This track began life as a simple love song but soon became a lot more complex and serious. I think it was the line "our time on Earth is not for us to tell" which first hinted to me that something darker and deeper was going on. As the lyrics developed they dragged in references to Wordsworth's "Intimations of Mortality" and to Tolkien's "All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us." spoken by Gandalf in "The Fellowship of the Ring". I have paraphrased that line in the chorus as "But…Read more
Viewing: Tracks for my second album - View all posts
This is my new song, "Meet Up for Christmas", arranged for symphony orchestra (strings, woodwind, horns and percussion), twenty-piece choir and... me!
A friend said it sounds like a Scottish folk song which I took as a huge compliment.
The video was a bit of a rush job, I'm afraid, as I wanted it to be out there in time for THIS Christmas! But I hope you enjoy it. This is the tenth song I have written and recorded this year and the eighth for my forthcoming second album "Up on The Downs".
One of my earliest musical memories was listening to a selection of 45 rpm singles brought home by my brother Alan in about 1959. Many of them were ex-jukebox copies from the coffee bar in Liphook. Although I may have taken artistic licence by describing them as "given away", they were certainly a lot cheaper than the six shillings and eightpence which you normally paid for 45s at the time. They were scratched and the sleeves were torn and they often didn't match the label of the single but I can still…Read more
Unusually, I can't pinpoint any musician or band that had a direct influence on the writing of this new song of mine. Cavan has said it sounds a little like Clifford T. Ward although I know very little of Ward's output (perhaps I should become better acquainted with his songs). Mark said it sounded like a song from a sixties film such as "Georgie Girl" or "The Family Way". I was consciously trying to return to the wistful bitter-sweet atmosphere of "Tell Them I'm Gone" and "Butterfly's Wing" although "If…Read more
The writing of this song proved true to its title; it took no more than a couple of hours before I had a complete set of lyrics. However, the arranging and recording of the song proved anything but "easy peasy".
From early on I knew the song needed a Tamla-Motown-style treatment; I had the Four Tops in mind as I sketched out the vocal arrangement and the backing track was inspired by that amazing, but anonymous (at least to the public) loose collective of Detroit session musicians known as the Funk…Read more
This is the track that nearly got away. Let me explain:
The song's theme is the power of language and the way that words can be used to justify the unjustifiable and to think the unthinkable. The lyrics came first and I nearly painted myself into a corner with verse one's tight and complex rhyming and alliterative structure. In the past I have often chickened out in a similar situation and used a simpler scheme for subsequent verses. But not this time. I eventually came up with six verses (from which I…Read more
This song started life as a projected title for my second album. I'd originally thought of calling it "Ups and Downs" but Stephen "Tintin" Duffy had beaten me to it back in 1985. However, "Up on the Downs" is a much better title for me as it reflects my love for the South Downs in southern England which I have known and loved all my life (my father was born in Brighton). It was only when I'd finished writing the song that I realised that it had a strong samba groove so I used a virtual samba band for the…Read more
I'd promised myself a complete break from music for a week or so after all the hard work and stress involved in putting on the Phoenix theatre shows. But I should have known that it doesn't work like that - for the muse can be merciless.
I've had the title of my second album in my head for a while now. It was originally to be called "Ups and Downs" but I discovered Stephen "Tintin" Duffy had beaten me to it back in 1985.
So I changed it slightly to "Up on the Downs" and I like the multiple layers of…Read more
My latest track "Winston's Black Dog" is a completely new departure and its arrival has surprised no one more than me. I would never have predicted that I would (or even could) write a cool-jazz blues song for the first song of the tracks that will eventually comprise my second album. "Winston" seems to have strayed from the world of 1940s film noir: "The Third Man", "The Big Sleep" and "Farewell My Lovely" all come to mind. For those who don't know, the title refers to Winston Churchill, who suffered from…Read more