Wednesday, April 8, 2009

TUESDAY, JUNE 17, 2008


I was drinking Southern Comfort when I began thinking about making "WORKING" and of course I was still taking pills. The reason that I got started on Southern Comfort was because of JANICE JOPLIN, who drank that stuff by choice. In 67 or 68 I had watched BLUE CHEER and JANICE do a gig at the WHISKEY A GO GO. Afterwards I ended up at a cabin style motel in Hollywood, on Sunset Blvd., east of La Brea I think, with two members of BLUE CHEER to see Janice, who was staying there. We waited around for a while and she finally showed up with a quart of Southern Comfort in her hand. She was laughing and joking with the two guys from the Cheer, who she knew well from San Franciso, and kinda glanced over at me like a candy bar.

I remember watching her put that bottle to her mouth and chug a lugging an amazing amount of alcohol on the spot. I was so impressed by her ability to consume that much booze that quickly, that I became a fervent user of the stuff, and always told people about Janice when they asked how I could drink that shit. The reason we were all at the motel to meet with Janice was kind of a cattle call for her, somethings guys have been doing forever. In Janice's case it was in reverse. She wanted to look the goods over and pick one as her choice. On that particular night I guess I didn't strike her fancy, I didn't know whether I should have felt lucky or insulted.

Anyway that's why I started drinking Southern Comfort, which is a lethally sweet alcohol, in your choice of 86 or a 100 proof, I drank the latter. As the possibility of making another album became more and more a reality I thought long and hard about the enormous amount of controversy some of my song writing had created. I thought that possibly using other people's songs might be a worthwhile change if I actually did do another album. I can't really remember how much I discussed this with Steve Clark and Bob Ross, but as a fact it became reality.

There was another fact that played in this outcome and that was that I used to sit at the piano and actually play these songs and sing them like a live solo performance. COLOR HIM IN had been all overdubs. That means, if you don't know, that the musicians played the music track without me singing and then when they were done I would listen to what they did on earphones and sing along after the fact. It's a common way of recording, but a lot of the time it just kills the performance of live recording. So in the case of "WORKING" one of the things I wanted to do was to make it more "live." The fact that I could and did sit down and play these songs was one of the reasons the selections were chosen in the long run.

There were three songs written by me, "PALO ALTO" "BROKEN WINDOWS" and "BOUT BEIN YOUNG" that no one could be upset by for being "out there". If anything those three songs were as easy going as I could get. "PALO ALTO" was my answer to JIMMY WEBB'S "WICHITA LINEMAN" which I thought was a masterpiece by WEBB. "BOUT BEIN YOUNG" was my Dean Martin impression after hanging around his house for all those months and "BROKEN WINDOWS" was just a country song I wrote for the hell of it.

The rest of the songs were things I liked and played, with the exception of "GENTLE ON MY MIND". The reason that I cut that song the way I did is because of JOE COCKER'S version of THE BEATLES "WITH A LITTLE HELP FROM MY FRIENDS". If you know that rendition you'll know that Joe Cocker made it into a soulful remake that was a hit, so that's how my version of "GENTLE ON MY MIND" came into being. Don't get me wrong I actually played this song a lot before I cut it, but the GLEN CAMPBELL version was hard to top, so I reworked the song on the basis I outlined for a different approach and feeling. The rest of the songs on the album all have a story and I will go into them as best I can in my next post.

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