Father, Son, Mother, Lover

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

Goodbye Love



Oliver Cobbin – Acoustic Guitars, Slide Guitar, Mandolin, Keys, Melodica, Lead Vocals, Harmony Vocals, Production, Mixing

Adam Thraves – Production, Mixing



The second song that we have started recording in the multi-track studio is a song called ‘Baby’. This is quite an old song of mine and I have recorded many different versions of it over the years with not much success as to a definitive version. Each recording had a different style or altered lyrics and you can see the progress of the song below. I want to record a definitive version of this song for this project as I believe it’s a strong contender for the EP and should be included. The version that was recorded in the first year of university was more for a studio practise session so it wasn’t produced as well as it could’ve been. We were still honing our skills and were a bit inexperienced which resulted in a product that I wasn’t entirely satisfied with. I believe our skills are up to the task now of recording it and I think we’ll do the song justice (L01).

It’s taken a few attempts in the studio to get the song due to varying factors. The first session was scrapped as we’d misjudged the BPM of the song and subsequently set a click-track that was too slow. This resulted in the song being a bit ‘dirge-like’ and not the product I wanted it to be. I also recorded the rhythm guitar part on my ‘Epiphone Dot’ with added distortion from the studio’s amplifier which we thought sounded good at first but upon reflection sounded ‘trashy’ and didn’t suit the song well.

The second session for the song also wasn’t all that successful as the inputs on the multi-track desk weren’t correctly set so only the live room worked properly. This meant we couldn’t record a drum track for the song which resulted in just the guitar tracks being laid down as well as a guide vocal (also in the live room). I recorded the guitar tracks with my ‘Fender Squier Telecaster’ this time around which resulted in a much fuller sound overall. I also didn’t use the amplifiers distortion which meant that the rhythm guitar was a lot brighter than the previous weeks attempt. I also recorded a second guitar part that comes in at the chorus which consists of a arpeggio played with a tremolo effect to make it discernible from the main guitar. It gives the guitar a ‘classic’ 1960s/1970s feel in which I cite songs such as ‘Gimme Shelter‘ by ‘The Rolling Stones’ http://www.onstagemagazine.com/gimme-shelter-song-analysis/ and ‘How Soon is Now?‘ by ‘The Smiths’ although the latter has a much more prominent tremolo-laden guitar part than my song (LO3). That shimmery sound is also prevalent in modern rock music with ‘Suck it and See’ by ‘Arctic Monkeys featuring bright, guitar parts that are treble-based (LO3).

Several things throughout the development of the song have been added or taken away to create a finalised version of the song. One addition that came later throughout the process was the inclusion of the chorus’ backing vocals (LO2) They had been wordless in earlier versions but I changed them to be the words of the final chorus which worked well as an inter-play with the lead vocals. This is a favourite feature of mine in songs where the backing vocals intertwine with the lead to create the lyrics and melody of the song. ‘Help’ by ‘The Beatles’ is a good example of this as Lennon’s lead vocal is preceded by the lyrics partially sung by the backing vocalists consisting of Harrison & McCartney (LO3). Another few parts have come at the hand of Pat, a recent addition to the band. He and I performed some more backing vocals that appear halfway through the verse. Once again there is a ‘Beatles’ and this time it is the falsetto ‘ooh la la’ vocals that appear on songs such as ‘You Won’t See Me’ and ‘Nowhere Man’, both from ‘Rubber Soul’ (LO3). He also recorded a tambourine part that appears at the end of the last verse and added a new rhythmic feel, not heard on the previously recorded versions of the song (LO2)


Lyrics & Chords:

E                         F#             F                   E

Baby’s thrown a tantrum, baby’s had enough

Baby says to get out cuz baby’s sick of us

And Baby has the freedom to do what she wants

She has the key to the kingdom, but she hasn’t got rights from wrongs


A                                                    C

(Yeah) One of Daddy’s Girls   (Yeah) Don’t be fooled by the Curls


(Yeah) They were Mother’s pearls

C                      C/B            Am

But she couldn’t care less if she tried


E                       F#                              F                            E

Baby sips her mother’s milk, her daddy’s whiskey too

Baby’s always draped in silk, she’s polished up and new

And baby tries on perfume; she likes to gild the flower

She plays the pretty princess up in her ivory tower

A                                                    C

(Yeah) One of Daddy’s Girls   (Yeah) Don’t be fooled by the Curls


(Yeah) They were Mother’s pearls

C                      C/B                Am

But she couldn’t care less if she died


E                                  F#                 F                               E

The silver spoon has rusted; the hand that feeds is thin

The drip supply is wasted, and to waste is but a sin

And now she’s old and feeble, but still baby nonetheless

She isn’t really able, I guess it’s sad I must confess


A                                                            C

(Where) Did they go those curls?   (No) Longer one of the girls


(She) Sold all of her pearls

C                     C/B        Am

And threw in her soul for free

C           C/B    Am

Now Baby’s gone



Oliver Cobbin – Rhythm & Lead Guitar, Bass, Lead Vocals, Backing Vocals, Production, Mixing

Adam Thraves – Drums, Production, Mixing

Patrick Delamere – Tambourine, Backing Vocals