Wish Away The Moon

A few years ago I discovered the music of Nick Drake and for a while I listened to little else. I was fascinated by the arrangements of these meandering, melancholic masterpieces and the fact that he never saw commercial success in his tragically short lifetime (he died in 1974 aged 26). I started playing around with the folk guitar tuning of DADGAD (as popularised by Davy Graham) and a chord progression began to surface based initially around Drake’s “Riverman”, a track from his 1969 debut album “Five Leaves Left”. I was fully aware that I could never compose (let alone play) anything as intricate as Drake’s but I love drawing on all my influences no matter how ambitious that may seem in an attempt to come up with something of my own so I started work on what became “Wish Away The Moon”. I began finger picking the chords while developing the vocal melody and it was at this point the song took on a more Harry Nilsson mood with particular inspiration from “Without Her”. I finished the song, recorded a demo and forgot about it for a couple of years. It was some time in 2011 when I remembered the song and offered it to Suzi Chunk for inclusion on her debut album “Girl From The Neck Down”. For some reason I didn’t think she’d like it much but I couldn’t have been more wrong. She loved it and agreed to record her version at the very next recording session. You can compare the two versions here below the lyrics.

Wish Away The Moon

By the time it takes to seize hold of the early morning breeze she’ll rise/A moment come and gone before the setting of the sun is in her eyes

Wish away the moon take a chance and pretty soon you’ll fall

Waiting for the sound of the footsteps on the ground she cries/And while the clock alarm does its rise and shining harm she nearly dies

Wish away the moon, take a chance and pretty soon you’ll fall

She just keeps her eyes on the beautiful horizon/he’ll kiss away her tears but there’s a price to pay and here’s the deal

Just wish away the moon, take a chance and pretty soon you’ll fall

“One Vowel Away From The Truth”-Album Out Now!

Monday 30th September 2013 finally saw the release of the new Groovy Uncle/Suzi Chunk album “One Vowel Away From The Truth”(Trouserphonic ZIP-1-UP) making it the third from the Groovy Uncle project and the first on our own label. “Play Something We Know!” (State Records, 2011) and “Girl From The Neck Down”(State Records, 2012) were always going to be tough acts to follow and I was never going to attempt to rehash either of those fine albums but I did want to keep all the key elements that gave those records their appeal. I decided to go for a 50/50 share of vocal duties between Suzi   and myself so we ended up with a bona fide Unc’n Chunk album. It has all the things I like from a pop record- riffs, humour, melody, vocal harmonies, wit, sarcasm, light and shade.    There are songs on there that will smack you ’round the chops and others that will give you a hug and kiss it better. Suzi’s voice is beautiful as always and everyone involved in the project worked their backsides off to produce what is, I hope you’ll agree, a damn good album! Physical copies (CD only) are available from the official Groovy Uncle Website for  £10.00 (plus postage) or downloadable from iTunes and Amazon and can be heard on   Spotify. Here is a track from the album….

GROOVY UNCLE Featuring SUZI CHUNK Consider It Done                                              (Thanks to Maurizio Melino)

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One Vowel Away From The Truth

Once we’d seen in the New Year my thoughts immediately turned to making a new record. This would be the third Groovy Uncle album project after “Play Something We Know!” and Suzi Chunk’s “Girl From The Neck Down”. Both had been very well received (particularly the latter) though they are very different from each other and this got me thinking it might be interesting to make the new album a mix of the two – a bona fide Unc’n’Chunk record. I already had the songs written and knew which were Suzi’s and which were mine plus a couple to duet and once again I wanted to include one or two instruments and musicians I hadn’t worked with before. On the track “Consider It Done” for example, jazz musician Roan Kearsey-Lawson did some beautiful vibe playing which became the icing on the (already lovely) cake and he did it in one take! It took much longer to dismantle and reassemble the instrument than it did to mic it up and record but was well worth the effort. Roan also brought along a set of late 19th century tubular bells which added a nice touch to “Human Scaffold”.

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A few months ago I demoed a song called “When I Saw Love” (which can be heard on Suzi’s Soundcloud site) and thought it needed handling in a Beatles-esque, “For No-One” style. Jon Barker does some fine harpsichord type keyboard work on it but I knew I had to find a French horn player. Via the magic of Facebook I was put in touch with Neil Mitchell, a classical orchestral player who was more than happy to be involved as this was to be his first solo on a recording. We worked together on the arrangement and his playing is majestic. It gives the song a melancholic yet uplifting quality which no other instrument could have achieved. Joining us once again is John Littlefair providing the horn section on “Must Have” and “It’s Not Like Me”. Always a pleasure to work with Mr L and I love his playing on these tracks. 
A number of songs this time feature the trumpet playing of John Whitaker (he of Stuart Turner and the Flat Earth Society among others) and I think his contributions really lift songs such as “Neptune Girl”, “Me And My Fair Weather Friend” and “Human Scaffold”. I’m particularly pleased former Singing Loins mandolin player Rob Shepherd agreed to work out a part for “November”. I’ve always been a big fan of the Loins and I like what he does here as it takes the GU sound to another place entirely. Peter White joins us again for some nifty keyboard work on “The Money Shot”.

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Of course Bruce Brand, Nick Rice, Mole, Marty Ratcliffe Suzi Chunk and myself contributed a fair amount to the project too but more about that and other stuff later. The album is called “One Vowel Away From The Truth”  and we’ll be mixing it next month (July). Thanks to all involved.

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A Thank You

After all the tremendous response to the album “Girl From The Neck Down” I thought it about time I composed an open letter to say a big thank you to everyone who has supported us over the past 12 months and beyond and to all involved in the project. Everyone involved was totally committed to the project from start to finish and there is no way I could have done it without you. My apologies in advance for any glaring ommissions. So, in no particular order….

 

Suzi Chunk, Bruce Brand, Marty Ratcliffe, Mole Lambert, Nick Rice, Allan Crockford, Ben Jones, Jon Barker, Phil Brown, Peter White, John Littlefair, Paul Moss, Ian Snowball, Jon Abnett, Peter Salmon, Paddy Faulkner, Lois Tozer, Jane Prangnell, Arthole Retrographics, Graham Seamark, Graham Sage, Mike Murray, Bill Kelly, Mark Radcliffe, Stuart Maconie, Lizzie Hoskin, SiriusXM, Stevie Van Zandt, Andrew Loog Oldham, Drew Carey, Kid Leo, Mighty Manfred, Genya Ravan, Jenna Antonacci, “Shindig!” magazine, Medway Eyes, Fizzer’s Radio Show, WOW Medway, Medway Broadside, Jennie and Colin Baillie, David Bash, Phil Moore, “Record Collector” magazine, Terry Lane @ Buzzin’ Media, Hard Rock Memorabilia, Rosemary Edwards, Jason Charles Rogers, Phil Dillon, James Crowther, Kev Wright @ The Sound Of Confusion, Andy Morten, State Records.

 

To everyone who has bought, downloaded, voted, championed and generally said nice things WE THANK YOU! Have a wonderful, happy, positive 2013. We intend to bring you much more in the coming year!  

Glenn suzi shindig review

 

 

 

Got My Eyes On The Prize

Somebody once asked me if I had to record a cover version with Suzi what would I choose. “Love Is A Losing Game” was my immediate response. Suzi is a big fan of Amy Winehouse and I’m sure she’d do a fine job. This got me thinking. I needed a track which would end the album-a “goodbye song” that would leave the listener wanting more. I sat down with my guitar and began playing around with the chords to “Love Is A Losing Game” just to get into that kind of mood and ended up writing “Got My Eyes On The Prize” around similar chords. I recorded a demo complete with backing vocal harmonies and sent it to Suzi. She loved it, worked out the phrasing and came up with some suggestions for the arrangement. It has become one of the best loved tracks on the album.

Got my eyes on the prize and it’s you

Got my eyes on the prize and it’s you

 

How do I begin to say how I feel

Now we have to kiss goodbye?

Staring at the road ahead is unreal

I’ll be low while you get high

 

How do I pretend that I’ll be alright

Knowing that I never will 

Make this living end my only respite

From the loneliness I feel 

 

Since you went away and caught your freedom flight

And I’ve been left alone at night

All I got to do is say

 

I’ll die before I find another you

I’ll die before I find another you

I’ll die before I find another you

But in the meantime….

 

Got my eyes on the prize and it’s you

Got my eyes on the prize and it’s you

 

When do all the good times come back again?

I just cant believe they’re dead

Looking out for signs, the where and the when

Blame it on the things I said

 

Tell me that you don’t have any regrets

Tell me that you’re not unsure

Tell me you don’t find it hard to forget

I’m not the one you’re living for

 

Since you went away and caught your freedom flight

And I’ve been left alone at night

All I got to do is say

 

I’ll die before I find another you

I’ll die before I find another you

I’ll die before I find another you

But in the meantime…. 

Words and music by Glenn Prangnell (Copyright Control 2012)
From the album “Girl From The Neck Down” by Suzi Chunk
 

Big Screen

The song that triggered the concept of the Suzi Chunk album “Girl From The Neck Down” was one that seemed to come out of nowhere. “Big Screen” matches a melancholy tune with downcast lyrics that evoke a bleak night out in Everytown where boys will be boys and girls “reserve their right to sup”. Every bar in Everytown has a big screen that spikes the alcohol with high definition tragedy, schadenfreude and football to a relentless 120 bpm. All are having fun on the dark side of the rainbow. Well, I hope they are…

                                                        Big Screen

 

Tomorrow may not be the day

You’ll hear me say let’s fly away

But I hope it is

 

A better life is far behind

These narrow streets and cobbled minds

Well I hope it is

 

Why does this self defense seem like attack?

How many paces forward take me back- again?

 

I’ve been looking at the Big Screen all my life

While they’re looking at the Big Screen every night

I’ve been looking at the Big Screen all my life

I’ve been looking at the Big Screen.

 

Tomorrow night the boys go out

To large it up and lark about

Like they always do

 

The girls reserve their right to sup

Like men they pale then throw it up

Cos they wanted to

 

Many’s the time I’ve watched this play unfold

Many’s the time I’ve thought they should be told- again

 

I’ve been looking at the Big Screen all my life

While they’re looking at the Big Screen every night  

I’ve been looking at the Big Screen all my life

I’ve been looking at the Big Screen.

 

Words and music by Glenn Prangnell (Copyright Control 2012)

From the album “Girl From The Neck Down” by Suzi Chunk

  

Play Something We Know!

If the concept behind the Suzi Chunk album “Girl From The Neck Down” was “to make the kind of record they don’t make anymore”, then the first Groovy Uncle LP certainly had its own agenda. It’s noticeable these days how obsessed with nostalgia people have become, particularly with regard to music- tribute bands, karaoke, X-Factor cover versions, ill advised reunions- and just about anyone who has ever written and performed their own original compositions will at some point have heard the the tiresome, drunken cry from the back of the room - “Play something we know!” I’ve always found this request both irritating and baffling. Why would anyone NOT want to hear something new? Surely there are only a limited number of times a man (or woman) can tolerate yet another rendition of “Mustang Sally” or “Wonderful Tonight” before the urge becomes too great and he (or she) gauges his (or her) own eyeballs out?

I’ve often thought that one of the key factors behind the massive popularity of Mancunian magpies Oasis rests in Noel Gallagher’s ability to write brand new tunes their audience already knows. Make ‘em big, bold, strident,catchy but most of all familiar-something we can all identify with and sing along. So when it came to putting together a debut album for Groovy Uncle (the first on the State Records label) I knew what I wanted to achieve and didn’t have to think too long about the title – “Play Something We Know!”.                                                                                    

The opening track is a song I’d written back in the 90′s and had already recorded a demo of it with the band I was in at the time, Johnny and The Bandits (who later morphed into Goodchilde). The track was never released and remained on a cassette tape gathering dust but I’d always been rather fond of the song and knew it would sit nicely on PSWK. Inspired by the Tony Hatch song “Call Me” (with a nod to  “Never Ever” by The Action), “Count On Me” is a straight ahead, reassuring feel good song that sets the tone for the rest of the album. The line-up for this track: Ben Jones, Paul Moss, Mole, Glenn Prangnell.