Vinyl, Abbey Road and Pieces of Gold

Vinyl, Abbey Road and Pieces of Gold

With the current trend of bands returning to releasing vinyl records I’ve cast my mind back to 1990 and the making of Pieces of Gold.

I recorded & mixed four tracks in my studio at Warp Farm throughout January and February and then put them out on a cassette to see which two tracks would be the best for a single. Once everyone had chipped in with their thoughts we decided on Mandy is Missing and Pieces of Gold.

In June, I went down to Abbey Road studios in London to finish the mastering and cut the master lacquer. At the time Mandy is Missing was slated for the A side and Pieces of Gold the B side.  I went down to observe and was very impressed by how much they were able to do. The mastering engineer had just finished working on MC Hammer’s latest single.

My songs were both over 4 mins 20 secs and therefore getting a bit on the long side. This meant that we couldn’t have the bass as “deep” as we would have liked. The options were: edit it down to 3 and a half mins, release it on 12 inch or leave it alone. We left it alone and I was still overjoyed at the end result.

When we passed around the test copy it soon became apparent that Pieces was going to be more instantly popular than Mandy. So, we put it out as a double A under our band name 1159. This set off a sequence of events. Firstly we got some good reviews in the music press which then got 5 record labels asking to meet up with us and the chance of a major deal. Secondly we got a letter from another band called 1159 threatening legal action if we continued to use the name. This led to me having to get the singles re-stickered that had already been manufactured. It was at this point I decided that I would always put stuff out under my own name since it is my belief that you can’t sue someone for using their own name.

Stuart

Below is the video of the new recording of “Pieces of Gold”, March 2018.

 

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Sound on Sound

Sound on Sound

These days my computer allows me to record as many crystal clear tracks as I like, probably too many, but when I recorded my first song things were a whole lot different.

I was 10 years old and I had a Philips cassette player/recorder. It could record one take and play it back. I remember my brother used it to record Bohemian Rhapsody off Top of The Pops, the first time it was in the charts.

Anyway, I would record myself strumming away then play and sing along with the recording. And that was it until in ’78 we got a stereo sound system with another cassette recorder built in.

Now I could play and sing along to my first recording using the Philips and record the result on the new system. This is like a LoFi version of what loopers do these days.

The problem with this is that if you then take the resulting recording and try to do it again and add a third “track” the resultant hiss is generally unbearable and there is little in the way you can “mix” the track. Great for song writing ideas though.

So with a £16 cassette recorder and a bit off ingenuity my song writing and recording career was on it’s way.

Stuart

This one’s similar but not quite the same as the one we had. This one looks a bit posher.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blackberry Way – The Move

Blackberry Way – The Move

My earliest childhood memory of “getting into” a song was when I was only 4 years old. My mother bought my brother and I a copy of The Move’s Blackberry Way. I wasn’t even old enough to have a clue what the words were but I happily listened to it time after time. Now I listen to it and realise that it’s wonderful melody, the orchestration, the hint of psychedelia and melancholy is something I am still constantly striving to achieve with my own material.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blackberry_Way