Moore:Music ®

Witch Cross • BC Sweet • Gonads • Christie

Blue Odyssey – The Running Order

The lesson here......'Plan Ahead'

The Blue Odyssey project, by its very nature absolves me of the one task most musicians hate – compiling the final album running order.  In the heady world of best-sellers, the running order can make or break an album.  I don’t know if its a good thing or not but, Blue Odyssey’s running order, with the odd exception, has to be set in stone, because it is the story of a trip, and the chronology needs to fit. There is a little leeway – I could have one Nashville track near the end, for instance, as we returned there before flying home, and the three New Orleans songs, whilst having to be at a specific point in the ‘narrative’, don’t need to be in a specific order. I also have a couple of songs “Mississippi Prayer” and “Buttermilk Boogie” that are not location specific.  The main thing is to try and avoid putting songs that are to similar together, avoiding back to back ballads for instance.  But I’m banking on the fact that because the journey is self-explanatory, the running order will just work as the trip unfolds. Here’s hoping!

Anyway, I know there’s only been a small sampler available to hear some of the tracks so far, but I may do a second sampler before release, nevertheless, just for the hell of it, here’s my initial running order, and how it pertains to the area/subject matter along the journey:

Never get to Nashville

Clearly, the opening track, telling the tale of our journey from Almeria via Madrid and New York, missing Dallas completely and the airline chaos that ensued!

Cellarful of Dreams

While the opening track celebrates the Country side of Nashville, this explores the varied singer-songwriter and band scene that exists in places like The Basement.

Blue Me Away

As mentioned in my previous entry, this one is about watching bands on Beale Street in Memphis, the second city on our journey, and introduces the first real blues elements to the album.

Long Black Ribbon

Apart from the Blues Festival in Memphis, the other main event for me there was visiting the Civil Rights museum at the Lorraine Motel on Martin Luther King’s birthday. If anything was ever going to inspire a song, it was standing on that balcony.

Pass the Biscuits

So, we’re heading down into the Delta now, and a wonderful meeting with legendary “Sunshine’ Sonny Payne and my interview on King Biscuit Time in Helena, Arkansas.  I’ll never forget it, and I was honoured when Sonny agreed to provide some voiceovers for my homage to the show.

The Ghost of Bessie Smith

Visiting Clarksdale, the epicentre of the blues, steeped in history, was indescribable. -and getting the opportunity to jam with local musicians onstage at Morgan Freeman’s Ground Zero club was just amazing. This song tells the story of legendary singer Bessie Smith who died in Clarksdale at what became the Riverside motel. It ponders on the possibility of her ghost still wandering the streets here, singing the blues. When you stand by the Riverside, it doesn’t seem impossible.

Mr. Johnson

Is it possible to visit the legendary Crossroads and not write a song about Robert Johnson? The story has been told many times, but I wanted to focus on his dalliance with another man’s wife, how it led to his death, and the mystery surrounding his resting place. I’ve used a report of an eyewitness account that claims he really is in fact in Little Zion graveyard, which is where I believe him to be, and where I paid my respects.

A Mississippi Prayer

This song, whilst not about any one place in particular, came to me as we were driving through the Delta, along roads that bordered what were once the old cottonfields. I tried to imagine the people, their suffering, how it made them stronger, and how it created this incredible form of music as an expression of the human condition.

Ol’ New Orleans

This has to be the first of ‘The Big Easy’ trilogy, simply because the opening line describes crossing Pontchartrain and seeing the city skyline reveal itself across the water. One of the most moving moments of my life. This song draws on the zydeco influence of the region, and like the opening track on the album, will also feature my friend Shelley from Atlanta on violin.

Who Dat

How could I not do a song celebrating the glorious and historic Superbowl triumph of NOLA’s very own Saints? We were so lucky to be down there in the French Quarter watching it with the locals when they won it. The city erupted! Great times. This track tries to capture the New Orleans funk flava.

XXX

The final piece in the trilogy, exploring the myth and cult around New Orleans’ celebrated Voodoo Queen, Marie Laveau. I visited her tomb, and it’s covered with various scrawlings of ‘xxx’ which is to ask for protection from the spirits, which apparently is quite a risky business. This song features my French partner Miki as the Louisiana Witch!

Buttermilk Boogie

Quite simply, this a homage to that American institution, Waffle House. We just adored their buttermilk waffles with chocolate sprinkles and it took a month of dieting and swimming to lose their effects afterwards! This just a fun boogie that could fit into the trip just about anywhere, as there seemed to be a Waffle House on every corner!

Spaced

This track is pretty much an instrumental. I’m trying to evoke the sense of awe and wonder we felt when we visited The Space Centre, and Mission Control, Houston.  To stand in that very room, from where they safely guided the Eagle onto the Moon as I watched as a small boy back in the UK, was incredible. With the use of speech samples, TV and radio cut ups, I hope I bring across their achievements, and their sacrifices.

Brought it down in Austin

By some terrible coincidence, we were less than a kilometer away when a lone pilot slammed his plane into the local IRS building in Austin, killing himslef and one employee. I thought it so summed up that ‘crazy child locked in the attic that no-one talks about’ side of America, I had to explore it in a song. I hope it has something of  that lil’ol’ band from Texas -ZZTop – feel about it.

What a Night it Was

Another strange happening in Austin. We’d been out for the evening and as we were pulling into the car into the car park of our hotel, a Cop flashed a light in my eyes, ordering me to stop. He quizzed us on who we were, we’re we’d been, and we noticed the entire area, right up to our room was sealed off with Police ‘do not cross’ tape. We discovered there had been a death in the room next door but one to ours, but they were extremely secretive, and we never really got to the bottom of it, so like the best journalists, I made some stuff up!

96 on Sixth

If ever there was a perfect story for a song, this is it! To walk into a bar on Austin’s famous Sixth Street, sit next to a 96 year old living legend – Pinetop Perkins, shake his hand and hear him play. I was so, so lucky. I hope the song has done him justice.

Parrot Beach Cafe

This song was fun to do – especially with the help of Arkansas musicians Gil Franklin and Patrick ‘Jawbone’ Kenyon on slide guitar and blues harp respectively. It is what it is – the story of how we walked into an unknown bar in North Little Rock and stayed all night, immersed in the music, friendship, and good vibes.

Blue Odyssey

The title track, and least completed of them all up to now! Quite a recent addition, (there never was going to be a track called Blue Odyssey) it’s like a recap of all the places seen on the trip, and if I were to point to an influence as to its sound, I would say the theme to the TV show Deadwood – that’s the vibe I was after – we’ll have to see if I capture it!

The Turre Stomp

Written long ago, but never properly released, except as a single digital download, I felt this fitted right in with the mood of the album, and as it is my perception of the town in Southern Spain where I live, it’s the perfect footnote to the project, bringing me full circle. I also like the fact that it’s littered with American imagery – “Well the sun is high and it’s beating down, on a dusty road in this one-horse town…”

So, nineteen songs in all. If the truth be known, we experienced so much on that trip, had so many special moments and discovered so many great musicians along the way, I could dedicate a 10 album boxed set to it! But this will serve well enough, and it’s certain that everything I’ve seen and heard in those magical places will inform my work from now until the echo dies on my last note.

Kev Moore

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August 5, 2010 - Posted by | Blue Odyssey CD, blues, Home Studio, Music, Recording, Rock, Thoughts, Writing | , , , , , ,

2 Comments »

  1. I would want to hear the song about the VooDoo Queen myself! It’s interesting to see your thought processes written out here before you came to the final product.

    Comment by asrai7 | August 10, 2010

  2. I’ll be putting a second ‘teaser medley’ from the album up soon hopefully, and I”ll feature a little of “XXX”. Thanks for the comment!

    Comment by kevmoore | August 10, 2010


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