Paul Kitchen | Ghosts Upon the Road
I was reading the Steven Wilson bio ‘Limited Edition of One’ recently and realized I too could tell much of my story by what music I was listening to at the time, as well as where I got the music. For example, I’m pretty sure it was 1980 when I got a vinyl copy of ‘Blue River’ by Eric Andersen. It was playing in Record and Tape Exchange in College Park MD, and I was taken with the song ‘Sheila’. A little bluesy, some minor chords, and that voice.
Years later while driving at night, I heard the song ‘Girls of Denmark’ from the album ‘Tight in the Night’ on late night radio. Once again – it got under my skin. I later found an import of that album on vinyl. This had to be around 1985.
Four years later in ‘89, I had a package delivery route and had gotten into the habit of buying cassette tapes I could play in my truck while I worked. On a rainy day in Laurel MD I stumbled upon the new Eric Andersen album ‘Ghosts Upon the Road’. Cool cover – looked interesting. As it turned out, that album became one of my all-time favorites. The title track in particular got my attention. Kind of a long form beat movie – cinematic in spots.
As it turns out I ended up covering ‘Ghosts Upon the Road’ for the first time in March of 1992, and later in 1997 I recorded ‘Girls of Denmark’. I included the Ghosts cover on the early copies of my ‘And We Dream’ album in ‘93 that I gave to friends. That album’s original running order had a few other covers on it as well, all of which I removed years later when I released the album digitally.
I’ve followed Eric Andersen closely since ‘Ghosts’ and with the recent release of a tribute album to him, I decided I wanted to throw a cover into the pile as well. It had to be Ghosts.
I started by pulling up the original half inch 8 track tape of my “Ghosts Upon the Road’ recording from 1992 and brought it into my current Cubase setup. On recordings from that time, I had started to use SMPTE time code to extend my 8 tracks with midi keyboards and drum machines. All these years later I can no longer read that time code, so the original midi, even if I could find it, wouldn’t work for me now. As it turns out, I redid the whole thing. I wanted a different mood.
To get there, I ended up slowing the original recording down a bit (Hey, I’m getting ready to turn 65, and I am also well known for coining the phrase ‘it’s too fast’). I also had to tap out the tempo, thinking I might reuse some tracks from back then, though I ended up not doing that. Between June and October of this year, I recorded new vocals, acoustic and electric guitars, lap steel, keyboards and drums. So, here you have a new 2022 recording of ‘Ghosts Upon the Road’. I hope you like it. And thank you to Eric Andersen for all the great words and music thru the years. You’ve earned all the tributes coming your way…