Last day in the studio for Brian and stage one of his second Valley of Salt album. Today we are trying to get as many of the outstanding violin and guitar parts finished as Brian leaves early tomorrow. We started with Brian’s guitar, so many ideas, so many guitar parts, our job in the production and engineering team is to place them, get the sounds right, give each part its place to breathe. The soundscape of music, the interaction between instruments, the sonic balance, the bottom end, and the top end, the arrangement, the dynamics, and, oh yeah, the song.
The rain poured down in giant drops breaking the vice-light grip of Texan heat, and it’s only going to get worse, next week it will break 100 °F (38 °C). I remember the first time I left England, I left on a coach from Manchester with my friend Lesley, we were heading for the grape-picking season in the South of France. As I remember, we were promised a job when we arrived in Perpignan, but the coach just dropped us off and drove away. I was learning that the world isn’t quite as straightforward as it might have seemed from the safety of my parents’ house, stifling as it may have been.
It was the first time I’d experienced weather that was hotter than an English summer. I saw palm trees and exotic plants and the air felt different, the insects were larger and the sounds in the fields were unfamiliar. I can’t remember how we actually found work, but we found ourselves in a village close by called Maury, where we worked in the fields with a farmer and his family. We were getting paid 100 francs and three bottles of wine a day. I don’t drink wine, so I think I finished the job owed 42 bottles of wine. At some point, I lost my wallet. There was a speaker system in the village, and it was announced throughout that my wallet had been found, and I should come to collect it from the local bar. People were clapping as I ran up the hill, nothing was missing from the wallet.
Astrud Gilberto died today, her groundbreaking collaboration with Stan Getz broke Bossa Nova in America. The single The Girl from Ipanema (1964) went on to sell five million copies. They say (whoever ‘they’ are) that The Girl from Ipanema is the second most recorded song, after Yesterday. “It was written in 1962, with music by Antônio Carlos Jobim and Portuguese lyrics by Vinícius de Moraes. English lyrics were written later by Norman Gimbel.” The song was inspired by Heloísa Eneida Paes Pinto Mendes Pinheiro, who the songwriters saw walking on the beach.