2006

8/dec/06

We have started recording another new song today which was called 'Time Of My Life' until a missing line was found (see below).

It is now called 'I Will Never', has been put back onto the keyboard, which is where it originated, and transposed for Boo to sing. Here is our first attempt to see what it sounded like...

Knifegrinder is now finished and is decked out with our best harmonies - ooooh's and everything. Here's a bit of the finished article...


1/dec/06

Dave desperately trying to think of a line for 'Time Of My Life'.

The whole song's written, arranged and almost recorded except for that one line, which will also be the hook... so pretty damned crucial.

The song was originally a keyboard song and has been tortuously transferred to guitar - not an easy business if you want to keep all those funny notes in the chords.


23/nov/06

Recording is now well under way for 'Knifegrinder' and we have a version which we're happy with and which we recorded 'live' i.e. vocal, harmony and guitar done at the same time, to which we have now added a couple of things - keyboard and percussion so far.
Also work has begun on a new song written on the piano by Dave. The working title is 'Time Of My Life', but that will probably change soon.

Knifegrinder done in neat.


2/nov/06

We were working on 'Knifegrinder' today. Boo was getting used to singing it and we were sorting out some quite difficult harmonies and putting down a version to see if it was sounding OK.

Unfortunately the guitar player gets a tad confused at one point as you will hear..

Boo trying out 'Knife Grinder from Ontario'


29/oct/06

Here is Dave on the minidisc crooning a bit of a new song about being a sad git and searching for himself on the internet. This website is the only place he is a legend you see!..

The song's already moved on from here with Boo now singing the song. It will take a while to sort this one out, so the world premier will probably be at Horsham on 12th Nov.

We've also resurrected an old song called 'Antidote' which was done when we were young and rocky. The reason for this is Dave's recent appreciation of the B52's. We've redone it acoustically at B52 pace and it will be getting its first public airing tonight in St Albans. We'll probably re-record it for the new album too. Watch this space...

'Knife Grinder from Ontario'


17/oct/06

Not much work in progress to report as we've not been working together lately - except to rehearse for the odd gig. Hence the lack of action on this page. Basically we've run out of material to work on, so we've taken some time out to try and get some ideas together.

We've got 11 tracks pretty much completed for a new CD, but we want about another 3 or 4 which we haven't yet written!

On the technical side...
Our little drum machine ran out of memory for our live set, so we had to get its bigger brother. Dave has been busy reprogramming that.

Also Dave had his Martin refretted and bought a Boss GT8 pedal board which ought to inspire one or two different directions in due course...


24/aug/06

Not a lot has been done until the start of this week as we're both just back from our hols. Today we spent trying to force ourselves out of our holiday mode and into gig mode for tomorrow night!

Dave has been recording a guitar piece earlier in the week which was written ages ago at a time when Dave used to look after his little daughter now and then. On feeling inspired one day but having tonsilitis at the time, he was forced to write an instrumental - which is named after her.

'Catherine'


3/aug/06

We have been preoccupied with two songs lately. The new version of 'Windfall' and our one remaining unrecorded song before writing more: 'Internet Blues'.

We're both going on holiday now for a couple of weeks so here are a couple of samples of our current efforts.

Hopefully we'll have some brand new songs to record after the holiday...

'Windfall' mk 2

'Internet Blues' which we started yesterday


18/july/06

Working on 'Windfall' mark 2 again today and battling against the heatwave. However we managed to get some nice bits sorted out before wilting. There will be an mp3 of it here when it's a bit more together (weather permitting)


Here we see Boo being comforted by one of our fans


13/july/06

We've been making slow and painful progress through 'Living On Light' again. Subtlety has been the watchword and probably no one would notice any difference if I put a new mp3 on here but, trust me, things have changed. For the better I hope.

Today however, we had to take a step backwards to go forwards. Boo didn't like the version of 'Windfall' we had pretty much completed so we re-recorded it and we now have a much less ponderous backing track with a slightly different approach to the overdubs.

It's now much more like what the writer had in mind - conversational and less ballady.


22/june/06

We decided to give 'Light' a bit of a rest and work on some ideas for 'Your Heart Says No'.

As you will hear, the song has now acquired a rhythm section and tons of backing vocals, which we had a lot of fun with. Suggs (the singer with Madness) used to say that their band had most fun when they went to the theatrical costumiers. Well, for us it's doing backing vocals.

This is the same chunk of the song as the previous 'Heart", so it's spot the difference time again!

'Your Heart Says No'
extra overdubs added


10/june/o6

We worked again on the basic 'Living On Light' tune today - added some vocal harmonies and a bit of keyboard.

Here's the same bit of the song as the previous sample for you to listen to, so you can see how it's been built.

'Living On Light'
same bit of the song after some vocal overdubs


6/june/06

A new basic track for 'Living On Light' finally achieved after many different approaches.

We tried a click (modified to take in the tempo variations), we tried a live version (live in my front room that is!), and finally we recorded lead vocal and guitar in separate rooms and then sang the harmony bits together.

A tortuous process for a simple song. Anyone who has ever tried this will know why though!

'Living On Light'
basic track - chorus 2 and middle 8


22/may/06

One or two things have been added to 'Your Heart Says No' whilst trying to preserve the simple feel. A mandolin (actually a mandola capoed at the 9th fret) and an accordion.

Also we've added some backing vocals which we were determined to get to sound like the McGarrigles.

'Your Heart Says No'
This might be finished. Hope so, the tune's driving me mad...


11/may/06

We had our first attempt at recording a new song 'Your Heart Says No' today. It's a simple folk/ country-ish song, and we did it as a live performance with just a guitar and 2 vocals. It's fairly basic right now.

However, that may well change.. or it might stay as it is. Who knows? We'll have to see how it sits with the other tracks so far completed.


9/may/06

We have been working on 'Need To Know' again today with an oboe replacing an electric guitar solo which in turn had replaced a sampled french horn solo.

The choice of a classical sound seemed to fit with our orchestral approach to this song, and we eventually decided the guitar didn't gel too well and so we plumped for an oboe played by that born again oboist - Dave Elllis.

'Need To Know'
instrumental break.


1/may/06

We were working on our DVD today with Paul Howard. It's all getting very arty on a performance of 'Need To Know' as well as live and rehearsal footage. Should be good - it's shaping up well although we're not too sure when it will be available yet.

While we were at it, we got Liz Simcock to take some more still photographs for publicity purposes. The shot opposite is just one of many alternatives which we may choose as a handout. It's mainly to stop Gerry at Twickenham FC bitching about how long we've been using the previous one! (Only about 7 years I think)


28/apr/06

Finished off the bass part and had a board meeting about 'Nothing's Going Wrong'. Finally managed to get a roughish mix.

'Nothing's Going Wrong'
rough mix


27/apr/06

We were working on 'Nothing's Going Wrong' today and yesterday. Our mate Harry Bogdanovs put some ace piano playing on the track and today Boo added a bass. Last night Dave added an oboe part.




Maybe you didn't know that Dave was a virtuoso oboist? Well he isn't, but after a lapse of 40 years, Dave decided to buy a cheap oboe and see if he could still play it. He could sort of... well enough to play the 5 note part on this track anyway!

mp3 to follow when we've worked on it tomorrow.


8/apr/06

Wrote a new song 'Your Heart Says No', which we'll maybe try out at our next gig at Dartford on Tuesday 18th April. Nothing recorded, not even a minidisc thing so you'll just have to come to the gig to hear it


6/apr/06

This week we've been having a rethink about 'Need To Know'.

The original drum loops we based the recording on have disappeared (too unrelenting) and there are now no drums at all until the M8 where some played in drums make their entry with the bass and a bit of Gibson 335. Not very folky we know, but it felt right...

'Need To Know'
rhythmic rethink


25/mar/06

Yes we're still shlepping away with 'Will You Be Mine'!

We've been asking a lot of the sampler you see - and so a real clarinet has been added by Liz Simcock. We have had to use samples too and this is an effort to make the 'woodwind section' sound more convincing! It helps to hear a few keys clattering..

'Will You Be Mine'
new arrangement with clarinet


23/mar/06

'Will You Be Mine' woodwind rearranged.

Minute changes, things left out, parts slightly altered. BVs added.


21/mar/06

Basic track started for 'Living On Light'. This could end up as just guitar and vocals as we do it live. However there are parts there which suggest that other things may happen. It will be tasteful though we promise.. this is one of our favourite songs.


7/mar/06

We've added woodwind to 'Will You Be Mine'...

'Will You Be Mine' woodwind.


2/mar/06

The basic track for 'Will You Be Mine' was deemed OK which was surprising as it didn't take very long. Today we set about BVs and overdubs.


28/feb/06

Tried various approaches to 'Will You Be Mine', adding drums and bass to a basic guitar track played to a click. Finally we reverted to recording a basic guitar with vocal live. Only a shaker was added in the end. Overdubs to follow if the track's good enough tomorrow.

Oh, and Dave has re-acquired the lead voc! (see below)


23/feb/06

Started work on our next song for the album today: 'Will You Be Mine'.

It was all going OK until Boo suggested that she sings it instead of Dave, who has been singing it on gigs up to now.

The trouble is, there are loads of harmonies and vocal parts with funny timing, so this unleashed an entire nest of vipers.

The photos show Boo suffering for her art, and if you listen to the mp3, you can suffer too.

'Will You Be Mine' being rearranged


19/feb/06

Spent the last 3 days working on drum parts. To date, the tracks in the can for a new album are:
Living By Numbers
More I Cannot Say
Windfall
Who Can Be Certain
Need To Know
Nothing's Going Wrong

The rate we're going, it will be much later in the year before we can envisage finishing anything. Sorry.


16/feb/06

'Windfall' might be a simple song, but getting it right was a different story (see 9th Feb).

We've probably spent as long on this as anything else even though, as you will hear, there is very little added...

'Windfall'


12/feb/06

Paul Howard (Boo's husband) is an editor with Channel 4 and he is putting together a DVD for us with a view to selling it.

So far we have recorded 2 performances: Hitchin on 8th Jan and Acousticity on 4th Feb. Happily we were pleased with both performances and have got some good footage from both.

Today we were working on improving the sound quality, faced with the acoustics at live gigs! The picture quality is great and Paul used two cameras to capture the concerts.

The finished article will also have clips of us working in our studio as well as rehearsing new numbers and interviews. The whole thing should be available in a couple of months time.


9/feb/06

Spent the day trying to get an acceptable take of 'Windfall' which we decided would only work if we recorded it as we do live.

Recording guitar, vocal, and harmony all at once presents its own problems. No jiggery pokery. No dropping in... and the end result being studied under a magnifying glass... you can imagine..

We were pleased with our efforts at the time (after take#342!) but we'll listen again more objectively when we have left the end result to marinate for a few days. If it's THE ONE I'll put an mp3 clip here.

Oh and you thought we could just do it? Ha!!


18/jan/06

Living By Numbers is now just about finished. We put backing vocals on it yesterday in addition to some other stuff earlier in the month - as you can hear on the updated mp3 opposite...

Almost finished mix of 'Living By Numbers'


6/jan/06

What Dave did for Christmas

I am currently on a huge investigation into keyboard playing at the moment and I devised the charts opposite to try and clarify a few things in my mind - although I know it looks like hell! It's complicated by nature you see.

I must explain that I am learning the keyboard by ear and shapes as opposed to dots (which I am totally allergic to). This is about the closest I can get to the way I learned the guitar!

The charts opposite work in any key and show all inversions for all the simple triads. The roman numerals on the left represent the chords in a key. The numerals with colour coding represent the notes in a key.

All you then need to know is the shape of the scale. If you then apply these shapes then you can play in any key without being hung up by sharps and flats and without cheating with the transpose button!


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