Monday, 29 October 2012

Little Martha is out today

and here are a few words from David about each track on the album:

1. YES! JESUS LOVES MEAn Episcopal hymn learnt from a John Fahey record.
2. EMBRYONIC JOURNEYFrom Jefferson Airplane's 'Surrealistic Pillow', which is a rubbish album. This is a nice tune, though. 
3. BIRTHDAY SONG FOR NINASimon called me a cheapskate when I told him the title of this one. I didn't actually try to pass it off as a present.
4. LITTLE MARTHAWritten by the immensely talented Duane Allman. Such a sweet little tune. He recorded it a few weeks before his death in 1971, in a motorbike accident at the age of 24. Leo Kottke, who ought to know, called this ''the most perfect guitar song ever written''. My version doesn't do justice to it. It's well worth hearing both the original and Kottke's cover of it. It was Simon Trought's idea to name the album after this song.
5. BOXING YOUR BIRTHDAYA companion song to track 3. It isn't at all obvious how you are supposed to title instrumentals. I made up the titles for my ones on the day, to be honest. 
6. THE SUNSHINE HOTELThis is named after a radio documentary which I heard the evening before I went into the studio.
7. HAPPY MICHAELFor my father, Michael Tattersall. My first guitar teacher, and the one who introduced me to all the guitar music I love to this day.
8. THE RED PONYFahey again, but the long improvised section in the middle is all mine. Very indebted to Skip James' eerie use of D-Minor tuning. Skip James sounds like a ghost. If you hear him sing, you'll know what I mean.
9. CANDY MANFrom the king of ragtime guitar, and one of my many great heroes, Rev. Gary Davis, the funnest guitar player of all time.
10. GREAT DREAM FROM HEAVENA Joseph Spence tune. Spence was a Bahamian madman/genius - a true original of the acoustic guitar. I tried to get a little of his idiosyncratic heavily-syncopated style into this one. Playing this kind of stuff is all about the right hand. Rock guitarists are obsessed with the left hand. Except the left-handed ones, funnily enough.  
11. JOE KIRBY'S BLUESAnother John Fahey tune, with a long improvisation in A Minor. This is probably the most like my solos on the electric guitar on Wave Pictures tracks, but it isn't much like that.
12. BLACK MUDDY RIVERI learnt this tune from Norma Waterson's self-titled album. This is the only instrumental version that exists to my knowledge and my tune is so different I was tempted to give it a different name and pretend I wrote it from scratch. I didn't though. So I guess it's a variation on Norma's cover of some Grateful Dead thing. I have played this for so long I can no longer remember what the original sounds like. I play this with a brass slide. I always think about Ry Cooder when I play slide guitar. He is the cleanest and most expressive slide guitar player I've ever heard.
13. I WISH I KNEW HOW IT WOULD FEEL TO BE FREEAn American civil rights anthem, famously recorded by Nina Simone, perhaps more familiar now as the theme song to that BBC film review show. It's a lovely tune. I still haven't decided whether or not I like Claudia Winkleman. I think I do, but feel guilty about it, because she's clearly not good at reviewing films. 
14. POOR BOY LONG WAYS FROM HOMEThe blues. I love the blues. This is folk blues I suppose, or country blues. Whatever. Almost all the bluesmen did some or other variation on this theme or this title back in the day. Franic plays his socks off on the mandolin on this one. You can learn how to play this directly from John Fahey himself; the lesson is posted on YouTube.

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