Randy Mac’s Livin’ It Up: This record label was way TOO exclusive

Randy Mac

Randy Mac

I’m in Colorado this week, prepping for life together with Julie. Yesterday afternoon she handed me a short stack of 45s (if you don’t know what that is, ask someone with more experience in life than you) and asked the details about them. Brought back some mem’ries.

Way back in ’74 I was working on my first job, getting a pay check every two weeks. For some time I had wanted to “cut” a record, and I had written some fine (tongue-in-cheek) country songs that I KNEW would launch me right onto the county music “billboard.” Now I had the money to get it done.

One day on the job I had a few spare minutes, so I grabbed the giant, Houston-edition of the “Yellow Pages” (see parenthetical statement two paragraphs up) and began calling some of the many recording studios in the area. I knew I had found just the right one when the guy on the other end said, “We’ll cut you a 45 for $110 a side.” Hoo-BOY!!! Look out, Nashville!

I made my initial appointment, and when the day came I headed to Houston with my guitar in hand and my songs in my head. I was told that all I needed to do was sing the songs for the studio guys to record. They would then get the studio musicians to come in and “lay” the tracks. I would then come back to the studio and “lay” the vocal tracks. Sounded easy enough. I recorded. And left.

I anxiously awaited the day that I would get to record my vocals in the studio with professionally done, studio-band recorded music tracks. Finally the day arrived. I went back to Houston.

The first thing that I noticed was that the songs were now considerately faster than they were when I wrote them. And, although I wasn’t and am still not a great musician, I DID notice that the instrumentals weren’t like the ones I’d be hearing on the radio. Still, the studio dude was able to convince me that since the last note, which was accidentally struck as the pianist got up from the piano, was actually a part of the last chord he played, so it was okay that they “just left it on there.”

Hey. I WAS a rookie!

I got the recording done and the records “pressed.” Even had my OWN label.  I THOUGHT this was GOOD thing. No one else would let me use theirs.) But I digress. I drove all over my part of the country, dropping my record off at every country station I could find. I remember the looks I got from the DJs who would actually humor me by listening to the thing. (NO one played it on the air.)

Even today I feel a bit embarrassed when I think about that first record. And I’m purdy sure I’m the only person in the world who still has a couple of copies of the thing. (That IS a good thing!)

Life’s an adventure! I’m livin’ it up!!!

Randy McLelland, known as “Randy Mac,” is pastor of Cornerstone Christian Fellowship and an entertainer. He can be reached at randymac@randymac.com.

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