Earlier this week I had the opportunity to record my own arrangement of a fantastic Harold Arlen song from the 1930’s – called Last Night When We Were Young – at Craighouse Campus Studio A, as part of my Performance Portfolio. It was introduced to me by my guitar tutor Taj Wyzgowski about four or five months ago and I just fell in love with it instantly. The melody is really interesting and takes one or two interesting and unpredictable turns, which is something I tend to like when I listen to songs. After hearing lots of songs that don’t really have their own personality, it’s great to be caught off guard by one.
It was Arlen’s favourite composition of his own and there are some great versions by both Frank Sinatra and Judy Garland that I recommend checking out.
As for my own version, I have been toying with it for a couple of months, and I had originally intended to get someone else in to sing it for me, but soon realised this could overcomplicate things as I intended to play it quite freely. Therefore, I decided I would just sing it myself. I don’t really see myself as a singer but I thought it would add a different element to my portfolio recordings, as I already had another duo recorded with my friend Emily Kelly.
It’s a pretty difficult song to sing, particularly towards the end, and I felt quite out of my comfort zone, but I enjoyed the challenge overall and hope I can improve upon it.
The engineer for the session – David O’Leary – used a coincident pair mic technique on my nylon string guitar, which you can see here during the recording session. For the vocal, David had me test one of the university’s Neumann microphones, as well as a RØDE NT2-A. Although the Neumann is a much more expensive microphone, I felt that the RØDE suited my voice better, so I went with that one.
The recordings from the portfolio – including Last Night When We Were Young – can be found in the Audio section of my site.