- 1Waltz Of Bones (Carnival Beginning and End)0:30
- 3Bird Singin’ In The Loo1:52
- 4Songbird (Sweet Joyful) Gentle Melody0:22
- 5St. James Infirmary Blues0:48
- 6Little Ring (Grocery Store Song)0:55
- 7Improvisation I (Grocery Store Crooning)10:04
- 8Improvisation II (Grocery Store Crooning)11:11
- 11Put Me On Hold0:51
- 12Across Our Borders0:24
- 13Reluctant Actor0:15
- 14Mack The Knife*1:10
- 15Hot Coffee0:32
- 16Till The End1:05
- 17Moon River*1:55
- 18Lonely Tear Drops*1:08
- 19Songbird Meanderings (Songs)27:54
- 20Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You*1:31
- 21Happy Tears1:02
- 22My Heart Will Gone*0:35
- 24Come Along Now0:22
- 25Full Connection?0:24
- 26Better Connection0:08
- 27Over The Bird0:25
- 28Tell The Truth0:17
- 29Only You*0:38
- 30Glory Bound0:45
- 31(Gentle Tenor) Lonely Tear Drops II2:48
- 32Monseiour Du Pont*1:00
- 33Bird Singing14:17
I’m fond of saying, “I’ve been singin’ as long as I can remember” and that all started worshipping the one true living God in church with my family.
As a matter of fact, I was told that when my dad was courting my mom (before they were married), she was impressed seeing him on stage with the choir at his church. She joined him some time later. Somewhere in between, I was conceived. You see, Music is a powerful thing.
I can remember the band, the choir and other congregants were so loud! It was so loud that I’d have to sing with a greater volume just to hear myself. That’s what you just did. I guess that was a good thing (that I took for granted of course), but I didn’t understand how meaningful it was till later.
I sang all through my early childhood into adolescence, but didn’t start getting serious (well kinda serious) till I was a teenager. Since I was singin’ all the time at church, I was reluctant to sing elsewhere (until I started playing music in bands). Nobody else really wanted to sing (with a few exceptions), so I took to it as best as I could (The Lord is Gracious). I like to think of myself back then as a “blues screamer”. Those years was just trying my best to be heard and sing whatever was being covered through bad habits, influences and all. I think at one point I got it in my head to play guitar like Hendrix and sing and write like Jim Morrison (whatever).
When I finally got to writing my own songs, it became a bit more important, but I was still more focused on being a good guitar player and songwriter. I guess it wasn’t until much later, when I started my own band that I had decided to actually,”sing” and not “scream” (although I do admit I still do some of that to this day)…
I remember I had a buddy who told me what falsetto meant, he said,” It was false”, it was fake, so I didn’t use it for a long time. Once I saw the movie, “Cry Baby”, with Johnny Depp (I changed my mind), there was a tune that blew me away and I wanted to try, it was called, “Tear Drops are Falling”. Whoever sang was clearly using falsetto. I gave it a go. An old friend of mine came by that same day (the balcony door was open so they could hear) and asked, “What are you doing?” I don’t think they liked me very much so it wouldn’t have meant much to them anyway-I was singin’ and doin’ it in a brand new way!
As fun as singing can be, as a singer, my problem was (has been some days) that I’m too loud-for others, they are too quite. The key for both of these issues is balance, but I didn’t know that then. I was self taught (by God’s leading). What I do know now, is that that falsetto thing helps a lot with finding it. Anyway, I kept on experimenting with this “fake” singing and somewhere in the process I ran into a singer who rocked my world, changed my mind and challenged me (even to this day) and that mans name was (and is) Mr. Jackie Wilson. I wanted to sing his songs so bad, but I couldn’t cut it. This threw me into the world of vocal pedagogy and all that comes with it.
I wanted to train my voice as best as I could, so I spent about three solid years workin’ it out (still working it out of course till this day). One of my problems, was that I was an over-breather; I drank way too much air, so I cut that out, took the air away. I found by doing that, my voice got much stronger (sang a lot of Platters then). After a meaningful amount of time, had to get that air back, through the nose (learned that from Marnell Sample-voice teacher). Some time before this, I also studied the voice of Frank Sinatra (I believe that’s who really helped me get things started), his diction, his style (even learned and taught from his book for awhile, “Tips For Modern Singing”, I believe it was called) so not only did I grab that from him, but I was also convinced I was a baritone (because of that and misguided advice-my voice is kinda confusin’). I took this so far, that when I worked at a grocery store (my position was the cardboard “Ripper” during “the grave yard”shift) I even talked lower-got to sing a lot in that place as well (you can hear some of those recordings on this album). I ended up getting injured on the job, got fired, went through the workman’s comp process (awful-and a whole lotta other stuff, but it was pretty bad to be frank) outta surgery, bed ridden, out of a job, and if it hadn’t of been for my grandmother tellin’ me to get work in music ( my old boss gave me like 4 or 5 write ups in one sitting. That’s what happens when your hard at first then find Jesus I guess-the dude did not like me) I probably wouldn’t be writing this now. Thank God! Rabbit trailed haaaard there, In effect I’d blow out my voice frequently since I was singing the wrong repertoire. Not to mention I also picked up bad habits from trying to copy Michael Bubles style, vowels and the like (don’t do it too, sing it like “you” say it).
Through a lot of struggling on my own within the School of Hard Knox (ohhhh there was a whole lotta God given grace) I eventually found that balance by working on singing songs (a lot of jazz, rhythm and blues, doo-wop, country western and my own tunes)to get better. Later I went through vocal teacher Phil (I’m gonna mess this last name up…) Moufferage’s course and that did wonders (even till this day-thanks pop. He helped support funding that whole course and a video camera to track progress. God bless him.), but to bring it on back, late at night, when I’d still want to sing, I’d sing softer by using falsetto. Now I like to think I picked up a lot from Jackie Wilson, and maybe I have-I still do honestly (I’d give him 85% of what I know probably more…yup he was and is (thankfully and graciously) one of my God given teachers-Mel Torme too of course), anyway, I heard in an interview that he had a friend that would tell him to,” …hit the bird!”-the bird note. That’s the “high note”, sometimes that means, falsetto-at least, I took it that way as well (because the bird Note was in falsetto-anyway…). Someone else Jackie talked about in another interview when asked who he thought was one of the best-if not the best singers, he said,”Sam Cooke”. Now he could bird sing too (I’m almost certain both of them had The Lord so I think that may explain why they were so good!) so I got into Sam singin’ with The Soul Stirrers (now in hindsight if I’m too be fair, I’d have to re-do my math in regard to how much I’ve learned and from whome; I’d have to say 50% from Jackie, 50% from Sam and all this was 100% because of God. Thank you Jesus!). I sang (and sing) those gospel tunes and really learned how to control my voice better; not only to breath, but enunciate, feel and give the feeling I feel in the moment to others. Praise God for them and for “bird singin’”. One thing I must, say that I’d like to share with you (since this train has gone off the rails and all over already) that I wish I knew then and that I know now (maybe I learned it from them too-definitely The Lord through Jackie, but Sam too-probably Otis as well); the reason “why” you sing, is more important than the act of doing it. If I sing only for myself, my singing will be selfish. If I only sing for my happiness, I may not sing if I’m not happy; if we sing to love God and love others, our voices can (and will) sound that way. When we sing I want you to picture yourself in a ring, that you are in a battle between your audience and yourself (this is not a street fight, this is a friendly boxing match of course so don’t kill em to survive!-…hopefully). You want to fight in such a way that your opponent wants to shake your hand at the end of the night respecting you for your skill and sport. Now I want you to go deeper, realize the opponent you are facing is yourself. That you were (and are) made by God and you are in fact, in His image. You and your opponent are creatures. When you fight, do it in love for God; your opponent, and in effect you will learn to enjoy the fight-the song-this life-bird singin’. I’m sure I could go on so I’ll stop here.
In short, these are my earliest recordings to most recent recordings I’ve taken through the “serious” training part of my singin’ journey (hehe). I pray this will encourage you not only to sing for others, but to praise God as well as I’ve been gifted to do (Psalm 104-105). He gave us voices so we were made to sing, so, “Sing You Sinners” -Tony Bennett
Soli Deo Gloria
1. Waltz of Bones (Carnival-Beginning & End)
2. Falsetto Frenzy (Singin’)
3. Bird Singin’ in The Bathroom
4. (Sweet-Joyful) Gentle Melody
5. St. James Infirmary Blues
6. Little Ring (Grocery Store Song)
7. Improvisation I (Grocery Store Croonin’) edit for cleanliness.
8. Improvisation II (Grocery Store Crooning)
9. Grinadean Melody
11. Put me on Hold
12. Across Our Borders 13. Reluctant Actor
14. Mack The Knife
15. Somethin’ Sweet
16. “Till The End”
17. Moon River Edit
18. Lonely Tear Drops
19. Meanderings (Guitar&Voice)
20. Pretty Voice (Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You)
21. Happy Tears
22. My Heart Will Go On (I Will Always Love You) 23. Baby
24. Come Along Now
25. Full Connection?
26. Better Connection 27. Over The Bird Note 28. Tell The Truth
29. Only You
30. Glory Bound
31. Gentle Tenor
32. Monsieur DuPont
33. Bird Singin’