velvet Eye sessions there with Steve Casteel [guitar], Chris Casteel [drums], Kenneth Shiflett [drums], Ashley Hoefer [percussion], Danny Everitt [bass], Melinda Everitt [vocals, lyrics, percussion], with special guests, Matt Slocum [piano] and Jim Evans [tuba]. One song from these sessions, the instrumental “Surf Babe,” has wound up on German National Television and has been used as intro/outro music by pod-casters for years. Over time, the fidelity of a lot of these songs have been squashed through being converted back and forth into various formats to be shared online. These recordings are first generation and the sound quality is much, much better than anything currently available.

Professor Marvel: From left to right: Steve Casteel, Danny Everitt, Melinda Everitt, Bobby Shiflett, Kenneth Shiflett

A short time later I went back into Studio 6 and cut the “Justified Ancients of the Grand Orient” sessions with Andrew Reid [bass], Steve Casteel [guitar], Guyton Sanders [drums] and Ashley Hoefer [percussion]. During these sessions we recorded “Mark of Cain,” “The Old Trickster’s Last Grand Parade,” “Departure,” “Will Hear” and “Spaces.” The project held up only long enough for us to get through the recording. I don’t recall the band itself ever playing a show. All of these songs wound up in the Alamantra performance catalog with “Will Hear” and “Spaces” being re-recorded for “Workingman’s Bread.” These original recordings of “Mark of Cain,” “Departure” and “The Old Trickster’s Last Grand Parade” can be found on the Alamantra “By Turns” album.

Welcome to StoneHouse

Greetings and welcome to the Alamantra website. Here you will find the music, words and deeds of the musical/art/literary project, Alamantra, as well as its predecessors and decedents: Professor Marvel, Every Little Flower and The Other Day. This site serves as an archive for these projects as well as a repository for essays, lyrics, poems, photographs, videos, reviews (of these projects as well as my reviews of other bands, books, movies etc.), remembrances, reminisces, current events and whatever bit of miscellany strikes my fancy.

I will also be posting news and updates on the new psychedelic/steampunk band, Random Walker. We’re currently in the process of putting this together, but I’m very excited about the direction it’s going and the new material that is being written. We are planning to have the album finished and ready for release sometime in the Fall of 2020.

I have built a multi-media workspace in Center Point, Alabama that I call StoneHouse (because the exterior and the walls of the downstairs interior are entirely made of stacked chert.) The house was originally built in 1940, sits off the street on 3/4 of an acre and has a rustic vibe to it. I’ve converted what used to be the den/dining room area into a performance/tracking space. What used to be the downstairs bedroom is now a mixing room. It has 1 1/2 baths, but it only has a shower. However, this is adequate for my needs.

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I’m using Presonus Studio One with a Presonus Studio/Live 24 board.

Additionally, the live performance/practice tracking area has a ceiling mounted motorized camera for live streaming and video recording. The room also features a ceiling-mounted light-show setup with four LED cans, and 4 motorized lights. We will be inviting various artists to come over and perform via live stream.

My main intention for the studio is to write and record songs to license for other media: television, games and indie films. I also look forward to hosting some hellacious jam sessions and live streaming. Stay tuned.