The very first song we took to a studio was Lost Love Song, the last song on the album. We were very lucky to meet Paul Brooks, once the Musical Director for Cliff Richards and Shirley Bassey. Paul had recently opened a new studio in the Liverpool area, indeed we visited him in three different locations as he found somewhere suitable to settle.
Paul is a really nice person and made us feel at home right away. I was very nervous, but Bill seemed cool enough. Paul listened to our song on a simple cassette, then charted it all out on music “stave” paper. On later songs I would write the music down using the program ©Mozart. Paul was always helpful and showed me my mistakes. But he didn’t mess around when it came to the song and in next to no time, usually within 4 hours, we’d have a fantastic backing track for me to spoil by singing over!
“Grey Velvet Skies” is a waltz, quite popular with linedancers. A few of the songs have a linedance influence but you wouldn’t call them true Country songs Nashville style. There’s 8000 top Country songwriters in Nashville, so an outsider has next to no chance at all unless the song is really extra special. That’s going to take some doing.
No songwriter can judge his own song, I reckon; only the public can do that. A song on your “B” list might be more popular than your very own favourite. On this CD my favourite is track 2 “I only have tonight”. I performed this at a songwriting course in Chester and it was well received. “Distant Lights” we entered as a Song for Europe in 2003 – the year Britain got no points (nil pwah).
“See the Light” was written at the time of the songwriting course and people may have thought it was about a failed relationship. Yet it’s a song I wrote one night while my eyes were streaming with tears from laser eye surgery! (The surgeon’s still speaking to me too). This was recorded live in the class with about ten people joining in. I thought it was true to the spirit of the class and I like it as it is, production warts and all.
When our first CD was finished, we were fortunate to have it on sale in a local music store. It was a real treat to see it on the Easy Listening shelf alongside Nat King Cole and Sinatra. In fact, we were one of only a few people on the shelf that were still alive!
Billy and I set out to try and sell some songs while having a good time. We didn’t realise how good the song, the singing, and the production had to be, to be listened to for more than 15 seconds at a record label. It’s a really tough game, but we’re hoping that one day … after the grey velvet skies have dissipated … the Sun will shine again.
© zhonray 2010 Last updated: 23/02/2009