From the Attic
In the early seventies I went in to Abbey Road Studios NO. 2 to record the first tracks of what was to be my first album. It was an intimidating and thrilling experience to be actually recording in the studio made famous by the Beatles and Pink Floyd besides countless other huge talents. Accompanied by my musical collaborator/producer, Barry Kirsch and arranger Rob Young, we had decided to start that first day by recording Heading For The Sea. I put down my 12 string guitar live with bass and drums, played by Cat Stevens' rhythm section at that time. Then after lunch in the canteen (Paul McCartney was having a coffee with George Martin at the next table) we returned to see a huge orchestra assembling - strings; woodwind; harp; French horns, the studio was full to bursting. During the first run-through the beauty of Rob's arrangement brought tears to my eyes. Two hours later we had put the orchestra on both tracks and Rob had added flutes and a Moog. A few days later McCartney was in Studio 2, so I was put into the vast cavern of Studio One for some lead vocals. I think something of this awe-inspiring setting got into the performances. The album was off to a good start. Two months later the whole project was shelved. The A&R man left the record company and a number of his artistes, myself among them, were axed. So the tapes and demos from this album were put away in a trunk in my attic while I got on with other musical projects - the Glass Band, songwriting and later, writing music for TV commercials through Candle Music. Last year Barry called from Dubai, where he now lives, and wanted me to dig out some old recordings he thought I had. This sent me up to the attic where I rediscovered the trunk full of old tapes. Here in some form or another were the songs from the unfinished album. Some virtually complete, like Heading For The Sea and Goodbye Elephants - some only in guitar demo form. A lot of these had been recorded at Colin Thurston's basement flat in Ledbury Road. Colin was a friend of a friend of mine and when he had arrived in London from Singapore I had helped get him a job as an engineer in a small studio we used for demos. From this beginning Colin managed to end up working with Tony Visconti on Bowie's Low album and producing Duran Duran and Howard Jones among many others. Colin was in love with recording and I discovered piles of tapes of my songs that we had overdubbed together on his home Revox set up, bouncing track on track. Sadly, Colin died in 2008. So here were the elements of the album. Over the last year, with the invaluable help of producer Ian Ritchie, we have added and mixed and re-recorded until the album is in the kind of condition we would have hoped it to be if it had been completed in the 70's. So at last it has escaped from the attic. Charlie Spencer April 2010.