Green Man Said: Robert Johnson

Robert Johnson is the album's only cover song, by the great Bill Morrissey, one of my favourite songwriters, and a master of minimalist narrative. Here he takes the story all blues guitarists know so well and adds a little twist that seems so obvious once he's done it. If Robert really sold his soul to become as good as he became, then the jealous lover who poisoned him must really have been . . .
I wanted the album's coda to be a live track from a fun night as a reminder of what it's all really about, though if I could ever tour with the 28 players on this very studio album I most certainly would. I have been a member of Leeds' The Original Gravity Band for 20 years, playing reunion shows at least once per year, and this track is culled from a 2002 reunion show at Leeds' New Roscoe. Remixing the track at home in Miami I added strings, fx, and reverb, and then with operating system upgrades and the passage of time found myself in the studio without project files, and unable to replicate the feel of my remix over just Duncan Tulloch's raw stereo live mix. Mark Hornsby at Ridenour didn't really want to work with my home remix at all and we tried to use just the raw track but it wasn't working; Looch at MBRS did agree to work on it, though he considers it to be "swimming in reverb". We added a few more touches, notably a big setup for the nuclear concluding solo by Tim Lyttle (pictured live in Leeds). The applause from the home crowd is genuine. Live sound man Duncan would hardly recognise any of this as his work, but he was running the board on this very enjoyable night at one of Leeds' premier live venues. On the track I accidentally misspeak the lyric's "warm spring night" as "warm summer night" because I was staring at the back door of the venue as I was singing, very much into the groove of what the band was doing, to the point where I half expected someone to walk in at that point on that particular warm summer night. The Original Gravity Band can always be found at large in Leeds around this time in summer. We have a lot of fun.


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