Old Hand (with The Blind Doctors)
1999 Glitterhouse Records
THIS ALBUM WAS PRODUCED BY TLH AND ALAIN LECLOIREC
ALL SONGS WRITTEN BY TERRY LEE HALE ©1998
Except "It's Only Love" by TLH and Anthoney Sargent
Published by Tender Loving Hell Music / Bug / BMI
Recorded, Mixed and mastered (AAD) in 19 days at Soho Studios, Prague, July-October 1998
Jarda Suchanek - recording Engineer
Andy Lazo - Mastering
We played some combination of the following instruments unless noted otherwise:
TLH - Vocals, 6 and 12-string guitars, dobro and harmonica
Anthoney Sargent - Backup vocals, acoustic guitar
Franck Betermin - Backup vocals, electric rhythm guitar
Alain LeCloirec - Electric lead guitar
Benoit Caravec - Bass
Jean-Philippe Deviq - Drums
This Cd would not have been possible without the help of those listed above and the following friends. Shaeless groveling thank-yous from me to each and everyone!
The suggestion to record in Prague was Stepan Suchochleb at Capricorn Productions. He put it all together for us at evry level, held our hands, brought us beer and even played bass. Most thanks to him!
Defacto producer credits go to Chris Eckman whose large shoulders and sound advice once again proved to be invaluable.
Each person listed below deserves to have their contribution explained but there's no space or time....
Czech republic: Milan Cimfe, Dan Opatrny, James Harris, Ivan Kral, Ivan Sima, Lucie Ryntova.
Elsewhere: Carla Torgerson, Kim Assing, Gaille LeDoze, Karin Dantec, Lisa Piriou, Espace Cultural, Pascal redondo, Strapotin, Guy Alabain, Philippe Wadoux, our families, wives, lovers, friends and fans.
Especially I cannot forget to thank every Blind Doctor whose patience and kindness to me will, I am confident, assure them each a place in musicians heaven! Yec'hed mad.
Photos by Franck Betermin, Cover art by Jurgen Peschelo
"Old Hand" : The diary
"Old Hand" is my newest CD in 2 years. I don't know why it took so long but at last it's completed. I recorded this record with some friends of mine from France who have their own rock and roll band and they are called the Blind Doctors. They also live in Concarneau which is where I spend most of my time when I'm not on the road. The Dr.s and I first just started sharing gigs in Bretagne but this progressed into my sitting in with them on a couple of songs and one thing led to another until I started writing songs for us to do together. It was fun for me to play with rock and rollers and provided a good change from my solo work and travels. Eventually we had enough songs together so that I approached Glitterhouse with a demo tape we had recorded and it was decided that the new Terry Lee Hale CD would be more of a rock and roll record.
Terry & The B.D.(Photo: Franck Betermin)
THE PREPARATION: Lead guitarist, co-producer and my good friend Alain and I spent a whole month looking at studios in France for a good one. Logically it was the place to record but we didn't find what we were looking for and when we did it was too expensive. We wanted to record onto 2 inch tape and most studios these days are using some form of digital. I prefer the more warm sound that analog offers. One time while on tour in the Czech Republic I had visited a studio in Prague there (Sono Studios) and was impressed by the high quality of the equipment, the spacious studio and day rooms and it's affordability plus Prague is perhaps my most favorite European city so ....we thought why not record in Prague? A phone call to our friend Stepan Suchochleb (and also my booking agent there at Capricorn Productions) set everything in motion (actually it wasn't that easy but....). So in July of 1998 the Blind Doctors and myself loaded up a van with about 18 guitars, drums, amps and 15 liters of French wine and drove 22 hours from Concarneau to Prague.
SET UP: The Blind Doctors are a 5 piece band consisting of Anthony Sargent on lead vocals and acoustic guitar, Alain LeCloirec plays lead electric, Franck Betermin plays rhythm and does background vocals, Benoit Caravec plays bass and Jean-Philippe Deviq is the drummer.
Sono Studios is located in the middle of one of those testaments to Soviet architecture which basically means lots of tall, featureless apartment buildings that stretch on for miles and miles. Sono itself is in a smaller building on the second floor with a large control room, an even larger recording room with a nice mixture of wood and "dry" space (they have recently bought a farm house which they were in the middle of converting to another studio and living space for recording bands!). There's a large and sunny day room for hanging out in when your not working. Around the corner there's one bar with super cheap food and beer (pivo) where we ate our lunches and there's also another more upscale bar where we sometimes hung out late at night. Most people in that part of Prague did not speak English or French but everyone was pretty used to having musicians around. Folks were real friendly to us and made us feel right at home. Stepan had found an apartment hotel for the band to stay in and so we took the trams from central Prague every morning and evening to the studio, a trip that took about 40 minutes.
THE WORK: We actually had 14 songs prepared and ready to record when we arrived at Sono. We ended up recording basic tracks for all 14 songs but time limitations and budget restrictions (in the studio it's the same thing really) forced us to choose only the 10 songs that you will hear on the CD (perhaps one day we can finish the other 4 songs. One of those tracks has Ivan Kral on bass!). If I remember right it took us 10 days to record all the different songs along with the instrumental overdubs, some of the vocals and everything else.
Our original idea was to record, mix AND master the whole record in 10 days! Of course nothing worked as smooth or as quickly as we would have hoped for and so Alain and I would travel back to Prague at a later date to finish the tracking and do the mixing and mastering. It was a hot July when we were all there then in Prague and we would return to the hotel every night, exhausted, sweaty and ready for sleep. Or at least I would. The Dr.s' are younger than me and I think many nights they would go off exploring the late night life of Prague. I remember lots of red-eyed sleepy heads every morning. We had fun, worked really hard and I think made a good record. We used Jarda as a recording engineer and both him and Andy mixed the record. That's a little unusual but scheduling demands on everyone made it the only way to get the record done
- OLD HAND- The title track and just a pretty straight forward rock song ala TLH and the B.D.s! I guess I was not feeling too happy or hopeful when I wrote this one. It's fun to play live though.
- IF IT DON'T RAIN- This song is one of our newer efforts and I love the arrangement on it. The violin player, Karel Holas, does a lot of session work in the Czech Republic and brought a real Moravian flavor to this song. A lot of times I would bring my ideas to the band rehearsals and we would learn the chords (me too!) and just start playing it. A lot of this arrangement was Alains. That's Tonio and Franck doing the background vocals.
- HARDLY EVER TWO - This is one of two songs that go back to my days when I had a rock and roll band in Seattle called The Ones (featuring Jack Endino on bass and Chris Adams-drums). We originally recorded this song back in 1985! but it never made it further than a cassette. Some times songs are like people - they just take a long time to get there.
- FADING ANGER - Here's the other Ones song. Slow and spooky with lots of ambient guitar noises etc. It was fun to record lots of those sounds but it was hell later trying to sort it all out! Alain plays a bass guitar with a violin bow! That's Tonio playing the lead acoustic guitar thing.
- TOSS - As close to a pop song as I can get I think. That's me on the harmonica.
- EDENLESS - Living in the Bretagne region of France has exposed me to Celtic music for the first time and I think you can hear that influence during the intro part of Edenless. I'd been reading Charles Bukowski when I wrote the lyrics. Edenless is the name of the bar where this song takes place.
- IT'S ONLY LOVE - My first French song and perhaps my favorite on the record. I didn't write the words to this but came up with the melody and the general picture I wanted to paint. Tonio took all of that information and wrote some really great lyrics. I hope to do more songs like this until I can write the words in French myself. Serge, you better look out!
- WORDS - This is the first TLH and Dr.s song. We'd all been listening to a lot Iggy Pop that summer (Naughty Little Doggy-great record!) and I like to think you can hear it. Of course I have an active imagination!
- IF YOU WANT - A love song pure and simple.
- SONG FOR RAINER - An ambient piece featuring the dobro, Jean-Phi on brushes and me on the background guitar noises. Rainer Ptacek passed away recently and this is dedicated to him. I've had so much fun playing the dobro and it was his "tip" that led me to buy one. Rock on Rainer!
CLOSING: Thats the record. Photographs were taken by Franck who is a professional photographer when he's not making music with us. Of course I hope you like the record. It's a little different from my others but records are just a musical picture of a moment in time and this one was ours from the summer of 1998. We will tour in Europe April and May of 1999 and we hope to see you at one of our shows. Check the web for tour information. Enjoy the record and take care.