MP3 Bob Comtois - With Relish
Boston street musician turned home studio producer serves up his original eclectic pop with electric mandolin and distinctive vocals.
13 MP3 Songs
POP: Quirky, POP: Folky Pop
BOB COMTOIS- PRODUCER, SINGER, ELECTRIC MANDOLINIST, AND SONGWRITER.
Coming soon!!! The very latest of my compositions: "Horse Sense". A collection of fourteen contemporary and surprising songs from the man that brought you "With Relish".
CHECK OUT THE LINK TO MY WEBSITE ("Bob Comtois'' Website" link on the left).
Here I post four complete songs including cuts from "Horse Sense" and "With Relish" plus unreleased material. I will change the play list often enough, so be sure to visit from time to time.
I have created and designed another of webpage:
I post complete tunes here and pics from my life (lucky you).
NEW!! Download all of "With Relish" or individual songs and hear more samples at APPLE ITUNES, https://www.tradebit.com, Napster,https://www.tradebit.com, https://www.tradebit.com, and Rhapsody (among 26 other sites). (SEE "RIPPLES" BELOW).
My name is Bob Comtois (pronounced, cone-TWA). For years I played mandolin and sang on the streets of Boston and its sister city, Cambridge. Perhaps you were among the few million people who stopped and watched me and my bands play in Harvard Square or by Fanueil Hall. Among you were Dave Stewart of the Eurythmics, Peter Wolf, and the Impressions. Television, nightclubs, radio and colleges came to us, but it was always the exuberance of the street performances that was so exciting.
My bands (https://www.tradebit.comrings Attached, Hoot Spa, The Risa Benson Band, Public Domain and The Verbs) encountered some wonderful fans and visitors from around the world. They loved to dance to our upbeat sound- unique for its blending of folk-rock and R&B replete with sax, electric mandolin, great harmonies, and fun antics.
Guest artists such as Bela Fleck and Patty Larkin graced the street and stage with us. We were pretty accessible in the 70''s and 80''s.
Things are difficult to keep together, band-wise. So, over the years, my home studio became the place where musicians would come as I learned production techniques while I recorded many of my original songs as well as those of my clients. I am very proud of my work with my dear friend, fellow Boston street performer, and soul singer, Gerry Mack. I also have worked with Boy''s Life''s John Surrette, 70''s pop guru, Andy Pratt, and co-produced the recently released "Rainy Day Sunshine" by Whistle Jacket (also available at cdbaby).
"With Relish" is a collection of my songs spanning the 80''s and 90''s. I produced it using Protools along with some original analog masters, and I re-mastered it digitally to a very pleasant effect.
The music is eclectic, quirky, pop. The electric mandolin is very chameleon-like, weaving in and out of the multi-textured sounds I tried to convey. Along with electric and acoustic guitars, I play mandocello and electric mandola, besides my punchy, rhythmic acoustic mandolin style. My vocals are certainly distinctive. I hope you like what you hear, as I have albums and albums worth of material ready to be released.
Please give the sample two-minute clips a listen and buy "With Relish". Thanks.
I did a Google search, typing in "bob comtois" (using the quotes) and got two pages. The first page offers five listings including links to https://www.tradebit.com, https://www.tradebit.com, a Boston Globe article by Steve Morse on John Burrill (Mr. Bones) which mentions me, and a musician-producer posting I made. The second Google page lists a group which has covered a mandolin instrumental I composed ("The Other way Around", performed by the bluegrass band, Coyote Blue), another musician-producer posting, and my https://www.tradebit.com web page which you are now on (the header reads: "FOLKY POP- music you will love - from evor" (sic). Whoa, need I say more?
MP3tunes is a new download site that offers high quality, universally compliant MP3s. Only 88 cents a song, and they pay the artists (all of whom are CD Baby artists) a better rate.
Well the samples at https://www.tradebit.com impressed me. Each song is represented by a 30 second sample. I like their choice of sections in these. The lyrics sound even funnier out of context.
I see that some people have downloaded some tunes from "With Relish". Using mostly Apple iTunes, people have made "The Legendary Sarah" the most popular download. Keep it up, keep it up!! Don''t neglect the other tunes, though.
I hope soon to release "Love''s mishaps", my second effort at https://www.tradebit.com. In the meanwhile, just be yourselves, you don''t have to try to impress me.
"You Don''t choose love"
I wrote this song in 1980, but my attempts in recording it were always disappointing. Then in the mid Nineties, I found out that my ex-girlfriend, Leslie Rishell, was dying of cancer. With the help of Tom Lacroix on drums I spent the better part of a month recording the song as a gift to her, since it was one of her favorites. I play acoustic and electric guitar, acoustic and electric mandolin, bass, and synthesizer. When I presented the recording to Leslie, some months before she passed away, she reported back that I didn''t capture the original groove I had written. Still, she was pleased.
Written in 1975, and recorded in 1982, in my room in Cambridge, this is the oldest tune on my "With Relish" CD.
Anne Marie Hodges sings harmony. We recorded our duet together "live" to three previously recorded tracks, eye to eye. The tracks are: (1) me on guitar, (2) Eric Hunter (my guitarist of many years) playing my 1910 mandocello, and (3) Tom Pugh on bass.
The actual story behind the song is that I was invited to big dinner party in Boston''s South End. Across the table from me was this beautiful shorthaired brunette nurse with stunning blue eyes. That night I dreamed often of her blue eyes across the table. I wrote the song that next day and played it for her that night at her place. She was not impressed. I have not seen Susan since, but I have worked on the song''s intricate guitar arrangement. Some people call the song my masterpiece.
This tune remains in the repertoire that I perform "live" along with "You don''t choose love" from the same album.
"The Legendary Sarah"
I previously tried putting out "Love''s mishaps", a CD yet to be released. I called Sarah and told her that most of the tunes were written about her. Her response was, "The legendary Sarah". Well, she was quite amazing. She worked across the floor from me in Harvard Square''s music store Briggs and Briggs which was sadly driven out of business by the big record stores that moved in.
Sarah would wordlessly communicate from the music book department, as I watched from the CD dept.
She was such a silent comedian. She made my heart soar.
The tune itself was prompted by her quote. It was the first really big production I did, using Pro Tools recording software as I entered the Computer Age.
I play electric guitars, bass, mandocello, mandolin, synths and sing all the vocals.
It is the most downloaded tune off "With Relish".
"Love''s Mishaps", when released, will have mostly different material than my first attempt.
I wrote another song for this Russian woman who worked at a company I delivered beer and snacks to on Friday afternoons. I encountered her in the elevator and as we rode alone I told her of the tune which celebrates her great beauty. Her head reared back and a huge smile glowed at me. She reminded me of Sarah (that''s right, The Legendary Sarah).
Oksana told me that she wanted a copy of the song. That weekend I wrote this tune and presented both songs to her the next week. She didn''t seem impressed, but my manager at the market was taking people out to his truck and blasting the tune.
This is a rare example of my lead guitar playing, and I play mandolin, electric mandolin, bass, and acoustic guitar as well.
Back to Briggs and Briggs music store in Harvard Square. After Sarah and I stopped dating she still worked across the floor, still communicated silently, although now sadly. Once in a while she''d come over and lean on my counter. I quoted from this song once: "Either I''m winning or losing her". She replied, "That''s for sure".
Here I play my old Martin D28 on a couple tracks and sing.
"Oh the girl that got so close"
Years later from the previous song, we are transported into the age of computer recording. I set out to write a tune that featured my mandolin. Many a song I''d been writing and recording leaned on guitar heavy or synthesizer heavy arrangements. My mandolin style was, after all, my bread and butter. Musicians wanted to play with me and audiences cheered at my solos.
So here I gave ample room for my off the cuff solos. One of my influences in soloing (besides Louis Armstrong) was Sarah''s unpredictable body movements. So years later I am still thinking of her and playing the tune for my co-workers at Harvard''s Media Technology services on a cheap, cheap boom box.
That''s an electric mandolin doing chords along with a sometimes naked bass part. The synths come in at the bridge (left and right).
One morning, early before my day at Briggs and Briggs, I recorded two electric guitar tracks and a drum machine track on my old four track. For months I listened to a cassette dub of this rhythm track, perhaps a hundred times or more. The lyrics and melody were just not coming until I improvised:
Shining like the street in the rain."
Well, the lyrics quickly poured out as I recorded a vocal track. The mandolin solos (electric in the middle and acoustic at the end) were quick business also on that Sunday afternoon as was the bass track.
On the surface it is another Sarah song, but the underlying motif is the image of my mother''s lifeless eyes. She had just passed away during that very rainy spring. My early morning walks took me early intro Harvard Square, where the neon signs from the shop windows reflected in the wet blacktop as I searched my soul.
Yes, that is THE Skip Gates of Harvard yelling out "See you Bob with one o" (a name I came up with).
I recorded five editions of this song. Each features a different combination of the instruments. Each has a different lyric, and one is an instrumental "theme" which the electric mandolin is featured on.
I play guitar, mandolin and bass.
This and the next song chronicle the horrible birthday week I had while working at Harvard. Both also refer to the same Sarah sighting which was the cherry on the make cake I was presented. The woman who broke up with me 12 years earlier (SEE "Set your soul free" BELOW), who was granted the National Endowment For The Arts for her poetry, had had me banned from one of the buildings I worked for Harvard. I was doing audio visuals in the auditorium of the building. She had seen me in the cafe there, overhearing me telling the help that I worked a couple shifts a week in the building. She worked in an office on a floor above.
On my birthday, my boss Amy called me into the office and told me I would be fired if I ever entered the building again. I had often offered friendship to this woman, even helping her out financially when she was jobless. Other Professors I worked with had offices in that building and I would have to meet with them occasionally outside of the hall.
The recording itself was one of my first computer efforts. No guitars are present here, just electric mandolins, electric mandola and mandocello along with bass. I get to do many layered vocals.
"My Precious Keepsake"
Two days after my big scene in Boss Amy''s office I ran in to her and five year old daughter at Pinocchio''s Pizza in Harvard Square. The girl had always been overly shy when visiting our office. Here, however, I managed to break the ice with her. She bemoaned the fact that she had three birthday parties to attend over the weekend. She showed me an ink stamp, ornamenting a napkin with the image of a baby chick hatching from an Easter egg. I thanked her for the improved napkin as they made their way to the first party. A minute later the door opened and the March wind took My Precious Keepsake and blew it to the floor. I retrieved it and took the first bite of my meatball sub and with sauce on my cheek, looked up. I locked into these light blue eyes staring at me. I "zoomed out" and saw it was Sarah. She stared silently at me. I believe she was with a man. I grabbed my coat, food, and stamped napkin and bolted for the door.
The recording has me playing my el cheapo Harmony guitar and my mandolin makes an appearance at the end.
"Set Your Soul Free"
I went with a woman for two years who would starve herself all day and be a bitch at work until I would pick her up in the evening. She told me, "I lie to men" early on.
She had many horrible things happen to her. The poetry that she wrote about me and our relationship, won the National Endowment for the Arts. She left me for a visiting physicist at Harvard, who gave her VD and punched her in the face on her birthday.
She would run to me for a year after she left me for him, soaking the front of my shirt often with her tears.
Here I play lead electric guitars (slide and distorted) with bass and electric mandolin (that high-pitched piano sounding instrument).
"Brenda Lee, I''m sorry"
This is an early computer-aided recording. I play three acoustic guitars, very much altered by processing. One guitar is played with a glass bottle for a slide. The synth in the left channel is a sound I love. The electric mandolin is in there too, playing the solo.
"You of All People"
This is the first song written for Sarah. I said to her, "It isn''t a very good song", and she replied, "At least it''s a song written for me". Well, it is a very good song and musicians have complimented me on the chord progression. But the physical silent comedy she did for me is what shines through here.
It features my pop finger picking style on my old Martin D28. My 1940''s Kalamazoo mandolin comes in like an apparition.
Google me, Baby!!!