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Y-Class Steam Locomotive Bell... with Bongos


At a recent charity event held in my small town’s train museum, I was admiring a massive brass train bell when the curator walked up to me. I commented that a bell would really rather be heard then seen, and he agreed. I offered to digitally record it for the museum for free. Today I did that.

The Y-Class steam locomotive was built in my small town at our country’s most desperate hour of need: WWII - to get troops/equipment to war across our huge country which did not have airlines or interstate highways. Those days are a distant memory now and our train museum receives few visitors. I fear it won’t be long before this bell is in an unknown warehouse for eternity.

I told the museum that I would make an artifact recording for them for free.

I lied.

I ripped off this track while I had the room to myself. Although I had applied several different mallets to this bell, it wanted to be played by hand. I accommodated it with the right power microphone inside the bell and the left at the outside rim.

Her resonant drone was mind-blowing.

I like to think that if I was the engineer on that steam engine delivering the goods across the nation through the dark night, across pastures with sleeping cattle, I’d be working that bell like this.

Oh yeah. I’d be working it.

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