Brought in to replace a bebop pastiche about 60’s New York hipsters, which also failed the Bickerton concept test, Don’t Turn Me Away has lurked in my sock drawer since about 1980, when it was written about the then future mother of my children. Amazingly (and mostly happily) it still applies.
Yes I know the uber hit machine Diane Warren wrote a song called Un-break My Heart many years before it occurred to me that there might be mileage in the phrase un-ring those bells. But that wasn’t where the idea came from. It actually came from Tom Waits (again) who even longer ago than Ms… Continue reading Unring Those Bells
Q: What to do when you have a bunch of tunes in your head, but your own efforts to play them mostly result in a shifty eyed drift to the exits by 90% of your audience? A: Find collaborators to add musical depths to the material which your guitar playing and vocalising fail to deliver.… Continue reading Burnt By Love
A couple of years ago I was told that if I practised with a plectrum it might impose a bit of discipline on my sloppy guitar style. While doing my plectrum exercises I stumbled on a chord sequence which seemed to be whispering the name Annabel Lee. And then Annabel Lee began insisting she was… Continue reading Riona McChree
I was in the middle of a dream, and in my dream I was in the middle of a Tom Waits rock video. It had been shot on high contrast black and white film stock. The night was dark and in an anonymous industrial wasteland a bunch of bums, freaks and winos were lurching around… Continue reading Nobody But You
In 2012 there was a bio pic on the BBC about the life of George and Ira Gershwin’s song Summertime. That simple, beautiful construction had arrived at bio pic status by being the most covered song of the 20th Century. And some way into the story, it was mentioned that the second most covered song… Continue reading There You Go
Most of these songs had already been partially or completely recorded by the time I roped in Cameron to do his various musical things. But when it came to starting this from scratch he announced that from now on we should work in a different way. I would show him the chord structures and then… Continue reading Where Do You Live?
Charlie Gillett was a pathologically honest gent in a business full of self deluded con-men, hustlers and crooks. For thirty five years he was the sternest critic and most encouraging supporter of the compulsive scribbler and reluctant performer behind these songs. He didn’t like all my stuff but he liked It Takes A Woman, and… Continue reading It Takes A Woman
To Mr Robert Zimmerman, wherever in the world the great song and dance men hang out. Dear Bob, I have a confession. Ghost Train started life as a re-working of your song, It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes A Train To Cry, but when I mentioned to your publisher that I’d changed a… Continue reading Ghost Train