For those of you who aren't familiar with my history, prior to my career in finance I was a musician. I began playing guitar at age 12. When I was about 15 (1967) I joined a band called the "Patch of Blue." I was their lead singer and we did the pop tunes of the day at high school dances and Sweet Sixteens. About 2 years later I joined up with my good friends Don Cook and Hugh Fisher and we started writing our own original material. We sounded like a cross between Crosby Stills and Nash and Simon and Garfunkle. We added a fourth, David Kalpakis, and the harmonies began to get fuller and more complicated. Years later I decided to get a formal education in music. I spent a couple of years studying harmony and composition with Ovid Avarma at Dawson College in Montreal. I took up flute, bass guitar and I learned a little keyboard.

 As often happens with young artists and musicians life got in the way, children were born and bills had to get paid. So I left my foolish notions of stardom behind and joined the ranks of the middle class. As I got older I felt that if I couldn't make a living playing and writing pop tunes I could a least leave a record of my efforts. So that's what this is all about. I'm going to post a mix of originals and cover tunes that I recorded myself for anyone who's interested. For the time being the only musician playing and singing on these cuts is me. To find out how I put together the arrangements and my recording techniques, see below.
 



 

Songs from a Basement

Covers

Growing up in the sixties it was hard to admit to my rocker friends that I was partial to some of the mellow stuff by Sinatra or Ray Charles or even Dean Martin. The good thing about being older is I no longer care about what's cool in music. I like what I like and if I want to do a Sinatra tune or some Bee Gees I'll damn well do it! Because these music files are mp3s they are optimised for headphones and sound best when listened to with an MP3 player like the Apple ipod.

Here's the link to my daughter's web site which is a work in progress. Erica Forrest

  • Come Fly With Me...Frank Sinatra
  • The Lady is a Tramp..Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga
  • My Way…Frank Sinatra
  • Are you Lonesome Tonight…Elvis
  • I left my Heart in San Francisco…George Cory and Douglas Cross
  • Love is a Many Splendored Thing...Sammy Fain and Paul Frands Webster
  • Town Without Pity...Gene Pitney
  • You Belong to me
  • Sway...Dean Martin
  • You're Nobody Till Somebody Loves You...Dean Martin
  • Can't Get Used to Losing You...Andy Williams
  • Moon River...Andy Williams
  • Help me Mend this Broken Heart...The Bee Gees
  • All the Way...Frank Sinatra
  • Nowhere Man...The Beatles
  • She's a Woman...The Beatles
  • Roll Over Beethoven…The Beatles
  • Runaround Sue...Dion
  • Till There was You...The Beatles
  • Yesterday...The Beatles
  • Please Mister Postman...The Marvelettes
  • You Don't Know me...Ray Charles
  • Under the Boardwalk...The Drifters
  • At This Moment...Billy Vera and the Beaters
  • God Bless the Child
  • Moondance Unplugged
  • New York State of Mind
  • Love Hurts
  • Rhythm of the Falling Rain
  • Don't Worry Baby...The Beach Boys
  • The Shadow of your Smile, Tony Bennett
  • The Way You Look Tonight...Fred Astaire
  • If I Ruled the World....Tony Bennett
  • Will You Still Love Tomorrow...Carol King
  • Wives and Lovers...Burt Bacharach
  • Georgia on My Mind
  • Suzanne...Leonard Cohen
  • A Little video of me playing the Beatles tune "For No One"

    In this next tune...
    I tried to capture the vocal and arrangement style of the late fifties. It's a song I've always liked by Mel Carter called Hold me, Thrill me.

    I wasn't completely happy
    with some of the midi files in this next one. Also I threw in an electric guitar here and there when there was never one on the original. But I figured if I was going to wait until I was completely satifisfied with the arrangement I'd never post the damn thing! So here's my version of Cole Porter's memorable tune I've Got You Under My Skin. Cole wrote this in 1936 but it wasn't until 1956 that Frank Sinatra actually recorded it.

    In the Early seventies
    Don, Hughie, David and I played a lot of Crosby Stills and Nash Tunes. We would just take out a couple of acoustic guitars and we'd harmonize to "Suite Judy Blue Eyes" or Helplessly Hoping. We played this one quite a bit and our fans appreciated it. This version features just 3 part harmony and a single acoustic guitar.
     
     
     
     

    Originals




     
     

    This is the band I played with back in 1977 when I still had hair. I'm the bass player on the far right.


     Ever since I was a kid and learned the words to Elvis Presley's "Are you Lonesome Tonight?" I wanted to be a singer. When I was 7 I got my 2 foster sisters to act out back-up harmony while I crooned out Elvis' ballad. At 14 I was lead singer with a neighborhood band called "A Patch of Blue." I picked up the guitar when I was about 16 and soon began writing my own material with the help of my good friend and collaborator Don Cook. From 1968 to about 1972 Don and I wrote and played together, mostly acoustic guitar duets. Around '69 Hughie joined the group as our bass guitarist and vocalist. Finally in the early 70's we added David Kalpakis and formed a band that would later be called Family Friends and Future, this phrase taken from a song I had written. Many "interesting" (in the Chinese sense of the term) things happened to me during this period and I hope to set them all down one day .


    How It's Done

    In the last year or so (2015) I’ve updated the equipment I use in my basement studio. I use a 2013 IMAC with Logic Pro software. ( I used Protools in the past for most of these tunes) To input the instruments and microphones I have something called a “Duet” by Apogee. This allows direct input and output through the computers USB ports. Since I don't drum all my drum stuff is midi files. This I hope to change soon because drum files are a bit rigid. I custom make my midi files or I download them from the net. For the tunes that require either acoustic or electric guitar I simply mike myself playing. I'll plug my electric bass directly into the mixer when it's needed. I spend a lot of time on the lead vocals and I sing all the harmonies as well. Because I do all the singing the vocal tracks lack colour (timbre) so I have asked some friends of mine to visit and lay down a few harmonies....Unfortunately both McCartney and Clapton haven't been able to squeeze me into their busy schedules thus far but I'm having my people contact their people....

    To Be Opened Only at Christmas

    Christmas Songs

    Your comments are welcome. Send me a quick email at either:

    briafor@gmail.com
    or
    brian.forrest@raymondjames.ca