Brian Larsen - September 2022 - McArthur's Park + Karma Police

I’ve been spending too much time catching up on posts and blathering nonsense since coming back from holidays and decided it’s time to put this forum to its proper use-
Guitar playing :smiley:

I have mixed feelings about this one :upside_down_face:
I mentioned to @sairfingers a while ago that I was tackling one of the most over-the-top, cheesy pop songs of all time. Well, here it is: McArthur’s Park, written by Jimmy Webb and a hit for my fellow countryman Robert Harris way back in 1968 when I was just a wee lad.

It had the whole kitchen sink thrown at it: bizarre lyrics, passionate vocals, full-blown rock orchestration a la James Bond etc, and is… a fabulous song.
I was going to perform it at the next open mic.
Why on earth was I surprised, that when I took out all the fancy arrangements, cut the instrumental sections, and simplified the jazzy chord shapes I couldn’t play, the song lost so much of its appeal that I have to go back to the drawing board and find another obscure song to learn for the OM?

Ah well, it was definitely a fun, as well as useful, learning experience. A couple of new chords for me, as well as the odd embellishment.
I decided to do a practice recording today to see where I could easily improve, but it went smoother than expected, so I thought good enough is good enough- Publish and be damned!
Ah, it’s good to be back :smiley:

plus …

Karma Police - Radiohead


Hi Brian,
That was a lovely and fun song to listen to. :sunglasses: :clap: :bouquet:…I enjoyed it despite the fact that I had the expectation that you would play the whole mikmak (?) kitchen sink thrown at it…
And yes,…

After all these years…after all these years stilll :roll_eyes:,
And I don’t know how I feel about my wife just coming in and saying…“hey, you’re listening to Brian again” :thinking::joy:


Nice job Brian.

Fun song. I recall singing that song as a kid after a few beers because it just seemed to tickle us a bit. Also enjoyed listening to Donna Summer (I believe?) who also did it.
Now I sing it to my grandkids.

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Thoroughly enjoyed it. Was a bit skeptical before I pressed play because of the well described “kitchen sink”. Your voice certainly suits the song.

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Yes, publish and be damned A great song with lots of memories attached, and done in Brianesque style. I really enjoyed your take on this one without all the rock orchestration
Well done, Brian.

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Hey Brian, nice to see Daphne again!
Now the song, bit unusual for you to sing a serious one :joy:! You nailed it mate complete with the Brian touch, definitely put your own stamp on it, delightful!

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@roger_holland :laughing: you have such a winning way with words. :kissing_heart:


Ahhh Brian all of this is good.

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You’re a born entertainer Brian.

Captivating with just your guitar & voice & an obscure song. At least I’d never heard it before :rofl:.

Can’t wait to see what you do at the OM.

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Nice cover Brian! That seems like a tricky vocal pattern to play and sing together.

Was initially a bit confused by the title of your post, I was sure the title of the song was McArthur Park, without the 's. I looked it up and sure enough, the song’s title is “McArthur Park”, but everytime he refers to it in the lyrics, it’s “McArthur’s Park”. Weird!

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Great cover of what, in my opinion is a really pap song. Yours blew the socks of Richard Harris’s version as well.

Born to entertain Brian? Yes, I think so.

It’s interesting to read that after you’d stripped the song back it just wasn’t floating your boat. I’ve done a few of those as well.

Any hoot, welcome back from your wanderings.

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Well Brian, you told me it was going to be over the top and cheesy. I’d never have guessed it was going to be this one! I remember Richard (not Robert) Harris’ version very well. Weird lyrics and the original had probably the most complex structure of any pop song then or since.

Well done for tackling this song, I thought your stripped back version worked really well. Complex lyrics and phrasing with key changes too. Very entertaining stuff. You certainly don’t leave your cake out in the rain and you never fail to entertain us here on the Community with your performances. Bravo Brian.

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As always Brian you never disappoint. When you pick up the guitar and sing you have a way of captivating the audience. You play and sing very well. It’s not a song that I’m familiar with at all.

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Love this song, bought the single when first released, it was so over the top it was wonderful. Not a bad rendition sir. Thanks for sharing.

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Hey Brian,
All in all, a good showing there mate! But I have to wonder about one thing. If I count right, you are strumming over about the 17th fret area? Why so? Do you find the tone there to your liking? I don’t see many play in that position… Have you tried it down a bit further towards the bridge? To me it might be a bit more robust and fuller down there…

All the best,

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@roger_holland You do make me laugh, meneer :rofl:
Thank you and hello to Mrs. Roger :kissing_heart:

@MiJoy You were drinking beers as a kid? Rock ‘n’ roll!
Good to see you passing on to the new generations :smiley:

@tony cheers mate. Not nearly as sceptical as I was when embarking on this quiest! :rofl:

@oldhead49 Much appreciated, Dave. I’ve been enjoying your increased presence around the new community :smiley:

@DarrellW First of all, thanks for the thumbs up :smiley:
Regarding Daphne, well she’s going through a bit of a crisis and is aging faster than she was expecting. She’s already greying…
She’s spent too long in the sun and is planning on getting some edgy ink tattoos. She’s talking about gender transition and is demanding I call her, or rather him, Icarus :roll_eyes:

@batwoman the blathering or the performance? :thinking: :rofl:

@jkahn It’s far from obscure, you’re just young! :laughing:
OM will have to be something simple, but I’d be surprised if anyone will have heard the one I have in mind. (It means folk might think it’s supposed to sound like that :laughing:)

@direvus Cheers, Brendan.
I used to struggle a lot with phrasing vocals while playing, esp. if they didn’t coincide with at least the first beat of every bar, but like with most things guitar, it becomes much easier the more you do it.
Ta for the genitive pick-up. I love those kind of details :smiley:

@SgtColon Ah yes Stefan, I did allude to the fact that it was over-ripe cheese, but in the right frame of mind, those moments can be transcendental too :innocent:
The difficulty after stripping back, is always to see if there’s a way of making it interesting again :wink:

@sairfingers Oi! What’s this? I dedicate a song to my Border-Tour-Buddy and he screws the ant?
Haha, good pickup. How did that happen? I don’t even read! :roll_eyes:
Many thanks for your generous comments, though. I love reading through all these, feeling my head swell, until I remember everyone else only says the good stuff :rofl:


@Socio Ta James, very generous.
Not knowing it simply means you’re still paddling in the fountain of youth… :wink:

… unlike @Malz here who was old enough to buy one :laughing:
Thank you kindly for your generous thumbs up, Sir. Much appreciated :smiley:

@LBro Thanks for the listen and approval, Brother :smiley:
When i watched the video I noticed the same thing. It is purely a lazy/comfort thing.
If I’m sitting, playing without a strap, the concave bit rests on my right thigh and unless I consciously move my hand back that’s the natural strumming area.
We live on opposite spectrums regarding the chasing of tones/sound in our productions, but I do like to understand how things could (should?) be done.
You’ve sent me down another rabbit hole with your question, which merits a thread of its own in which you shall be tagged. :smiley:


I’m bouncing in my chair with impatience…

And??? have you already started the thread where you are going to explain how you became the most sloppy and slightly lazy rhythm guitarist in this universe?..

I think you’ve got a Joe Satriani/or Neil Young in you that needs a shake up :innocent:

Okay, I don’t know if you mean it, but I’m genuinely curious ,I myself tend to play more on the neck, … with the Ibanez a bit more logical because of the space, but with the PRS I don’t have that excuse :blush:


I’m sure Brian answered that same question on a previous AVoYP post… :thinking:

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I prefer the term laid back :sunglasses:
Here you go