Monday 24th September.
After a busy weekend of shows up north (Friday: Lytham St Annes - FAR, and Saturday: Manchester LESS FAR YET SOMEHOW FURTHER WHEN THEY SHUT THE M6 AND DETOUR YOU VIA AZERBAIJAN!) we headed into the studio (at a very relaxed midday) to record a new Rock and Roll Revolution album.
Our studio of choice is Soup Studio, set aboard an old lightship moored in an inlet off the River Thames, overlooking the Milennium Dome.
Soup is IDEAL for The Bluejays. All their gear (amplifiers, microphones, pianos, etc) is original 1950s/1960s PLUS they record to TAPE. None of this recording to solid-state laser moon rock like Beyonce does. Proper old-fashioned-impractical-highly-flammable-TAPE.
The awesome Simon Trought was producing, aided by, the always great-entertainment, Sam Beer (“Do you know any Yeast Guitarists…? I don’t but Johnny Marr might!”).
Simon and Sam spend the first hour of the day micing all the instruments. This involves putting tiny mice inside the drums and amps. The mice’s ears transmit the sounds into the control room and onto the tape. I may have this wrong. Maybe the word is ‘mic-ing’. Or perhaps ‘miking’.
Once the instruments are miked (Tyson on the drums, Myers on the bass and Oldfield on the piano), we’re ready to start recording.
Simon send us a mix back to our indiviual headphones so that we can all hear each other. The studio sounds great and it’s inspiring to hear how good everything sounds even before any tweaking.
For whatever reason, we started the session off with Jerry Lee Lewis’s 'Great Balls of Fire’. Not exactly easing ourselves into the day; the song, although only three chords, is pretty fiddly (particularly for Matt). It took two or three takes for us all to warm into it but Take Four was the one (Take One was No.2💩). Matt, being the multi-instrumentalist that he is, later added some harmonica to the track. We can’t wait for you to hear it.
The real revelation of the day was discovering Matt’s abilty to do an uncanny impression of a roll of sellotape. If you see him in the street, on the tube, wherever, stop him and ask him to do it.
He must have been sellotape in a past life.
Next up, we bashed out instrumental versions of ‘Johnny B. Goode’ (a song we’ve recorded three times previously but never been happy enough with to release #Perfectionists), ‘Stupid Cupid’, ‘Who’s Sorry Now?’, ‘Three Steps To Heaven’ and Bo Diddley.
Just as things were going smoothly…
… look who showed up.
Amelia Rendell arrived to add lead vocals to the two Connie Francis tracks we’d recorded. Much to our annoyance, Amelia is the real favourite with the Rock and Roll Revolution audiences. She’s become our secret weapon and is a massive part of the success of the show.
As with all secret weapons, we keep Amelia in a cave in North Korea and dismantle her whenever the UN come a-knockin’.
“Brilliant!”, “Fantastically talented!” and “Vocally gifted!”, are all ways Amelia likes to describe herself and again, annoyingly, she lived up to that today. We’re really excited for you all to hear these recordings as they’re quite a lot grander than anything we’ve attempted before.
Speaking of grand… then it was time for Ollie, Chris and Dan to record BVs (Industry speak for Backinulae Voculus - Latin for Backing Vocals). ‘Three Steps To Heaven’ is a beautiful song and one of our absolute favourites but, my word, it requires some serious singage. The BVs on the original recording are made up of four vocal lines - a bass, a baritone, a tenor and a eunuch. Ollie, being the versatile performer that he is, summoned up his inner Barrys White and Gibb, whilst Dan and I covered the middle lines.
8pm arrived, the bell rang and the teacher let us go home.
Still to do… BVs for ‘Who’s Sorry Now?’ (I might pull a sicky for that one), lead vocals for all tracks and brass parts where needed. We should get it all done in one more session.
We love to work to a deadline so today we decided that the album should be available on January 8th to coincide with the first date of our next tour.
Artwork to design, mechanical rights to apply for, manufacturing to arrange… here at The Bluejays, we love hard work - I’m sure we’ll get it all done.
Please make it all worthwhile by coming to see our show!
Brand new dates being added all the time. Check www.rockandrollrevolution.co.uk for venues!