Friday, June 12, 2015

Run Until We Drop.

It's a bit of a call back compendium this week, as many threads from previous blogs start weaving themselves together into a whole. First up, those nice people at Unity in Music have posted an excerpt from my performance in a supporting role at Arlington’s Brasserie with the redoubtable Tony James Shevlin and the small-but-perfectly-formed Jules Shevlin. This was the occasion when I missed Fern Teather’s set and our host was contractually obligated to mention that a forthcoming showcase night would be attended by minions from the Karaoke Sauron’s empire hoping to spot victims for the next series of X-Factor. I’m not sure if anyone got the nod at that circus, but in the mean time Shev’s playing shows in the States and Fern’s organising her own album through Kickstarter. Do, or do not, as the phrase goes – there is no try.

They have uploaded/presented* Run Until We Drop, from Tony’s album Songs from The Last Chance Saloon, cleverly editing in his opening remarks (you can see me seated at the back ready to play some sterling bottleneck on Nashville State of Mind) and then skipping the lengthy intro wherein he explains the real-life scenario which inspired the song. Picture yourself in a classic American diner, maybe having a good coffee and a piece of pie. A motorcycle pulls up in the lot** outside (“I remember thinking that’s unusual – a British bike…”). The rider enters and takes seat at the counter...

I know it's considered vulgar to talk about money, but I received a PRS statement this week, which unaccountably veered into double figures for the first time - courtesy, I suspect, of the munificence of the Brazilian Songs from The Blue House audience. Dame Judy Dyble, who included one of our songs on her recent anthology, sold out the entire first run of the collection and there are reports of at least a couple of radio stations pulling our Little No-One out of the pile and playing that, which isn’t bad considering the forty or so years of collaborations which bookend it. It is a matter of some pride that La Mulley and I take our place on the sleeve notes beside such luminaries as Fripp, Thompson, and our friend Steve Mears, especially now that a second run means that they were able to clear up a couple of typo omissions...   

Speaking of La Mulley, Helen and The Neighbourhood Dogs continue to rummage around under the bonnet*** of our prior compositions to see what we can fine tune, soup up or discard, with the result that as well as some new material we are able to present subtly different versions of previously well-beloved favourites based on the different approaches of our new collaborators. So far we have managed to rein in the urge to take our muse south of the border, down Mexico way, but if Mr. Wendell had had some castanets handy at that last rehearsal things might have veered away on a whole different curve. Someone at the day job asked me how things were progressing. “Artistically, we’re looking through sun-dappled leaves, warmth on our faces, bare feet in the loam our forbears trod, in union with…” “No” he said “Who do you sound like?” “Oh – probably Fairground Attraction”.    


* Or ‘dropped’ if you’re that way inclined.

** ‘Car Park’

***Or ‘hood’ if you’re reading this in Canada, the USA or somewhere where the argot of movies and TV series has overtaken everyday vernacular. I got a bit carried away myself earlier.