Notes on the songs, by Terry Clarke
October, November 2001 ... Merel Bregante & Sarah Pierce Cribworks Digital Audio studio in the Shoal Creek area of Austin, Texas.
My favourite time of the year and a beautiful neighbourhood to work in ... pumpkin colours, leaves turning shades of gold. A few blocks down are streets that seem to be named after Hoagy Carmichael & Johnny Mercer songs; Stardust & Skylark....big deck behind the house where I sit and sip Jameson, watch the changing light through the trees and talk about the songs.
Merel's first job in show business was working for one of my songwriting inspirations, Johnny Mercer. Mr Bregante loves Lonnie Donegan too. We work well together.
This is the oldest song on the album. When my album The Shelly River was originally released 10 years ago I spent a lot of time touring Ireland.
I did most of that touring with guitarist/singer Henry McCullough ... from Henry's home in Ballysally, Coleraine to west Cork ... Dublin ... Galway .... Sligo ...
this song was pretty much written on the road.
Maureen's Irish Blues
Written in Austin during recording ... late at night on Merel's front porch ... one of those songs that seem to appear out of the air ... Townes Van Zandt said that to write sometimes you just need to be sat in the right chair.
I was going to cut this solo ... I was running through it and John Inmon asked if he could play on it .
I first saw John play back in the late 80's when he was working with Jimmie Dale Gilmore and I loved his guitar style ... maximum rockabilly honky tonk.
I found out during these sessions that his family roots are in Scotland. He said that he'd always wanted to be able to work with these kind of songs. Throughout the recording the songs that come from this part of me inspired some beautiful playing from him ... hints of ancient laments and airs.
I lived most of my life where I was born, down south in Reading, Berkshire. I used to go for breakfast to the Friars Tea Bar ... fried eggs on toast, black coffee .... did a lot of writing in there. Tthis song is one of them, written just after Fred Neil passed away.
I always loved his styling of the traditional song Sugaree, one of those beautiful, mysterious lyrics.
Sid Selvidge from Memphis does a very moving version of that song too.
Gone In The Morning
A setting of some tales my father told me of his days as a migrant worker during World War II: the spivs from Camden Town, MacAlpine's Fusiliers. This was written beside Loch Etive near Oban after he and I sat up late drinking in the kitchen.
The first song I wrote after returning from Austin in 99 after recording my album The Sound Of The Moon with Merel. Belfast. One of my favourite cities.
Angel In Ireland
I love what Stefano Intelisano's piano playing brought to this album and especially so on this song. Taking some photos in Dublin years ago, I took made a double exposure by mistake but the atmosphere it captured always stayed with me and sparked off this song ...it has a perfect exposure of Rosie Flores' San Antonio soul though.
Wild Heather Blues
... train from Coleraine to Derry .... Sunday afternoon ... Henry McCullough ... bless Phil Sinclair .... hot Donegal summer ... memories of Joey Dunlop ...
I'd love one day to write a song with Bobbie Gentry so I wrote this in the meantime.
The first time I ever sang this was late one night in Germany back in '99. I had been doing some shows with Eric Taylor, we were sat around afterwards drinking brandy and talking. I always remember that evening when this song comes up.
This song brings Jesse Guitar Taylor into the album ... I love Jesse Taylor. I love his family too.
I first saw Jesse play in London in the late 70's with The Joe Ely Band - the Joe Ely Band that played like honky-tonk iconoclasts from outer-space but we didn't meet and become friends until 10 years later. Since then we've cut the album Rhythm Oil-The Sessions and he graced my record Lucky with some wonderful playing - Wes Montgomery meets West Texas - he always gives his heart and love to the song.
Rosemary Clooney passed away just recently.
this song is for her now.
Wild Honey Blues
I am indebted to Sarah Pierce for her wonderful harmonies on these songs. She brought something to the melodies that sometimes I didn't realise was there.
Since I first heard David Halley sing back in '88 I'd wanted to be able to work with him ... we'd done stuff on the road over the years but this was the first time we were able to get in the studio together. He's one of my favourite songwriters and singers.
This is my Tamla Motown filtered through Sligo and Reading.
A love song to the city and people of New York