Each and Every word counts…

NORTHERN GIRL.
This is a song I’ve had for ages. Inspired by a girl once met in Nottinghamshire in the seventies, when touring constantly with the Equals. Eventually she made the pilgrimage to London only to find it was not for her.
(You can tell its vintage – that’s when there WERE plentiful factories in the North of England.) But perhaps it can work for anyone leaving home on their first adventures…

I CAN WAIT.
The rockiest of the tracks on the album and I think, one where I was convinced to indulge in a teeny bit of extra guitar widdling. (Keeping it down to eight bars previously). The legendary John Fiddler of Medicine Head and also Box of Frogs compadre blows the most blueswailing harmonica. Peace, John…
Often mistaken for ‘I can’t wait’, it’s an ode to perseverance, patience or just sheer bloody mindedness… I hope she’s worth it!

HOUSE FOR SALE
While involved in a Country music project this tune came to me. Imagining it as a Nashville style ballad with a ‘Gone with the Wind’ style opening; only thing was… I had no words!
At a song writing workshop where the great writer Gary Osborne (Elton John, War of the Worlds to name just two) was a guest speaker, I grabbed my courage in both hands and asked him if he’d listen to it in view to maybe coming up with some lyrics.
He generously said he would but if he thought it was rubbish he’d tell me.
Fortunately, he approved and felt this story to be in the right mood. I agree and am rather proud and pleased at the result.
PS. Special mention for Steve Pigott’s excellent string arrangement. From my garbled brief he composed exactly the mood that I had imagined and caused me to choke up… (again).

I DON’T NEED YOU
Again this started out intending to be a country-waltz ballad with paradoxical word play in the chorus line. As Steve and I worked on it a more ‘down-home’ approach developed- I had a picture of John Prine depression-era Midwest in my head.
When the marvellous Terry Reid agreed to sing it, he brought with him a fresh approach to some of the lyrics, alongside his unique character and that peerless voice. How proud am I?

SOMEBODY LEFT ME
While demoing and checking old tapes for material for this album I heard of the sad death of guitarist Gary Moore, starting a train of thought and bringing up some personal stuff for me. To my surprise this song just came out and for the first time ever, sitting in a studio alone as I tried to sing the chorus, burst into tears.

OPERATOR                                                                                                             Co-written with Derek Jeffery a fine singer and writer who also features on many of the support vocals on the album. Derek had the main body of this Jackson Browne – type opus lying around which I loved, so I took the liberty of trying to finish it. You may interpret it in any way you wish of course but I’ll admit to a spiritual analogy…possibly?
For the musical theorists: I managed to use an Am over F# at the end of the solo section – a device I borrowed from Crystal Gayle’s ‘Don’t it make my brown eyes blue’. There’s probably a proper term – I just always liked how it sounded.

DRIVE
Drive and 2 other songs on this album were co penned with singer/writer Victoria Horn – a lady with a great talent for melody.
The subject of the lyric was basically from my end; I’d known girls who had suffered partner-abuse and like many men, could not understand why they didn’t just leave.
Now being more aware of the wearing down of self-esteem and threat of violence issues and a little more enlightened,  I would like to think this song may help embolden someone to maybe take that first step…

SCARED
Originally titled ‘Sometimes we don’t say’, this is another co-write with Victoria Horn. All about that tentative time when you’re interested in someone but afraid it might not be mutual-but what if it is?
I was attempting to make it sound like a Vince Gill track but only he can do that! One day….

THE ONE WHO GOT AWAY
I sub-title this one… ‘Note to self’!
They say there’s someone in everybody’s life who leaves an indelible mark on their heart. I’m no exception.

HEAVEN HELP
Also written with Victoria Horn when we were exploring the New Country music market. I think we might have been dubious as to its cover-ability with such a self-deprecatory lyric (my input!). I always liked it though and have attempted to capture a Sprinsteen-esque vibe to which guest singer Val Hayes certainly contributes!

BOB AND PAULA
This was a tune found when I was about 19 while learning and exploring fingerpicking.
By happy coincidence the basic track was recorded on my birthday at the studio a couple of miles away from where my parents lived when they were first married. The track was played on my father’s 1927 acoustic guitar.
I first learned to play on his ukulele (a Martin!) and really wanted to use that somewhere on this album to contribute the nostalgic and reflective feel.
I found that if tuned up a tone, the first two chords I ever knew could fit into this song on the outro. Overdubbing two simultaneous Uke solos over the top gave (I hoped) a circularity from where I began to the present.

 

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