Monday, September 02, 2013

I Don't Get Around Much Any More

I received a telephone call from Our Glorious Leader on Saturday, welcome not least because any call from him usually presages larks and adventures to some degree, but especially on this occasion because it turned out that he had about a hundred CDs for me to sign as part of the successful Kickstarter-led release of the fifth Songs from The Blue House album, ‘Live’. We had always intended the fifth of our releases to be recorded in front of an audience as this would mean that we could give it a suitably packaged title to follow our sophomore* effort Too, which was in turn followed by Tree and then IV. At one point we discussed presenting the CD in a small fruit container to emphasise that the title was a small play on words, or ‘punnet’. Why my career in marketing hasn’t blazed like a comet across the firmament is a mystery to me, it really is.  
I listened to it in the car this morning, and it really is a thing of wonder. I’m as much a fan of the band as I am a member and although I’m not suggesting this is our Rock of Ages (the last time we made a reference to The Band a kindly reviewer helpfully pointed out that we were ‘deluded’) there are real moments of clarity when the realisation that we didn’t just write these songs, but that we lived them cuts like a knife. Breaking These Rocks is a genuine commentary on (then) current affairs which goes where hard science can’t, Song V is a true story set in root-fifth Cinemascope, counterpart Song III is a three act Linklater screenplay performed in four and a half minutes. Of course there is shade at the heart of the performance in that although we’re not quite at the stage of being "Hilton Valentine’s Animals", over the course of a decade there will inevitably be some comings and goings – of the original line up Jimmy quit for one, and then Jody got married – and that the performance we recorded was actually the launch gig for our previous album gives some clue as to the recent slackening off in our work rate.
As fascinating to me as its parent album is the associated outtakes and rarities collection** put together as one of the packages we hoped to entice our online benefactors with. There is our very first demo version of Bike – sounding pretty much the same as the version that kicks off the live album. There’s the version of Fairport Convention’s Rosie which we put together for Ces, that brace of psych-folk Beatles reworkings, Gibbon’s close harmony-led gospel version of When God Created Angels, the instrumental from our Steely Dan period that we never got round to finding lyrics for, the one that, conversely, we had two fully formed sets of words to decide between, the Judas Priest cover.
As I say, we didn’t just record this music, we lived it, and there’s a side to me which is gets more melancholy by each day that it looks increasingly like we won’t be living it again any time soon. Mind you, one guy did pick up the House Concert option on Kickstarter. He’s asked if we can do it at his place in the South of France…                      
You can find our music at  
*Annoying, isn’t it?
**I’m fully aware that in terms of our commercial profile, pretty much everything we’ve ever released is a rarity.

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