Unless otherwise noted:
Singing and playing by CG
Songs written by CG, published by Gregsongs, administered by Bug Music Ltd (UK), except 16: written by
CG & Boo Hewerdine, published by Gregsongs, administered by Bug Music Ltd (UK) & Chrysalis Music
Recorded & Mixed by CG
Produced by CLIVE GREGSON
Mastered by JIM DeMAIN at Yes Master, Nashville, TN
Design by: STEVE KNEE at Blade Design, London, England
Photographs by: Phil Barnes, Andrew Cleal, Jim Harrington, Marcus McCallen, Griifin Norman, Mark Tucker
|THE BEST OF CLIVE GREGSON
01: "I LOVE THIS TOWN"
Title song of my fifth solo album. I don't own the rights to that album so I've used the demo recordings of the
relevant songs here. This is actually the version of the song that was the template for the Nanci
Griffith recording, which is perhaps one of my better known cover recordings. I recorded this at home on a
Tascam 488 multitrack cassette machine and mixed it down to a Revox B77. Talk about old technology! It's
not about anywhere in particular... any town that you've had enough of will work just fine.
A rare thing for me... a genuinely cheerful song. All the way through. I cut a version of this with Boo
Hewerdine and Eddi Reader in Nashville when we had one of our "roughly once every seven years" get
togethers. That version never saw the light of day so I recorded the song again solo for "Comfort & Joy". And
there's yet another version of this on the Acoustic Affair CD, an acoustic duet with Jackie Sharp. Check it
out.... Can't think of any covers of this one. Maybe that's why I keep cutting it myself! Recorded at home on a
Roland VS1680 digital workstation.
03: "HOME IS WHERE THE HEART IS"
The 7" vinyl single version.... remember them? I can't recall ever owning a copy of the single..... I tracked one
down at an online retailer a while ago and tried to buy it. Unfortunately, the record never arrived.... so
if anyone has one they'd like to get rid of, let me know! Written on the old upright piano at my parent's house.
I can probably count the number of live shows where I haven't played this song on the fingers of one
hand. Click here for the "Old Grey Whistle" TV performance and here for a more recent solo performance.
The original track was recorded and mixed at Pennine Studios in Oldham by Paul Adshead and features Phil
Barnes and Christine Collister on backing vocals and Sarah Tuakli on French Horn. The unedited version is
on my first solo CD, "Strange Persuasions". The song seemed to become something of a folk club standard
for a while and there are quite a few cover recordings, perhaps the best known of which is by Fairport Convention.
04: "TROUBLE WITH LOVE"
My solo demo of the song that became the fourth Any Trouble single for Stiff. Between tours, I got into the
habit of going up to Pennine to record simple versions of new songs, just me and a drum machine. And Paul
Adshead at the controls, of course. It seems to me in retrospect that a lot of those demos are more
relaxed and vibey than the subsequent group recordings.... and this song certainly changed enormously
by the time it appeared on the band's "Wheels In Motion" album. Different words, different chords, different
feel, different melody.... This version was included on my second solo outing, "Welcome To The Workhouse'
which was essentially a collection of demos such as this.
05: "FRED ASTAIRE"
I wrote this as a result of two rather strange Nashville experiences... the first being that I was recruited by a
telephone sales marketer to take a course of ballroom dancing classes... and the second being that a couple
of days after my first dancing class, I was introduced to Peter Skellern, that most English of
singer-songwriters, at The Station Inn, Nashville's premier bluegrass venue. I have no idea what he was doing
there.... but Peter's presence reminded me of his "Astaire" album, where he sings songs initially made
famous by Fred. A great record.... Anyway, I jumbled up all these events and came up with this song, another
enduring live favourite. Initially recorded at home on the Tascam 488, then bounced to a Roland VS 880 and
finally bounced to a Tascam DA 88 so that John Wood could mix it back in England, along with the rest of the
"Happy Hour" album. Norma Waterson recorded a lovely version of this on her album "The Very Thought Of You".
Lead off track to my last solo outing, "Long Story Short".... if memory serves it started life as a
mandolin noodling session, which is perhaps why it features the three chords I can actually play on the
mandolin! A song about enduring love.... if only real life was like this! Recorded at home on a Roland VS 880
07: "TOUCH & GO"
Another Pennine demo. I don't think it's overstating the case to say that it was this track (and my demo for
"I'll Be Your Man") that secured the EMI America deal for Any Trouble. We chased this demo valiantly on the
subsequent album... and technically, there's no question that the latter recording was better. But for
sheer vibe and that indefinable something, this version is pretty hard to beat. Two things inspired the
writing of the song.... I was very taken with the OMD song "Enola Gay", which was entirely built around the
1/6m/4/5 chord progression and thought I'd have a go at trying the same thing.... and I was also influenced
by a spate of drum machine and keyboard based records that I thought were really soulful despite the lack of
much in the way of "real" instruments.... Marvin Gaye's "Sexual Healing" being a great example. Some of the
sounds that I played in by hand would mostly likely have been sequenced in perfect time in more
"professional" recordings... and what I later referred to as the "percolator" is pretty shambolic here! Still....
it did the job and still raises a smile. Kim Carnes recorded a lovely version of this song on the album after her
multi million mega selling album featuring the mighty "Bette Davis Eyes"....
08: "CAMDEN TOWN"
From "People & Places", the first album I made after moving to the USA in 1992. My comfort zones being
what they were back then, I of course made the album back in the UK. I gathered together some
familiar faces.... Martin Hughes on drums and percussion, Ruari McFarlane on bass and Andy Whelan
on electric guitar plus Paul Adshead behind the desk and we spent a week in rural Wales at Loco Studios, a
place I'd worked in once before, on Boo Hewerdine's "Ignorance" album. We had a smashing time....and then
Paul and I took the tapes back to his place and finished off the vocals etc.... In a truly twilight zone moment,
Paul found a studio in Manchester that he wanted to mix the project in. We showed up to take a look and I
realised that the studio was actually built into what had been the music department of the last school I'd
taught at before I spared many children the awful experience of my attempts to teach them and jumped
ship to work in a dole office for a couple of years before "turning pro" in 1980... Another live favourite, I
really can't remember what inspired this song. I suspect it was one that leaped from the air fully formed.... my
09: "FINGERLESS GLOVES"
I actually heard this on BBC Radio Two last year.... almost crashed the car! Based on a true story... I heard a
busker singing "Home Is Where The Heart Is" in Stockport shopping mall one day and off to the races I
went. I think every single fact was actually changed in this final version... but I can still see the Stockport
serenader whenever I play this song. Recorded at home on the Roland VS 1680... banjo and accordion to the
fore. Another folk club favourite, apparently.
10: "JERICHO JUNCTION"
Another "ILTT" demo... recorded at home on the trusty Tascam 488 cassette machine. We ran this in live
on the 1992 Boo, Clive and Eddi tour.... a much more acoustic version. Pretty complicated tune.... I was
really into key changes back then: I'd read somewhere that many Motown hits featured modulations. I
spent ages "flying in" the backwards stuff from a Sony Walkman. We're not talking hi-fi here.... I think
The Feeling should have a crack at this.... anybody know how to get it to them?
11: "JEWEL IN YOUR CROWN"
This song was a longstanding favourite in the Gregson & Collister live show. "Strange Persuasions" was an
album that came at something of a transitional period for me.... at the time I recorded it, I didn't really
know that Any Trouble was pretty much over. By the time the album was released, I was a solo artist
and about six months later I was in a duo with Christine! Things tend to not move quite so quickly these
days... A song of frustrated ambitions.... Phil Barnes and Christine Collister on backing vocals, recorded at
Pennine with Paul Adshead engineering. Jim DeMain later remixed the track in Nashville for the US
release of the album.
12: "COOL COOL RAIN"
A very late addition to the "Long Story Short" album.... I cut the song at home on the Roland VS 880
and tacked it on to the end of the sequence for no good reason that I can remember.... At the
mastering session, Jim DeMain added it to the first reference disc he made for me. And there it stayed....
I play this a lot live... it's simple, direct and seems to work. That's about the size of it!
I decided to use the demo version of this rather than the studio version found on "People & Places"... it
just has something about it that I like. I spent a fair bit of 1999 on the road with Plainsong and we played
this song a lot. It's a grizzly little story with a tune that certainly puts my notoriously dodgy upper vocal
register to the test! The tune that is featured in the solo sections is probably lifted from some trad song
or other but I'm damned if I can identify it. No doubt Mr P. Edant of Slough will drop me a note and give
me chapter and verse! Recorded at home on the Tascam 488.
14: "SUMMER RAIN"
In the period between Any Trouble folding and the release of "Strange Persuasions", I toured America as
part of Richard Thompson's band. Happy days, great memories... Richard would very graciously feature
the band members during the show and this song was pretty much a permanent feature of the set. The song
came about as the result of a conversation I had with a friend about his child custody case. Andy Ebsworth on
drums... which we recorded at The Greenhouse Studios in North London... Paul Gadd engineering. I then
took the tapes up to Pennine where I added everything else, with Paul Adshead engineering. Phil
Barnes played the sax.
My dad's favourite song.... well, his favourite of my songs, anyway. Last of the "ILTT" demos and in
some ways, the one that's least like the album version. I got the idea for this one from a roadside sign
that Nancy, my ex-wife, spotted in Kentucky.... "Charlie's Tattoos - Done While You Wait"..... couldn't make
it up, could you? Another mandolin workout.... I actually learned a fourth chord in order to play this
one. Recorded at home on the Tascam 488. I pulled that machine out the other day.... it still works
perfectly. Pretty amazing...
16: "BLACK TRAIN COMING"
Co-written with Boo Hewerdine. We played this at quite a few of our duo gigs back in the day and Boo always
sang it. I felt that "People & Places" needed an up-tempo number, so I had a crack at the vocals. The band is
really great on this one.... Martin Hughes on drums, Rory McFarlane on bass and Andy Whelan on lead
guitar. Great solo from Andy and at the end of Martin's "man falling over drum kit" break, I always want to
shout "Oooh Yah, Oooh Yah!".... A cheerful little toetapper about impending death. Engineered by
Paul Adshead, recorded at Loco and Stable Music, mixed in my old classroom.
17: "COMFORT & JOY"
One of my personal favourites.... one of those songs that sprang into being pretty much fully formed. I tend
to only play this live around Christmas time.... which is pretty daft, really. Also one of the few recordings
I've made where I really wouldn't change anything much in retrospect.... it came together very quickly
and easily. Recorded at home on the Roland VS 1680. I went mad on this and played two organ parts.... I
love playing organ, it's totally primal for me. Read into that what you will!
18: "THERE COMES A TIME"
I often close shows with this song. Short and somewhat bittersweet. When I made the leap from the analogue
world of the Tascam 488 to the all digital Roland VS 880 machine, this was the first song I recorded, more
as a means of getting to know the new technology than anything else. Recorded at home and then
mixed by John Wood, it almost inevitably ended up on the "Happy Hour" album. I originally intended to close
the album with "Until We Meet Again", another "farewell" song, but once I had the final mix of this tune, there
was no way I could leave it off the album. It seemed perfectly logical to close this compilation with it too.
Hope you agree....
Clive Gregson, Houston, TX, July 2008