It was always going to be a tough ask; ten songs in 8 hours. Four hours in we had just finished the first one (Give it Away) and were starting on the second (So Saigon). I put down the main vocals and we called Walter, John, Dave and Rob in to do the backup vocals. I needed a rest and so sat at the piano (behind them) and directed from there. Once we got a combination of harmonies that sounded good and was reasonably balanced, they just needed to record it several times.
During one of these sessions I gazed at the shiny black keyboard lid of the piano. I could see my face in perfect detail, though darker and slightly squashed due to the curve of the lid. It’s an interesting exercise; not like when you look in the bathroom mirror and automatically put on the Blue-Steel/Chick Magnet look (or is that just me?) and check for boogers, but this was a whole lot more contemplative and a little surreal. Detached even. I could see my father’s eyes; the jowls; my sister’s smile; the little lumps, bumps and curves that make my face what it is and, due to the unusual scenario, it was like seeing them for the first time. I looked at my eyes… were they the eyes of wisdom? They looked kinda wise. How long does wisdom take; is it all bluff? The steady gaze did look like it had some knowledge behind it. They were eyes that had seen some stuff. The bumps and dips of my cheeks and jaw, accentuated from the perspective looking down, did convey experience. And a hint of a ready smile, just hiding there, waiting for the right moment to appear.
These thoughts were all tumbling through my exhausted head as my wise old bum slipped off the piano stool onto the floor and I woke up. Wise, my arse.
We finished So Saigon and moved onto “Plan B”, a song written by Dexy’s Midnight Runners in the 80’s that the band was named after. The idea is to try and gain some crossover from the Dexy’s still strong fan base. It will undoubtedly gain some criticism from the purists, but we have done it with Kevin (Rowland)’s blessing and is sure to give us some extra exposure when the album is released.
I kept mucking up the phrasing of some of the words and so Patrick suggested I have a break while the HornDingoes did their part. I had some lunch and finished my bit. I had half a day tomorrow as Karen, Kayla and I had a visit to a local school organised, so time was even tighter. I had some lunch and rested a bit and then put down more vocals for Plan B. We didn’t have the same luxury of time or the same clarity of direction we had with the last recording we did; instead of 2 songs in 2 days, we were trying to do 10 songs in 6. Hopefully talent and technology will see us through to a good end product!