FIRST STUDIO SESSION
11/17/79, Hi Fidelity, Wichita
Engineer/producer: John Salem
Sex Drive (7" b-side now on "Heyday")
After The Disco (unreleased, then on Bar/None comp, now on "Heyday")
Pushin' Too Hard (only on the Bomp "Battle Of The Garages" LP)
Patio Set (7" a-side now on "Heyday")
Berliner's Night Out (on "Retrospective" now on "Heyday")
9/8/80 and 10/13/80, Home of Jim Skeel, Wichita
Engineer/producer: Jim Skeel
9/8 Tracks: Don't Choose…, E.m.'s Face, On Broadway, Wellsville, Sexy Singer Girl, Can't Forget, I'm a Don Juan, Drum Solo.
10/13 tracks: D-Rings, Can't Forget, E.M.'s Face, Two-Week Vacation, Can't Forget #1 and #2, E.M.'s Face, Lifespan, Special Eyes, Wellsville, Sexy Singer Girl #1, #2 and #3, I'm a Don Juan #1 and #2.
These were demos, but they produced some faves like "Two Week Vacation" and a bunch of alternate versions which haven't been released, including a presumably untitled instrumental. John's vocals were typically recorded in Jim's bathroom for the natural reverb, sometimes including the sounds of a closing medicine cabinet door.
EP STUDIO SESSION
2/15/81, Sooner Sound Lab, Oklahoma City, OK
Engineer: Michael McGee
Production Credit to Michael McGee and the Embarrassment.
At the same time they recorded those six songs, they quickly ran through about a dozen more "live-in-the-studio" - five are on "Heyday", but again there are a few alternate versions which didn't get released - and a GREAT take of "On Broadway" which really should have seen the light of day. The sequence was: After the Disco take 1, Chapter 12, D-Rings, Sexy Singer Girl, Can't Forget, On Broadway, Sound of Wasps, Sex Drive (Pants Down), Don't Stop…, Dino in the Congo, Lifespan, Podman, and After the Disco take 2.
4-track Sessions 8/19/81 and 10/18/81, Home of Jim Skeel, Wichita
8/19 tracks: D-Rings #1, #2, Chapter 12 #1, #2, Dino in the Congo, Godfrey Harold Hardy #1, #2, #3, Jazzface #1, #2, Dino in the Congo, Godfrey Harold Hardy, D-Rings.
10/18 tracks: D-Rings, Chapter 12, Dino in the Congo #1, #2, Godfrey Harold Hardy, Jazzface, drum tracks.
More Jim Skeel recordings- five songs turned up on a Fresh Sound cassette comp and are all on "Heyday" - there may have been more to this session. Among the unreleased tracks there exists a slowed version of D-Rings.
DEATH TRAVELS WEST STUDIO SESSION
10/30/82? Crystal Clear, Dallas, TX
Engineer: Michael McGee
Production Credit to Michael McGee, Jim Rosencutter and the Embarrassment
This basically consisted of the songs that make up "Death Travels West" and a shortened arrangement of "Sex Drive".
Jim Rosencutter adds in this bit of trivia about "D-Rings":
"The Embos returned from Dallas after the recording sessions for DTW with
a cassette rough mix tape. Upon repeated listening, the band,
especially John, liked the intense "(Stooges) Raw Power" quality of the rough mix
of D-Rings. We figured this cool sound was a fluke and would be
impossible to recreate during the final mix. So when we returned to
Crystal Clear to finish the record, we just copied D-Rings off the
cassette back onto the master, and that is the version that is on Death
The version on Heyday is more than a remix of the original 24-track tape. The feedback-like sounds were added, made by a sound hose, twirled by band members and overdubbed at Fort Apache in 1989.
4/83, Hi Fidelity, Wichita
Engineer: John Salem
Tracking sequence: Sexy Singer Girl, Age of Five, She's One, Special Eyes, Woods of Love, Time has Come Today, Rhythm Line, Out of Town, Picture Women, Jazzface.
This was a one-hour recording session to document newer material. Songs were performed live, as a set, with one take only, which explains the partial version of Out of Town. Most of the ended up as side two of the Embarrassment LP, plus "She's One" and the "Retrospective" version of "Sexy Singer Girl" which wasn't rereleased on "Heyday".
GOD HELP US Sessions 1989
Big Dog Studio, Wichita and Fort Apache North, Cambridge, MA
Engineer/producers: John Salem (Wichita), Lou Giordano (Cambridge)
Drive Me to the Park, Podman, Train of Thought, Horror of the Fire, Albert, Burning Love, Sex Drive were recorded at Big Dog Studio between 1/1 and 1/5/89 in Wichita.
"Train of Thought", "Albert", and "Sex Drive" were recorded again at Fort Apache in Cambridge., Beautiful Day, Vision of '61, After the Disco were recorded in 9/89 at Fort Apache.
Production credits go to the Embarrassment and Lou Giordano, known for his crunchy post-punk work, most notably with Homestead. He was also the first producer sought out by Big Dipper in 1986.
HEYDAY MIXING SESSIONS
1989, Fort Apache North, Cambridge, MA
Engineer/producers: Lou Giordano and the Embos
Assistant Engineer: Carl Plaster
All band members participated in the remixing of tracks for Heyday. As simple as the original recordings were, the OKC and Dallas sessions included multiple vocal and guitar tracks which offered opportunities for various combinations of single, double and stereo presentations of the basic parts of the songs. During "Albert", for example, John had recorded lead vocals in two different octave ranges in order to occasionally make his part a "duet". For the remix, the concept was spontaneously recreated but not duplicated. Similar effects in other songs involved multiple vocals with contrasting reverb/dry recording.
Songs performed live or in rehearsal,
but never recorded in the studio and not otherwise available
• "All Saints' Motel"
• "Cut-out World"
• "Memphis Fear"
• "Bottom of Yer Shoe"
* "Instant Karma" (John Lennon)
* "Street Life" (Roxy Music)
* "Rebel Rebel" (David Bowie)
* "Spirit in the Sky" (Norman Greenbaum)
* "Drunkest Man in the World" (Jim Rosencutter, vocals by Ron Klaus)