People & Places
"PEOPLE and PLACES is what the songs are about," Angotti says. The record represents Phil's best work to date and the maturity of his song writing will be obvious to the listener. Angotti's deeply rooted love for 'Beatles' style Pop continues in this collection of original songs although; he includes a country influenced song "Same Ol' We" and a fabulous heartfelt contemporary ballad "Parting for Awhile" Accompanying Phil, as he plays and sings his way through the carefully thought-out song order, are some of the finest musicians performing in and around Chicago, Illinois today. This is a must hear album from a great composer / songwriter. The following album notes were written by Phil Angotti, about his inspiration for the songs, instrumentation, and the musicians that played on the record. #1] My Ol' Records This song is actually a sequel to "Psychedelic Sunday" from my East Side Soul album. Another song declaring my love for 33 1/3 vinyl records. Instead of talking about the actual albums, it's really more about a place, my old room at my parent's house. When I go there to visit yet today I find myself going into my room and looking through my old books, magazines, letters, flyers from gigs, drawings and writings that I did, and of course my records. When you move, the heaviest and most important boxes are your records. As I say in the song, "I can't believe that everything is still here, but I'll save it all my dear... for at least another year." #2] You Were Right (Probably) A sort of confessional song, but not really it is not directed toward any one person, but to situations where you realize you were wrong. "I thought I was the king" refers to our feeling of being invincible when we are young and not being able to admit when we are wrong. Thankfully those thoughts change a bit as we grow older; I think? It's also a tribute to Tom Petty, as you can hear in my vocal delivery. I am playing a couple of my old Rickenbacker guitars on this one. #3] I'm Yer Man I've never spent so long writing, arranging, or mixing a song! It's not that complicated, but it just didn't feel right. Although, I always thought it was a good song and worth continuing to work on. I recorded it once after I finished "East Side Soul" but then decided to scrap it. I brought it back to life when we started playing it on our live sets. It started to shape up, but still wasn't quite there. We finally recorded it again and I thought we had it this time as the vibe felt great. The jazzy middle part still drove me crazy, but I liked it. During overdubs it came to me that the part should be a piano break instead of guitar and that's what we did. The piano really pulls the song together. The vocal is pretty high, inspired by the Shins, a favorite band of mine. I added several layers of guitar parts and background vocals. We pulled the electric guitars back somewhat in the second verse so you can hear the drums and acoustic chugging the rhythm together. The lyrics are fun and conversational and fit the groove of the song. A very fun song to play live. #4] I Guess My favorite song on the album I wrote it about a couple of friends who were struggling in their life somewhat. It melds together lyrically, as if I were speaking to just one person. I'm telling them it will be alright, if they believe it will. It is simple and to the point, but does not give too much away..."I guess". #5] Same Ol' We My first real country song though I've written a few over the years. This time I wanted to really get into the feel, so I asked Chicago guitar legend Joel Patterson to come in and play pedal steel. Joel suggested that I play the guitar solo, so I brought in two of my old Gretsches'. The first part is played on a '66 Country Gentleman, the second part on my '64 Tennessean. Jacky Dustin from the Nashville band "The August," came in and sing harmony and second lead vocal. She really helps move the song to the country feel that I was looking for. The lyrics are my poke at country lyric writing "same ol' you, same ol' me, same ol' song, same ol' we..." kind of like an old country couple fighting over something or another. #6] Whatever Happened To... In the last year or so, I put together a few shows with various band members to perform my favorite Paul McCartney album "Ram." I had my ukulele around, probably going over "Ram" one day playing some chords and came up with this song. I taped it so I'd remember it and wrote down some lyrics. Since the song had a sad, whimsical sound to it, I thought about writing something like "whatever happened to..." Things like my grandma's old record player, where as a child I'd stand and watch the records spin around and around. It was an old tube driven record player built into a television console and my teeth marks were in the wood on the top of the cabinet. So, when the needle touched the record, it would make a loud boom sound. I can still smell the wood and see the old records going' around. I also put in a line about my daughter and the pictures she draws for me all the time. The gorgeous viola part added a lovely mournful sound to the song. I played three different uke's, a concert, a soprano and a baritone. An '80's "Nashville tuned" Kim Leland Schwartz acoustic guitar, a '64 Gibson Hummingbird six string acoustic, and a '64 Hofner bass filled out the instruments arrangement. I love how you can hear the squeaks and scratches of the wooden acoustic instruments on the recording; a departure from modern over processed and generic sounding instruments. I also did the lead vocal in one take all the way through, and we left it. "It's so much better when you sing along!" I'm sure you'll get it when you listen. #7] Broken Baby Doll House This is the oldest song on the album. I did a version of this song years ago with my band the Idea for an IPO promotional CD that we gave away one year. I didn't change the arrangement much for this version, but the piano is a nice change from the staccato guitar, drum intro and middle parts. Very '60's pop harmonies and "bops' throughout. The song title was influenced by the original title of the Beatles white album "A Doll's House." I wrote it with the image of a little girls doll house in an adult world (my daughter strikes again). The lyrics, are simple, but that's the messages: "poor little girl in her miniature world." #8] Railroad Angel Possibly the first new song of the bunch, I developed the arrangement while playing it live. It is recorded pretty much the way we do it live. It is written about my memories of being on the train tracks behind the Short Line on 97th and Avenue L; just below the Skyway bridge in East Chicago. A place I hung around a lot as a kid; even now I occasionally stop by and have a walk. In fact, we shot part of our new video "Parting for Awhile" at this location. The tracks run along the Calumet River, where also stands an old railroad bridge, the "Jackknife" bridge as many people call it. The "Jackknife" bridge was hit by a freighter several years ago and two huge grain elevators stood there also, but now only one. These images have been implanted in my brain since I was a young boy. The railroad angel is actually the big black railroad bridge. The jackknife sections are the wings pointing back home and that's what I am alluding to in the lyrics. Mixed in with dreams that I often have about walking there are the river barges and the trains. I have climbed the grain elevator and walked across the Skyway catwalk. The line "singin' songs that wanna soothe me" is a nod to my bass player friend, Casey. The line "walkin' on the water" is as spiritual as I've ever been in any of my songs. But, this is a special tune that came so naturally without much thought... #9] National '36 The last song we recorded for the album. We went into the studio to record basic tracks for "Parting For Awhile." After we finished I figured why not give this new rocker that I was working on a try? It was so new we hadn't even played it out yet. We ran through it a few times and put it down. The song takes it's name from a 1936 National Steel Dobro guitar that a customer brought into the store for us to sell. Our guitar teacher at Ave N Guitars, Nick Boettcher ended up buying it so I named the song after the guitar. Nick plays the solo on the National '36 and I pulled out a 1970 Gibson Les Paul Custom and a 1960 Fender Telecaster for the "Keith Richards" influenced guitar parts. "My tribute to the Stones!" #10] Sorry About the Accordion, Jill One night about 6 years ago, the "Beatle Brothers" played a Christmas party at Fitzgerald's in Berwyn, Illinois; a fantastic music venue and a place all of us musicians love to play. Being a private party, and a festive one at that' an apparently over-served Phil Angotti (me) decided it would be a fine idea to take a "sharpie" and sign an old accordion that was hanging on the wall next to the stage. After all, there were several signatures already written on the keys of this old instrument and in my over-served condition, I thought I should add my name. I went home and thought nothing of it... 'til one day (a few weeks later) I got a call from Bill Fitzgerald himself. I was thinking, great he wants to book my band!" since he never really called me before. But, my happiness turned to horror as he asked me if I knew anything about my signature on the accordion. I panicked, and truly couldn't even remember doing it. He gave me every out to deny it, saying perhaps it was one of the guys or a fan? I told him I didn't remember doing it, but I said it must have been me. He wasn't yelling or being nasty, but he was not happy about it, as he explained this was an old accordion and signed only by real accordion players who have performed there over the years. I hung up, called Casey to check if he had remembered me doing it, and he said "yep you sure did!" I called Bill right back and apologized, feeling like a complete turd. I told him I'd have our repair shop try to carefully remove the signature but nothing ever came of it. Many times after this when we've played there, I still feel embarrassed and weird around Bill. It has taken some time for me to feel comfortable there again. I think Bill has forgiven me but, my guilt remains so I thought: "it would be good to write a song about the event." I had the title around for awhile. I wrote the melody on an old 1937 Gibson "Nick Lucas" guitar (like the one Dylan used to play in the '60s) but tuned down one whole step, so it takes on the haunting sound heard in the song. I changed the story and the name, but there's definitely a connection to what happened. In the song the accordion is hanging on a wall at a girl's house. It belonged to her grandfather, and I'm there visiting and I wrote on it... I apologize by saying "something forced my hand against my will" The words tell the story. I used the "Nick Lucas" on the recording, a Danelectro baritone guitar, and a '63 Gibson ES345. Chuck Bontrager layered on a bunch of viola and violin parts that create a very interesting sound. When I hear the fade out I feel like the accordion is breathing, almost letting it's air out telling the story. #11] Me and Donnie Vee A song I wrote about my old friend and musical partner Donnie Vie (Enuff Z'Nuff.) We reunited last year, played a couple of shows together, and still sounded like we did when we were in our younger days. I often wondered what would have happened if we'd stayed together? We still sing pretty darn good together. I recorded this on acoustic as a demo at ouR House but we decided to keep it and later added drums and bass. I played a few different guitars including a '66 Rickenbacker twelve string, two different Gibson J160Es, and a '64 Fender Jazzmaster. "just a song for a friend I hardly see..." #12] Parting For Awhile I wrote this song in memory of my friend Carlos Gomez Hernandez, who tragically passed away last January from cancer. I am singing it to everyone who loved him, consoling them and myself at the same time. I knew Carlos for many years. He would ride with me to Beatle Brothers and Idea shows. He used to come over to my house to get strings changed on his Rickenbacker or to just hang out and talk about music and guitars. We loved the Beatles, but particularly John, and the little 325 Rick'. I have so many great memories of Carlos and had a hard time writing the song. I didn't want it to be too sad or sound forced. This recorded version included on this record was my second attempt at it, the first one just wasn't right. I first sang the song at the second tribute show we did for Carlos, and I knew it touched everyone, but I was OK doing it. "Parting For Awhile" is about the hope of meeting up with a loved one again. A theme that has been used in music many times over the years. The arrangement is a nod to the other great Liverpool band "Badfinger;" a band Carlos and I both really loved. My sister Tina sings with me on harmony vocals. Tina was in visiting after losing a loved one herself, so I asked her to sing the harmony part and she did it perfectly. I overdubbed (with Nick) the multiple guitar parts on the fade, as a goodbye to my friend. I used my 1964 Epiphone Casino guitar, another favorite of Carlos' played by John Lennon. When we decided to do a movie for one of the songs on the album there was no question which song it was going to be. A very fitting end to the new album. Musicians and the instruments that they played on the record, in no particular order: Phil Angotti: acoustic guitar, electric guitar, ukulele, vocals and backing vocals Carolyn Engelmann: piano, keyboards, and backing vocals Casey McDonough: bass and backing vocals Mike Zelenko: drums Jim Barclay: drums and percussion Tommi Zender: drums and bass Joel Patterson: pedal steel Brad Elvis: drums Steve Dawson: slide guitar and backing vocals Charlie Piper: bass guitar and organ Jacky Dustin: harmony and second lead vocals Tina Angotti: harmony vocals Nick Boettcher: electric (slide) guitar Chuck Bontrager: viola and violin Doug Corcoran: horns Martha Larson: cello.