News From The Woods - January, 1991


By Bob Ketchum

Originally Published January, 1991

"Armchair Generals"

As I sit at my word processor attempting train my mind on the task at hand (writing this article), war is on TV. At first I really couldn't believe it, except that CNN news correspondents in Baghdad hotel are there watching it happen and reporting it live. It is so odd to be able to sit in our comfortable homes and businesses, watching a real war, live on TV. I don't think I'll ever forget this. It's hard to unplug myself from the TV coverage.

War always has been so fascinating to mankind. I understand it's not so fascinating when you are there. Bernard Shaw (CNN) was more than ten miles away from any of the air strikes, but you could tell from his voice that he was scared. Imagine being at the target point. I wouldn't want to be there, yet I'm fascinated by the footage shot by someone who's put his life in jeopardy in order to record it. A lot more men and women will be laying their lives on the line as Operation Desert Storm progresses.

My greatest wish would be that, by the time you are reading this issue of Nightflying, the operation will be over and with a minimum of casualties. It appears we have entered a new technological era of warfare. Maybe the end result will convince everybody once and for all that no one nation or power can intimidate a united and combined military force. As a United Nations, I pray that this action speeds the concept of a new world order of peace. I know that's quite an idealistic statement to make, but hey! I'm a musician! What would you expect? The concept of war as a real one-on-one threat excites me about as much as playing professional hockey, football, or even participating in a chariot race. In any event, I still support the action taken by our president and pray for a quick end to this madness.

I refuse to believe that the issue is over oil prices. I prefer to believe that we're enforcing U.N. policies concerning the forcible occupation of a peaceful country. No one likes war. Many of you have friends and relatives committed to this operation. My son will be of age next year. I wasn't too keen on being drafted myself during the Vietnam conflict. As it turned out, I was a lucky one. I never had to face the test if I could pull the trigger when it came time. My father participated in the Battle of Midway and other campaigns during WWII. We've had wars for as long as we've walked on this planet. War has always been portrayed as colorful, patriotic, and honorable. But something changed with Vietnam and I think that is what is behind America's reluctance to commit to "another war."

The most encouraging statement I heard from the president was saying that we were not going to proceed with "one arm tied behind our back," referring to Vietnam. I agree that this will be the only way to win this conflict, before it turns into a "holy war" (by Iraq's harassment of Israel, renewing the Arab/Israeli war) or the operation is allowed to drag on and on as U.S. sentiment sways away from support for the war. Maybe now that we are committed we will continue to use the force necessary to remove Saddam Hussein from Kuwait.

Back here on the "home front" it's very difficult to think about a recording session or whatever while the air raid sirens are blaring in Tel Aviv. However, schedules and appointments must be adhered to. The Cate Brothers have just completed three more songs with the new personnel lineup. I plan to document the session in the next installment of "News From The Woods." It was a strange session. We would record some music, then take a break and watch CNN's coverage of the war. While the rest of us would go back to recording, someone would always stay at the TV.

December was a better month for us than in past seasons, as far as audio recording was concerned. AXXIT came in for a weekend and cut tracks for eight original songs. The ice and snow prevented us from completing the over dubs and mixing, so the band has re-scheduled for February. Marc Turner brought The Pranks up for a well-planned session with guitarist Ross Hurley and drummer Jason Adams. Believe it or not, we cut nine tracks from start to finish, complete with reference mixes, in just two days! We had a ball and I'm sure you will be hearing these tunes on Marc's radio program on KABF.

Another good session was recorded by Doin' Daze, who hail from the Fort Smith area. In contrast to previous sessions, this band came prepared to spend two days on two songs. We cut basic tracks on the evening of the first day, after setting up and "tweaking" the session. Over dubs and vocals were cut the next day and, after an R 'n' R break, we mixed the two tracks. The band plans on returning each month or so and recording a couple of new songs each session until enough material is compiled for a cassette release. This approach is also an advantage to groups operating with limited budgets. It may take nine months or a year, but it is a steady progression of recording at an affordable pace. Over the course of recording dates, the band also has the option of writing better new material to integrate into the package.

We also finished a new batch of public service announcements for the Arkansas State Police. The theme was speeding and I've already had several calls from friends throughout the state informing me that they have seen me on TV giving a lame speeding excuse to an officer. Even my daughter called from Little Rock "Hey, Dad! I saw you getting a speeding ticket on TV today!"

We sure wanted to make the Nightflying Tenth Anniversary Party at Juanita's, but the weather would not accommodate us. Susan and I were snowed in and heard about all the fun we missed as news "leaked out" after the event. Sorry Peter definitely next year.

Be watching next month for news on the release of Hamilton-Lambert's Letters From the Earth on CD and cassette. An album release party is being planned in Little Rock to coincide with the official release date. Keep reading Nightflying for further details.

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