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Photos from a Session at Sugar Hill Studios

June 8, 2017

Two photos from a session last year at Sugar Hill Studios in Houston, TX. With a ’72 Yahama gut string and with the engineer on the session, Cody Franz, who did a great job.

Richie Kaye with a 1972 Yamaha gut string
Cody Franz, engineer at Sugar Hill Studios, with Richie Kaye

Photographer: Sam Kuslan

我家在那離 — A Taiwanese Song

June 6, 2017

[English speakers, see text below.]

愛上台灣本省土生土地的樂曲並欣賞台灣歌手唱法的老美現在2017年應該就有了,但30多年前卻比較稀少. 不知為何,本人對台灣歌曲的浪漫與悲哀,歡喜與痛苦感觸深刻.  當時準備出社會當歌手做表演的我,背誦不少台灣歌詞,包括洪榮宏,齊秦, 羅大佑,歐陽菲菲,蔡琴等歌手的名歌.

因為某些因素,我並沒有實現這個願望,沒有認真地在台進行追求. 這我一向認為可惜的誤會早已經變成歷史了. 反正讓我抱佛腳而自我提醒老歌詞道:”不知過了多少年惦記模糊的,我的心不變…”之所以,儘管時間很晚, 我就趁這此刻錄下一首老國語歌曲.

30多年前在台北市林森北路靠近國寶飯店曾有一家好萊塢餐廳(就在2樓要爬樓梯沒有電梯).吃鐵板燒可以聆聽現場音樂.我第一次在台音樂會就聽到劉家昌.當時對他本人不熟.沒想到台灣創作界會有一個音樂的楊傳廣. 因為當時台灣的音樂可以說很純樸.台灣人經濟興旺時沒時間也沒有興趣在藝術界發展. 所以,看到劉師傅聘請了一組三人弦奏團陪他唱, 讓我非常激動. 嗓子好聽的不得了.我就買下卡帶學一學.  “我家在那裡”就是我第一首能唱的國語歌曲.後來在上海表演時,認識到施鴻顎師傅,第一首給他唱就是這首.

 

In 2017, there are likely at least a few Americans who love the popular music of Taiwan and who admire Taiwanese singers.  But 30 years ago, I’m sure they were few.  I don’t know why, really, but I felt a deep attraction to and was moved by the romance, the sorrow, the joy and the hurt expressed as only native Taiwanese singers can.   As a young man in the 1980s, desiring to become a performer and singer, I learned many Taiwanese lyrics, including songs sung by Hong Jung-hung, Ch’i Ch’in, Luo Ta-You, Ouyang Fei-fei and Cai Ch’in, among others.  [Pronunciations at the bottom of this post.]

For many reasons, I didn’t pursue this inner desire to sing or perform in Taiwan.  But mistakes of the past are history, as I’ve come to learn with a bit of age and a lot of experience.  In any case, perhaps I am hoping against hope (clasping the feet of the Buddha, as Chinese say) that, as the old song puts it, “The vaguest of memories persisting for who knows how many years, but my heart hasn’t changed.”  Thus, even though it may be late, I thought I’d take this opportunity to sing one of the oldies.

30 years ago, on Lin Sen North Rd in Taipei, just down the block from the Ambassador Hotel, was a club called the Hollywood Cafe, up on the 2nd floor (and you had to walk up), where you could eat the Teppanyaki on a sizzling hot metal slab that was the rage at the time and listen to live music.  The first time I ever went, I saw Liu Chia-ch’ang.  At the time, I had no idea who he was.  I couldn’t at the time imagine that in the Taiwan of that period, there would be anyone in the arts the caliber of the Taiwanese decathlete champion and Olympic medalist, C K Yang,   But I think Master Liu was precisely that.

Taiwanese music back then was, shall we say, simple.  People were more interested in building businesses and making money than in devoting time to the arts.  But there, at this little supper club, was a string trio backing a singer with a world-class voice.  Naturally, I was excited.  I purchased as many cassettes as I could lay my hands on.  This song, My Home, is the first Chinese pop song I ever learned. When I came to perform in Shanghai a decade later, this is the song I sang for my Master instructor and dear friend, Shi Hong-e, the great operatic impressario, may he rest in peace.  He loved it and I hope you do as well.

PRONUNCIATION GUIDE
Hong Jung-hung — Hoeng Roeng-hoeng
Ch’i Ch’in — Chee Chin
Luo Ta-You — Luaw Da Yo
Ouyang Fei-fei — O-yang Fay Fay
Cai Ch’in — Tseye (ts + eye) Chin
Liu Chia-ch’ang — Lyo Jya-chang

More Songs Added to the Solo Show Repetoire!

June 4, 2017
More songs added to the solo show repetoire:
 
Long May You Run (Neil Young, although I prefer Nils Lofgren’s version)
All Just to Get to You (Joe Ely)
Climb Every Mountain (Sammy Davis, Jr.)
Green Lights (Sarah Jarosz)

My Old Songs Revived — Fire and Fall Back

May 22, 2017

Going back over the songs I recorded on Fire and Fall Back (solo acoustic/voice), I find that I must, after the space of, what, 8 years+?, reinvent the songs in order to sing them, so great has been the change in consciousness. It is like singing the songs of another person. Which is entirely true. But some (not all) of the songs (I speak of my own) are still worth singing.

Anyone who has undergone a radical life change will get what I mean, I am certain. It is not simply vocal pitch and tone, which has deepened considerably and become less nasal and more resonant (and was already going through the change at the time of recording — I can hear it now). It is the state of consciousness which was recorded then, and is not available to me now.

So those songs of my own which I can still understand and express, but with the new understanding, I will adapt to this new person who is singing them, who is still me, nonetheless. A delightful discovery!

The New (or should I say updated) Solo Act

May 17, 2017
My new (or I should say updated) solo act (guitar/voice) is all melody and story. I won’t be limiting myself to any one genre or era, but instead delve into the vast catalog of American popular music from the 1920s to the present day, pulling out gems that I think have been forgotten or just misplaced. Our — by which I mean, our American — collective catalog is that rich and deep.
 
I’ll be playing an even mix of original material, showtunes, classic country, folk rock, bossa nova, novelty numbers and many more. It will be eclectic and many people won’t have ever heard some of these songs. And I’ll link all these disparate songs together.

More New Songs Added to the Solo Show Repetoire

April 23, 2017

New songs for the solo show:

Luther Played the Boogie Woogie (Johnny Cash)
You Do Something to Me (Sammy Davis, Jr.)
Wichita Lineman (Glen Campbell)
Me and My Shadow (Peggy Lee)
Jim and Jack and Hank (Alan Jackson)

Although I’ve known Wichita Lineman since it came out in ’67 (when still in the womb, of course), I’d never been able to do the song justice with just guitar and voice, but suddenly, I heard it — a Eureka moment after prolonged gestation. It took me 6 months to discover the right arrangement for La Mer (Charles Trenet). Far longer for this song!

Cab Calloway’s JIVE JUBILEE (1942)

April 18, 2017

Look at what I picked up for a song… Published, 1942. (But the uke chords are all wrong for many tunes — they used to do this on purpose.)

Has the famous JIVE DICTIONARY in the back, too!

CANARY: Girl vocalist
HIDE BEATER: Drummer
MITT POUNDING: Applause

20170418_170718 20170418_170921

More Great Songs Added to the Repetoire This Week

March 23, 2017

New songs added to the solo show repetoire:

I See the Want To in Your Eyes (Conway Twitty, 1974)
Who’ll Chop Your Suey? (Cleo Brown, 1936)
It Won’t Be Long (The Beatles, 1963)
Detour Ahead (Billie Holiday, 1949)
Careless Love (Snooks Eaglin, 1958)

And a couple of new originals, as well, to be recorded this year.

Richie Kaye on WBCQ

March 15, 2017

WBCQ will play my slapstick version of Walter Donalson’s “Makin’ Whoopee,” recorded many years ago. I’d not released it before. I found it lingering on an old hard drive and, yes, it made me laugh. So pleased it will go out on the airwaves and my thanks to the management (you know who you are!).

If you never heard me do Jimmy Durante, Barry White and Judge Judy in the same clip, you’re in for a treat. Well, you’re in for something, anyhow.

For fans in Europe and Japan, listen in tomorrow (March 16, 2017) between 2300 and 2330 UTC on 7390 kHz. For those stateside, that translates to 5:00-5:30pm Eastern. If you don’t have a shortwave radio, you can listen here.

I’ll be in great company with lots of novelty songs you’ve not heard in decades. Grab an ice cold Cheerwine or a hot toddy if you’re still stuck in the northeast and be prepared to laugh.

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