Fell in Love
From the absolute bottom of Big Dave’s bottom drawer. The lyric is dated November 19, 1978. So from at least a year before we met. And no mention of Rick Jones, either. Just a lonely P at the top, indicating that this is a solo effort. I hung on to it for ages, constantly fiddling with the melody. Which explains why it stayed unrecorded until now. Jo was amazed… “you’ve been holding this one back all this time?” In the end I liked it so much that I chose it to kick off the album, despite it being a slow, romantic little number. But I couldn’t resist…it gave me goose bumps in the studio. Sadly, Dave would never have heard this version. If only…
From the late 80s/ early 90s. Written in Paris on one of my flying visits. Happy days. I worried at the time that there was not enough going on…a nice Mystery Train style groove but would it hold the interest for three minutes or so? I tried to get Pierce to write a sort of rhythmic rap to fill out the long pauses between the endless Corporations. I’m doing a proper Facebook post on all this to show what we were up to. And then you can hear the rough cassette notes with Dave on rap duty, so to speak. When it came to this recording, Jo immediately started to put in some terrific fills and suddenly all my doubts evaporated. And the groove he gets is fantastic. Just rolls along. I had intended to make this track one, but Fell in Love won in the end.
Don't You Wait Up for Me
One of mine, from about 1973. One of the few songs I managed to write while juggling a growing family and a busy acting career. When I played it to Dave some years later he said “that’s a terrific line about Omaha. So pleased I came up with it”. I then had to explain to him that I’d written the entire song years earlier. But to be fair, he could never remember what we’d written. “We wrote that? Really? It’s very good.” Many years later, Jo sometime says that he doesn’t know how I remember all the songs in the drawer. They’re my babies, I guess. You just don’t forget them.
I Need a West Wind
A late song, written in the 2000s. Actually, pieced together on Skype from some fragments. I played it to Chad and he loved it. But sadly we never got around to recording it, even on a demo. I’m all too aware that that it’s really only one verse, much repeated, but that’s all I could get out of Pierce, increasingly unwell at the time. Saved, yet again, by Jo with a killer groove.
Can't Blame a Guy for Trying
Much cogitation here about this one. Another late one, written on Skype, once again working from bits and pieces. I probably shouldn’t admit this as it might all pass unnoticed, just another little tune. But in these awakened times, can one get away with what does seem to be, at the least, a pretty clumsy pass? Or am I being too sensitive? I hope so, no offence taken, and a nifty melody to boot.
King Me the First
Another one from the 90s. Fun times in Paris. And, yes, I am aware that one cannot vote for a monarch. But, hey, it’s a joke, folks. And a good one at that. And who else but Pierce could get in a mother-in-law gag? Total respect. Originally the last lines were… “no one but King Me and my dog, and Miss Kansas 1993”. Much later, I went over all the songs and tried to remove as many of the specific references to date and time as possible. They date the song immediately. More on this later, as you will see. Anyway, Dave came up with “three years in a row” and the problem was solved.
Hard to date this one. My only copy is in my handwriting, actually a scrawled mess with some chord notations. This usually means that it dates from the 2000s, therefore after Dave’s stroke, an appalling shock. I think we both assumed that was the end of our songwriting efforts. But, miraculously, he retained enough of his genius to continue to pour out yet more verse, some of it as good as before. This is one of those. Brilliantly dry and ironic. I’ve often thought it might suit a female voice. The breakup song, reworked.
Add it Up
As mentioned above in Track 6, specific references can be tricky. Taxman, for example, by the Fabs. “That there Mr Wilson, that there Mr Heath”. Baffling, no doubt, to younger listeners. And so here we are with Sandra Dee and Brigitte the way she used to be. What to do? I tinkered with it occasionally, maybe put in some more up to date names, but with Big Dave no longer here, and no flashes of brilliance on my part, best to leave it as written. A blast from a dim and distant past. As a child David had written to join the Annette Funicello fan club. The reply was proudly framed and displayed on his wall. I fear the reference was lost on his younger visitors, or anybody French for that matter. But at least they would know who Brigitte was.
In Your Dreams
I’ve mentioned before that when Dave was stuck for something to write about, and he wrote something every day, he would revert to that old standby, Dreams. And Dreaming. Or any combination of the two. After a while these Dream Songs began to pile up and one of the problems when trying to divide up the catalogue into albums was to make sure that the Dreams were scattered throughout the collection. Another late one, another Skype meeting, another Dream song.
A Heady and Bewildering Affair
Once again, another song David never got to hear. I see from the email that I sent him on May 6, 2014 that I had worked his notes into a complete song. But I believe he was in hospital by this time and although he could see that the lyric was now tidied up and on the page, he never heard the tune. By that time even Skype was impossible. I fiddled with several versions, sometimes setting the tune in a sort of Folky Romantic way, which comes all too easily to me, but then settled for an island lilt which seemed to fit perfectly. I can say with confidence that this version would had the Big Dave Seal Of Approval.
I've Got It
This song really became relevant with the arrival of the dreaded pandemic. Written in the early 90s by the look of the typewritten page. I cut the last two lines in the original, a sort of coda that Dave often used to add at the end. So, after the last “Whatever it is has got me” he then adds…” Figure I got it from you, babe, cause I know you got it too.” Well, I often used to try and lose “babe” and similar things like that, but in any event I reckoned the point had been made already. For a while I thought of adding a background vocal. “Love, love, love” as in All You Need Is, but then again…when in doubt, cut it.
Two Two Two
Many of David’s lyrics from the 70s seem to take place in some mythical America; hints of Damon Runyon, or Norman Rockwell. This one is dated July of 1979, so once again before we met. This style suited Meal Ticket, the band that he and Rick Jones were writing for. They tended to specialise in a sort of British Tex Mex sound. After we met, and particularly after he moved to Paris, his style changed, which was much more in my style. But here is 222, seemingly from some 1950’s lost New York musical, a world in which your suit might well be in hock and the rackets are a part of daily life.
So Sorry, My Dear
This was recorded for BDS4, Paul Tarry on drums. I parked it for later, not quite sure where it fitted. But now we are getting down to the bottom of the drawer and it’s time for it to fly free. The problem is that it has quite a sour taste, a revenge song. Another one that might well have come from a lost musical, possibly, yet again , sung by a woman. A splendid put down of some faithless ex lover. And I particularly like Jo’s guitar work here. It had to live, despite my initial doubts.
Kicking Us Out of Heaven
Listening to the playback in the studio, yet again I was amazed by Dave’s astonishing imagination. Who else would have come up with this celestial fantasy? I think the clue is in the word Angel, rather like Dreams, a bit of a standby subject. And then of course there is Tim Maple’s glorious guitar picking. He gave us a day in the studio about four years ago, and in one astonishing session he laid down a collection of country picking and funky licks which we are still happily using. One other thing…it tends to pass unnoticed, but throughout the BDS sessions, not only is Jo playing his own brilliant guitar parts, but also putting down some superb bass playing. As well as recording the whole thing. I am truly lucky.