Vegas or Key West for the Dogs? Maybe neither?

barks between beagles,“Oh, boy! Leashes!”

“Yippee! Where we going? Where we going? Where we going?”

“I don’t know, and I don’t care. I just know I love to go.”

“Let’s play the game!”

“Okay, you go first.”

“Okay. I say we are going to Vegas, baby!”

“And what would you do in Vegas?”

“Go see Britney Spears! Hit me baby one more time. I still have that school girl outfit from Halloween a few years back.”

“You were adorable — a little sleazy, but in an adorable sort of way.”


“But I have bad news.”

“We’re not going to Vegas?”

“Probably not.”

“You have no faith. You’re so jaded.”

“Okay, it’s your turn. Where do you wish we were going?”

“I say we are going… to… Key West!”

“I could so go to Key West.”

“I know. We could hang with Jimmy Buffett, get us some of those drinks with umbrellas…”

“… and lay on the beach.”

“That’s lie.”

“No, I’m telling the truth.”

“No, it’s lie on the beach, not lay on the beach.”

“Dang, why do you have to nerd everything up? I’m over here having a fantasy about going to the beach, and you’re correcting my grammar.”

“Well, you can be right, or you can be wrong.”

“Okay, Miss Smarty Pants, we could sit on the beach. Now can we move on?”

“Hey, here’s a question: would you rather be Jimmy Buffett or Warren Buffett?”

“That’s a hard one. I guess I would rather be –”

“– dang it!”


“We’re turning toward the kennel.”

“Shoot! No Britney. No Jimmy. No drinks with little umbrellas.”

“I love the kennel, though!”

“Me, too! We can just lay around all day.”

“That’s lie.”

“No, I’m serious…”

“I swear if you were a squirrel, you would never remember where you hid the first nut.”

Is it Live, or is it Memorex? music musings zach claytonThose of you in your 40’s & 50’s remember the commercial that preceded the line that serves as the title of this Music Musings post. The premise for the commercial was that the audience would hear Ella Fitzgerald singing and they couldn’t tell if it was live or recorded on a Memorex cassette tape. Here is one of the commercials.

I started thinking about this as I was watching the Academy of Country Music awards (don’t hate) the other night. As various artists performed, it was fairly obvious to me that they were lip-synching. I mean, you flew there, you have your audience there, a full-blown band is behind you and they even have instruments – What the hell? Just sing! Are you that bad?

I guess lip-synching has been around for a while. Back in the days of American Bandstand, same thing happened. The artist would literally stand there and act like they were singing. It was so obvious and Dick Clark acted like it was no big deal. Of course, you had the Milli Vanilli scandal in 1990 when their Best New Artist Grammy was revoked because it was discovered that someone else had sung on their album and they lip-synched their concerts.

Flash forward to the 90’s and teeny boppers such as Britney Spears and boy bands would use pre-recorded vocals since they danced and jumped all over the stage. Occasionally, you will hear a track on the Internet of someone singing while dancing without going through the soundboard – thank goodness for the soundboard!! Through the years, bands would use pre-recorded additional vocals and even some pre-recorded music during live shows. I swear that Loverboy lip-synched “Working for the Weekend” when they opened for Journey on the Escape tour. The rest of the show was live, but I truly believe that first song was recorded. While not exactly lip-synching, several bands use what I call “tricks” during live shows such as special sound effects, delays, etc. If the computer crashed, they would have to cancel the show.

I bring all these up to make the point that most of us want to hear the music and the singer. I would rather hear a raspy, cigarette voice singing the truth accompanied by a slightly out of tune acoustic guitar than a pre-recorded guitar track with several overdubs backing a pitch perfect singer’s voice run through auto-tune. My motto through the years as always been, “if you can’t play it live with just the guys, then don’t put it on the album.”

Maybe that is why as I have gotten older, I am drawn more to acoustic music. It is less “dressed up” and more about the music and the message. Maybe current artists should abandon the auto-tune and the pre-recorded tracks and keep it simple. Wonder how many of them could hold up to the light of day or the sound of their own naked voice?


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