Paul is on the piano today, luckily the guitar on the song we were playing on is tuned to 440, not 432. This won’t mean much to you if you don’t tune, record, or generally play but Fred likes to record in 432 with some of the songs. Who knows what would happen if the piano overdub was needed on a 432 song (change the pitch on the computer perhaps?)? I’m sure those out there who know about all this will be happy to debate it and the reasons why some prefer one over the other. Olivia talks about tuning violin strings at slightly different pitches, yikes!
Today was a mixed bag in the studio, Paul on piano, John on percussion, Fred on acoustic guitar, and David on bass but before David arrived we did the last song with me playing temporary bass, nice to groove with John on the drums and with Fred singing and playing acoustic. With all the backing tracks completed, we set about recording Fred’s acoustic proper, and as we were doing that, David arrived ready to play. We recorded David and John together throughout the evening (bass and percussion) with Fred and Gerri Ann leaving at dinner time. So great to work with these people, top humans, and talented musicians.
The gardeners came today, an excuse for me to practice speaking Spanish. They were trying to save as many of the frost-bitten cacti as possible, a cold chill last week freaked them out. “We are cacti,” they said, “we don’t expect to get this cold”. Consequently, some didn’t survive and the gardeners sliced pears from the stems and carefully placed them in a black sack, trying not to get pricked as they dragged them away to the cactus morgue.
I re-strung my 12-string Seagull today as we have a house concert on Saturday in Celina, Texas, and Houston, Austin, and San Antonio starting Thursday next week. I was wondering when I was going to do it with the schedule but I managed to find time whilst Fred was putting down an acoustic. It was good to be able to leave it overnight to get used to its new clothes and today I will stretch it in even more so it’s ready for Saturday. Guitars need to settle, otherwise, you are fighting them all night, you need them working with you, not against you, they have to be ready to do that.
Music today has been the oft-overlooked early Jeff Lynne recorded output before he was in The Move and latterly ELO. In 1968 and 1969 he released two albums as a member of the band The Idle Race. The first one, The Birthday Party (1968), is today’s album of the day and it’s a classic late-sixties psychedelic affair with all the songs written by and sung by Lynne. Whatever happened to the other band members, Dave Pritchard on guitar, Greg Masters on bass and Roger Spencer on drums, remains a mystery. Jeff Lynne’s talent is apparent early on with songs like The Birthday, On With The Show, and Morning Sunrise, with the album overrun with many twee novelty songs, a lot of the album is best listened to in the spirit of the times, you might want to dress in period dress for it.