One thing Andrew Weatherall did from the earliest days of his own remixes and productions was scatter clues for you to follow. He worked with One Dove producing their debut album Morning Dove White, a much delayed album and one which was mucked about with by the record company who wanted a pop hit. Fallen came out in 1992, ahead of the album which didn't appear until autumn 1993, and the eight minute version on the A- Side was this-
Fallen (The Nancy And Lee Mix)
The chugging intro and those huge timbales are heavenly even before the first appearance of Dot's breathing. After a minute Dot's speaks, her voice very close up, and says 'I don't know why I'm telling you any of this, one thing is don't ever told anyone I told you this, don't save me, just forgive me' and then we have lift off into blissed out ambient- tinged dance music.
After Andrew's death in February One Dove member Ian Carmichael posted his memories of the making of the album on Facebook-
'The day Andy Weatherall came to Glasgow to work in my studio, I slept in.
When I arrived, breathless and sweaty and terrified, I was thinking I've kept this VIP DJ waiting outside on the doorstep for 20 minutes; he's going to be so pissed off and I'm the biggest jerk in the world.
He was sitting reading NME. Smiling. Smiling BIG. The reviews of Screamadelica had just come out that day. The NME saved my life.
As friendly and happy as he was, I was still intimidated by him, and his way of working was so unconventional I felt that I was playing catch-up the whole day. His first instruction on the remix was to change the time signature of the track - EVERYTHING had to be reprogrammed. I was a nervous wreck.
And then we started to commit to tape the tracks as he wanted them played - starting with just the rhythmic breaths - and he would add elements in and we'd just record it to tape and build the track up bit by bit. Back then that meant editing a 1/4" reel to reel.
I had bits of tape all of the floor, around my neck, across the mixing desk - I couldn't remember what any of them were. I had razor cuts on my fingers and my hands were sweating so much I couldn't hold the tape. I wouldn't even get halfway through an edit before Andy would be giving out instructions on the next part of the track. All I could see in front of me were the red LEDs on the tape machine screaming OVERLOAD! I wanted to die.
It was one of the worst days of my life.
And one of the best.'
The Nancy And Lee Mix was named after Sinatra and Hazlewood. I wasn't particularly familiar with Lee Hazlewood's work in any depth at that point although I knew his name at least in part from a Thin White Rope e.p. I'd bought in 1988 where the Paisley Underground/ desert blues group covered Some Velvet Morning. My Mum had been a Nancy Sinatra fan and there were some of her records at home- Nancy In London and Boots were both around (I'm sure they still are, she doesn't throw much away).
Some Velvet Morning is a strange, dark, psychedelic pop song with strings, rattling snares and shifting time signatures, sugar spiked with LSD. Nancy and Lee duet, Nancy as Phaedra playing off against Lee's baritone. The lyrics suggest an acid trip- 'some velvet morning when I'm straight/I'm gonna open up your gate'- but Lee said later on he didn't know what the words meant. He said they were inspired by Greek mythology and that Phaedra had 'a sad middle, a sad end and by the time she was 17 she was gone. She was a sad- assed broad, the saddest of all the Greek goddesses, so bless her heart, she deserves some notoriety, I'll put her in a song'. Nancy, recently one of Trump's biggest and most frequent online critics, said in the 1990s 'I've been singing this song for over 20 years and I still don't know what the darned thing means'.
Some Velvet Morning
But the clues and references are dropped for you to follow so the names in brackets on a remix send you off on a quest down the rabbit hole to fill in the gaps. Second hand records from the 1960s were easy to get hold of in the early 90s, second hand record shops and charity shops filled with dumped collections and I found a copy of Nancy And Lee without too much much trouble. Nancy's Greatest Hits as well (with the gatefold sleeve).
Andrew Weatherall would return to Some Velvet Morning in 2003 when Primal Scream recorded a version of it for their Evil Heat album, Kate Moss duetting with Bobby. The 12" single had a Two Lone Swordsmen remix, Andrew and Keith weirding it out in disco dub style.
Some Velvet Morning Disco Heater Dub
I wonder is she still mates with Morrissey?
The only occurrence where Weatherall did not improve on the original, it's not worse but it's not better. Big shout out to Bobby Bluebell the uncredited guitarist on the track.
Also I think that this record was pulled due to lack of clearance of the Supertramp sample.
I forgot about the Bobby Bluebell appearance.
I wonder what Frank thought of his daughter being turned into the psychedelic muse Phaedra? Lee wrote some great and twisted songs subverting the classic crooner delivery. It's worth checking Rowland Howard and Lydia Lunch's version of 'Velvet Morning' also Einsturzende Neubauten's version of Lee's 'Sand'. Classics. Incidentally Rowland Howard's last two albums have just been reissued by Mute. Highly recommended.
Can't imagine Frank was that pleased.
Yep, I've got the Howard/Lunch version, it is a great cover. RSH's solo albums are good too- his cover of Talk Talk's Life's What You Make It is unforgettable.
Meant to comment on this earlier, sorry, to say what an enjoyable post. Love Nancy & Lee and Some Velvet Morning is a favourite.
Post a Comment