Jeremy Gluck, Nikki Sudden & Rowland S Howard: I Knew Buffalo Bill - Double CD
LAST FEW COPIES ONLY
2 x CD set includes both the 1986 and 1987 sessions. Plus further sessions as bonus material.
Includes whole disc of out-takes and unreleased tracks.
It was a long, long time ago when I first met Jeremy Gluck. It was actually even longer than that it was back in the summer of 1978. Almost three decades have passed since those halcyon late Seventies days. He and his band, the Barracudas, seemed to spend every Saturday afternoon transversing Portobello Road, desperately looking for the surf or the big wave. As the song almost said, London's a lonely town when you’re the only surfer boy around.
I remember that the Barracudas looked so young and adorable back then. Times change but our reasons for doing what we do never do. It never occurred to me then that we would record together. Swell Maps and the Barracudas occasionally played joint gigs but they always supported so that was fine. Ill assume that fate set its tender fingers lingering towards us from that instant. From that first Notting Hill moment we didn't stand a chance.
Jeremy and I got together one early Eighties evening in a strange cooperative type house he lived and loved in just up from Kings Cross. He thrust a bundle of raggedy and pretty ragged lyrics my way and after thinking for a couple of seconds I put some chords to the words. He seemed to like the results and so we went in the studio to lay down a version or two. For some reason known only to Jeremy the choice of locations was in a completely frozen and freezing warehouse somewhere in Brixton one of the more unlovely parts of old Albion. My chum Dave the Kusworth late of the wonderful but sadly unknown Subterranean Hawks and my pal, Tyla (then the guitarist and now the whole lot) from Dogs D'amour, joined us for this first recording session. The tapes haven’t been played since they were recorded but I have them safely stored in an ottoman that once belonged to my grandfather. Better was to come next time.
Jeremy interviewed me for the British music rag, Sounds, in the early eighties. With a touch of class involved I pipped for doing the chatter in the St. James Tea-room at Fortnum & Masons on Piccadilly to which I was accompanied by my ever-gorgeous friend Lizard (Max Edie).
A two-track demo session done at Lizards beautiful Kings Road house is also stored somewhere in my tape archives. One of these tracks, an early version of Four Seasons of Trouble, ended up on a free LP given away with the third issue of What a Nice Way to Turn Seventeen.
A couple of girlfriends and a year or two later Jeremy and I ended up at Dave Peggs Woodworm studio in Barford St. Michael. Set in an old Baptist Chapel our purity of soul acclimatised itself perfectly into the idyllic surroundings and we began recording. We; being Rowland Howard and Andy Bean who both played alongside Jeremy and me. My brother, Epic Soundtracks popped in one day and duly ended up on tape. It was that kind of record. If Barford St. Michael hadn’t been so out of the way more folks would have dropped by and made their fleeting contributions but stuck as we were in the midst of Fairport Country we had to make our own way to heaven. Peggys local was out the door, up the street on the right but we weren’t there long enough to do more than pop our heads round the door a few times a day and it takes a bit more than that to be properly accepted by the locals.
I was already in the middle of sessions for two albums. Dead Men Tell No Tales and the joint Nikki / Rowland record, Kiss You Kidnapped Charabanc. Frenchy Gloders Flicknife Records bankrolled I Knew Buffalo Bill and Im sure I saw the hand of God there somewhere. Flicknife had released The Bible Belt, my second solo album, and never paid me for a single copy. They certainly paid more than their fair share of the recording budget for Buffalo Bill, but they got a great album out of it. Its a great way to confuse record companies no one knew who was paying for what. And as long as the dealers got paid we weren’t too bothered.
One evening my father popped along to Woodworm. He wandered into the studio during a playback of my song, Gallery Wharf. He commented that he liked the tune. This was the first time I can remember my dad posting enthusiasm for something Id done. I shouldn’t have given the track away.
The recording sessions were a breeze. Dire Straits fan, Tim Matyear, engineered and although more used to folkies did a fine enough job. One strange memory from that time is that my father walking into the studio one night and saying that he really liked Gallery Wharf, It used to be very rare for him to actually comment on one of my songs. Rowland and I shouldn’t have given the track away. At least I have a copy of the track with my vocal somewhere.
Time rolls on and apparently the master-tapes got lost somewhere along the road. Most important though is that the music still sounds good. Rowland I haven’t seen since he returned to his homeland of Australia over a decade back but we still talk. Epic died long before his time and I still miss him most every day. Andy Bean remains a good friend and has journeyed from journeyman musician to record shop proprietor to accountant.
Jeremy also stays a friend though our meetings become more and more seldom with the passing of the years. But when you hide in the hills you have to come down to the valley at times. Jonathan Hodgson remains alive and well and living in London. He was once one of the Cult Figures, now he runs his own video company. Jeffrey Lee Pierce I never got on well with at all but he made some great records and I hope he sleeps easily.
I ended up taking Lucky Joe Drake to Tokyo with me and later on we played on a paddle steamer called The Cajun Queen on the Mississippi out of New Orleans. Cohen became immortalised as JC in Phil Shoenfelt’s book Junkie Love but Tony was immortal from the day I first met him. Tony has also returned to Down Under. Its strange how these things come to pass.
This I remember. I should have forgotten so much but never really do. Forever stained yet constantly unstained. Jeremy and I have plans to record together again. Almost twenty years or more have rolled by since we last entered a studio together. But what is twenty years between friends? Too long, or not long enough? The trail leads on until the sunset and the sunset is many years away.
Nikki Sudden: Berlin, Germany -20th October 2005
- Looking for a place to fall
- Too Long
- Gone Free
- Time Undone
- Gallery Wharf
- Four seasons of trouble
- All my secrets
- Time goes faster
- Old man’s dream
- One more story
- Sorrow drive
- Episode in a town
- April North
- the proving trail
- They’re hanging me tonight
- Sixteen wheels
- Burning skulls rise
- Looking for a place to fall ( reprise)
- Prayers of a gunman (1989 Demos )
- Grad’s Hotel (1989 Demos )
- Bar with no name (1989 Demos )
- Nothing to me (1989 Demos )
- Anyone feel lucky ( with Superczar 2005)
- Girl from the North Country ( with Superczar 2005)