Minds Music Monday – Sons And Fascination/Sister Feelings Call – Recording Begins

In a small village called Little Chalfont, in the Buckinghamshire countryside near the town of Amersham…. five band members and a producer that they (the band) admit to having slight reservations about (they wanted Todd Rundgren but he only worked out of Sigma Sound in New York and Virgin deemed the idea too expensive to hire him, then it was proposed they use Martin Rushent but he was unavailable, or Steve Lillywhite but he was deemed too expensive also at that point in time) enter a recording studio and started to record what would be, for me, quite possibly their most remarkable album(s). There may have been trepidation to start with. And it may have continued to be fraught with indecision, but what sprang forth from it, in hindsight, is…wondrous!

Steve Hillage sounded the least authoritarian producer you could wish for, which one could argue wasn’t what a still fledgeling Simple Minds needed at that point – their three album recording history with John Leckie meant that it was an entirely unknown dynamic for the boys when they entered Farmyard Studios with “old Cabbage Head” to record their 4th and 5th albums. They sounded as if they needed the discipline that Hillage lacked giving them – at the time – but it also released something profound too. Perhaps a modicum of freedom that they needed? Yes, it meant they were indecisive about which songs to work on, but wow! I mean, talk about spoilt for choice when you feel your hands are tied and say “we’ll take them all in!”

📸 Rupert Hine with Andy Scarth at Farmyard Studios
– curtesy of ruperthine.com

Perhaps this is why we’ll never see a Sons And Fascination/Sister Feelings Call boxset? Do we have it all already? Well…I can’t imagine that is true! Just last night on the Dream Giver site I read about demos that were recorded at CaVa Studios in Glasgow. And when I interviewed Jaine Henderson a couple of years back she had told me that initially Love Song was offered to her by Jim to perform and record. Imagine it! What would be their biggest hit of the time – until Promised You A Miracle is released 12 months later – might not have even been a Simple Minds hit! Jaine wasn’t persuaded. She wasn’t a singer or performer.

I’m guessing those CaVa demos are what ended up on the Silver Box set that Virgin brought out in 2004? There are demo versions of Love Song, The American, Careful In Career and Sweat In Bullet on there – as well as (dare I mention it?) the forgotten Life In Oils – which fell somewhere between the tracks of Empires And Dance and Sons/Sister. Already too much new stuff they were working on as the Sons/Sister sessions started, it got ditched, much to mine and John Leckie’s consternation.

They nearly called him (Leckie) back into the studio, they ended up so directionless with Hillage – but would we have ended up with what now feels like such a rich tapestry? The album needed to formulate and end up shaped in the way it was. A bulging overspill of creative energy. A band oozing with an abundance that sees them on the cusp of something grand. You can feel it. You can almost taste it! With long hindsight, and even with its (SUBTLE) imperfections both Jim and Charlie value it for the creative tour de force it was.

For your listening pleasure – a fantastic recording of them made in San Fransisco while they were on tour. Recorded by Frank Gallagher, no less, and aired exclusively on Billy Sloan’s radio show for Clyde Radio back in July, 1982. I’m assuming the recording was made the previous November as they played San Fransisco on November 7th, 1981. They didn’t tour the U.S. again until 1983 and SAF was no longer on the the setlist by then.

Enjoy!

Source material from simpleminds.org and ruperthine.com

Barras Bootleg At Christmas 1983 Is The Glittering Prize!

A “new” recording from Art & Talk was dropped late on Monday night. A true bootleg, recorded from within the crowd. For a bootleg, the quality is absolutely AMAZING!

They open with Waterfront. Jim intros it with “this is Barrowland, this is Christmas, you’re Glasgow and this is Waterfront.” Later on in the song, Jim says “this song is about Glasgow. There’s something about Glasgow, and other cities like Glasgow. People say Glasgow gets you down but I believe in Glasgow things are gonna turn around and go UP”.

That vision. That faith he has in the city it just feels sssooo contagious and beautiful. Even though in latter years he’s talked about it being all monochrome and that he and Charlie wanted to get out – not so much because they hated Glasgow – nothing like it – but that there was just a big old world out there to see and they wanted to see it. It was Wanderlust. And Glasgow is definitely not monochrome any more.

The love he has for Glasgow is so palpable in this.

Then on to The American. “Tonight’s a special night. It’s the first night of this new venue. The best venue. And this song is called…The American.” LISTEN TO THAT CROWD GO MENTAL!

The real special treat? Hearing White Hot Day. As it started to play I was thinking “what is this? It must be something off Sparkle, right? Or is it? Perhaps a different start to East At Easter? Maybe a different start to Book Of Brilliant Things? No… what is it?” And then Mick’s keyboards and Charlie’s guitar riff kick in and wow! “IT’S WHITE HOT DAY! OH MY GOD!”

Just beautiful! And Jim sings with such passion! The energy is astounding! It’s 3am when I’m listening and I just want to fling myself out of bed and just dance and scream and sing at the top of my lungs. Lol

Track of the track, it just builds and builds.

Up On The Catwalk – Jim changing the words to say “Get out of Glasgow, go up to Brixton”. I love those little things.

The intros of the songs are just so lovely. Promised You A Miracle and then Someone Somewhere In Summertime. During PYAM, he says, “I spoke to some people today. People who traveled from London and Birmingham and Manchester. People who traveled from France and Belgium. And I asked them ‘why’d you come to Glasgow?’ Do you know what they said? They said they’d heard it was the best audience in the world. (Crowd cheers) I’ve told you that before but you don’t believe me. And you’re right not believe me because I’m biased.”

Someone Somewhere In Summertime intro “for this next one, you’re gonna have to use your imagination. It’s cold outside but this is called…”

The interaction Jim has with the crowd throughout this gig is just so amazing. Even 12 months prior to this he seemed to struggle to be this engaging with the crowd. You could see and sense him slowly getting more comfortable during the New Gold Dream tour but I think the festivals in Europe during the spring and summer of 1983 really helped out with that. At least in part. A culmination of New Gold Dream being so well received, the band being so tight and on it, Mel joining – I think he gave Jim an added backbone of support. You can really feel that point Jim made when talking of Mel when he first joined the band. He said of him “with Mel behind me I feel 10 feet tall.” You can hear it!

Speaking of New Gold Dream – this version of the song is OUT OF THIS WORLD!

Finally, the fun of Love Song. Dedicating it to all the people who traveled to see them at Barras, and for all the local Glaswegians. And I loved the alternating line of “Scotland’s a boyfriend.”

An amazing, wonderful gig. I’ll stop waxing lyrical and let you enjoy it for yourself.

Thanks to Art & Talk for the upload – he promises a second night for us shortly…

P.S. Jim – I adore you, you beautiful man! Thank you for being the most amazing frontman ever! ❤️❤️

Studio Time – And Other News

Great news from Sarah Brown’s social media pages yesterday. Some more good news would be most welcome.

There is such conflicting stuff I’m seeing at the moment when it comes to live music. Who knows where we’ll be by the summer?

I’m not feeling very hopeful. The 1975 have cancelled all their 2021 dates, meanwhile Field Music have just announced a new tour for October – even in January, that seems ambitious.

We booked for Scritti Politti Cupid And Psyche ‘85 tour in September but…yeah, it’s already starting to look doubtful.

Simple Minds still have dates in March for France and Germany – yet to be rescheduled again. I guess they’re just abandoning them outright? Confirmation of a cancellation would be good right now.

My flights with EasyJet to France and Italy have been cancelled – with no dates for rescheduling so….

It doesn’t bear thinking about. Anyway.

Some good news, at least.

Slow News Sunday Summary – May 5th

This week in SNSS

  • Sir talks cinema and “sphericals”
  • Cherisse in Lisbon
  • Sarah on her Mahalia Jackson project
  • The Anchoress finalising artwork on album two

A couple of posts from Mr Kerr this week on going to the cinema and catching up on musical delights (or possibly lack thereof). He spoke of seeing the film Wild Rose. All that uplifting stuff in which someone with dogged determination and an overabundance of ambition goes from the streets of Glasgow to the Grand Ole Opry to become country music star goddess.

Sometimes I do believe he thinks we can ALL just do it, you know? Which is a great attitude to have…until you become disillusioned with all the people you feel who are not on a par with you and then it feels like it can lead to some inverted snobbery. It is how it can make me feel a lot of the time. You know…all I’ll ever be is a fan, a spectator, a cop out, a failure – not a doer….just some pathetic under-achiever, or even non-achiever.

Anyway, I run the risk of this becoming a diatribe.

Maybe if I’d had Jim’s “sphericals”, lol, I’d have felt able to achieve SOMETHING? Rather than feeling a constant “oxygen sapper”?

I digress.

The “sphericals” references today’s post in which he discussed Billy Sloan, their lasting friendship and their mostly matched up music tastes, apart from a recent unfortunate disagreement about new work from Mr Springsteen.

I also dare say at this point that Mr Kerr has a HUGE propensity for the ability to “dish it out, but not take it”. Yes, Siree! But I will go no further with that, and metaphorically bite my tongue until it bleeds.

The crux of the post was him actually admitting that maybe…just maybe, he can jump the gun AND be too quick to pass judgement sometimes! As much as I try to remind myself constantly, Jim Kerr *is* but a man and is susceptible to faux pas just like the rest of us mere mortals.

Cherisse is off on a short break in Portugal before she has a busy couple of months touring around the UK with Kelly Jones. I shall miss my tutoring. I am really getting into this drumming stuff! But I will practice, practice, practice! in the meantime.

Sarah has been in the recording studio working on her project to bring to the world the gift of musical mentor and inspiration, Mahalia Jackson. I, for one, an excited to hear what’s to come of this venture of Ms Brown’s.

The Anchoress is continuing on putting together the final touches of album number two. A test pressing came her way a couple of weeks back, and just this last week she has been at record label, KScope, working on the artwork for the album.

And that’s it, in a nutshell. Nothing else to report…

Until next week,
Roger – over and out!

Photo courtesy of The Parietal Eye

The Cross On Soundcloud For 24hrs

Yesterday I shared Francesca Froesch’s YouTube video of SM performing Prince’s The Cross at the KKL in Luzern, Switzerland. I wanted so many people to see it. I shared it on SM fan groups I’m a member of…and after a while, despite something telling me it would not be “de rigueur”, I shared it on the SMO Facebook visitor wall. IT NEEDED TO BEEN SEEN AND HEARD! As I feared, it was removed. I don’t know why – perhaps it is simply that they don’t want to tread on the toes of the Prince estate, or they just think “it ain’t up to much” – WHICH IS CRAZY!

Anyway, Gordon had a go last night. But that was removed, AGAIN. But…perhaps mine and Gordon’s efforts to try and do that persuaded the guys to do something to get it heard by other fans (Gordon’s fan group and my blog only spread so far in the Simple Minds fandom!). I’m kind of hoping it was our persuasion that made this possible.

So, here is a soundcheck version of The Cross made available to listen to for the next 24hours on SoundCloud:

As for the YouTube clip? My blog – my rules! It stays as long as the clip remains on YT! Thank you Francesca for recording such a precious gem! 🙂

Oh, To Be One…

Or even considered one…

An “old friend” that is. Less than two years into my fandom, I can hardly pass as an old friend! But could have been considered a new one, had I not gone into self-destruct mode and poured a whole heap of scorn on the idea.

Because, at the end of it all…it would just be so lovely and awesome to just talk to Jim. Just talk to him and spend time with him. Maybe one day a fleeting opportunity for a nanosecond in his presence will avail itself? One will eternally wish…

But, on the up side – THEY’RE RECORDING! :-))