Rosko's Book of Songs and Visions: Birth Certificate / by Sam Abelow

Gouache, Acrylic, colored pencil and ink on paper

For those who have ever taken psychedelics, or been through immense stress and relief, or been taken by the open ocean and come out renewed, you know what I mean by the metaphorical use of rebirth. 

In many ways we are born each morning or each year, on our birth-day; each of us are also reborn in each new encounter or experience -- to be seen by new eyes, or to see the world with new eyes.

These are the themes within this song. This universal and cyclical metaphor, remains relevant and potent to me each time I return to the song.

This is my favorite recording on the album. It's a minimalistic song and arrangement. With James on an African hand-drum and myself on acoustic guitar, the original vibe was put to tape. 

Then I overdubbed slide guitar, background keyboards, synths and organs, percussion and vocals.

Off in solitude, surrounded by soccer moms and outdoor shopping malls, I spent endless hours in my home studio self-producing my favorite songs from my musical catalog. Inspired by my experience of returning to live performance last year, I decided to make raw, analog, reinterpretations of my previous works.

After a gig in Brooklyn, the bass player in my band, and long-time friend, Jeff Moss, commented that he would love to hear recordings with the energy of a live performance. To stay true to the live sound, many of the tracks on Birth Certificate have been recorded live in the studio, with minimal overdubs and editing.

While performing throughout 2015, audiences would often ask me where they could listen to certain songs that they had heard that night. But many of these songs hadn’t been recorded since 2012 or 2013 and the versions were so different from what they had heard that night, that I felt compelled to re-record them. The title track, "Birth Certificate,” is an example of my early work which has been completely re-arranged, re-performed and re-recorded.

Birth Certificate: The Basement Tapes is an exploration in recording music with completely live instruments — the way it sounds live. It is a document of years worth of songwriting, recording and performing. Take a listen and get transported to the front row.

Download the whole album free in MP3 format:

The album is also available to stream on Bandcamp, Spotify, Tidal and on iTunes for purchase.