This is the 5th of 11 posts about our project, Give My Regards to Broadway: Classic Showtunes Reimagined.
Track #5 of our project is "There is Nothing Like a Dame" from "South Pacific". Music by Richard Rodgers and Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II.
I was in an a'cappella group the summer after my senior year in high school down in Massachusetts with Mr. Harry Nichols. Harry was already a student at Ithaca College, where I was about to start, and he, Alex Bonnin, and myself lived in Dave Grossman's basement for a week singing a'cappella tunes. What I came to realize really quickly was that Harry's voice is unlike any other. His signature tune in our group that summer was "Grace Kelly" by Mika. Yep, his voice is unreal.
A couple of years later Harry released an album called "Hangover Sundays" that I really dug, and every time Harry released a new tune under various band monikers, I always found myself jamming to it. But Harry and I had originally bonded over our love of like late '90s, early 00's punk pop music. So before I knew what song I wanted him to arrange, I reached out about him working on the album. I gave him a list of like, 10 songs that I thought might work well. He snagged Dame lighting fast.
A couple weeks later I got a really cryptic message from him. It went something like this, "hey man, I know you said you wanted something poppy and like, All American Rejects-y, but I totally found myself in a different direction. What I have is like, if Sum 41 and Blink 182 had a baby with The Offspring." I was so okay with this direction, and that was where we started stylistically working on this track. Every incarnation after that only got more and more awesome. I would say "what if you tried this" or Harry would go "wait I have an idea, give me an hour" and it would just keep getting better.
This is yet another track we dragged Aaron Drescher in on (he's pretty good, isn't he?!) because we knew something was missing, and it really was a live drum track. There's only so much you can do with a computer drum kit, and adding that extra layer of energy really pushed the track up and over to the next level.
Dame was our first fully mixed track we collected for project (shoutout to Steven Goldman at Four Legs Records for Mixing this one [and mastering the entire album!]). There was a period of time where my head was exploding and I had no idea how this was all going to come together. Harry sending me the final mix of this track immediately put that fear to rest. It was all smiles from then on out.
Check out all the tracks at www.neddonovan.com/GMRTB
Harry Nichols - “There is Nothing Like a Dame”
From the musical "South Pacific"
Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II
Music by Richard Rodgers
Arrangement by Harry Nichols
Recorded at W.J. Pullman Studio, Ithaca NY and Degraw Sound (degrawsound.com)
Produced by Harry Nichols
Executive Producer - Ned Donovan (neddonovan.com)
Mixing and Mastering by Steven “SolidGold” Goldman at Four Legs Records (fourlegsrecords.com)
Guitar, Bass, and Vocals - Harry Nichols (harrynichols.bandcamp.com)
Drums - Aaron Drescher
Photo by Danny Bristoll
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