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Current Tape Reviews

Artist Name:
Paul Sticca / TheChickenYard
Date Posted:
December 2014
Equipment Used:

TASCAM 2488neo 24-track digital recorder, MacBook for mastering (no software indicated). KRK Rokit 8 Monitors, AKG headphones. Shure SM57, SM58, and Beta 58s, various AKG Perception condenser mics. Fender Blues Deluxe, Blues Jr, and '65 Deluxe Reverb guitar amps, Ampeg Bass Amp (with DI), Wampler Paisley OD, BOSS Tremolo and Compressor pedals. Hammond XK-1 organ. Godin Kingpin Cutaway II, '72 Fender Telecaster (HH), Fender Jazz Bass, Hohner harp, 1960s Stewart drum kit with Zildjian cymbals.

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Production Notes & Credits:

"Stella" is a male vocal blues tune. Paul played guitar, Hammond organ, bass, harp, sang the vocals and produced the track. Joe Pietrocola played drums and David DeCandio handled the electric rhythm guitar.

Reviewed By: Marty Peters
Rating: 4
Recording: Welcome back to Readers' Tapes, guys! We last heard from Paul in July 2011, with a self-recorded track. Now we have a whole band to listen to, a gigging group that tours New England with this and other originals. So how'd they do?

Nice overall effort from the fellas, with only a few balance issues spoiling the soup, as they say! The track has a cool Tom Petty vibe and an honest organic sound. Paul tells us that everything was tracked live, but unless our math is off, what he probably meant was that the rhythm bed was tracked live. In any event, the results are pretty dang good.

The guitars are well recorded, and the rhythm section keeps things basic, wisely choosing to serve the song rather than show off. Paul's vocal is captured sans artifact, no overcompression/limiting. The real star of the show, however, is the Hammond organ. With apologies to the many folks who have submitted tracks with faux Hammond sounds to us over the years, only a Hammond sounds like a Hammond. Even though the unit being used here was the portable XK-1, it still has the sound of its more famous (and way heavier!) big brother, the B-3, and Paul obviously knows his way around a drawbar! Killer.

However, at the risk of spoiling the party, we did find the volume of the organ track to be a bit much in the mix; it was certainly louder than the lead vocal at times. While on the subject, the bass was a tad loud in comparison to the drums through our monitors as well.

Suggestions: Quick and easy, guys -- back off the Hammond and bass in the mix, add a dB or two to the lead vocal volume, and things should settle in nicely!

Summary: Solid writing, performance and tracking!

Contact: Paul Sticca / TheChickenYard,,
About: Marty Peters

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