Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Play one more for My Radio Sweeetheart

We at Songs from The Blue House have been being played on the radio this week, which is terribly exciting, since it's a one-a-day procession of things that we recorded last week and as such is simultaneously terribly fresh in the memory an something that we have no idea how it sounds. We were lucky enoughto enjoy the largesse of BBC Radio Suffolk, and more importantly their sound engineer Dave, who is blissfully undiscomfited by the idea of recording a banjo, fiddle and piano as well as two guitars and a bass, and attentive enough to comment that since TT's Korg piano has a stereo output he should take the time to record it in stereo. As TT points out, however, no matter how professional the set up, the engineer always ends up on his knees under a desk trying to patch the right DI through a sub-buss into the appropriate channel (that may not have been his exact phrasing, but you get the idea) and indeed there Dave is, clutching a lead and a pop-shield for the microphone. Since there's a lot of setting up to do, and we're all together, there are diversions into alien territory to be had, including a scrabrous version of Norwegian Wood that singer and guitarist James soundchecks with, and an endless cornucopia of fun to be had with TT's encyclopaedic knowledge of music of the twentieth century - he's as likely to break into Gershwin's Rhapsody In Blue as he is the theme from Roobarb and Custard. We try a few new things that we've been working on and Fiddly interjects solemnly. "What is that key?" he asks. "Whatever it was, it's the worst key you've ever come up with - there's nothing for me to work with here!". Tony Winn is settled over his banjo, and finding it underemployed on a new song we're doing, nonchalantly whips out his harmonica (insert your own 'tiny organ joke here) to play along with "Rolling and Tumbling", a song which we are still arranging during the actual recording. Someone finds the light switch, and so the anodyne surroundings of the studio are transformed into a mood-lit approximation of Sun Studios - half a dozen people arranged in a semi-circle, singing and playing live, one take, no mistakes. Whistling in the dark. Dave is a corridor away in the car park, ensconced in the Radio Suffolk live van, taking to us through the foldback but unable to leap in and adjust mics at a moments notice. This is old-school recording, whatever we do now will be what is what will be sent out across the ether. I count in..."One, two, a one two three...uh? Oh, sorry , I'm going to do two of those...". Grins, smiles, a band at peace with itself, happy in each other's company and just wanting to play these songs. Just wanting to be on the BBC with something of our own.

No comments: