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Last Updated:
Mar 24, 2008

Sunday, May 04, 2008


Dave remembers 'Beating of Hearts'

Song of the Week

Though once again we can't feature a live version of the song we featured last week -- "Beating of Hearts," from 1983's Mummer -- because no live versions exist. However, if you check the annotations from last week's Andyview, you'll see links to a couple of filmed performances that are available on YouTube.

Look in the shadows of the shadowy videos, and you'll see one of the finest musicians out there -- a certain David Gregory, esq., who has brushed the dust of 25 years ("25 years??? It can't be!", says he) off of his brain buds and come up with his usual sharp recollections. For the music this week, we'll stay in the spirit of Spring and love and optimism by posting "We're All Light," which Andy talked about a year or so ago. Enjoy!

DG: It would have been late September 1982 -- Terry Chambers was still with us, having returned to Swindon from Australia, where he'd been living since the cancelled US tour the previous spring. Virgin's A&R department were anxious for another single, and two contenders were chosen -- Colin's "Wonderland" and Andy's intriguing "Beating Of Hearts," plus a possible B-side in "Toys." We'd also decided on a complete change of tack by hiring the services of a new producer, Steve Nye. As a means of testing our compatibility we booked time at Martin Rushent's Genetic Studios, at Rushent's home in Streatley, for a weekend to see whether the new partnership might produce another hit to follow "Senses Working Overtime."

The idea that "Beating Of Hearts" could be a single I found very exciting. It was an unconventional melody but with a very positive message, written around a distinctly Indian-sounding scale. Andy had tuned all the strings on his guitar to the note of E. Not to be out-done, I did the same on my Rickenbacker 12-string; the lower four strings tuned to low E, the Ds and Gs tuned one octave higher, the upper four to open E. A sitar-like drone was programmed on the Prophet V, providing a pad over which the chiming guitar melodies could play, while Terry beat out a simple but strident ostinato pattern on the drums, occasionally interrupted by a battering of timbales.

I can't remember which guitar Andy used for the recording; it sounds very much like the 12-string Rick unamplified and mic'd up. He plays the motif acoustically, and I answer it on the electric 12. I would almost certainly have used my Roland JC-120 amp, and may also have over-dubbed the guitar acoustically too. The synthesizer parts I'm certain were all Prophet V. We gave the pitch-wheel a good work-out fabricating the Indian strings, and I think my electronic concertina part in the middle 8 might have been done in one take.

It was a strange period -- new surroundings, new circumstances and the uncertainty of how much longer the band might survive, given what we saw as Andy's irrational illness. Shortly after these sessions, Chambers downed sticks mid-rehearsal and told us he was leaving. He walked out, his drums still set up, and days later flew back to Australia where he and his family remain to this day.

"Beating Of Hearts" never was a single, sadly; instead, "Wonderland" was eventually chosen, as the follow-up to "Great Fire." Steve Nye ended up producing most of the basic tracks on the difficult Mummer album, which was eventually released almost a year after the Genetic sessions, following a number of re-mixes, a change of producer and a new drummer.

3:00 PM

©2008 by Todd Bernhardt and Dave Gregory. All Rights Reserved.