Monday, February 24, 2014

Skiffle On The Way

I spent Saturday and Sunday in a garage in Darlington recording eleven skiffle songs with Martin, Jim Hornsby (guitar and Dobro), John Cavener (double bass) and Colin Mee (recording device). The door flipped open, we filed in, tuned up and got to work, fuelled by tea and sandwiches. We got some great sounds; Jim found a great scratchy sound on the Dobro for the Anarchy Skiffle and Martin made a percussive scratch for Pioneer Town on his guitar. At the end of day two, we put four- piece male harmonies as backing vocals on some of the songs, an idea I got from working with a group of ten student producers as we did a song writing exercise last year- they jumped out of character and started singing in unison and sounded fabulous. 'I want that sound', I thought, and I got it and harmonies too. We worked quickly: John Cavener's bass added a bounce to everything, and yesterday lunchtime I sat at the kitchen table and scribbled out the lyrics for a song I'd sung on to my phone, never thinking I'd ever use it. My fave is a song called The Bachelor Boys but there are lots that worked out well, including a sort of forties one called Sugar Hill. It's a very happifying thing to do, to  secrete a group of musicians away in a garage with a bit if recording equipment. Next job is whether to plump for a dry mix or a Sam Phillips mix a la Elvis Sun Sessions- and then find a way to real ease it...  on vinyl!

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