Saturday, April 11, 2009

(Part 23) Me, Mick, And Andrew In The Studio


After sometime everybody ended up in the studio with Andrew. I had not heard anything up until then about what he wanted to work on with me and it was a burning question in my mind. For a couple of months, before ever coming to England I'd wondered about what we would do and now was the time! I was about to be told what Andrew's ideas were and what my part in it would be. He said he was going to play me a track that he'd already recorded called "All I Want Is My Baby".

He signaled the engineer to roll the tape and I listened intently to what came out of the speakers. It sounded a bit like a Phil Spector track, but not as well organized. In the middle of the song was a guitar solo on fuzz tone that at that time was pretty off the wall. You gotta remember this was before Jimmy Hendrix and the feed back guitars of a year or so later. I liked the guitar thing, but the song didn't sound like anything remotely close to what I did. The tape came to an end and Andrew and Mick looked at me in anticipation of my reaction.

"Well whatta you think Bobby, is that fucking great or what man?" asked Andrew. I was stuck. I didn't want to say the wrong thing, but I didn't want to be forced to lie about my opinion either. "Yeah, well that's pretty cool Andrew and I really like that guitar part, but I don't know if it's my kind of song I mean something that I'd do." There was an uncomfortable moment. "Well let me play it again and show you how the vocals supposed to go so you can get a better idea of what I want." said Andrew. "Ok." I said reluctantly. I felt the world shifting again and I didn't know what to do except go along with him. I eyed Peter and Lee to look for support, but they seemed unaware of my growing discomfort with the song.

Andrew again signaled for the tape to roll and the song boomed out again through the studio. Andrew had the lyrics and started singing them for me and Mick was filling in with back up chorus stuff. It was quite a spectacle. I tried hard to concentrate on what Andrew wanted and eyed the lyric sheet trying to sing what he was singing. I felt like shit inside and that old "I don't want to do this" part of me was kicking my ass. I just kept baring down on the work in front of me trying to latch on to the feel of the song, but it was no good.

I waved at Andrew to stop the tape so I could talk to him and the studio went quiet. "What's wrong Bobby?" he asked, "Look Andrew," I said, "I don't think this is my kinda song. Can't I play you a couple of things I wrote so you can get an idea of how I sing?" He looked at me and said, "No. I'm not interested in hearing your songs right now. I need you to concentrate on this song and get the vocal right, because I know you can." He'd said no and challenged me at the same time. He was trying to get me to go along with him so I said, "Ok play it again." The song played over and over and over. It got better, but I never thought it was much good. My vocals were just disconnected. I was jet lagged and miserable. I was ready to walk out, but stayed.

Andrew suggested cutting my vocal with the track so I could get a better idea of what it sounded like by hearing it. I agreed and we pushed on. At one point Mick and Andrew teamed up on background vocals as I sang the lead. After hours of working Andrew finally said that was enough. What a relief I thought, I felt exhausted. Andrew seemed pleased about what we had done, but I was not. We had also worked on the b side for a while just to change the pace. The song was Mick's and was called "Each And Every Day" and was easier to learn and sing than "All I Want Is My Baby" which Keith Richards had written.

As we gathered our stuff together I shook everybody's hand and told Andrew that I was starting to get it and with a little more work we could probably record it. He smiled and agreed and I felt somewhat better as Peter, Lee, and I departed. I don't remember if I ever talked to Andrew again after that day, but the rough track I was told was just for rehearsal was released on Decca records, as is, with a whole crap load of publicity and there was nothing I could do about it.

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