I’d like to discuss some recording here today, particularly the kind I have been through! I know everyone’s recording experiences can be different, but one thing I have learned for sure is that you should never lose or miss a first take!
What this really means, is that the first take of any given solo, or “pass” at a song, is usually, for me anyway, the most “honest” reaction I could’ve ever had to that particular piece of music. The pure gut level response to the song, and the purity in which you are reacting to it, make a first take a “must” when it comes to the act and art of recording. In fact, there was a period where I let this fact almost “over”-govern my decisions, and I actually could’ve done much better takes if I’d only allowed myself to go beyond the first take to find out what I rally could accomplish!
Some of this was a reaction to my many, many sessions with other artists, where they would never even record me yet when I was doing my “first take”, thereby missing that golden opportunity, and then they would invariably, and ad nauseum have me do take after take, until it sucked all the life and creativity right out of me! So, as a reaction to all those incredibly poorly handled sessions, I’d try to take the complete opposite approach, and basically always be going for almost exclusively “first take” performances every time! In the case of this latest electric album I did, “Toolin’ Around Woodstock” with Levon Helm and others, I learned that even though many of my first takes were truly “keepers”, I finally allowed myself to explore more deeply what I could really do if I would just allow myself the freedom of exploration!
So, remember that the “first take is the deepest”, but it doesn’t always necessarily mean it’s the best! Give yourself the room to explore and investigate…get different sounds, try different approaches, but try to never lose that wonderful first take and all the pure innocence and creativity it has!