In February 1978, 6 months after French Lessons were fully convened, we decided to make some demos, as all bands did at the time. In the all-analogue days of yore, a semi-pro band could reasonably only aspire to 8-track recording, if they were lucky.
Good time girl 1978 Written by Ian
French Lessons 1978 Written by Ian
Conversations 1978 Written by Lawrie Wright
Dirty Old Man 1978 Our punk parody - very non-PC today! Written by Ian
And we were quite lucky. Richard and his old friend Tony Jones had recorded in a studio in Bourton-on-the-Water the previous year. This was owned and operated by Nigel King, a friend of Tony’s. As these recordings (which also featured Dave Gillbe on bass) had been a success, French Lessons decided to look no further.
So, we drove off into the Cotswolds, idyllic even in winter and spent a weekend in a lovely stone cottage, directly next to the Parish Church, where Windrush Studios (now long-gone) had been constructed inside an old building at the back. From memory, there were two rooms, one downstairs where we recorded the instruments and another upstairs under the eaves, which were particularly suitable for vocals. However, this had no visual contact with the control room and all communication was carried out via mics and headphones.
As our drummer Geoff was unavailable, a session drummer who was a friend of Nigel’s sat in and very professionally picked up the songs in a matter of minutes. We would love to know his name - sadly lost in the mists of time, none of us can remember. If anyone knows - please contact us.
Anyway - we managed to nail four songs in the time available. If memory is to be trusted, Dave high-tailed back to Berkshire before the vocals and mixing took place, (as was his custom) which might explain why the bass is a little low in the mix. Or maybe it was the monitors!
Most unfortunately, in those days of reel-to-reel tape, it was too expensive to keep the multitrack masters and nothing digital existed, except our fingers. So all that remains are cassette copies - fortunately first generation, which Richard has turned into 0’s and 1’s and re-mastered to some degree, principally to improve the eq to bring out the bass end, but also to add some stereo enhancement, compression and limiting. A couple of dodgy notes were fixed with Melodyne - but that’s it.