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Its been a while but its finally been recorded with the Smouldering Sons. This is a song that I wrote for just a guitar and a voice. But thankfully the Sons have all heard something in the song that could add to it.
We had always included this song in the set when we played live, especially as a 3 piece as I simply loved Franck beautiful Bass line.
Here it is and I hope you enjoy listening to it as much as we enjoyed recording it.
After having a spring clean through the vaults of Smouldering Sons HQ we found recordings from the very first Smouldering Sons recording session from 1999 at Curve studios Brick Lane London.
Recorded live on 2 inch 24 track tape on a vintage studer tape multi track machine. At the end of the session we still had a reel of tape left and half an afternoon to lay something down. With all of the original tracks laid down to tape we took the opportunity to have some fun and record 4 wild covers & one Robert Brown original.
About 50 copies were run off to go on sale at live shows, but after that no more were ever printed. We have now decided to do some more copies of this EP.
If you want a copy of HILLBILLY FROM HELL simply drop us a line on the email and it can be arranged. Either £6 including p+p (paypal accepted) or £5 if you see Robert at one of his more numerous solo shows. You can hear a track for a sampler if you go to the soundcloud page. https://soundcloud.com/robert-brown-64
Something I found while looking for band footage.
This is a very early recording of the Smouldering Sons playing “Oh My Head” from the Road Dog album at the Revue bar in Soho London about 10 years ago.
Franck Bedez on Bass, Dominique Metz on Drums & yours truly on guitar & vocals.
I’d forgot what a great bass line that Franck had found for this song. I will now re-record it so Franck & Dom can now finish this song properly and give it the backing it deserves.
Ive been very lucky to have such people around me who want to record my songs.
Everyone from Charles Aznavour, ELO, Ray Charles, Imelda May, KT Tunstall, Keb Mo, Roy Wood, Shirley Bassey, Rick Wakeman etc etc are people who have enjoyed & requested their awesome talents!
Well, hardly a video! More of a collection of out takes from pre production of this song and some footage from a Smouldering Sons session from the last album. Plus a few mug shots of the band & our friends.
Have no doubt that this recording of this song is very different from any other version put down to tape! There are many different versions which all seem to follow the same pattern and have the same minor chord. Which personally I hate! For me it turns the song into a very flowery & whimsical affair with no grit whatsoever. I wanted to change this.
If you want to compare this new version to what has come before seek out the versions by Steeleye span & the Wailin Jennys which are about the best out there.
This track also borrows a classic drum loop which has been sampled & dropped into virtually every genre of music since its release in 1971. Ive left the intro in so there will be no doubt for you music buffs. Plus we have quite an array of Morrocan drum toys thrown in too.
And to you die hard ‘twigs in the beard’ folksters, folk music like blues & any other kind of traditional music is something that should always be kept relevent and fluid. These songs are archetypes. The best examples of what they are! Some times they should be left alone & not played but you should always know them. They are the blue prints of todays modern music. Mash them, trash them! they will endure.
Over the past few years I have continued to record new songs for myself and other artists for my own purpose and for other artists albums.
I thought it about time I put these out on a collection CD that will be available at live shows or by mail. The tracks will be quite eclectic ranging from Al green songs, to my own & 18th century folk laments. The quality of the musicians I have played with have been second to none and its about time i released them. Stay tuned for more news as I near the completion of the last tracks.
I have been noodling with this track for a few years.
Franklin is an 18th Lament about an doomed expedition by two royal navy ships HMS Erebus & HMS Terror to find & navigate the North West passage.
Led by John Franklin both ships and crew were lost without a trace. Since then certain facts have arisen about the expedition. As well as enduring some of the coldest winters in the Arctic and being frozen into the ice, the expedition was one of the first to rely on large stocks of canned food. A new invention back in the 1800s. The solder on the Goldners cans of tinned food had a very high lead content and this was suspected of poisoning the crew. Brain sickness as it used to be called can cause Hallucinations and dreadful problems within the human body. No doubt the lead in their diet didn’t help but it was probably just one of many reasons why the crew and ships were lost. I won’t go into the grisly details of scurvy & reports of cannibalism.
Myself & good friend Nic Jones were playing about with a strange guitar tuning while I was visiting him whilst I was on tour in the west country UK.
He played a short section of the old song in this tuning prompting me to ask “what was that”? Franklin he replied. I said to him well thats very different to the old version you used to play! Yeah I suppose so he replied. “I tell you what” he said laughing, “piss off & finish it in that tuning” which of course I had to do!
In this last year I have spoken to Nic, Nigel Glockner Drummer from the Heavy Metal band “SAXON” Franck Bedez, Dominique Metz & Fab Tranzer. As well as playing with my band the Smouldering Sons Franck, Dom & Fab also play with such artists like ‘Charles Aznavour, Shirley Bassey, Imelda May, Glen Miller Orchestra etc etc Nigel from Saxon has asked to put keys on the track and Nic has already put his backing vocals on the track.
It will take some time to get everyone available to put their parts down but Im sure the final result will sound very different and will have given us all a lot of fun. Remember, songs like this are ‘Archetypes’ The best example of what they are! The blueprints of modern music and should be used and learnt from. Sometimes you shouldn’t play them but you should know them! Even Bob Dylan nicked this old tune and turned it into “Dylans Dream”
Keeping with tradition, like Bob I have made certain changes to the song by including a guitar instrumental break instead of the “eskimo in in his skin canoe” verse, which Ive always hated! and I’ve also put in some unexpected minor chords to finish off certain verses.
This track at the moment is live with just myself on guitar & vocal & Franck Bedez on the upright double bass. More to follow (:
PS they are also making a film and a TV series on the fact & fictional book the ‘TERROR’ by Dan Simmonds. (a very good read)