BKJ has always enjoyed recording, so it is obvious that he would want to get some sample files available as soon as possible. Time is always the biggest enemy of such plans of course - but there's something to listen to and more songs are being added just as quickly as he can get them recorded, mixed and uploaded. They have been recorded using the same resources that BKJ uses for his live performances - the same backing tracks, same guitar, effects and so on, so they give a good idea of the live performance - except there's no audience to play to - yet! Enjoy! BKJ has decided to add the latest additions to this page at the TOP so that you don't have to scroll down to find the latest recording - hopefully that should make life a little easier!
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BKJ MP3s (so far!)
New for 2018 - It's My Life - originally by Bon Jovi
"Beyond Words" were a special group in so many ways (check out the legacy website elsewhere on this site if you don't believe me!), one of which was that we were the only act on the club circuits in the Midlands (to the best of our knowledge) to use a Talk Box with the guitar - when we performed "Livin' On A Prayer" by Bon Jovi, you got the authentic Talk Box tube-in-mouth sound - it's a sound I've always loved, and I realised that there is nothing on my website featuring any Talk Box... until now! There's no way that I can sing the afore mentioned Bon Jovi song as it is just too high for me, so I chose this one instead, which was almost like a follow-up song (mentioning Tommy and Gina who feature in the original "Livin On A Prayer" song). I always loved the harmonies in the choruses as well, and hopefully the song conveys the throaty expressive power of a Talk Box for you! Enjoy!
New for 2018 - Mr Blue Sky - originally by The Electric Light Orchestra
Ever since taking part in the Birmingham Commonwealth Games 2018 Handover on Sunday 15th April (you can see what I was a tiny part of here) I have become obsessed with doing a version of this classic song. "Beyond Words" did cover it once, but that wasn't the whole song, including the orchestral part at the end, so I wanted to try and do the whole thing. Karaoke Version once again provided an excellent backing track, but I added some key elements myself. The lead guitar is my trusty Gibson Les Paul Custom (as you might expect), and I'm doing all of the lead singing. I also provided the vocoder parts using Sonivox Vocalizer Pro which was quite an experience, and has proved to be a very powerful piece of software. I added additional strings in the final climactic section, which lifted it very nicely (thanks to Sample Tank 3) and the final detail was the bell percussion sound, which was actually played on the original recording using a fire extinguisher (and they still use one live even now, as you can see in this YouTube clip here). However, I didn't have a fire extinguisher... So, thanks to RDS Global (my daytime employers!) I was able to take along my Zoom H4 digital recorder and managed to record one hit on the fire extinguisher that lives behind me in the office. This was then edited using WaveLab Pro 9.5 and then loaded into HALion 6 (also by Steinberg) and turned into a sampled instrument - and included in the recording. Phew! It has been something of an epic to do - but then the track is an epic so I just hope that you enjoy my version - and thanks to Jeff Lynne for writing such a fantastic song!
New for 2018 - I Know What I Like - originally by Genesis
This was the first hit single ever released by Genesis, in the days when their lead singer was Peter Gabriel and Phil Collins was mainly their drummer who also did backing vocals. It also features guitar sitar, played by Steve Hackett on the original. Suffice it to say, I have played that part courtesy of my James Tyler Variax. I've also programmed everything else to some degree or other - all of the synthesiser sounds have been created from scratch, and played by myself, and I've done the vocals as well. I hope people who already know the song think this is a decent version - and I hope people who haven't heard the song before will be curious enough to listen to the original! Cheers!
New for 2018 - Wish You Were Here - originally by Pink Floyd
This is a legendary classic from Pink Floyd - so much so it was even performed by Ed Sheeran and others (including Nick Mason, the actual drummer from Pink Floyd) at the London Olympics! But before then, I tried to play this with Shane singing whilst we were performing in Germany with "Torch" (see the Biog pages for more info on "Torch") - sadly my guitar playing wasn't up to scratch then. Hopefully you'll think it's better this time Shane! In case anyone isn't familiar with this song, it follows on from the previous song which ends by sounding as if it has been sucked into a transistor radio - so the begining of this track has radio playing, and is meant to sound as if the guitarist is playing along with the radio - you can even hear the guitarist cough before starting to play! At the end of the track, it fades into a wind sound which eventually leads into the last pieces on the album. I have tried to reproduce as much as I can - the backing track is from Lick Library again, and I've added all of the vocals and most of the acoustic guitar, plus the trusty Minimoog synthesiser plugin provided the wind effect at the end. The radio at the start is the actual part from the original track. Phew! Lots of explanation, but hopefully the track speaks for itself. Enjoy!
New for 2018 - Golden Brown - originally by The Stranglers
This isn't a song I suspect people would expect from me, but I've always liked the song - it's not at all typical of The Stranglers of course, which is probably why I like it. The backing track is another excellent one from Karaoke Version, so all I had to add was the lead vocal and the lead guitar - if you know the original, I hope you'll enjoy this - if you don't know the original, I still hope you'll enjoy it!
New for 2018 - Smoke On The Water - originally by Deep Purple
Anyone who saw "Beyond Words" will know that we regularly played this rock classic, so when one of my colleagues at work (hello Joe!) started talking about the song, it seemed the right time to do my own version. I'm using a backing track from Lick Library for my recording, so I just needed to add the guitar and the vocals. Thankfully, I think it turned out OK, but obviously you need to see what you think. I hope you'll all like it. Oh, and of course for anyone who isn't sure, the song is based on real events, which occurred when the members of Deep Purple had gone along to see a Frank Zappa and The Mothers Of Invention concert in 1971 - the rest, as they say, is history!
New for 2018 - Forever Autumn - originally by Justin Hayward
This song is of course the hit ballad from Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of The War Of The Worlds, which is such a classic album. I have always loved this song - the feel and the instrumentation all seem so perfectly arranged. I checked out lots of backing tracks for this song - there are some that are absolutely dire (sorry, but they are!), but this one from Music Backing Tracks is superb! All I had to do was sing the song and add the harmonies (so no guitar playing on this - although as you might guess, I can play it). I hope you'll enjoy it.
New for 2017 - Money - originally by Pink Floyd
This is the second of the classic blockbuster tracks from the legendary "The Dark Side Of The Moon" album by Pink Floyd, the other being "Time" which I've already covered. I have never performed this track live but have always loved the guitar solo in the middle of the song, and remember siting down to learn it note for note many years ago. This recording benefits from another brilliant backing track, and features 4 tracks of guitar by myself, together with my vocals. I hope I have done it justice!
New for 2017 - Time - originally by Pink Floyd
This is another special song, as I performed it in my second ever performance, back in 1979 at the Aston University Centre for the Arts. I had an awful guitar sound, awful backing track, and my singing wasn't great. This time, I have a very high quality backing track, excellent guitar, and the technology and experience to use them - and I think my singing has improved a lot. I drafted in the original clocks from the beginning of the actual track, as you just can't have this piece without them. Other than that, all of the male vocals are yours truly (female vocals are on the backing track) and all of the guitar parts are me as well. I hope that you enjoy it.
New for 2017 - Music - originally by John Miles
This song will always hold a special place in my heart, because when I did my first ever performance, back in 1977, this was one of the two songs I performed, and it was the applause I received then that made me realise that I had to perform. I do have the recording of that original 1977 version, and thankfully today's version is a lot better: better guitar playing, and better singing. John Miles has an amazing voice, and I can never get remotely close to his awesome version, but this is my tribute to one of the most under-rated talents this country has produced, and one of my ultimate musical heroes! Thank you John! I am singing and playing all of the guitar tracks of course.
New for 2017 - Superstition - originally by Stevie Wonder
This has long been one of my very favourite Stevie Wonder songs - great words and the awesome funky Hohner Clavinet keyboard part, which actually brought the instrument to the attention of a much wider audience - you will now find "Funky Clavinet" sounds on virtually every keyboard instrument - it was an era-defining sound. This is my version of the song, and we all know that I'm no Stevie Wonder (!) but I hope I've captured the feel and spirit of the original. I'm not playing anything this time round - the backing track had it all, so I just sing. Enjoy!
New for 2017 - Shout - originally by Tears For Fears
This is one of my favourite 80s songs - love the sentiment and of course it has a tasty guitar solo. I didn't get to play it standing on the top of a cliff (as is done in the Tears For Fears video) but I did get it note for note correct. It's also a song everyone can join in on the chorus, even if they hardly even know the song. Once again, the rest of the song is provided by an excellent back track from Karaoke Version - I've added the lead vocals, lead guitar and an extra bit of synth, just to lift it a bit. Have a listen and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did performing it!
New for 2017 - The Air-Conditioned Nightmare - originally by Steve Hackett
This track is one I've been playing for decades - I have always loved the driving beat and the very up-front guitar. As you might imagine, I'm playing all of the guitar parts, and have used a variety of styles and techniques, including using my trusty eBow for one section. When Steve performs this in concerts, it doesn't usually have the solo guitar introduction - that is just on the album recording of the track, but I fancied including it - I don't do it justice but you'll get the idea. If you get the chance to hear the original, it is amazing! I hope my take on it has done it some justice!
New for 2017 - '39 - originally by Queen
Now here's a song you don't hear covered very much! This comes from the same Queen album as "Bohemian Rhapsody" and "You're My Best Friend" but if you've never listened to the whole album, you might not be familiar with the song. It has always been a favourite because it sounds anything like a Queen track. It was written and sung by Brian May and tells a strange story in the lyric. In case you can't work out what it's about, I just happen to have a clip of Dr Brian May, Ph.D himself explaining it! I love the acoustic 12-string guitars and the vocal harmonies - once again, Karaoke Version came to my rescue with a great backing track, complete with everything. I added some 12-string guitar at the start, just to emphasise the melody line, and have recorded double tracked lead vocal lines (in other words, I sang it and recorded it twice!). Enjoy!
New for 2017 - Live And Let Die - originally by Paul McCartney & Wings
I have loved this song for ages - in fact, the very first piece of sheet music I ever got was for this very song, and that was back in 1976! I have been wanting to do a very for ages as well - I learnt the guitar part the same year that I got the sheet music. On this recording, the backing track is from Yamaha - I liked their arrangement best out of the possible choices. The only things not on the backing track are my lead vocal and all of the guitar parts. I hope that you enjoy it.
New for 2017 - Wichita Lineman - originally by Glen Campbell
I was sad to hear of Glen Campbell's passing on 8th August 2017 - he was an excellent performer, great singer but for me, it was his guitar playing skills. He was a top session guitarist working with all kinds of people. One of my favourite clips is this one on YouTube. I already recorded a version of this classic song years ago, but was never really satisfied with my vocal, and I felt that now I needed to put that right as a better tribute than my old version - I hope anyone listening to this thinks that my singing sounds OK - I'll never be as good a singer as Glen Campbell but I did my best. Rest in Peace Glen.
New for 2017 - Spectral Mornings - originally performed by Steve Hackett
Just to balance things up a little, this track brings me back to guitar, and my trusty 1982 Gibson Les Paul Custom - I couldn't use anything else to play this classic Steve Hackett track. Steve has always been one of my major influences, and I have been playing his music for a long time. This is the title track of his third solo album, having been a member of Genesis previously. A friend had this at his wedding whilst the register was being signed, so if you're reading this Andy, I hope you enjoy it! And of course I hope you all do. Watch out for what is coming here next!
New for 2017 - Iris - originally performed by the Goo Goo Dolls
This is a song I love, and I suspect it's not what people would expect from me! I must confess that for this recording I took the easy way out and used one of the excellent backing tracks from Karaoke Version's website - I think this is one of their very best. Suffice it to say, in a performance I would of course play the lead break myself, but for now, I'm just singing on this track - see what you think!
New for 2017 - Comfortably Numb - originally performed by Pink Floyd
This is another song I have loved ever since I heard it for the first time. I have been playing it live whenever I can - we even had a request for it once at a "Beyond Words" gig! I first performed it in 1981 and thankfully I have been able to improve on that performance. This is another song that I am never 100% satisfied with, but I take comfort from the fact that even Pink Floyd never quite matched the stunning quality of the studio recording (in my opinion, even though they frequently came close!). I am playing all of the guitars, plus additional keyboards, and singing. See what you think - oh, and don't confuse it with the Scissor Sisters version!
New for 2017 - I'm Not In Love - originally performed by 10cc
This song is a classic from the 70s, and is one I have loved ever since I first heard it. It is also virtually impossible to do a credible cover version because of the studio techniques that were used when the track was created. I have tried to get as close to the original as possible, even as far as finding the actual recording of the band's secretary who said the "Big boys don't cry" line - I also have the original musical box sound used in the dreamy background, and finally, it is possible to buy the actual choir sounds created by Eric Stewart of 10cc which creates the atmosphere right from the start, which I did many years ago. The bottom line is that I will never really be satisfied with anything I do for this track - the original is so totally amazing, but this is my attempt, which I hope you'll like!
New for 2017 - She's Not There - this version originally performed by Santana
I have always loved Santana's music, and some of you may know that I regularly play "Europa" (which you can also find below) - but I'm sure many people think that's the only Santana track I play. Well, that's not so - and just to prove it, here's my version of their version of The Zombies song! As you might guess, I'm dealing with all of the guitar playing as well as singing - and I also added in the vibraslap at the start (and if you don't know what one of those is, look it up!). Enjoy!
New for 2017 - Avenues And Alleyways - originally performed by Tony Christie
This song was released in 1972 and was a minor hit - it was the theme song for a TV series called "The Protectors" which I remember watching avidly when I was a child. I got the box set of the DVDs for Christmas and that brought the song back into my mind - I actually prefer this Tony Christie song to the one that usually gets performed in pubs and clubs! I got new Cubase software (also for Christmas - thanks Mum!) and also got myself a hardware compressor to even out my vocal, and I found an excellent backing track, so see what you think!
Abracadabra - originally performed by the Steve Miller Band
This song was a worldwide hit for the Steve Miller Band in 1982. For the record, I am performing the lead vocals and all of the guitars.
Devil Woman - originally performed by Cliff Richard
This was a big hit for Cliff Richard in 1976, and has been one of his biggest-selling singles throughout his career; it is also usually named by Cliff as his favourite of his numerous hits. I am performing the lead vocal and the guitar in the choruses.
I Believe In Father Christmas - originally performed by Greg Lake
This song has been one of my favourites for as long as I've known the song existed! I first performed it in public in 1981 and have performed it on numerous occasions ever since, often just with a guitar and no other backing. This is the full version, and in addition to the lead vocal, I'm also playing acoustic guitar and numerous keyboards and synthesisers: Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Europa - originally performed by Santana
This is another of my favourite pieces of guitar music, and has been one of my performance pieces for many years. In the beginning, I created my own backing track, but that was replaced by a commercial one more than a decade ago. I am playing the guitar for this - it really needs to be played loud with loads of feedback sustain, but I decided not to be too anti-social since the room I record in hasn't got loads of sound-proofing!
Hotel California - originally performed by Eagles
This song needs no introduction - it is one of the classic pieces for anyone who plays guitar and enjoys harmony playing. Thankfully, the commercial backing track includes most of the guitars already, so I have just added the lead part throughout. I have also performed all of the vocal parts, and tried to put the song across in my way. In case anyone is wondering, I'm playing it in Am rather than the original recorded key of Bm - but coincidentally, Don Felder who co-wrote the song now performs it himself in this key - so I'm in good company!
Your Song - originally performed by Elton John
This is a fairly gentle song but with a lovely sentiment, which I really enjoy singing. I've owned the sheet music for the song for years but had never got around to performing it, but now I have, I really like the feel and simplicity even though there are several chords! I'm performing the vocal and guitars on this recording.
Eleanor Rigby - originally performed by The Beatles
This is the only song by The Beatles that I bought as a single! It has always been one of their songs that I loved - I loved the fact that it wasn't a standard drums, bass, guitar, singing number - the string quartet gives such a different feel. I also love the haunting quality of the whole song, arrangement and the words. It is played in the "Yellow Submarine" film against some sombre animation, which serves to further reinforce the haunting quality of the song and lyric. I am performing the lead vocal, and songs like this make me really pleased with the pop shield I purchased a while back now - it certainly did its job when I recorded this!
Let's Dance - originally performed by David Bowie
This is one of my favourite Bowie numbers - and is also one of his biggest global hits. I remember watching the video on "Top Of The Pops" for the several weeks when it climbed the charts to the number 1 spot - and always thought that the image of Bowie playing the guitar solo at the end with a pair of white gloves on looked kinda cool! Of course, he didn't play the solo - that was done by the late great Stevie Ray Vaughan as I found out many years later. On my version, I'm performing the lead vocal and the guitar - I'm not Bowie or Stevie Ray but hopefully it's enjoyable - I certainly enjoyed palying and recording it!
Baker Street - originally by Gerry Rafferty
Another favourite song and a classic - I always remember some friends in guitar lessons at university (yes, I did have classical guitar lessons!) discussing the iconic saxophone riff for this song - I commented on the excellent guitar solo at the end of the song and they couldn't even remember there was a solo! If you can't remember the guitar solo it's there - as you would imagine, I'm playing all of the guitar parts here and also performing both vocal parts. I also created the backing track, based on a MIDI file which I revoiced and edited.
Africa - originally by Toto
I love this atmospheric song, with the complex percussion, keyboards and the wonderful vocal harmonies - I have tried to do it justice but listening to the original just reminds me how far I have to go! Never the less, I hope you enjoy it. As you'll guess, I'm playing the guitar, and also performing all of the vocal parts (and not using any pitch shifting effects to achieve the harmonies either!).
Wichita Lineman - originally by Glen Campbell
This is a song that has stuck in my memory for years - it always seemed to have a haunting quality, but I just love the sentiment in the second verse "And I need you more than want you, And I want you for all time" - just right for Valentine's Day! I'm singing and playing the guitar solo, which sounds strange because it is actually a baritone guitar, courtesy of my James Tyler Variax, which is tuned much lower than a normal guitar!
Sometimes When We Touch - originally by Dan Hill
This is a real classic romantic ballad, and a real challenge for my singing - sometimes when performing the song, I get so into the words that I almost do literally get choked up! OK - I admit it - I'm a romantic at heart! I'm only singing on this one as I didn't feel it needed any additional guitar parts, and I wanted to let the song speak for itself. I much prefer the original version to the disco version by the way.
Technical Note: All recordings made using Steinberg Cubase Pro 9.5 and mastered using Steinberg WaveLab Pro 9.5