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1930s painting by Francis de Ederly

Yesterday was the day -- sorry that I didn't provide this crucial update, but I spent a wonderful weekend trapped in California when my visit to my godson turned into Groundhog Day thanks to airport closures in and around New Jersey due to the storm that never actually amounted to much and the subsequent flight cancellations.

Anyway, I will make an attempt to give you a little bit of information about each track on a daily basis while simultaneously (hopefully) convincing you to buy copies. So, of course, as per necessity, let me start by giving you the purchase links. If you don't trust anything but the largest purveyor of digital downloads, then you can go to iTunes and get your copy at:

Of course, I will get a larger percentage of the purchase price (and you will pay two dollars less) if you go to CDBaby instead, so, really, that's a far better deal for you digital downloaders, right? Here's that link:

But the BEST way is to go semi-old-school and get a physical copy... If you contact me in a private message HERE on Facebook at my music page, I can send you a PayPal bill for $6, which will cover not only the cost of the physical CD, but also the shipping & handling. I will make out SLIGHTLY less as well financially as I would through a CDBaby download, but you'll have something tangible to hold onto and pass onto your grandkids someday so you can show them about how music used to mean something two generations from now when the pop charts are ruled entirely by cloned copies of Lady Gaga and Beyonce (or, worse yet, some bizarre lab-generated hybrid, Lady BeGonce). Plus you'll help me clear away some of the boxes of CDs that make getting around my bedroom a bitch.

So, now, on to the fun part of this blog... Let's talk about a song from this EP!

Naturally, I'm going to start you off with the title track.

There are three versions of "Sad Sack" on the album.

The first two were culled from the same recording session, when the band and I all sat down in the studio together and recorded the rock version live.

We played through five or six times before we really hit on a take that felt gorgeous and as perfect as it could be while still being spontaneous and raw.

All of the foundation tracks -- drums, bass, rhythm guitars, piano, and lead vocal were pulled from one live take. The guitar solos were recorded afterwards, with Tom Briant (of Josh Zuckerman Band and now Taylor Tote Band) and Tyler Carbin (of Ivy League) trading eights, and layered onto these foundations, as were the backing vocals. This version of the song ran close to seven minutes and change.

Studio engineer and co-producer Steve Jankowski then edited it down to just under six minutes. We left the lovely, loose piano intro and included the best takes from the guitar solos. That version is track two on the album, the rock playout version. From this, Steve then cut the track down to just under four minutes for a radio single edit. That version starts with a big, fat bass note courtesy of kick-ass bassist Jacque Jobes, who has worked with such artists as The Roots, Erika Badu, Destiny's Child, and Miley Cyrus. Jacque is crazy, but he's also the best there is. All of this is underscored by Paul Galiszewski's drumming -- Paul can do anything on drums, but that doesn't mean he does everything: Like all the best drummers, Paul knows when the drum is there to do the storytelling, and when it's there to be the glue that holds the story together. He can solo better than any drummer I've known, but he never does anything unnecessary for the sole purpose of calling undue attention to himself. So if you're wondering why he doesn't go ape-shit on this track, it's because he's saving the gorilla for where it's needed.

The third version of "Sad Sack" expands on the original MANWHORE arrangement but veers off in several ways from that original conception.

While the album version is more of a sultry samba, this one picks up the tempo from around 97 or 98 bpm to 106 bpm, to which Paul adds some incredible drumming that vacillates between a Gene Krupa style big band beat (most noticeably in the intro and the spaces between the choruses and verses) and a disco beat. If you listen to Paul's playing on the choruses, to that insane tapping on the high hats that ratchets up the excitement, you can fucking hear him smiling. I am not kidding. Layered over that drum beat is Jacque's fantastic bass. Jacque's job was to keep the disco beat from turning the track into a disco song, so he played a swing walk up and down that bass of his. Steve Jankowski then brought clarinetist Doug DeHays into the studio to record a clarinet part that I'd written, and Adam Silverstein added a vibraphone part I'd written. We then recorded a "good" vocal after working with a pilot track the whole way through, on top of which we added four harmony lines reminiscent of (and inspired by) acts such as the Andrew Sisters from the 1940s. There's no guitars on this one. I wanted it to sound like something from a 1940s nightclub. Picture men in tailored suits and fedoras and ladies in evening gowns with their hair pulled back dancing around while the orchestra plays. Yeah, it's that classy!

Without further ado, here are the lyrics to the song (note that the rock version has the "clean" lyrics, whereas the swing band has the slightly racier lyrics indicated by the *asterisks):


While all the day-laborers slept last night,

The old guard came in to bust up the strike.

Management said round up all the malcontents;

Rout out the agitators and the like.

And they called in scabs to finish putting mortar on the bricks

And left us standing with no pot, emasculated and limp-wristed*.

[*Alternate lyric: And left us standing with no pot to piss in, holding our limp dicks.]

My name's back on the unemployment role.

My free hand's out-extended waiting for the public dole.

So darling, do a little to make me feel better.

Maybe something you can pour to make my dry throat wetter.

A little liquid consolation to blur the ragged edges of my lonely desperation.

Don't call me a sad sack. It's just a minor setback.

Don't call me a sad sack. I just got a little off track.

I know you hate it when you see me this way,

So I'll walk it off around the block

Or maybe sit it out and have a good round at the bar.

If you're concerned I'll leave me good cap here,

So you know I won't go too very far.

If what I'm saying isn't honest, may lightning strike my pants on fire.

I can stretch the truth like a depression dollar, but I'm not a liar.

This time just please don't lock the door.

I'll only pass out on the pavement instead of the kitchen floor, so darling...

I feel a bit too hollow.

So fill my glass again. Oh, hell... Give me a fifth that I can swallow

To soft-focus these harsh expressions,

A tonic to ensure the whole world cures in this same recession that I'm fading into.

Don't call me a sad sack. It's just a minor setback.

Don't call me a sad sack. I just got a little off track.

Don't call me a sad sack. It's just a minor setback.

Don't call me a sad sack. And don't you tell me not to dare to come back, because...

I'll be back and I'll be fine,

Another day, another dime, another vodka twist of lime

While I'm spinning my wheels and marking time.

I'll be back and I'll be fine,

Another day, another dime, another vodka twist of lime

While I'm spinning my wheels and marking time.

Don't call me a sad sack. We can smooth over these pavement cracks.

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