PUBLISH DATE: 30th January 2003, Part 2

Read Part 1

Chris, wide awake and raring to go.
Ziggy in the background



Miller Anderson rips into
'Livin' in Down'
New CD Studio Sessions cont....

Day 1

It's an early start today as I'm off to
London to watch Chris lay down the vocals for his new CD. And I'm on the train this time rather than driving, so can relax and read the paper on the way. Untypically for Virgin, the train arrives more or less on time at Euston and I make my way to Kings Cross to catch the tube to Acton. Dylan Gray, very kindly picks me up and takes me to KD's Recording Studio in Chiswick (thats K as in Kris and D as in Dylan!). A tip for anyone accepting a lift from Dylan - a neck brace is a good idea as that car sure can accelerate. 0-60 in about three seconds I reckon, or at least that's how it felt!
I arrive at the studio at about 14:30. From outside, I could hear some awesome guitar playing. It was Miller Anderson in the studio, warming up before he put down the lead on some of the tracks. I went in with Dylan and was met by Kris, Ziggy and Kris' dog 'Lupi', a really endearing lurcher that started making a fuss of everyone.

Miller was in the recording booth sat on a chair giving his guitar some 'jip'. Miller is such a professional, he knows exactly what he wants to achieve and plays it flawlessly first time, every time. Listen out for his playing on '
A Matter of Time', 'Long as I can see the Light' and 'Livin' it Down'. 

Miller with Acoustic "Was that ok"?
Photo Ziggy

'Lonesome Whistle' gets Our Monica.
Photo Ziggy
He also played the harmonica on 'A Matter of Time' and 'Lonesome Whistle', which he did straight off the cuff. We all listened to the playbacks and nibbled on dinky pork pies and had coffee. I asked Miller what his plans were after the recording session, he casually replied "I'm off to Australia on Monday with John Lord (Deep Purple) for a 2-3 month tour". Hopefully he will get better weather than here in the UK.

Chris had been in the studio for some time, having travelled down by tube from his home. He was sat in the hospitality suite eating some satsumas and checking the lyrics for the songs. When I spotted him, I said "
Hi Chris, how goes it" to which he replied "Hi Age, nice to see you". 
We had a good chat, catching up with all the latest gossip while Miller finished off. Once Miller had finished and set off for the sun, Chris jumped up and said "Right, let's rock". He was fired up ready for the vocals and decided to start with an upbeat track called 'Lonesome Whistle', a rocky number written by Hank Williams with some interesting synth from Dave Baldwin.

Throughout the session, I sat in the control room with a great view of Chris through the glass in the next room.
Kris & Kenny Denton manned the controls and Chris began to sing. He had donned his headphones and was stood in front of two microphones. Part of the track was then played briefly to allow Chris to get his bearings, followed by the first take for the new album.. Chris' voice was instantly recognisable and came across pitch perfect and powerful, as usual. I just sat and watched with the hairs on the back of my neck standing on edge. He did it in one take!! Then he came back into the control room, and listened to the playback whilst nibbling on another satsuma!

Kris & Kenny at the controls during Chris' first track 'Lonesome Whistle'.
Photo Ziggy

Chris meditates for a moment before launching into the first track of day, 'Lonesome Whistle'
We all listened to Chris' vocals, including Lupi who had taken up residence in the middle of the floor. Chris was happy with the results and said I think we will try 'Livin' it Down' next. This was a rocky twelve bar number with a country feel by Delbert McClinton which contrasts the lifestyles of two people, one up, and the other down; with a chorus along the lines of "You're livin' it up, while I'm just livin' it down". It's a great tune with some great rhythm guitar by Norman Beaker; Chris really ripped into this one with some serious aggression in his voice. It must be the satsumas!

Next up was '
A Matter Of time", a rocky Status Quo style progression written by Bobby Mack. Some great guitar and harmonica from Miller Anderson and super vocals from Chris who was again giving this song quite a powerful and aggressive treatment.

Chris was performing like the trooper he is, but with being constantly in and out of two rooms with different temperatures i.e. the control room being very warm with all the equipment etc, to the recording booth which was cool by comparison, gave Chris a bit of a dry throat. Time for a cup of coffee, a sandwich and a well deserved break. I had some M&S pre-cooked bacon slices, Chris tried a piece but immediately began to cough!!! I though "
oh no, I hope I haven't ruined his voice", but he was ok after a few sips of coffee. Sorry Chris for trying to sabotage your recording session!
Chris starts rockin with 'A Matter Of Time' :Photos by Ziggy taken from the control room. 
Soon, Chris was off again, this time with a change of pace and the slow, big ballad of 'I'll Leave the Light On'. This is a fantastic song written by Charlie Marling & Otha Smith, with Chris poring out a lot of emotion and giving a mesmerising vocal performance. A brilliant big production sound with violins and guitar arpeggio throughout and a fantastic sax solo from Damian Hand. I wouldn't be surprised if this track was put out as a single. Its got everything required to be a best selling record and will appeal to a wide ranging audience. You'll just go home and cry when you hear this one.
Lupi, studio mascot relaxes while
Chris sings 'I'll Leave A Light On'.
Photo Ziggy

At about 20:30 Chris and Kris decided to call it a day. Kris & Ziggy had very kindly offered to put me up for the night at their home in Wiltshire and everyone set off for their respective homes with Chris heading for the tube station.

Later after tea, Kris invited me for a drink in his local '
The Figheldean Working Man's Club'. We managed to fight our way through the crowds to get to the bar where Alan the landlord was frantically serving. We had a good laugh at the bar with Alan and some of the locals and a few pints of Henry's Bitter were downed. The beer was very nice, but it's a pity the Wadworth 6X wasn't on, must have sold out! Cheers Alan and Co.

The following morning, Kris was up so early that I missed joining him for Lupi's daily rabbit hunt across the Wiltshire plains. Thanks to Ziggy for breakfast and Kris for giving up his sausages! "
They were really tasty".
Day 2

We arrived at the studio at about 11:30 where Kenny was busily going though the tapes and getting today's session ready. Shortly afterwards Chris arrives with a bag of goodies in tow, some more satsumas no doubt.
After coffee he's raring to go and suggests we start with '
Blues for Nina', a beautiful song written by Chris. This is a slow and very atmospheric song with male choir backing harmonies and an Eastern feel on Norman Beaker's guitar with constant hi-hat from Paul Burgess. The song's lyrics are about finding a lost love, Nina, with Chris searching the whole world for her whilst having some seriously bad blues. This is a lovely song, that sounds unique and totally different from material I've heard in the past. It's feels like someone who wants to be a millionaire eating Turkish delight with Chris repeating "I've got the Blues for Nina". 

Chris getting the blues ready for Nina, with 'Blues for Nina'

Leigh Blond with Chris. Photo Ziggy 
A Dutch friend of Chris' (Leigh Blond) sent him a song called 'Only You'. Chris liked it so much that he decided to record it. This was the next track that Chris added vocals to. Chris thought the lyrics were very poignant; about a relationship that had gone wrong with the story from the dejected guy's point of view. Chris loves the chorus which starts: "You always said you wouldn't lie to me, didn't mind to be, my ther-apy.......". The track also features Leigh playing the guitar.
Throughout both days Ziggy had been taking photos of Chris and other musicians while performing, using a digital camera that did not require a flash, so it did not disturb anyone whilst recording. Unfortunately my digital camera was broken and I only had a conventional camera with a flash. If I tried to take a photo through the glass window there would be too much reflection, so I decided to go into the recording booth in between songs and take some photos. At this point I took a photo of Chris just before he sang.

The flash blinded him, and all I heard was "
I can't **$%^^*#ing see"! Sorry Chris! He must of thought I'd got it in for him, I'd already tried to choke him the previous day and now seemed intent on damaging his eyesight irrecoverably!

Leigh adds guitar on 'Only You'. Photo Ziggy
Kris and Kenny experiment with ideas for 'Sending Me Angels' : Photos by Ziggy 

Chris performing the amazing
'I'll Sing The Blues For You'
After a short break for tea and biscuits and to enable Chris' vision to return, it's back to the grind. This time, a real change of pace with the very slow blues and jazzy number, 'I'll sing the Blues for You'. Chris started to sing this song as a typical blues song, then all a sudden he stopped mid-flight and said, "I'll try something different for this one, it feels like it requires a different approach". On the next take Chris starts talking, rather than singing certain sections of the song! This was inspired. It's a seductive 'Barry White' like effect with Chris using lines like: "I believe you've got the blues......well I'll have to do something about that....take off your shoes, relax a while" and "That's cool". This gave the song a cool, seductive feel and an extra dimension, Chris obviously knows what he wants with this song and it works brilliantly. Kris then turned the lights down low in the control room and we all listened. It sounded fantastic. Chris always loves to hear your opinion's about his work, and after the song he said to me "Did you like that" ? I replied "That was really cool stuff, thanks".
The atmosphere and mood was by now, very relaxed, when Chris suggest doing 'Back in Trouble' or as it's now known 'Trouble'. This was from one extreme to the other. It has to be one of my favourites and is probably the 'heaviest track' on the CD. It is serious Rock n Roll. Great heavy guitar riffs all through and some inspired lead from Norman; the whole band gives their all on this one with John Price and Paul Burgess laying down the foundations; some great bass drum work from Paul; topped with Chris' earthy and gritty vocals topping it all. Everyone's heads were spinning after this one - this is guaranteed to get anyone up and grooving, what ever their condition, when it is performed live!
The Chanter sisters add backing
vocals to 'Sending Me Angels'
Photo Ziggy

Left to Right: Irene and Doreen Chanter
check the lyrics to 'Only You'
Photo Ziggy
Phew! After that it's time to slow the pace down with 'As long as I can see the light", a slow, 'Creedence Clear Water' style ballad. Great vocals from Chris and some good lead from Miller in this one. During the playback of this song, a friend of Kris/Chris popped in; Tom McGuinness from The Manfreds/Blues Band, to say hello and have a look around the studio.

Unfortunately for me that's the time when I had to leave to catch my train back to
Manchester. So I wished everyone the very best for the rest of the album and gave Chris a special hug for letting me witness a very special event. 
The songs still left for Chris to record were:

Sending Me Angels', a Frankie Miller ballad with some great guitar from Norman Beaker.

Little Milton numbers 'Ain't No Big Deal' and 'Lets Get Together', the later features some brilliant sax work from both Lenni and Damian.

Also '
Has Anybody Seen My Girl?' and last but not least, the brilliant track by Van Morrison, 'Sittin' On Top Of The World' which has already been recorded and just needs some final details adding. There's also a great sax solo from Lenni on this one.

Damian pops in.
Photo Ziggy

That's a wrap, just mixing now!
Photo Ziggy
Over the Weekend.

Thanks to Kris for keeping me updated. On Sunday, The
Chanter Sisters, Irene and Doreen went to KD's to add backing vocals to the tracks. By all accounts it was a very productive day with the backing vocals being laid down for eight tracks! Chris couldn't make it in due to transport problems with the recent tube crash, which fortunately he wasn't on! Most of the recording is now finished and Kris and Kenny will be starting the final mixing ready for CD production. I don't know about you, but I can't wait to hear the finished product!
Thanks to everyone at KD's for their hospitality; Chris, Kris, Ziggy, Dylan, Kenny and Ed, not forgetting the studio mascot, Lupi and to Pam for coping without me for a couple of days. It was a great experience which I will never forget.