Lost In A Moment- “Persuaded” by Groovy Uncle

In January 2014 Groovy Uncle began work on their 4th album, “Persuaded”. Apart from  two songs-“Wet Weekend” and “You Look Good To Me”– all were recorded at Ranscombe Studios, produced by Jim Riley and engineered by Brendan Esmonde. The album features Suzi Chunk and Miss Modus and was released on 6th October 2014 on Groovy Uncle’s own label Trouserphonic (ZIP2-UP). It is available on vinyl, cd and as a download. All songs written by Glenn Prangnell. The intent was to put together an album with a “cinematic” feel. It was great fun to make and it is an album of which I am very proud. I hope you like it too. Continue reading

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

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

  

Girl From The Neck Down-Part 3

In 1967 George Harrison attended a lecture on Transcendental Meditation given by the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi at the Hilton Hotel, London. Backstage the two met for the first time and with a typical display of ice breaking irreverence, the Beatle asked the giggling guru: “Got Any Mantras?” 

That always sounded like a song title to me…

The original version appeared on the Groovy Uncle album “Play Something We Know!” where it poked gentle fun at would- be hippies: “you wanna be a flower child/the smell of that incense drives you wild”. I thought Suzi could do a wicked, funkier version of the song. I was right.

“I Can’t Stop The Rain” is an appropriately titled track for what has been a very soggy 2012. A relentless downpour on the soul served up in a late night, bar room jazz stylee with a distinctly Dusty vibe. Fine piano from Peter White on this one.

Another song borne out of troubled, convoluted times “It’s Not Your Heartbreak” was a conscious effort to write for Suzi a black soul influenced balled along the lines of Smokey Robinson and The Miracles. Well, that was my starting point and that influence is most prominent in the line “I wish for a day/you could feel the same way/as I do” when the backing vocal harmonies kick in. The original take included a horn section but my well intentioned arrangement made it sound too cheery so we took it out and replaced it with a guitar part courtesy of Bruce Brand which gives the song just the right amount of melancholy.

To top off the album I decided we needed a “goodbye”song- a lump-in-the-throat ballad full of yearning written with the sole intent of breaking hearts. Yeah, one of those. The backing track was recorded at the end of a long session when we were beginning to wind down and this gave it a nice, laid back feel which is exactly what I wanted. A week or so later Suzi and I layered some lush vocal harmonies together after she’d completed the lead vocal. If I’d had access to a grand piano and orchestra I’d have used them on this track. This’ll more than do for me though. It’s a lovely finale.

The making of this album has been a complete labour of love for me. I had never written songs for someone else before and it’s been a most enjoyable challenge.  Hearing Suzi   interpreting my words and music has made me listen to my own songs in a different way. I’d like to thank everyone involved in the making of this record for their hard work and support not least Marty and Mole at State Records. Most of all I’d like to thank Suzi Chunk for giving me a much needed metaphorical kick up the arse!

“Girl From The Neck Down”-Suzi Chunk out September 2012 on State Records (THSLP 003)  She’ll learn ya!