If I could arrange a threesome with me, Linda Ronstadt and Nicolette Larson circa 1973, I would do it.


Post - Reclamation Project

We'll say the RP is on hiatus, but I doubt there's anything else to dredge up from those tapes; most of the remaining tapes date from back before I could really write a proper song. Maybe one day I'll revisit for kicks but it's time to move on.

I'm glad to have rediscovered so many forgotten songs that I am proud of in various ways, but I still think my last is my best, like all proper musicians except Chicago.

So here's the last three songs I coughed up.

guy with tits
peak eerieness
the desert


Reclamation Tape #40: Felt Balls (Gaseous Design/Gaseous Stance)

Lotsa stuff here that went on to greater fame as finished versions to be found on chuckzak.com - including a couple ("Your Hell," "John's Letter to Jane") that could really use a re-recording. No undiscovered gems however.

Side B is interrupted by a long take of some drum-and-bass song that I liked at the time, repeating the words "love the one you're with" over and over. Very fetching, and an example of my embryonic interest in electronic music and its particular compositional strictures. I had clearly mastered pop music by this point, so it's no surprise that I was ready to move on as a listener.

So, at this point, it might be a good idea to namecheck some of the remaining songs I'd like to find on these tapes. I can't truly consider the reclamation project complete until I do. They are:
  • Not Again
  • Who are You Here to See?
  • Too Much Love
  • Dionysian Volume #1
  • Dionysian Volume #2
  • Hurricane Party

Of those, the last was probably recorded after I abandoned the worktape model and began using my phone. As for the rest, I could probably remember "Not Again" without hearing the demo, and the two versions of "Dionysian Volume" aren't crucial, if my dim memory of them is correct. I don't remember "Too Much Love" at all, and "Who are You..." is another slooow song, of which I have too many already, though it's a good one, at least based on what I recall of it.


Reclamation Tape #39: Ivied Melodae Grown Over (Conceptions/Executions)

The reclamation project giveth and the reclamation project taketh away.

This tape was a standout of disappointment, not only because it squandered one of my favorite worktape titles; not only because the entirety of side A was previously-heard studio stuff (to be fair, this was predicted somewhat by the tape's clever subtitle), but because what remained was almost uniformly half-assed and boring.

"Lambeau is not Normandy" is the biggest exception, and that mainly due to the title and general idea of the song. Otherwise, there's a neat keyboard riff at the very end of side 2, and NPR's Nina Totenberg is chatting somewhere in the background of one of these flimsy song ideas.

But really, I have to ask: have we passed peak reclamation project? There still remains a few songs I'd like to find, but I do think at this point the majority of the songs I was looking for have been found.

We will continue however. The remaining tapes appear to be of the pre-Y2K era, possibly; that doesn't bode well necessarily. There are also a few 90-minute tapes that I'm loathe to wade through - 60 minutes is plenty long for a worktape.

Hard times may lie ahead. We shall see...

Reclamation Tape #38: Perception Thwart (Reluctant Comp)

This tape was an almost complete wash, mostly because it contained only 3/4 of side A and nothing else. Blank tape is a commodity, dude - you just pissed 45 minutes of it away!

My iron-clad sense of duty and righteousness might compel me to refuse inclusion of this tape into the annals of the sainted reclamation project were it not for the one worthwhile song it does include: "Jiang Zemin." This is certainly a song I've been on the lookout for, and I feel a little relief that it was included here, leaving me no choice but to give Perception Thwart its own place in the project.


Reclamation Tape #37: Righteous Digression (Credibility Factor)

Aside from the usual embryonic versions of future classics, this worktape contained only two ideas worth a single check-mark each. And of those, I think only "of all the things the lord has given me" has a chance to make to the big leagues.

I remember being excited by this song because it was the first I could remember writing that had only three chords. It's worthiness goes beyond that, but it is true: it's only G, C and D, although with a variety of voicings being used which gives the impression of a greater number of chords.

If I've written any three-chord songs since then, I can't really recall them.So far that at least, this revisit to Righteous Digressions was well worth it.

Reclamation Tape #36: Rabelaisian (Gratuity Included)

Rabelaisian (never read a word of Rabelais in my life, btw) reintroduces a bunch of the songs whose lyrics were collected in the two totemic notebooks I've described elsewhere. If you missed that post, I'll recap below:

I have retained two notebooks dating back from - when? - mid-90s, probably, that contain lyrics for a bunch of songs I was working on from back then up until - oh, who the fuck knows when, 2002, or something. Many of these lyrics belong to songs I've completely forgotten, and though I didn't really anticipate those songs being necessarily great once I rediscovered them in the process of this Reclamation Project, I thought it would be fun to hear them again.

So, ok, this worktape contains a bunch of these songs, and they aren't necessarily the lost classics I've really been on the hunt for during this project - they're mostly pretty decent.

But as far as true 'keepers' - songs I intend to add to the sainted "to do" list, they don't all make the cut, but a few might. They aren't officially titled, for the most part, so I'll refer to them by their most prominent lyrics: "exception to the rule," "I don't know you" and "I can't explain."

These are all good, solid songs that might move up to the next level; maybe not right away, but after the first wave of re-recordings are complete and I've completed all the check-cashing and award-accepting I can handle.


Reclamation Tape #35: Re: Her (The Dirt On Bud Abbott)

Solid entry in the series, here. Real contenders like "Exception to the Rule," and "Oxford Soul" are highlights, but so are the sketches of songs that we've introduced on other tapes, songs that reappear in refined versions here, like "Robophobe" and the merest squibs of future classics ("Inevitable Ruin," "World Outside").

This is what real, honest work sounds like.