As you probably
know, I am part owner of Dodeka
Records, a small record label specializing in Filk music. Back
in the spring of 94 we had only produced four albums and were considering
what our next project should be. Roper, my partner, came in one day
and said, "There is this guy named Steve Macdonald. From Michigan.
He has a master in hand. We're going to publish it."
I went ballistic.
What kind of nerve was this to agree to publish an album that I had
not heard, by a fellow I did not recall ever meeting, without consulting
me first. It was a yelling fight. With crying. Then he played a copy
of the album for me. I hrumphed a bit, and agreed it was pretty good.
Then we found
that one of the songs had some problems. We couldn't use it. The album
would be too short if we left it off. And it wouldn't balance. It
needed a funny song in that spot.
Steve and asked if he had something funny to replace it with. Well,
there was this one song...
was that the only time Steve could come and record was the same weekend
that Roper had to be out of town. I had to do the recording. I panicked.
I had very little experience with the new recording gear. But it had
to be done...
up Friday evening, I fed him dinner and we went up to record. The
song was "I
Just Love Those Old B-Movies", an appreciation
of old bad movies. It has a 50's pop sort of feel.
After we recorded
the guitar line and the primary vocal line I figured we were done.
We listened through it and I sighed. "What this really needs
is a do-wop chorus. Shame we don't have time to put one together."
for a minute, asked me to play the tape through. Then he asked me
to play it again, this time recording. He sang a harmony line. The
we did it again. And once more. He laid down a near perfect three
part do-wop harmony line with himself. OFF THE TOP OF HIS HEAD!!!!
went into the other room, called Roper, and apologized. Profusely.
He was right and I was wrong. This guy was awesome.
and will, sing along with anybody. He can make even the duffiest duffer
sound good. And Welcome. The thing that sets filk apart from just
a bunch of people sitting around playing music is the sense of community.
At it's best, a filk circle is a warm, welcoming place where anybody
can belong. Steve Macdonald is a big reason for that welcoming feeling.