Girl From The Neck Down – Part 2

The opening track on the album harks back to a song I wrote in 1986 for my first band, The Offbeats. “For The Millionth Time” was probably the best of a dozen songs we recorded at the now defunct Woolly Studios on the Isle of Sheppey and was earmarked for inclusion on our second album “I’ll Do To You What I Did To Rommel”(a line delivered by Derek Guyler in the 1971 film “Please Sir!”in case you’re wondering). The album was never released or even completed but the track did see the light of day via a German vinyl compilation album and an alternate mix reared it’s reverb-soaked head on a red flexi-disc, free with every copy of “In The Crowd” mod fanzine! Both are collectables now, so I am reliably informed. “For The Millionth Time” was intended as a blue eyed soul type stomper but I always felt the original was too fast and it lacked a horn section so when it came to recording the Suzi Chunk version I made sure it was closer to my original idea. This new version has a much more soulful mood to it.

“I Can’t Stand Mirrors (And I’m Scared Of Heights)” was a song I wrote to accompany a little animated film I made a few years ago for a laugh. It was a straight ahead 12-bar rock’n’roll tune which I ended up singing on the demo in cod Elvis style. When the fun was over I locked the demo away and almost forgot about it until I was looking for exactly that type of song for Suzi’s album. On the new version John Littlefair once again provides a great horn section and the track does what it says on the tin.

“Wish Away The Moon” almost didn’t make it on to the album. In fact I wasn’t going to play it to Suzi at all. The song was heavily inspired by Harry Nilsson and I  liked it a lot but after listening back to my own demo I didn’t think it would be Suzi’s thing. Too soft and fragile perhaps. In the end I persuaded myself to send it to her. A few days passed without a response and I thought my instincts had been correct. Then I received a 3 word e-mail: “That is beautiful!” When it came to recording I wanted to evoke a certain amount of vulnerability-a touch of Nick Drake or Vashti Bunyan. Barely there. So the line-up is simply Mole on double bass, me on acoustic guitars and Suzi on vocals. The fragility in her voice on this track is…. something else. If your bottom lip doesn’t tremble just a little bit then you are, frankly, not human.

The final track on side one (it feels good to still be able to say that in this digital age) is the title song “Girl From The Neck Down”. Returning home from the Purple Weekend Festival in Leon, Spain last December (after Groovy Uncle had played a rare and most enjoyable gig) Suzi said something which prompted me to say “You sound like a girl”. She responded with “That’s because I am a girl! But only from the neck down”. I didn’t say anything at the time but I knew I wanted to use that phrase. A few weeks later I called to ask what she thought of “Girl From The Neck Down” as an album title. She loved it. “OK we’ve got the title so I’ll see if I can come up with the song“, I said. The rest of the day was spent writing what turned out to be a quirky,country- tinged number with a bit of a nod to Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazelwood. A couple of people have already said it’s a favourite. It’s a catchy little number and I’m pleased with it considering it’s the only track on the album that could arguably be described as filler.

See ya on the flip side!

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