Burn Swim Burn – Bob

burn swim burn cover


Remember last spring and summer when I started sharing and remastering tracks from Swim Herschel Swim? And then we had our second baby? And then we launched a new section of And then Heather got signed by HGTV? We’re back!

This song is one I take a modicum of pride in writing. I wrote all the music for this one and of all the songs we did, this embodies what I heard in my head when I met with Rich and Rod to discuss linking up as a ska outfit. I had composed this on my Ensoniq EPS (old school 16-bit sampler with an eight instrument limit) and when the band showed interest, I felt like I could die. Once the horns kicked in during the first rehearsal of this song I did actually die for about 2 minutes.

We recorded this one during one of our all nighters and I fought very very very hard to make sure this wasn’t too fast. I won, but not after making several control room guests uncomfortable. I think this was the one where outside observers felt that Pat and I should get a room. I absolutely love this horn line and playing it faster would ruin the vibe.

For this session, our tenor sax guy, Andy, doubled up on Baritone sax and we enlisted a trumpet sideman as well. I think we had six or seven horn tracks by the end. Sloppy and beautiful. I also got to play the massive grand piano in the studio. We tracked this mostly live in a few takes; only vocals, horns and the shout chorus were overdubbed. The bass is a real stand up double bass that Kent smuggled out of BYU late and returned super early so no one would notice its absence. It was tricky as shit to record, if I recall and we struggled to get a good tone on tape. Once we started rehearsing this, Rod thought it would be great if we added some Cab Calloway shout to the chorus. While we are screamingly white in how we sound, I think it adds a nice touch.

Lyrically, Rod wrote the words after we played a show for the Anti-Defamation League (if I recall correctly) and some dipshit skinheads showed up outside and beat up our biggest supporter, the legendary Ska Bob after Bob defended a person of color in the parking lot of the show. Douchebag racists.

This remaster should feature much punchier horns and capture the live quality of the session:

Direct download:
Swim Herschel Swim – burn swim burn – Bob – Remastered, MP3, 320kbps, 10.8MB


  • patatomic

    Two things still bug about this recording:
    1) The click track (you can hear it in the very beginning). You can also hear Kent and I fighting it the whole way through (especially me).
    2) The compression on the upright bass and snare drum.

    Having said that, I’m still a huge fan of the song. If we should ever rerecord some songs I’d put this one near the top of ones I’d like to do. Rod certainly does have a crooner in him and it’s fun to see that come out.

    I also remember hearing you mess around on the B3 while loading in my drums that night. It was like magic.

    • blurb

      Thanks, Pat!

      At this point, the conversation about Herschel is largely between you and me because I didn’t update regularly for MONTHS and nobody reads this site! 😉

      Yeah, the compression is off the charts on the bass. I tried to boom it up in the remaster, I’d love to know if it plays well on small speakers.

      That B3 was magic.

  • Swooozyq

    That sounds awesome! I love this one… I was listening to it on my puny laptop speakers and it sounds good… on my big speakers, even better! I had to let you know that I am still reading your sight… I just don’t comment often because I can never remember my wordpress password!

  • linuxchik

    great work- thanks for sharing. :) it’s kinda like a soundtrack for ‘bullets over broadway’

  • artlung

    New, er, old, er, remastered Swin Herschel Swim, yay!

    My Smart Playlist with The Specials, Special AKA, English Beat, Swim Herschel Swim, The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, and Fishbone just got one song better. :-)