Today was brass day and the final day of recording for sessioneer Ahad’s album. We had Sian in with her trombone and Richard in with his flugelhorn and trumpet. We only had two tracks for them to play on but it’s always a thrill to see musicians arrive in the studio with weird instruments. They don’t only look weird, they sound weird too, what’s a weirder sound than a trombone? The flugelhorn is a softer sound than the trumpet, a little bigger and more “chocolatey” to use Richard’s words. All those valves and metal, the lip skills, the tuning, brass is an unforgiving instrument when it comes to pitch, like the violin, so it’s fascinating seeing these musicians make these odd contraptions come to life.
We also did some backing vocals today and were elated that we had finished the recording process. After that, it was straight on to the next project, sessioneer Craig’s song but Dare has some technical issues with the files so we didn’t get very far with that. We’ll continue on Tuesday morning and hope to have recording and mixing done before Olivia and I leave for Portugal on December 3rd. We have a flight reserved, we have an Airbnb reserved, we are going – we are banking on the lockdown coming to an end. We have to book, we can’t wait to see. It’s so hard to plan.
I’ve been trying to catch up with filing records away, I’d like the archive to be organised when we leave so that Dare and Aram aren’t falling over things, there’s nothing worse than tripping over a Black Sabbath album when you’re on your way to find a Smiths album. I filed away some more of sessioneer Noel’s donation of his late friend Norman’s collection, that’s nearly done. Now the ones that I’ve played have to be put back into the shelves as well as the ones that have arrived over the last few months. Today the 2018 remastered reissue of Lodger arrived, I’ve been trying to catch up with the Bowie rereleases (not all the unreleases since his death but the classics). Lodger was supposed to arrive weeks ago but it didn’t, they cancelled the order and refunded it. I ordered it again and it arrived 24 hours later – result.
We have the lava lamps on tonight in the archive, all 25 of them at once. They help to heat the room and keep us psychedelic. I did an interview here with Judy Lyon from Torched magazine tonight. That’s going to be out soon and we’ll let you know where you can hear it and when it’s going to be broadcast. I suppose everything is on the internet these days, I can’t remember the last time I did an interview that was just in a magazine. I bought a subscription to Mojo magazine, the physical version and they sent me an email saying that I had been randomly chosen to receive a digital subscription too. This is perfect as I won’t be here to get the monthly print version and I’ll be able to get it online – result.
I missed all the football today, although I saw that Spurs beat Man City, Chelsea beat Newcastle, Brighton surprisingly beat Aston Villa and Man U unconvincingly beat West Brom. Tomorrow is the big one if you are a Liverpool fan. If Liverpool win they will go joint top with Spurs and if they lose Leicester will go top. So we need a…result.
Talking of sportiness, I wonder what the swimming pool situation is in Porto? I wonder what life is like there, the people, the atmosphere? What might be most exciting is moving to a place that we’ve never been to. I have only been to Portugal once, one night, one gig, in and out. But listening to what people say about Portugal, what they say about the people and beauty of Porto, I’m confident we are making the right decision. I wonder if I’ll be following FC Porto? They did win the Champions League once under Mourinho in 2004 – he left the next week to manage Chelsea, now he’s back at the top of the premiership with Spurs. Well, we’ll see.
Music today comes from Procol Harum and the last album they made before they broke up before reforming 14 years later for Prodigal Stranger (1991). Something Magic (1977) was ambitious, orchestrated, and completely out of step with the oncoming thrust of Punk. But despite all this, it was something of a classic Progressive album, Side 2 has a narrative similar to The Moody Blues, an epic concept about a worm and a tree. It’s like listening to a macabre children’s story. If you are a progger you’ll love this, if you need to be convinced that Prog is worthy don’t start here.
Drummer BJ Wilson sadly didn’t make it to the reunion as he died (aged 43) in 1990. Long-time organist/bass player Chris Copping was also missing (he originally replaced Matthew Fisher who played on A Whiter Shade Of Pale) but Robin Trower who left Procol Harum long before Something Magic returned. The guitarist on Something Magic was Mick Grabham, Pete Solley played keys but conceptually the album was the brainchild of singer, pianist, composer Gary Brooker, and lyricist Keith Reid. If you’d like to investigate this band I suggest you start at the beginning and work your way through their 9 studio albums and one live album from 1967 – 1991. There are some great moments and I recommend that you find them, A Salty Dog for example is marvellous. I saw them live at The Bottom Line in New York in the nineties (Keith Reid was there), Gary Brooker was so good, his voice was great, don’t forget them because most of the world has.