The latest song that we’ve started recording is titled ‘Father, Son, Mother, Lover’. Once again, it is a song that I wrote a few years ago and have recorded in rudimentary demo form. However, I wanted to record a more definitive version and thought it would fit nicely on this EP as it’s a song that I am proud of and has some lyrical similarities to ‘Baby’.
This is a finger-picked based song which was a challenge to keep in time as it’s quite a quick part to play. On the original demo I hadn’t worried about this but I wanted to make sure this one was in time which meant using a loop rather than recording the same part multiple times. I normally would want to have a fully recorded take but the loop seemed the best option in this case and we managed to get it to flow well. (LO1). I would say that the influence of this song is ‘The Beatles’ once again and in particular their low-key simplistic songs that were included on ‘The White Album’ of 1968. Songs such as ‘Blackbird’, ‘Julia’ and ‘Mother Nature’s Son’ feature finger-picked guitars and were themselves influenced by the travis picking style that ‘Donovan’ showed them whilst in India (LO3). I also included a new intro to the song that I believe pays homage to ‘Blackbird’ in the way if plays what are known as ‘broken’ chords as you only play some of the notes .
I also added a harmony guitar part in the style of ‘Mother Nature’s Son’ towards the end of the song which wasn’t present on the original demo (LO1). This also slightly changed the harmonic structure of the song as I played minor notes over what was before essentially a one-chord song (it’s based on playing around a D major chord with little variations). A final guitar part consisted of a echo-laden slide guitar line which was placed at the end of the song. I didn’t have this part in mind when originally writing or recording it but happened to have my glass-bottle slide on me that day. I used a heavy amount of hall reverb to give the song an atmospheric nature towards the end. This was recorded in the style of ‘Automatic for the People’ which features a lot of atmospheric, ethereal parts including slide guitar (LO3).
Another few additions were made to the song in the next session we had for it. One of these was a mandolin part which plays a descending tremolo part on the refrain of the song. I recorded two lines for the song, to make a harmonious melody that actually mirrored the vocal lines in their notes. They were recorded with a pair AKG C414’s, resulting in 4 mandolin tracks in total. The distance from the instrument was carefully thought out and reflected the research we had put into it which states that a microphone should be placed ‘approximately 10 inches away’ from the instrument. http://blog.audio-technica.com/basic-recording-techniques-capturing-the-mighty-mandolin/ (LO1) The inclusion of the mandolin was inspired once again by R.E.M. who used it extensively in the 1990s on songs such as ‘Losing my Religion’ and ‘You Are the Everything’ (LO3). The playing style on those songs differs from that of my style as Peter Buck plays more chord-based parts whereas I am playing a tremolo-infused part more reminiscent of ‘If You See Her, Say Hello’ from ‘Blood on the Tracks’ by Bob Dylan.
Continuing the R.E.M. influences was the inclusion of a melodica part, which was a recent purchase for me (LO2). I bought it for the sole reason that I had heard it on tracks such as ‘Find the River’ and ‘Drive’ from ‘Automatic For the People’ – 2 songs that I cite as an influence on the sound of ‘Father, Son, Mother, Lover’ (LO3).
Father, Father, have you seen the light?
Joking, laughing, why do you weep tonight?
Don’t you cry
My son, my boy, don’t you give up hope
Joseph, Joseph, you must learn to cope
With me gone
Mother, Mother, where did you get those pearls?
Silky, beauty, I love your golden curls
Please love me
Lover, Lover, I can’t go on this way
You don’t, want me, can’t find the words to say
Oliver Cobbin – Acoustic Guitars, Slide Guitar, Mandolin, Keys, Melodica, Lead Vocals, Harmony Vocals, Production, Mixing
Adam Thraves – Production, Mixing