It's true about the inspirations, but there are a lot I could add to the list, starting with Robert Johnson, Chuck Berry, Buddy Holly, and on to the Band, Jesse Winchester and Steely Dan, not to mention any of the jazz musicians. If the idea of being overly influenced by people I admired so much sometimes worried me, it was one of the perks of collaboration that Clive's words almost always sent me off down different paths whose existence I had scarcely guessed at. There's hardly a single note of any of these songs which would have ended up as it did -- or even have been written at all -- if it weren't for the collaborative process, the honing of our own particular sides of the blade to try to make the cleanest cutting edge we could.
1. THE PEARL-DRILLER
PA (vocs, ac gtr, pno), ALAN PARKER (el gtr), HERBIE FLOWERS (bs gtr), BARRY MORGAN (dms) -- 18 March 1971
Some time back then Clive and I watched a TV documentary about the pearl-stringing industry in Scotland, but I never gave it another thought as a potential source of ideas for songs until he came up with this lyric. I must say that as a reasoned analysis of the pearl-stringing industry in Scotland it had always struck me as seriously deficient.
2. SESSIONMAN'S BLUES
PA (voc, pno), DARYL RUNSWICK (d bs), BARRY DESOUZA (dms), RONNIE ROSS (bar sax) -- 21 June 1974
Clive and I and the musicians I was then touring with were all together in a studio at Capital Radio, talking and playing live on the Sarah Ward show. Clive wrote this lyric during the course of the programme and read it out at the end. Because the heart of the song was the "isolated microphone", it had to be a baritone sax for the sake of the rhyme, and because it has to be a baritone, it really had to be Ronnie Ross.
3. PERFECT MOMENTS
PA (voc), MIKE MORAN (el pno), PAUL KEOGH (gtr), DARYL RUNSWICK (bs gtr), TERRY COX (dms), FRANK RICOTTI (perc), TONY COE (tenor sax) -- 9 July 1973
If I'd been clever enough before we started recording to think of asking Tony Coe to play on this, it would probably have ended up as the longest song on the album.
4. BETWEEN US THERE IS NOTHING
PA (voc), MIKE MORAN (pno), CHRIS SPEDDING (gtr), HERBIE FLOWERS (bs gtr), BARRY MORGAN (dms), RAY COOPER (perc) -- 15 May 1972
I don't think Clive originally thought of this as a waltz, and I certainly set it on its musical way in 4/4, but the words didn't seem to have enough elbow room. I don't know where the 3/4 idea came from. A falling feather?
5. NO DICE
PA (voc, pno), ALAN PARKER (gtr), HERBIE FLOWERS (bs gtr), BARRY MORGAN (dms) -- 18 March 1971
This was the first time I had worked with these magnificent musicians who formed the heart of Blue Mink, and out of apprehensiveness I had written them an absurdly over-detailed arrangement. We played one and a half verses of it, which at least gave them an idea of the kind of thing I was after, and then we launched into this one and only take (complete with fluff in the vocal) in which only the bass line under the intro survives from my original chart.
6. THIRTY YEAR MAN
PA (voc, pno) -- 19 May 1972
7. SUNLIGHT GATE
PA (voc, ac gtr), CHRIS SPEDDING (el gtr), HERBIE FLOWERS (bs gtr), KENNY CLARE (dms), DENNIS CLIFT (tpt), LEON CALVERT (flugelhorn), RUSSELL DAVIES (tbn), JIM WORTLEY (bs tbn), RICHARD IHNATOWICZ (clar) -- 11 March 1971
It was the lyric itself that gave me the central idea for the arrangement -- to have everybody in at the beginning and for the instrumental voices to drop away one by one, leaving a single bass trombone note at the end.
8. A KING AT NIGHTFALL
PA (voc), MIKE MORAN (pno), CHRIS SPEDDING (gtr), HERBIE FLOWERS (bs gtr, BARRY MORGAN (dms), RAY COOPER (perc), CLIVE BAKER (tpt/flhn), RALPH IZEN (tpt), NAT PECK (tbn), DICK HART (tuba), ALAN WAKEMAN (ten sax/flute), BOB SYDOR (ten sax/clar), MICK PAGE (bar sax/clar) -- 18 May 1972
Show me the radio producer who'll play this all the way to the very end of the track without losing his nerve and I'll show you a brave man.
9. THE FLOWERS AND THE WINE
PA (voc, gtrs), DAVE BELL (bs gtr), KENNY CLARE (dms) -- 23 March 1971
10. GIRL ON THE TRAIN
PA (voc, gtr), STEVE COOK (d bs), TONY MARSH (dms), unk (2 vins, 2 cellos) (string arrangement by NICK HARRISON) -- 31 March 1970
This song was paid the compliment of an interesting cover version in which the chord sequence was changed in order to facilitate playing it on the banjolele, the tune was entirely changed in order to fit it to the new chord sequence, verse three was omitted completely in the interest of clarity, and the phrasing and vocabulary of the lyric were improved in several other places. That's folk music, folks!
11. THE MASTER OF THE REVELS
PA (voc, pno), HENRY MCKENZIE (clar), RUSSELL DAVIES (tuba), TONY MARSH (dms) -- 1 April 1970
This is, as far as I know, the only song of ours to have received the critical attention of Stanley Sadie, the Editor of The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians. He didn't like it.
12. SENIOR CITIZENS
PA (voc, ac gtr), PAUL KEOGH (el gtr), MIKE MORAN (pno), DAVE WINTOUR (bs gtr), TERRY COX (dms), strings led by DAVID KATZ -- 12 July 1973
The late entry of the strings was a recording economy. I could only afford one session of string overdubs, so I made the most of them by spreading them around several tracks. Even so, they do come in a tiny bit earlier than you might expect so as to make the most of a juicy chord change.
13. PAYDAY EVENING
PA (voc), MIKE MORAN (pno), PAUL KEOGH (gtr), DAVE WINTOUR (bs gtr), TERRY COX (dms) -- 12 July 1973
14. I SEE THE JOKER
PA (voc, pno), NEIL CAMPBELL (gtrs), DICK LEVENS (bs gtr), JEFF SEOPARDIE (dms), strings led by WILF GIBSON -- 12 Dec 1974
When it came to recording a new album, we were always keenest to record the newest songs, but that sometimes meant that the song hadn't been fully worked into final shape by being performed. This was a rare chance to rerecord a song after having played it on tour for several weeks.
15. THE FADED MANSION ON THE HILL
PA (voc, el pno), DAVE BELL (bs gtr), BARRY MORGAN (dms) -- 25 March 1971
I had to use my imagination here, never having been to Sydney. In fact, the images it conjured up for me were of Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles, but I've never been there either, so that accounts for the factual errors in the music. I only realised after I'd finished it that the main tune for the chorus is actually a 12-bar blues, stretched and re-harmonised to such an extent that I think a Robert Cray cover version is probably too much to hope for.
16. THE HYPERTENSION KID
PA (voc, pno), CHRIS SPEDDING (gtr), HERBIE FLOWERS (bs gtr), BARRY MORGAN (dms) -- 19 May 1972
A thirty year man meets the Master of the Revels on a payday evening and discovers that between them there is nothing.
17. BEWARE OF THE BEAUTIFUL STRANGER
PA (voc, gtr) -- 2 April 1970
The idea to start the tune by ambling down the scale is one I shamelessly lifted from the Beach Boys' 'Heroes And Villains'. Luckily for me, Clive's words took it off in a different rhythmic direction and steered me away from actual, suable plagiarism.
18. YOU CAN'T EXPECT TO BE REMEMBERED
PA (voc, gtr), STEVE COOK (d bs) -- 1 April 1970
I have to confess that it is absolutely true, as pointed out to me by a caring listener, that down to the word "claims" the tune at the beginning is identical to 'The Vicar Of Bray' (fortunately out of copyright). As for the chorus, if I'd deliberately set out to write a 7-bar tune, I'm sure I couldn't have done it. But then I can't imagine why I would have wanted to.
19. TOUCH HAS A MEMORY
PA (voc, gtr), STEVE COOK (d bs) -- 3 February 1969
After our initial pleasure at the richness of the string arrangement for the original album version, we realised that in the end it didn't compensate for the loss of the rhythmic impetus which we felt this demo version had. That is why we left the song off the original reissue -- not because we didn't still like the song, but because we did. If you follow me.
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