Wednesday, September 08, 2010
Untangling the accordion knot.
Rehearsing with a PA and under lights was definitely a good idea. Getting in a few familiar parties to give the new material the critical once over was also a worthwhile investment, as friendly feedback in advance of exposing ourselves (as it were) to a live paying audience certainly helped iron out a few wrinkles here and there in the delicate folds of the fabric of our muse. For instance, like jazz, the Hey Hey, My My (Into The Black) version of The Girl With The Scrambled Yellow Hair was possibly more enjoyable to play than it was to listen to, and so bearing in mind that 'Harvest' sold a lot more copies than 'Time Fades Away' the second run through of the set had some minor tweaks in terms of arrangement and instrumentation, and sounded all the better for it. Don’t get me wrong – I far prefer the rough, untempered edges, discordant kerrangs and off-key harmonies of (the so-far unreleased on CD or Blu Ray, and there’s a reason for that) 'Time Fades Away' to the multi million selling middle of the road West Coast, patched jeans, Sweet Baby Jamesian Shangri La of 'Harvest', but I strongly suspect that I am in a minority - possibly of less than two. As it turned out, if I play exactly the same part with exactly the same emphasis, but on acoustic guitar, the whole experience is enhanced for everybody, which certainly backed up the reassuring “It’s not the notes or the playing – it’s the volume” précis of the first try out by newbie batteriste David Booth ("TNDB") during the break. I'm sure this reimagining also came as an enormous relief to the song’s long-suffering and faintly bewildered author, whose major revelation at the dress rehearsal was a hitherto unsuspected knack for a hearth and homely take on the squeezebox, which I suspect we would never have found about if we’d had a full complement of bangers and scrapers aboard, so props (as I understand the young folk say) to Turny Winn for that pleasant surprise. Next stop, Acorn Fayre and, after the initial part of the set (provisionally subtitled ‘Sway’) undoubted use of the phrase “Hope you like the new direction!” once we embark on part two (‘Thwack’).
PS - I should also point out that I was very pleased to finally find a legitimate home for my 'Richard Thompson harmony' on new composition The Falling Song. For those unfamiliar with the concept, it is best experienced on the Richard and Linda Thompson track Walking on a Wire, from 'Shoot Out The Lights', and is deployed to breathtaking effect in the chorus on the word (expediently enough) "Falling".