A Selection Of Demos & Rarities

by Songs from the Blue House

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about

1. James Partridge - guit/vox; Shane Kirk - guit; Gibbon - bass. What is interesting about this super-early version of 'Bike' is how little it has changed over the years. We probably recorded this the week after it was written at The Blue House.

2. James Partridge - guit/vox; Shane Kirk - guit; Gibbon - bass. Go on, who doesn't have a soft spot for this particular version? Recorded from FM radio, hence the hiss.

3. James Partridge - guit/vox; Shane Kirk - guit/vox; Gibbon - bass/keyboards; Helen Mulley - vox. Done in aid of Cancer Research UK, in memory of one of SftBH's earliest supporters, the gentleman that was Carey Hancock. Recorded at The Blue House on Gibbon's digital recording thingy in the newly erected 'Snug', a garden office put in place to spare the neighbours any nonsense. CRUK will benefit from this release also.

4. James Partridge - guit/vox; Shane Kirk - guit; Gibbon - bass. At the writer David Hughes' own suggestion SftBH had a go at this. Sadly James had a stinking cold and they never really got under the skin of the song. But here it is anyway.

5. James Partridge - guit/vox; Shane Kirk - guit; Gibbon - bass. Part of the process in pre-production for 'Tree' was the revisiting of older songs by James and Shane, resulting in the use of 'Incredible', 'Little Lies' and 'Come On'. This one didn't quite make it...

6. Helen Mulley - vox; James Partridge - guit; Shane Kirk - guit; Gibbon - bass. ...even with Helen singing it in a different key.

7. James Partridge - banjo/vox; Shane Kirk - guit/vox; Gibbon - bass; Helen Mulley - flute. Originally rearranged for a Beatles covers night at High Barn, the band ran with this for a while and wondered about recording it for an album before writing some more songs of their own. They thought it wasn't desperate and weird-sounding enough, so here's a cheeky tweak on a sacred cow's nipple.

8. James Partridge - guit/vox; Shane Kirk - guit; Gibbon - bass. The original wasn't sad and pleading enough, far too jolly in fact...…Therefore SftBH contrived to make it much scarier and probably succeeded. James had a cold for this as well.

9. Helen Mulley - vox; James Partridge - guit; Shane Kirk - guit; Gibbon - bass. Such was the competition for songs on 'Tree' that Helen and James both wrote lyrics for what was up until that point known as 'Doobee-do-bedoo'. Here's her take on it.

10. Shane Kirk - guit/vox; James Partridge - guit; Gibbon - bass; Richard Lockwood - violin; Tony Turrell - keyboards; Helen Mulley - flute; Russell Barnes - mandolin. Very nearly made it onto 'Tree'. Beneath the seasonal in-jokes (James' fault entirely and either arrangement genius or really annoying depending on what mood you're in) there lies a great Kirk vignette.

11. James Partridge - guit/vox; Shane Kirk - guit; Gibbon - bass; Richard Lockwood - violins; Liz Townsend - cello. This is one of those songs that you have to write when you are a, or in James' case are about to become a, new parent. Never seriously in the running for inclusion on 'Tree', this nevertheless has some merit and a great string jam at the end between Richard Lockwood and Liz Townsend.

12. Helen Mulley - vox; James Partridge - guit; Shane Kirk - guit; Gibbon - bass; Tony Turrell - piano; Paul Read - drums (twice). An old song of Helen's that didn't quite make the cut for 'Tree'. At James' insistence TT played piano like something off a Stooges or Velvet Underground album and Reado played like Keith Moon twice in order that both of those drum takes could be included.

13. Shane Kirk - guit/vox; James Partridge - guit; Gibbon - bass/vox; Helen Mulley - vox; Tony Winn - banjo. An oldie of Shane's specifically worked up for our appearance at the first Maverick Festival in 2008, in order to hick up the set a bit. It worked. Please note the gap left for a pedal steel solo.

14. Helen Mulley - vox; James Partridge - guit; Shane Kirk - guit; Tony Winn - banjo. One of about ten tunes that were splurged out by Partridge and Turrell over a couple of afternoons, this one didn't make it.

15. James Partridge - guit/bass/banjo; Tony Turrell - piano. Shane Kirk - guit (I think). Another tune by James and Tony that got gradually louder. James still wishes they'd written lyrics and used this one.

16. James Partridge - guit/vox; Nick Zala - pedal steel, banjo, guit. A very dark song from a pleasant afternoon's writing in Rickmansworth, destined for IV as the next in the 'odd little number' series. But in the end—too raw maybe, and certainly not ready enough.

17. James Partridge - vox/guit; Helen Mulley - vox; Gibbon - bass; Shane Kirk - guit; Richard Lockwood - violin; Tony Winn - shaker. BBC Suffolk sessions are always a good opportunity to record something that you'd previously knocked about with for fun. Maybe more rehearsal would have been good but here it is, warts 'n' all.

18. James Partridge - vox/guits/banjo/bass. A very typical Partridgeian home demo, the like of which Shane was used to receiving due to his and James' escapades 2 decades earlier. Here the bones of the song are laid bare, and all of the original words remain. James' struggle with the time signature is never more evident than on this demo.

19. James Partridge - vox/guits/bass. Included for Todd Rundgrenesque power-pop backing vocals, jauntiness quotient and whistling.

20. James Partridge - guit/vox; Shane Kirk - guit. Just written, with all the original words, this is the first part of a lesson in what to leave out.

21. James Partridge - vox/guit; Shane Kirk - guit; Gibbon - bass; Tony Turrell - piano; Tony Winn - banjo; Nick Zala - pedal steel. While they wondered who might sing it, James knocked out a guide vocal to tide them over before Cara Luft popped into town. This is how it had been sounding live, so it's fair enough.

22. James Partridge - vox/guit; Shane Kirk - guit; Gibbon - bass; Tony Turrell - piano/vox. Somehow the songs about one's kids often don't work, but you have to try them.

23. Helen Mulley - vox; James Partridge - guit; Shane Kirk - guit; Gibbon - bass; Tony Winn - melodeon. See above.

24. Shane Kirk - vox/guit; James Partridge - octave mandola/vox; Gibbon - bass; Helen Mulley - flute; David Booth - drums. Perhaps SftBH's finest moment.

Sleeve notes by JP July 2013. Thanks always to Carey.

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released August 26, 2013

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