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Behind the Scenes – Part 2

As we’re getting into autumn I’m ticking off the songs that I’ve recorded for my latest album – at the time of writing I have four out of twelve left to record. I mentioned in my last post that the album is dedicated to my late mother; however I didn’t want the album to be solemn or sorrowful so I have included some more light-hearted and humourous tracks. Life goes on, after all, and we can always find something to laugh or smile about in our everyday lives.


My mother had a great sense of humour – a childhood friend of mine, on hearing of her passing, said she remembered my mum had a very infectious giggle. We often watched comedy programmes together as a family – Dad’s Army, Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads, Morecambe and Wise and many more – and she took me to see films like Life of Brian, Clockwise and The Full Monty (she went to see the latter film twice, once with friends and once with me). I can recall her infectious giggle too.


The first of these songs, and the first I recorded for the album, is “It’s only a rehearsal”. An unaccompanied song, I wrote it for a songwriting competition held by Woolston & Bursledon Folk Club in 2004, under the category of “Mistakes”. As you may have guessed, it’s about things that can go wrong during orchestra rehearsals, based on my experiences of playing the ‘cello with amateur orchestras. Things like missing key changes, getting lost and pages sticking together are all documented. I received a commendation for the song in the competition; the winning entry was about a cockerel that couldn’t crow at the right time, the title was something like “A cock-a-doodle cock-up”.


I have a Motorola Moto G5 mobile phone, and it was the previous model, the G3 l that inspired the next song. It had a notification sound of three musical notes, and I thought it would be clever to take this phrase and incorporate it into a song. Hence “The Motorola mobile song” was born. The same notification sound was used for different apps, so the song is based around wondering what the notification was if I hadn’t seen it on the screen – the last part of the chorus goes “My phone goes do-do-do but I don’t know which app it’s on”. I particularly wanted to record this song as a folk club friend asked me if I had recorded it and unfortunately she passed away in July this year, the day before her birthday.


The next song was inspired by my husband. We were out at our local folk club one evening and he had recently started to use an electronic cigarette in a bid to cut down on smoking, but had misplaced it and said he was going out to the car in case he had dropped it in there. This had started to become a regular occurrence and this set off an idea to write a song about it. This became “Steve’s lament (The e-Cig Song)”. The tune, rather than being folk-inspired, is more akin to Gilbert and Sullivan, possibly because I was using the phrase “electronic cigarette” in full which lent itself to the style used in Gilbert and Sullivan’s operas. It’s not the most romantic tribute from wife to husband, so on the album I have also included “Song for you”, which was influenced by Elton John’s “Your song” and written about my relationship with Steve.


Sadly my mother did not hear any of these songs before she passed. I would usually give her a CD of a completed recording, which I think she appreciated. When I started clearing her house with my brother and sister I found that she had kept all the CDs I had given her. I’d like to think she would chuckle on hearing these light-hearted songs, though probably more at what I’d chosen for the subject matter. Thanks Mum, from my heart.

Who's winning? My mother and brother go head to head, while my sister checks the contents of her bag...

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