After doing the promo video for my upcoming book, the Fireborn, I have been in a musical mood. Out of nowhere I decided to do this video. This was a lot of fun, but you will immediately notice that I am much more of an instrumentalist than a singer ;) Don’t let my voice drive you away… As far as the music and sound effects and such, well, here, watch it and I’ll talk about it afterwards, OK? Yeah, I may be wordy ;)
The House of the Rising Sun has been around for a while, verified back to the beginning of the 20th century but based on ideas that goes back hundreds of years. The name itself doesn’t refer to a specific place, but was a euphemism for a brothel. Traditionally, though mostly sung by men, it is sung in a woman’s point of view.
There are many versions out there. I listened to Woody Gutherie and Lead Belly’s versions. In the late 50s or early 1960s a folk singer, Dave Van Ronk, came up with a new arrangement. Bob Dylan used this version in his set. Legend has it that when Dylan recorded his first album, they asked for one more song. he couldn’t think of anything, so he pulled out the Van Ronk House of the Rising Sun. Of course Van Ronk wasn’t happy, because everyone accused him of stealing from Dylan.
But then, a British rock band took Dylan’s version and made it their own recording and so Dylan had to stop playing it so people didn’t think he stole it from the Animals.
The Animals’ version is by far the best known today. Being a band instead a folk singer with a guitar allowed them to do a lot more. The distinctive arpeggios are instantly recognizable. And then there is the great organ part, the descending bass and the screaming lyrics. But they also made it from a man’s point of view, which I always thought was weird.
I made my own arrangement of this song. Of course I borrowed from the Animals’ version. I played it on my Analog Modular synthesizer, except for the organ, which I used a Kawai K5000. I also sang, but I made it from the woman’s POV again. (Sorry, I know my voice isn’t the greatest ever. In fact, I know it is awful.) The sound effects and all other music lines are the modular synthesizer. I wanted the beginning to sound like a steamship (riverboat). And, of course, the photos are mine. I screwed up and didn’t put a couple in that I meant to and repeated more than I should have.
Anyway, I hope you enjoyed the music! (And I hope the bad singing didn’t drive you away ;) )