I’ve been wanting to get my good friend Marcus Bonfanti in for a while to do a Padcast, so really happy to have him involved this week! The day before, we decided we’d write a song based broadly on ‘London’, but it was on the day itself that we came up with the idea of trying to crowbar as many London tube station names into the song as possible. I’m sure we could have got many more, but we wanted to write and record the song in one short day (we had to finish before the neighbours complain).
When we had pretty much finished it, I suggested we call our friend Ben Somers and see if he was around to record some double bass with us. He was with his most excellent band, ‘The Wagon Tales’ at the time, who had just had a rehearsal cancelled – very convenient for us! So along with Ben came Kate Robinson and Joe Auckland. We showed them the song and recorded it. Nice and simple, as it should be.
And I agree with Marcus’s sentiment when he said it combines two of his favourite things – music and puns.
Unfortunately, some of the video footage isn’t the best but it’s all there!
Here’s the Padcast:
And here’s the download:
And here are a couple of videos from Marcus and The Wagon Tales, enjoy.
It’s been a great journey with Noah over the last few years, recording in all sorts of brilliant places (including pretty regularly at Abbey Road Studios), so it was a real pleasure to record this weeks Padcast with him. ‘Immortal’ has gone through many different incarnations (or reincarnations if you pardon the word play), from the hard hitting rock/hip-hop version featuring, from the Wu-Tang Killa Bees, Prodigal Sunn and Shyheim…to an acoustic version which will appear on the forthcoming album, which has a great animated video. Here’s the ‘heavier’ video, with a small role for little ole me – see if you can spot me…
So, Nick Drake…incredibly moving songs, sometimes disturbing to me but always something really interesting and unique about the ways he does everything – his melodies and chord sequences, guitar style, meter and – perhaps pivotally – his lyrics. I was made aware of him in my teens when I used to play in a local rock n roll band in Dorset. We used to play Eddie Cochran, Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis, Chuck Berry and some more rockabilly edged tunes. No Nick Drake in the set (!) but the drummer in the band was an old friend of Nick’s and brought him up in conversation one day, citing a few personal stories of a mainly tragic nature. Initially, his music didn’t deal me a knock out punch, possibly because I was heavily into jazz at that time and it was only after hearing Brad Mehldau’s version of ‘River Man’ a couple of years later that made me go back and listen again. On this return visit I was stunned by the beauty of it, from his writing through to the production on the albums – just listen to the strings on Five Leaves Left. Brad Mehldau is a big fan, so I’ve posted both Nick Drake’s original version of ‘Things Behind The Sun’ as well as a live recording of Brad Mehldau’s take on ‘River Man’. Enjoy.
Yes, the PADCAST (see what we did there?!) has arrived! EVERY friday throughout 2012 I will be uploading and posting a new video and FREE DOWNLOAD of a song recorded specially for the PADCASTS. Its a good opportunity for me to keep myself creative & productive and to give all you guys something for the weekend that I hope will make you smile, laugh,or find something else in it. I’ll be posting all sorts of stuff, possibly things I couldn’t imagine right now – who knows what it will develop into by the end of the year? I plan for some good friends and guests to join me along the way and feature in some of the Padcasts. It’s an idea I’ve been toying with for a while, so I’m glad I was able to kick it off today (with the awesome help of old friend/drummer/producer/SkinnerBros Music) Adam Skinner. Hey, by the end of the year it’ll be great to have 52 posts up there with video and mp3s to download – I better make sure I stick to it, each one takes a fair amount of effort (judging by the first one), but I’ll get there…
I’d also like to chat about things inspired or related to the music along the way, so I’ll probably post some related videos, blogs or sites…
If you’ve got any ideas for songs you’d like me to have a go at, just let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll see what I can do…
So, join in the fun, and please share the posts if you feel like it!
PADCAST 1: TFI FRIDAY AFTERNOON
I wrote this really quickly earlier this week just to get a little ‘post-chistmas, back at work’ feeling out there. It wasn’t supposed to be a great original work of art, but just something fun that I hope might get you tapping your feet before the weekend starts. There’s loads of James Booker, Dr John and Huey ‘Piano’ Smith influence here, which I am totally unashamed of since they are some of the hippest piano players to have ever graced the Earth. It’s somewhere between ‘Rockin’ Pneumonia’ (Smith), ‘Let’s Make A Better World’ (Dr John & Booker’s versions) and definitely some of the ‘Dr John plays Mac Rebennack’ and Live at Montreux recordings (especially the ending of ‘Cold Shot’) . Here’s a couple of tasters of some of those:
I couldn’t find a particularly related James Booker video on youtube, but here’s a killing track by him anyway:
We’ve been featured on the cover of ‘Blues In Britain’ this month, with an interview and an absolutely cracking 10/10 review! Big thanks to Fran Leslie for her ongoing support, and to Al Stuart for some great photos at Ronnie Scott’s before the launch gig. Here’s the review in full:
“I hear a lot of music that is excellent and that I love at first hearing but this is a rarity in that it is unlike anything else. I knew instantly that it is innovative and I am delighted. From the first track, I was dancing around the kitchen and singing, ‘I’m going to see my baby, yes I am’. Next up ‘Jump Into My Car’ has vocal harmonies to rival the best of the Beach Boys, scratchy percussion, tuba and whistling. Layered New Orleans rhythms pervade ‘Call On Me’; the piano, as percussion, is laid over the rhythm section with the vocals holding the melody. The new take on ‘Come On In My Kitchen’ is a joy as well as a lament.
His version of ‘Right To Your Soul’, which he wrote, is very different from the one Earl Thomas recorded with Paddy Milner & The Big Sounds. Could this song become a classic? It has that feel. The new version of ‘Unsquare Dance’ is a speeding car of a jazz rendition, in which Paddy’s piano skills and Alex Reeves’ drumming race along. From the up tempo ‘Going To See My Baby’ to the serene ‘All The While’ every song is a standout track.
Paddy has called upon the talents of his band The Big Sounds and added tuba, a sousaphone, a cello and Eddie Martin on harmonica. In addition, his vocal skills have been honed by working with soul singer Earl Thomas. His light tenor voice can hold a tune beautifully and to me that matters.
Until this album, I would have described Paddy as a highly talented piano and keyboard player; think Ben Folds and Bruce Hornsby. Now can say he is also a singer, songwriter, arranger and producer of superb quality. I have seen Paddy Milner play twice since I first heard this album . The album is wonderful and the music is even better live. I seldom give full marks for an album because I think it rare that an artist could never do better. Today, I imagine Paddy Milner might equal this album but it would be very hard to better it. Rating 10 – Fran Leslie”