“Bald Mountain Party” by Richard Hackley and Scott Crawford

Bald Mountain Party by Richard Hackley and Scott Crawford: 320k MP3 | WAV

Bald Mountain Party
original music by Modest Mussorgsky, adapted by Richard C. Hackley (vocals and keyboards) and Scott Crawford (drum programming, sampling and mixing)
lyrics by Richard C. Hackley

It’s just a lifeless rock
where nothing ever grows
But ev’ry Halloween
a strange event unfolds

Bald Mountain party
Bald Mountain party
Bald Mountain party

No living thing goes near
Bald Mountain party
Even the vultures fear
Bald Mountain party

The party starts at night
attended by the dead
Who frolic in the dark
while humans are in bed

Bald Mountain party
Bald Mountain party
Bald Mountain party

The spooks and skeletons
the ghosts and goblins
They gather at this place
most of them float in

They leap and dance about
a deep and fiery pit
And in the jostling
some of them fall in it.

But no one cares ‘cuz it’s their type of fun
They know it ends with the morning sun

Mayhem and wild abound
Bald Mountain party
No sign of letting down
Bald Mountain party

Some of the creatures fly
up high above the rest
They see an evening meal
and snatch a party guest

That’s how this party goes
there is no courtesy
And everybody knows
“Don’t turn your back on me!”

But when the day begins
Bald Mountain party
This party always ends
Bald Mountain party

‘Cuz they can’t stand the light.

About the song: this is the song that took 143 years to finish, 4 plus of which were my fault! Thank you to Richard, first and foremost, for being patient with me while I took my sweet time on things. The first mention in my inbox of this most unlikely collaboration of ours in my inbox was on April 30th, 2006. That whole “life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans” thing applies here. Ironically, Modest Mussorgsky’s “Night On Bald Mountain”, the framework we stretched our song over, also had its share of problems getting finished and released to the public. Mussorgsky didn’t live to hear his composition performed, in fact. Rich and I at least got to hear the finished product.

My contributions to the song were the drums, all the weird, scratchy, panned out sounds you hear, and I also spent a fair amount of time getting the mix to where it is right now, which mostly involved making Richard’s awesome harmony vocals come to life as the monsters you hear them as now, and staying the hell out of the way of the original piece as much as I could. I gave some serious thought to additional instrumentation, but decided not to put my foot through a Van Gogh, so to speak. Maybe if we do remixes, I’ll have another go at it. Hopefully, you all enjoy what we came up with.

And now, for a bit more on the song, I turn the floor over to the man, the myth, the legend…Richard Hackley.

“Around 2000, I started pondering writing some songs based on the questions, “What if famous composers from history had been prolific song writers instead? What would their famous works sound like in song form? What would their lyrics say?” What held me back from actually putting something together was taking the time to do necessary research of a composer, his life, times, passions, etc. Then, a couple of on-going things dovetailed together.

1. Scott and I had been in contact (via internet) for a while, and eventually talked about a collaboration. Without being fully honest with Scott at the time, I had silently questioned how this might turn out. Me, as an elderly, Bible-believing, Bible-belt lifer, easy listening, soft-rock crooner type — him, as a younger, New Jersey, not particularly religious, cutting-edge performance artist. We had heard each other’s works. He saw possibility. I only wondered, “What would a child sound like coming from those parents? Could it be anything but a bastard?”

2. I’d been performing local music programs at various Halloween-themed events since the early 90′s. I was looking for some fresh material. I recalled that Mussorgsky’s “Night on Bald Mountain” was generally about a late-night party of dark forces. With this pre-made story line, I was spared the need for study of Mussorgsky’s life and times. I knew I had a decent library (both in my head and on my shelves) of books, movies, stories, religious doctrines, etc., regarding devilish things. I knew it would not be hard to conjure up my own demonic party in lyrics. So, I thought, how about a spooks-and-goblins collaboration with Scott, based on Mussorgsky’s composition? I was thinking our two styles might merge in this venue. Scott approved the idea. Stage one was completed in my basement. Once I completed all my tracks, I mailed them to Scott who, after digesting what I had done, added his layers.

It’s been a slow and arduous labor for both of us. But, if the child is indeed a bastard, we are both happy with him.”

Richard Hackley passed away on October 6th, 2014. He is greatly missed.