This album is a bit of a time capsule and one I had intended keeping buried for a while longer. It features some difficult (for me) songs to hear- perhaps difficult for you to hear, too. While there are some pleasant vocals to my ears (and I’m my own worst critic) the voice on this record is not yet fully formed.
The music is sparse and mainly played by myself (rhythm & lead guitars, harmonica, bass, organ, piano and lead and backing vocals are performed by yours truly). Adding colour to and providing some sparkle to these wood n steel ballads are Andy Wood playing percussion, Almaz O’Hene on violin, Chris Murphy singing some lovely backing vocals (this was the start of a long and productive collaboration and friendship) and my brother Paul who plays some wonderful lead guitar on ‘Cherry Tobacco’ and ‘Only Came In For One’.
The songs on this album mainly were inspired by the death of someone close to me and as such, hearing it again has brought back memories of that time. The songs are honest, straight to the point and while I wouldn’t profess them to be amongst my best, there were some pleasant surprises on hearing the album again.
The song ‘Little Pieces’ is one I had forgotten all about and I was quite taken with it upon listening again. It’s a song that cuts to the heart of that time. Likewise, ‘Cherry Tobacco’ which is about me and my mates smoking the bequeathed titular tobacco (in reality vanilla but changed for poetic license) of our fallen friend. It’s what she would’ve wanted.
The song ‘Firewater’ which showed up on the Omaha High Low album gets a simple acoustic outing here with a nice Murphy backing vocal. ‘Love Henry’ is an old standard I had loved from Dylan’s World Gone Wrong album. It seemed to fit nicely on the record. Lots of harmonica on this record which I have not played much since (not such a bad thing you might argue).
The song ‘Tea Shirt’ was written by my good friend, mentor and inspiration Tommy Binks who also wrote a number of songs about our friend’s death. I chose this one however for its high lonesome melody and sense of longing. You can hear his original version on Tommy’s album ‘Feeling Brown and Smelling Green’. (Tommy's brother Joe Binks helped mix and produce the record).
There is not a great deal of light in the record – it is a late night listen. The songs strike me now as crushingly unbearably sad but with a thread throughout about the importance of friends. It allowed me to put my past behind me and started me on the musical journey I have taken ever since. The first incarnation of The Dead Comedians came from this album. It is an important record, for me, in that respect. It has long been out of print but I get people asking me every now and then about if it would ever be re-released. So, I present it here for those who have requested it. Hope you like it.
– Dave Woodcock 2013.
released March 1, 2007
words & music by Dave Woodcock
except 'Tea Shirt' (T.Binks), 'Love Henry' (Trad.)