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Eric St. Michaels – Easy Pickin’ [Strawberry Records – SBR 330595]
Including the Hit-Single AMIE | Available as Download, Streaming & Ringtone
Easy Pickin’ is a title with two meanings. The first relates to my style of acoustic guitar playing and the second is kind of a personal joke regarding the fact that it was anything but easy deciding what should be on it. I chose songs from my live unplugged playlist that were written by legends and masters such as i.e. Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash & John Fogerty because it was my first attempt to produce a record at home and we all know that when you’re learning on the job it helps to cut down on the variables. Knowing that a song was well written left me open to improve on my performances as a producer and engineer. There are plenty of mistakes, one takes and outright fakes but I think it resembles my unplugged shows and the original spirit of the songs fairly well.
01 Everybody’s Talkin’
02 Comes a Time
03 Your Mama Don’t Dance
05 Memphis Women and Chicken
06 Blowin’ In the Wind
07 Looking Out My Back Door
08 This Train (Is Bound for Glory)
09 Ain’t No Sunshine
10 Oh, Pretty Woman
11 Folsom Prison Blues
12 Cocaine Blues
13 Redemption Song
14 You Can’t Always Get What You Want
15 What a Wonderful World
16 The Feeling of Christmas (Easy Pickin’ Version)
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01 Eric St. Michaels – Everybody’s Talkin | CH0311600032
Fred Neil // BMG Rights Management Switzerland
02 Eric St. Michaels – Comes A Time | CH0311600033
Neil Young // Melodie der Welt GmbH & CO KG
03 Eric St. Michaels – Your Mama Don’t Dance | CH0311600034
Kenneth Clarke Loggins, James M Messina // Rondor Music Schweiz / Universal Music Publ. Switzerland
04 Eric St. Michaels – Amie | CH0311600035
Craig Lee Fuller // Intersong Musikverlag GmbH (Schweiz)
05 Eric St. Michaels – Memphis Women And Chicken | CH0311600036
Dan Penn, Donnie Fritts, Gary Tolbert Nicholson // Sony/ATV Music Publishing (Germany) GmbH / Bluewater Music Germany
06 Eric St. Michaels – Blowin’ In The Wind | CH0311600037
Bob Dylan // Sony/ATV Music Publishing (Germany) GmbH
07 Eric St. Michaels – Looking Out My Back Door | CH0311600038
John Fogerty // Prestige Music Ltd
08 Eric St. Michaels – This Train (Is Bound For Glory) | CH0311600039
Unknown // Traditional
09 Eric St. Michaels – Ain’t No Sunshine When She’s Gone | CH0311600040
Bill Withers // Interior Music
10 Eric St. Michaels – Oh, Pretty Woman | CH0311600041
Roy K Orbison, William Dees // Sony/ATV Acuff Rose Music | Barbara Orbison Music Company | Roy Orbison Music Company
11 Eric St. Michaels – Folsom Prison Blues | CH0311600042
Johnny Cash // BMG Rights Management Switzerland
12 Eric St. Michaels – Cocaine Blues | CH0311600043
Troy Junius Arnall, William L. Nichols // Universal Music Publ. GmbH / Bosworth Music GmbH
13 Eric St. Michaels – Redemption Song | CH0311600044
Bob Marley // Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd
14 Eric St. Michaels – You Can’t Always Get What You Want | CH0311600045
Mick Jagger, Keith Richards // ABKCO Music Publishing GmbH / Schubert Music Publishing
15 Eric St. Michaels – What A Wonderful World | CH0311600046
George Douglas, David George Weiss // Schedler Imagem Switzerland / BMG Rights Management Switzerland / Intersong Musikverlag GmbH (Schweiz)
16 Eric St. Michaels – The Feeling of Christmas (Easy Pickin’ Version) | CH0311600047
Eric St. Michaels // Check Point Music Publishing (SUISA)
Recorded & produced by Eric St. Michaels @ his home studio situated in the hinterland of Lucerne, Switzerland
Engineered by Eric St. Michaels & Sonny Vice
Mixed & mastered by Sonny Vice @ Solution of Sounds, Switzerland
Vocals, Guitars, Harmonica, Percussions, Xylophone, squeaky chair sounds and all the other whatnot: Eric St. Michaels
Banjo on “Comes a Time”, “Amie” & “Looking Out My Back Door”: Sandro Degiampietro
Backing Vocals on “Amie” & “The Feeling of Christmas”: Seline St. Michaels
Photos by Frank Kollbrunner @ Photo Frank (photofrank.ch)
AmericanSwiss flag layout by Jonathan Yates – RIP –
Artwork by Jendrik de Ruvo – FAUX5 Media
The opening track ^ EVERYBODY’S TALKIN ^ was made famous by Harry Nilsson in the 70s. It inspired my spirit to move on and try new things when I was young trying to decide what to do with my life. At times I still feel like I’m skipping over the ocean like a stone.
^ COMES A TIME ^ just catches Neil Young’s Songwriting at its best. I once saw him walk out into NYCs Madison Square Garden in front of forty thousand elated fans and kill it with just this song, a guitar and a harmonica. I’ll never forget it.
^ YOUR MAMA DON’T DANCE ^ is a live-take home recording of a song that has had many cover versions including the one from Poison. It was and is always a great party tune live.
I hadn’t thought about the band Pure Prairie League in a long time until I found myself humming ^ AMIE ^ one morning. I picked up a guitar and started to tinker with it when all of a sudden my wife who had never heard it before joined in on the chorus. It sounded so good to me that I immediately started arranging it for the Album. I want to thank Seline for adding her lovely voice to this track and Sandro Degiampietro as well for his great solo and Banjo playing.
I first heard ^ MEMPHIS WOMEN AND CHICKEN ^ on a solo album from Dan Penn an American songwriter who co-wrote many soul hits of the 1960s. I performed it once with my fellow teachers at the school where I was teaching near Zürich and I had such a good time doing it that I’ve kept it in my unplugged playlist ever since.
Bob Dylan’s classic ^ BLOWIN’ IN THE WIND ^ is as meaningful today as ever. I like to start off my gigs with this song sometimes just to put my head into perspective. It reminds me that the answers to humanity’s big questions are still out there blowin’ in the wind and remain unanswered.
If I were left on an island with only one Album to listen to I would hope that it was Creedence Clearwater Revival’s greatest hits. And John Fogerty’s feel good song ^ LOOKING OUT MY BACK DOOR ^ would for sure be on it. Special thanks to Sandro Degiampietro for adding his Banjo & Guitar solos on this unplugged version.
^ THIS TRAIN (IS BOUND FOR GLORY) ^ is an American folk song of unknown origin that was first recorded in 1922. The “New Grass” generation of bands such as Mumford & Sons have adopted this song as their own to fit the times.
^ AIN’T NO SUNSHINE ^ written by Bill Withers is the perfect song to send the lovers in the room the message that it’s time to put your arm around each other.
Recording ^ OH, PRETTY WOMAN ^ by Roy Orbison made it possible for me to show off the sound of my 12 string Guild acoustic Guitar and have a little fun in the process.
A lot of people both young and old started asking me to play Johnny Cash after the movie “Walk The Line” came out. I got into a whole bunch of his songs and really liked recording ^ FOLSOM PRISON BLUES ^.
What can you say? Someone it seems is always getting shot in a Johnny Cash song and in ^ COCAINE BLUES ^ JC’s storytelling nature shines. This is a one-take version that was actually quite difficult to perform on the Guitar. Listen for the moving bass notes within the chords.
Bob Marley must have had a bit of a sailor in him to have written this salty tune. ^ Redemption Song ^ is truly a tribute to the struggle of the enslaved.
^ YOU CAN’T ALWAYS GET WHAT YOU WANT ^ is one of those things that I say to my kids sometimes. It also summed up for The Rolling Stones generation the boundaries of its limitations.
Louis Armstrong did it the best, however ^ WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD ^ reminds us all of the good things in life and how to celebrate them! I’m not much of a finger picker but I managed to get this one close enough. I hope you enjoy it!
^ The Feeling of Christmas ^ was a song I wrote one very hot Summer while driving home after leaving a meeting at BMG where I was informed that I had only three days to turn in my demo to make it onto their big Christmas sampler. I decided to make a list of all my favorite things about my favorite holiday and thankfully I got it finished just in time.