MAKING OF AN ALBUM . . . .Pt 3

I'd got the bit between my teeth; I thought If I could get another three tracks in the can before Christmas, I'd be in a great position to have spring release.

I'd already had a discussion with Blue Miller about using his studio in Nashville, he'd agreed to help out and it really was just that. We decided some dates that were suitable and I went ahead and booked some flights. I headed to Blue's studio and stayed there the first couple of nights so that we could start early in the morning and work late . . . Time was precious and I had to be back on the road with Smokie a week later, so we had to be productive.

I'd already sent Blue two tracks that were pretty rough demos, "I don't Like Country" and "Man With A Smokin Gun"
Myself and Blue had also agreed that we'de write a song together to see how that goes? . . . . We started work on Monday the 29th September.

Now . . . . Blue sat in front of me in his control room and asked the question, "Do I want him to help out? . . . or produce these songs"? . . . . I said "Fuck it you produce em, I need all the help I can get" . . . He stood up and said "give me a couple of minutes" and walked out. He came back in and passed me a new lyric sheet for "Don't like Country" and a new arrangement. He said that lyrics were all important and I wasn't getting away with anything that wasn't good enough.   Remember Blue is a Grammy winning producer, so who am I to argue. He didn't change the lyrics a huge amount but he made sense out of the song and the he said "The listener has to be in no doubt what the song's about". Having said that I'd gone to Nashville pretty well prepared and I was well rehearsed in what I was going to be playing. Blue had also booked the musicians whom he thought would be right for the project, most Nashville musicians are really great but Blue went "Top Drawer" . . . . I'd only meet them for the first time on the Thursday morning when we'de be ready to cut the tracks.

On the Tuesday morning we were ready to lay down some scratch guitar parts and hopefully some scratch vocals so that the other guys could hear the song when they arrived, later on in the week. Blue was pretty hard on me, but at the same time made very comfortable and I can say right now, this album is the best guitar work that I've ever recorded . . . . I was in the zone !!        Blue has an all original 1957 Stratocaster;  I think I used that guitar on all the tracks I cut in Nashville that week. I also acheived the sounds that I had in my head, which for a guitar player is a big deal . . . I also sang OK.     I don't like my own voice, but Blue kept saying "You've a great voice that is unique, and these tracks are gonna be killer" . . . . so I really felt that he was totally on my side.

Just to break off here . . . . . We had to eat obviously; so we went to Waffle House for brunch a couple of times. Blue walked over to the jukebox, and put on the Waffle House signature tune, all about frying eggs at waffle time . . . . . . I said "What's this shit you put on" . . . . . He said "That's my song man, I wrote that fucker and sang it" . . . . Now I had a problem, That Grammy winning producer who'd sold millions of records . . . . .had me thinking . . . . .
Don't make my record sound like the waffle song . . . .for fuck sake !!!

We got back from Waffle House and looked at each other and said, "We best write another song then" . . . . . I had a little chord progression which I played him and I think I sang, "When I get home your gonna get my love" blue said he liked the chords and the idea. I also said I'd like to get a Gary Moore type vibe on it make it really bluesy.
I swear this is the truth . . . . . Myself and Blue wrote the lyrics and music to that track in less than 15 minutes, yes they'd have to be tweaked but they were there !!!
The music just kind of fell into place,  Blue was playing chords I'd never seen or played and we arranged that track there and then. He looked at me and said "That song will be great, I'm telling Ya Man"  I left the studio and went to my hotel and the feeling I had was something else . . . . That is the best track I've ever wrote I said to myself, we called it "All My Soul".

Wednesday morning, we recorded the scratch track together for "All My Soul", he played all the fancy shit and I played all the lead parts . . . . . those lead guitar parts from that scratch take are what is on the record, it just felt great.
That afternoon I met Jim Lightman the guy who would engineer the session . . . . Blue suggested I go to the hotel and get some sleep for the big day ahead.

Thursday morning I arrived bright and early and was introduced to my band . . . . . Shawn Fichter, Drums (Peter Frampton)      Doug Kahan, Bass (Gibson Miller Band) and Billy Justinau  a young keyboard player who was one of the hottest players in town.

We all sat together in the control room and Blue gave them the chord sheets with arrangement, I think we started with "Smokin Gun" . . . . We had some technical problem and I thought "Shit this ain't gonna happen today", eventually Billy actually sorted the issue with the mixing desk, but it took a long time to find the glitch. after two or three takes they nailed it, one down two to go.   next up "I don't like Country" . . . . A couple of takes and we had it in the can.
Blue handed the guys the chord sheets for "All My Soul", he played them the scratch track and when it got to the main guitar solo they all looked over at me, I knew then they were impressed by the track, (Nice feeling), one run through and they had it. When everyone left myself and Blue looked at each other and we knew "All My Soul" was the standout track . . . . .Should I change the name of the album to "All My Soul" ??????

I burned a CD and listened to that track in my hire car for a couple of days and my mate who came to Nashville with me said . . . ."Sounds like a record already" . . .  I think at that point it dawned on me that I had another four tracks to write and could I make them as good as these?

I went to have a look at a couple of vintage guitars in Gruhn Guitars and the guy asked what I was doing in Nashvile, I said I was making a new album, He asked "who's producing it"? . . . I said Blue Miller . . . . "You picked a good one buddy"

I walked out that shop thinking "Fuck yeh, There's a new Sheriff in Town"

Part 4 . . . . . Coming soon.





 

1 comment

  • Arlene Philp

    Arlene Philp Perth, Western Australia

    Hello Mick, Thoroughly enjoying your blogs on how you go about making a music album. Your writing on the working of it all is interesting as well as funny to read and I'm looking forward to Part 4 to see what happens next. Sounds like you've put all your 'heart and soul' into this album so maybe your thoughts on a title change could be the way to go. Just have to watch this space to see what you decide. I'll be coming to England in May and am hoping to visit N.O.W. Music in Brighouse (although Jason doesn't know as yet) so would be great if your album is completed and ready for sales by then so I can maybe pick up a copy from there. If not, I will just have to be patient and wait for a later time. Wishing you good luck and success with it (if as good as your first solo album it is something worth waiting for). Best wishes, Arlene

    Hello Mick,
    Thoroughly enjoying your blogs on how you go about making a music album. Your writing on the working of it all is interesting as well as funny to read and I'm looking forward to Part 4 to see what happens next. Sounds like you've put all your 'heart and soul' into this album so maybe your thoughts on a title change could be the way to go. Just have to watch this space to see what you decide.
    I'll be coming to England in May and am hoping to visit N.O.W. Music in Brighouse (although Jason doesn't know as yet) so would be great if your album is completed and ready for sales by then so I can maybe pick up a copy from there. If not, I will just have to be patient and wait for a later time.
    Wishing you good luck and success with it (if as good as your first solo album it is something worth waiting for).
    Best wishes, Arlene

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