KETTLE DRUM BLUES
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"Classy second LP from an ex-Sniff & The Tears. Absolutely polished performances of self-penned numbers, with all the emotion intact despite the sheer craftsmanship, funky despite its whiteness."

HI-FI NEWS & RECORD REVIEW, Feb 1988

MUSICIANS
Paul Roberts - Acoustic Guitar & Vocals 
Robin Langridge - keyboards
Dean Klevatt - keyboards
Clem Clempson - guitars
Tim Renwick - guitars
Morris Michael - guitars
Alan Lane - skank guitar
Ricky Stevens - drums & percussion
Jodi Linscott - percussion
Ian Maidman - bass
Andy Pask - bass
Spy - bass
Pat Crumly - flute, tenor & alto sax
Stevie Lange - backing vocals
Noel McCalla - backing vocals
PRODUCED: Paul Roberts & Phill Brown
ENGINEERED: Phill Brown & Brad Davis

 

For "Kettle Drum Blues", released two years later in 1987, I was keen to work with an engineer called Phill Brown, suggested to me by Chris Wyles, a drummer I was using on some of the new songs I was demoing. This guy had worked on so many albums I considered classics, from The Rolling Stones and Bob Marley to Harry Neilson, I had to try him. Phill, like a lot of engineers of his calibre, wanted a to co- produce; fine by me. As with "City" the album was an absolute joy to record, using many of the same musicians, Phill introducing Simon Edwards, Tim Renwick and Jodi Linscott to the equation, there was a wonderful creative flow, many of the musicians coming to the studio to hang out and enjoy what was going on.

Ian Maidman took over most of the bass duties and Morris Michael played some terrific rhythm guitar. I found out later he was also a singer, I wish I'd known then. These two I'd found through Luigi who had not lost his ear for good musicians. I got in Stevie Langer to team up with Noel McCalla for backing vocals and decided to put the backing vocals down with the lead vocals at the basic rhythm track stage. This way I felt that instrumental overdubs would be sympathetic to all the vocals rather than compensating for their absence. I must also mention the reliably marvellous Pat Crumly on Sax and Flute. For the reggae flavoured 'Away Too Long' Richie Stevens (who had been Dennis Bovell's house drummer for a while) thought we needed some more authentic playing on the track, so we got in Alan Lane to play the scank guitar and Spy to play the all important bass.

The song that got Phill most excited was "The Refugee" and we went to town on turning it into something special enough to reflect the theme. People hanging out in the studio certainly seemed to find it pretty moving and even now when I see news footage of the latest "crisis" I can't help thinking someone should be playing it. Sonet wanted to release it as a single but Rod Buckle, the MD for the English branch of the company wanted to procure the services of one particular in-demand record plugger who had shown an interest; unfortunately he never did seem to find the time in his busy schedule to include it, so the idea lost momentum and that was that. It is on these little things that success or failure of a project hinge; that's showbiz. Highlights for me on the album include Tim Renwicks guitar solos on 'Ready For Me Now' and 'Sexual Chemistry' and Clem Clempson's sublime slide playing on the title track 'Kettle Drum Blues'.

 

Photo - Serge Krouglikoff
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