It’s hard to remember a time when there weren’t acoustic guitar slingers on every street corner en route to the back rooms of pubs around the country to play their bedroom classics at open mics and sessions, but at the time I recorded the songs on this collection, it was difficult for the budding James Taylor or Joni Mitchel. I didn’t regard myself as an acoustic singer-songwriter, these were songs waiting for a band to fill in the blanks.
I’ve been asked a few times why I haven’t recorded a stripped back acoustic record and it’s because I don’t regard myself as your James Taylor type – for one thing I don’t have the guitar or piano chops and also I enjoy the camaraderie of the band type collective. My songs are usually written with one eye on how they’ll sound with bigger arrangements.
These songs were recorded sometime late 1990’s or early 2000, I can’t remember. They were done one afternoon at Liverpool’s Parr Street Studios in, if memory serves, the 16 track facility they had there. Mike Hunter recorded it and I do remember him coming to my house to listen to what songs I had beforehand. He was very encouraging as I’ve always been a nervous player in studios. He set me up in the middle of the live room with a load of microphones around me like I was in a little den. I know some photos were taken during the session by my friend Spike and if you’ve seen the pictures of Dylan at the Isle of White festival, that was the kind of way it looked. Kind of.
In the 3 hours or so I believe we were there, we rattled through 1 or 2 takes of each song and in the time left went back and did some very basic overdubs. Comrade Martyn Campbell helped, along with providing some wine to keep the whistle wet. Mike mixed on the fly and we left with everything done. The CD I found had a photocopied cover, very basic, and I used it to hustle gigs and pretty useful it proved to be. Three of the songs I re-recorded later for the It Just Is album. The lovely rediscovery for me are the songs I Surrendered and Lucia, songs I really would like to record again at some point.
This collection is free to listen to and/or download over at Bandcamp and I hope you enjoy them.