In the studio today working with Ahad’s project trying to get my parts finished, guitars, backing vocals and all before the looming Brexit deadline and our attempted trip to Portugal which also, of course, depends on whether or not we are restricted from travelling due to lockdowns. But let’s not worry about that right now. Today has been a day for sleighbells and my two fingerpicking and harmony ideas that Dare has to sing because he can reach the higher notes. So between us, we cover the lower and the higher accompaniments to Ahad’s melodies and they came out so nicely today. I also sang some unisons but Dare and I work these ideas out between us and we have worked together for so long we know each other’s strengths – there’s me parts and him parts. Singing harmonies is a really wonderful thing, you should try it.
Sesh today with Tony in Sydney as we discussed the Arctic Lake project and next studio day we will be looking at that as we attempt to complete singing and guitars on three more tracks. There’s about the same to do for me on the Ahad tracks so we should have all this done in time for Olivia and me to leave if we can. We’ll be back in England, it’s not like we’ll be banned but not being able to come here for unlimited amounts of time without a visa for Olivia makes everything tricky. It will be the same for me going to mainland Europe which is why we are moving so we can establish a base where these issues aren’t a problem for us to stay in the same country together or longer than three months, we’ll see how it goes, we haven’t made it yet.
The clocks went back today in the early hours and I glanced out of the window at ten minutes to six in the evening and it was pitch black. What a different feeling it is with the time change, now it really feels like autumn is here. It’s going to be so hard for people as the darkness comes, as the cold creeps up and the rain comes down. When the pandemic was brought to our attention, spring was approaching but this is different, winter will soon be upon us and if people have been stressed and depressed when it’s nice outside imagine how they’ll feel when the cold and the dark keeps them indoors.
Thanks to everyone who has been ordering Poison Stream through the Indiegogo campaign, it really is a big help. We are at about 40% now but hopefully, we’ll get a boost in November. People have been ordering Handwritten & Illustrated Lyrics for Chrissy prezzies and we’re looking at having a MOAT T-shirt added to the perks. We’re just working on a design with our friend Reid and then we have to see how interested people would be in a T-shirt in December – haha, it’s warm indoors!
Olivia has been busy tonight filling a Mystery Box, collecting together the last few copies of the first MOAT album and giving me postcards to write whilst working on her paintings. At some point you will get to see Olivia’s artwork, some of you have already seen her illustrations for the Handwritten & Illustrated Lyrics but her paintings are something else, almost as mad as her poems. In the future, there will be prints but also the original paintings on various size canvasses. All this is for the future but the future is coming fast.
Music today has been inspired by singing harmonies and gave me the urge to hear those harmony masters, Crosby, Stills & Nash. That first self-titled album (1969) and the opening track Suite: Judy Blue Eyes – 7.24 – a single was released at 4.34 and reached No.21 on the Billboard Charts in 1969. It’s actually hard to pick out tracks from this album, some composed by Stephen Stills, others by David Crosby and others by Graham Nash but one has to mention Wooden Ships written by Crosby, Stills and Paul Kantner from Jefferson Airplane. Overall their three-part harmonies are magnificent throughout.
In 2009, Rhino released a demos album recorded between 1968 – 1971 with most of the songs performed solo acoustic by the writer. It gives a clue as to what the raw material sounded like before the harmonies were added…great!
Then this odd album, Everybody Knows (2017), by Judy Collins and Stephen Stills, a long time has passed since Suite: Judy Blue Eyes, Stills’ song about her. The album opens with the Traveling Wilburys’ Handle With Care, odd, but I guess they liked the song, I know I always liked that song except Stills didn’t seem to understand the importance of the guitar part and how important it is, just concentrating on the vocal part. So on one hand, interesting to hear them sing it and slightly disappointing to not here Stills as a guitar player appreciate something about it.
But although I like the album a lot it’s an odd mix of covers and original songs by both of them, some old classics, Sandy Denny’s Who Knows Where The Time Goes which Collins was famous for singing before Denny, even though Denny wrote it. Leonard Cohen’s Everybody Knows, Tim Hardin’s Reason To Believe, Dylan’s Girl From The North Country. So you might say some standards and that refers to their own songs that include So Begins The Task from CSN – Judy is another song by him for her that appears on the Just Roll Tape 1968 demos album. Collins contributes River Of Gold and Houses. Lovely singing.