Yesterday, my pal and ace bassist Chad Watson, came over and we were going over a set for last night’s guest performance at the Guitar Merchant in Canoga Park.
We realized that we had been working on my latest solo CD for over two years. I am nearing completion of the mixing process and I thought that perhaps I should document a little of this amazing journey.
I had a sudden burst of creativity two years ago and found that I had written some twenty songs in a two month periodâ€¦after writing nothing for months on end.
That being said, I am always working on something, but I am talking here about the kind of inspiration that carries you from the nascent idea to the completed song in one marathon session.
And yes, I am always doing a little re editing, sometimes even after the recording has been released. Keeps my live shows live, don’t cha know.
After laying down all the songs and listening to them for a month or so, I chose sixteen to record for this project and began laying down serious guitars and vocals.
As I tour solo, I thought it was important to get down the essence of what I’d be bringing to the audience at a live show. So first guitar and voice.
Then for severaly songs, I brought in the drummer (Washington “Smowdown” Tahr – you may remember him from my 1988 Simpatico CD) to play and accent what I do with my one guitar. After that, Chad came in and we layed down his bass parts.
On other songs, Chad and I played and then the Tahr accommodated what we did as a duo.
And no, I don’t remember which is which. That should be an indication of how well integrated the arrangements are. I burned a CD of just the three of us, vocal, guitar, bass, drums and I listened for months, deciding what I wanted to do where and who I wanted to play where.
I was blessed to have some of the finest musicians anywhere play on this recording. Paul Barrere of Little Feat brought his delicious slide to Gypsies in the Hallway.
Paul also graciously lent me his mid sixties Martin 12 string to bring some wonderful textures to Drive My Car and Highway 23 Speaking of Highway 23, Laurence Juber played some stellar solo guitar on that song. He brought some textures that simply make the song for me.
On Drive My Car, the estimable Corky Siegel provided one of the best harmonica solos by anyone anywhere and it takes the recording someplace I never could have taken it alone. He also added his special sound to the instrumental, Etude in E minor. For those of you unfamiliar with my work, I frequently put an instrumental in the middle of the CD to denote the sides; the way we did LP’s back in the day.
Lisa Turner, one of the best background vocalists around (you may remember her from my Eternal Contradiciton and Backstage at the Resurrection CD’s), gave some stellar work on Gypsies, Last Call, Drive My Car, Lullabye for Chloe, Last All Night, and When You Get Right Down To It.
We were also lucky enough to have Lori Lieberman join her on Car, and When You Get Right Down To It. Lori also added a wonderful harmony to Here We Have My Father
Stephen Bishop came by and delivered the goods he’s so well known for on Gypsies and Living the Party Life. And speaking of Party Life, on the chorus we had a host of great singers and great friends, to wit: Lisa Turner, Lori Lieberman, Stephen Bishop, Severen Browne, Don Dunn, James Hurley and me all doing our damnedest.
On the Chorus I sing, What do we do when we win? They sing: We party! Me: What do we do when we lose? Them: Party Harder! Me: And when we pay our dues? Them: More Party! Me: What have we got to lose?
I am certain that you discern the irony. Yes I know that in the new millennium irony is superfluous, but still this is a very fun cut and I like to think of it as a condemnation of the new nihilism. And idea that cannot help but catch on. Face it. I have my finger on the pulse.
Regarding the party life, James Hurley delivered some stellar solo guitar on Last All Night. Just what the doctor ordered. I played the classical guitar on the intro to Last All Night. The other songs, Twinkle In Your Eye, Any Other Way were just Chad, Smowdown and me.
I should be finished this CD in the next 24 hours or so.
Wish me luck.
And I still don’t have a title.