TJB Fireworks soundtrack

Mike Blakesley

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I'm doing a fun side-project just for kicks.

For many years, a friend and I have put on a fireworks display on July 4 for our neighborhood. We buy all of our fireworks from a wholesale house, so we get a lot of bang for our buck. About 5 years ago we decided to "ramp up" the show by moving to an electronically-fired system with a musical soundtrack added. I'm in charge of the soundtrack. Since we did that, the crowd has grown by leaps and bounds to where we now estimate we have about 500 to 600 people watching our show from "the vicinity," and who knows how many more from backyards around our neighborhood.

Usually I start putting the music together in around January, but all year I'm jotting down ideas for songs as they pop into my head or I hear them on the radio, TV, movies or whatever. Unlike most fireworks displays, we don't just play a few full length patriotic or popular tunes - I do a lot of editing and experimenting, and virtually any vintage of music can make the cut, if it fits with the other songs. We usually wind up with around 20 to 25 song clips per show, mostly a minute or less in length, but all edited together nicely. I give full credit to the musical wizards at Disney, where the fireworks soundtracks are nothing short of masterpieces, for about 90% of my inspiration.

A few years ago I got the notion to do a soundtrack featuring Herb and the TJB. It's peppy, joyful music, right? What better to go with fireworks? Ideas for it have been rattling around in my head long enough, so I decided to give it a shot.

I've found some of Herb's songs are easier to edit than others...in quite a few cases I like a song, but I can't figure away to "get out" of it and into the next song without clashing. So there's lots and lots of fiddling around. I work on it when my wife isn't home, otherwise she would be driven crazy hearing the same four second sound bit over and over with me working to splice something in at just the right microsecond and then deleting it and going with something else. Currently the project is sitting at around 14 minutes with a goal of 18 and a half minutes.

I don't know if this project will "pass inspection" by my fireworks partner and actually make it into our show. (He's really much more of a rock fan, and we both get veto power on the music). He may look at me and say "Dude.... Herb Alpert?!" So this may just wind up being a fun practice project for me, which is why I'm doing it outside of our usual time frame. But, who knows... I'll just keep it handy and maybe it'll get used someday.

Once it's finished I'll try and figure out a way to share it with everyone here (without getting in copyright trouble). If nothing else I'll post a list of the included songs.
 
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