Information about the recording process of each track
By Clive Gray
Track 1 - Take a Walk in the Wilderness - Ricky Rooney
This was pretty much a first take. Recorded without click or any monitoring. A live microphone setup with average separation of vocal and guitar. Bass and two Stratocaster tracks were added to fill out the frequency range. The video is a live performance.
Track 2 - Tower Blocks - Neil Fraser & Nick Fry
Neil laid down a master guitar track , playing on his Gretsch, and without click. All overdubs were made over this track. Nick on bass (a nice Fender Jazz style bass ), and singing second vocals. There is a film on YouTube featuring a live version.
Track 3 Can't Find My Way Home - Demi Forsyth
Demi played guitar and sang at the same time with no click. It was pretty much a first take. Dobro was overdubbed about a week later. After some testing, she agreed that I should play the fretless Vantage bass. There is a film on YouTube with a live version.
Track 4 - Only a Fool - Chris Peebles & Richard Francis Parkinson (Scruff)
We started by creating a musical click track - in other words - drums, to which Chris played and sang at the same time. When Chris leaves the click timing leading up to a grand finale, the drums are replaced by the sound of explosions. The beginning is low in the mix, featuring Chris' Martin with dark (old) strings, leading to the "can you turn up the volume" effect. The track opens up with the full sound of the Breedlove (CG). Scruff plays the solos on his jazz guitar. I play Ventura fretless bass. Different song on this video clip.
Track 5 - Times Like These - Billy Briggs
We decided on a drum click track, and Billy played guitar and sang over this track. He doubled up his vocals, and they run as an effect below the main vocal track. I added fretless bass, some electric guitars and mandolin afterwards. The mandolin is used as a pad, where any standard production would have had a synth sound. There is a film on YouTube with a live version of this song.
Track 6 - Mike Bowden - Top Cat
This was quite an extensive production. Mike laid down the master track of guitar and vocals live with no click track, so Big Vern created a click track wth cabasa. Demi is singing the backing vocals and Big Vern plays percussion. The fretless bass and all the weird electric guitar were played in that extreme way after listening to the lyrics carefully. On YouTube there are various versions of this song.
Track 7 - Oh My Sweet Carolina - The Family
The recording session had officially ended, when this song was played more by coincidence and we were fortunate to capture it. Fiona sang the second voice and Kaelah plays the mandolin chords which more like a sound effect in the chorus. Kaelah came to the studio and learned the chords there and then before recording. The video shows the 'Family' live.
Track 8 - Leanabh an Áigh - Iain Gray
As Iain lays great importance on the clarity of the lyrics, we recorded all parts separately but in a live environment together with Bob and Eleanor, who are playing accordion and fiddle. I overdubbed the guitar track with Iain's Hanika classical guitar afterwards.
Iain's attention to the clarity of lyrics is exemplified by a film on YouTube, featuring a poetry reading by him. He is introduced in this film by Chris Oliver.
Track 9 - The Lovin' Cup - Nick Fry
Nick plays all instruments on this track except the bass. The solo guitar is played on the Breedlove acoustic guitar and then distorted in the mix to give edge. The film on YouTube does not feature this recording.
Track 10 - My Lord Willoughby's Welcome Home -
Jim's Verginal was recorded with two Pronomic mics. Once set up, he proceeded to play for about two and a half hours. A few minutes of these recordings are on the CD. On the video Jim plays 'Bach in the Boathouse'.
Track 11 - East Neuk Point of View - John Myles
This was a true first take. I asked John not sing the whole song when setting up the recording levels. That way all the focus would go into the first version he would sing. I later added the electric guitars (Strat) and fretless bass.
Track 12 - Nothing Compares to You - Sharon McNamara
Sharon laid down a master guitar track , playing her Taylor to a click. All overdubs were made over this track, with Bobby playing percussion. I added the bass and electric guitars. The film on YouTube features a live recording.
Track 13 - The Reaper - Dougie Andrews
Dougie laid down a master guitar track , playing on his Gibson J200, to a click. All overdubs were made over this track. Demi plays Mandolin and accordion. The mandolin has quite a tricky harmony line which Demi and worked while recording. The Vantage bass rounds off the recording. There is a live version on YouTube.
Track 14 - 42 inch TV - Scruff
We recorded Scruff playing his jazz guitar alone without click. He then added vocals. Only a fretless bass is added later. If you think you can hear something else going on, you are probably right. The video is of a different song.
Track 15 - The End o' an Auld Sang - Richard Wemyss
Richard and John met at the studio and talked about the structure of the song, as John did not know the song. I set up the mics, and did a signal check while they were talking and playing a few notes and chords. We then recorded a 'test' take. They had never played this song together, and it is that very first sounding of that tune together, you can hear on the CD. Another first take phenomena in its clearest expression.
Track 16 - Who Knows Where the Time Goes - Two Shades of Gray
John played guitar to a click track using 'Old Martin'. Then singing over the guitar track. I play the guitar as
we do live. Playing the fretless bass at the same time is only possible in a studio. There is a live version on YouTube.
Track 17 - Fisherman's Blues - Tay Sliders
The master track consisting of guitar (Big Al), accordion (Bob Amier, and bass ( Dick Halley) was recorded as a stereo mix down. Vocals and mandolin by Big Al, and Eleanor's violin followed on separate tracks. All instruments used where brought in by the band, so had probably been set up by Steve Agnew.
Track 18 - Two Sides - Chris Peebles
After recording with click with good results, we decided to see if it would sound more convincing without a click - and it definitely did. I doubled up the acoustic guitar with the Breedlove, and needed the best part of the morning to follow the subtle musical tempo variations. Scruff played the electric rhythm guitar in two takes. This was only possible for musicians who had been playing together for a long time (see text on 'Musicians' page 'Only a Fool'). I play a bright Strat rhythm guitar, added to lighten up the heavy Les Paul sound by Scruff. He also plays all solos on his Gibson. Bass is the Vantage (CG). You can here John Moncur and me on backing vocals.
Track 19 - Two Cigarettes - Mike Bowden
The recording process was identical to the track Top Cat described above with Big Vern on percussion. The other major musical elements come from Demi Forsyth's mandolin playing. The YouTube video has a different song but shows how Mike and Demi sound live together.
Track 20 - Hello in There - Bobby Bell
We had considered some other songs to record, but when playing through each one, we soon realised that this one wanted to be sung. It was pretty much a first with some pauses. Two electric guitars, and a bass track gave this emotive interpretation a backdrop.