Two Fingers Of Whiskey
June 9, 2017 3:16 AM   Subscribe

American Epic Sessions [Variety review] from PBS: In Jack White's recording studio lurks an ancient weight-driven direct-to-wax recording technology... Elton John is delivered never-seen lyrics from Bernie Taupin... Elton writes and arranges a song in the studio and the result is Two Fingers Of Whiskey. (The full feature length film [1h52m] shows the actual songwriting process; this video is just the recorded performance.) But there is also

Other performances from the film include Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard performing "The Only Man Wilder Than Me" and Alabama Shakes blasting out "Killer Diller" into the primitive yet brilliant instrument.
posted by hippybear (10 comments total) 25 users marked this as a favorite
PBS showed the whole thing just the other night. Pretty fascinating stuff. We also discover that Jack White can use a sewing machine.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:31 AM on June 9

Holy hell, Alabama Shakes sound incredible. Great blend. Sound on Sound, I want to say, did a series with recording technologies from various (recent) decades; although the media improved, through the 50s, as Jack says, "you guys are the mix." It really takes professional musicians with great ears to make a great record like that.

Willie and Merle sound wonderful too, of course, and Elton John's voice is a thing of marvel (isn't he in his 70s?), but the sound of that room when it's not absolutely full of sound isn't spectacular, to my ears.
posted by uncleozzy at 4:39 AM on June 9 [2 favorites]

Been to the studio in Nashvegas and have a pressing from Neil Young's visit there. It's a cool place - small and heavily stylized but full of vinyl.
posted by grimjeer at 4:40 AM on June 9

Welp, I know what I'm doing tonight ...
posted by ZenMasterThis at 5:31 AM on June 9

Just want to throw in a shout for the American Epic documentary series, as well. I've watched all three episodes that have aired so far (the first two are available online as of this post), and it is fascinating.
posted by briank at 6:42 AM on June 9 [1 favorite]

Re: Jack White and sewing machines, he once worked as an upholsterer... I could swear that this interview used to be lengthier, but I dunno.
posted by mr. digits at 7:01 AM on June 9

We have watched the first two episodes and they were utterly fascinating to watch. I was just re-reading Amanda Petrusich's Do Not Sell at Any Price so my head now full of scratchy old country and blues. Some of the "modern" takes on it were just OK but "Two Fingers", the Alabama Shakes song, and Willie/Merle were transcendent.
posted by Ber at 8:48 AM on June 9

I'm still only partly through the sessions, but aside from the performances themselves, I loved that the upholstery lady said "you've got a lot of talent" and was solely referring to Jack White's spooling/threading abilities.

Also, since nobody's said it, "This one goes to 12."
posted by sysinfo at 9:04 PM on June 9

Just think -- as long as that machine exists, the ability to record will exist, because it doesn't require electricity to run. It's weight driven.

It's an astounding piece of technology, actually. It's steampunk taken to Little House era tech. Watching it run and learning about how it works gives me goosebumps. Human engineering at its finest!
posted by hippybear at 3:32 PM on June 10 [1 favorite]

And then I read a thing about how all the song performances are actually from the recording made by that machine, not by supplemental mikes in the room or anything. The fidelity (I assume they used a laser reader in the groove for the sound) is astounding.
posted by hippybear at 3:34 PM on June 10

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