Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Brian Cadd - Selftitled (1972)

(Australian 1965 - Present)
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Brian Cadd is an Australian pianist, keyboardist, producer and singer/songwriter, and also known as Brian Caine, born November 29, 1946 in Perth, Western Australia. Brian has performed as a member of The Groop, Axiom, Flying Burrito Brothers and as a solo artist.

Brian released his first, selftitled album in October. It met with immediate success, as did the 'Ginger Man' single cut from it. His major breakthrough came in January 1972, when Ron Tudor, acting for Brian, obtained a contract for the release of the album in the US on the new Chelsea label.
Wes Farrell, the whiz-kid writer and record maker, owned the label. He showed immediate enthusiasm towards Brian. His first US single was 'Every Mother's Son' rather than 'Ginger Man'. But this may have been a tactical error as the latter track was probably stronger.
[extract from Noel McGrath's 'Australian Encyclopedia of Rock', Outback Press, 1978. p56]

The following is an extract from Brian's autobiography in which he talks about the making of his first solo album, as featured in this post. It certainly makes interesting reading and gives one a full appreciation of what goes into producing that 'debut album'.

And so I began my first solo album....... My diary shows that I usually booked time during the day for other projects and then recorded my own songs at night.
This album was a huge leap for me. Even though I had spent all those years performing and recording with The Groop and Axiom, I had only ever sung one song all the way though: 'Show Me the Way'. Admittedly, enough people liked it to make it a hit, but I was very much lacking in confidence starting out on this new scary adventure.


Recording in those days was usually accomplished with a reasonably large rhythm section: often several guitars, bass, drums, piano and maybe even percussion. Even though it was a long way from the everybody in at once' sessions of the '50s and '60s, much of the recording happened during the rhythm track. Overdubs were usually confined to vocals, solos and orchestral instruments.
In The Groop and Axiom, we always recorded pretty much live' band tracks and then added solos and vocals afterwards. That meant there was less control as each instrument strived to make a statement within the whole, often making for very full crowded tracks with not much light and shade.
For the album, as I always had, I wrote using a piano. I wanted the piano and vocal to be the centre point of the recording, which would leave opportunities later for interesting guitar lines and other performances to embellish rather than overpower the piano and vocals.


John Sayers started out as the engineer for the project. We had done so much recording together that I trusted him completely to help realise my dream. Early on in the project it became obvious that we were definitely working as a production team so John assumed a co-producer role.
I really loved the way Coxy and Barry Sullivan played together.
Barry is the finest bass player Australia has ever produced in my opinion and it was so sad for all of us when he passed away. On paper you wouldn't imagine that Coxy would particularly suit Barry, who came from a blues/soul background, while Coxy was pure rock'n'roll and pop. In fact, deep down where he lives, Coxy's favorite song is probably Ahab the Ayrab'. But there was a beautiful fluidity in whatever Barry played that seemed to marry perfectly with Coxy's powerful driving style—at least for the songs that I was writing.


So we just went in as a three-piece, which gave us so much space in each song to play together because there weren't any guitars grinding away to obstruct our view. I'm not being unkind here. Most great session guitar players will agree that often the best way to come up with functioning lines or rhythm patterns is after they hear what the rhythm section has laid down.
Certainly, this was the case with this album and each night we would get tracks that were relatively sparse and that could then accommodate vocals and solos and strings without cluttering.
The other thing that happened was that, because it was only the three of us and we became so tuned to each other's playing, we started to act almost as three parts of the one person. If Coxy and I went back to a basic structure at the beginning of a verse, it would allow Barry the space to play one of his beautiful, often spectacular bass runs without us disturbing or compromising it.


If I had to nominate which I thought was the purest and the most natural of all my recording experiences, I would say unconditionally that recording the band tracks for that first solo album was the one. Sayers helped so much by creating this amazing ambient world for us to play in each night.
Plus nobody, particularly me, knew what a Brian Cadd album should be like, so there were no rules. There were only the three of us and we went wherever the music took us. And it wasn't until all the band tracks were done that we even thought about overdubs. We never thought, 'oh, a guitar would be good here' or 'a sax would strengthen that line'. It was when we considered overdubs that we discovered how little else needed to happen to them. There really weren't enormous opportunities for guitars or other electric instruments. However, the two things the tracks screamed out for were vocals and strings.


In the pop corner, everyone in the recording industry had been bowled over by Elton John's first album, and none more than me. The space in the recordings, the prominent piano and vocals and the very cool rock-string arrangements were right there as an example of how a pop piano player made a record.

And over in the rock corner was the incredible Leon Russell who, with and without Joe Cocker, made stunning rock'n'roll records with so much power and groove. He showed us how to use serious rock'n'roll playing to make hip pop/ rock recordings. And he used women to sing behind the singer. I'd just spent eight years where the guys in the band did all the harmonies.
These two enormous forces met right in the middle of my head. Subconsciously, I was given the tools and shown the way.


Peter Jones was a jingler. He made lots of jingles, usually with his writing partner Bruce Smeaton. And he was an arranger whose time was about to arrive. He was also pretty crazy, which I considered somewhat of a bonus. When I first went out to his place, he was sitting at a piano in a makeshift music room surrounded by stacks of bottles of home brew. Somewhere around that period he crossed over the line and discovered grass. I met him during the transformation.
And Peter got it! He immediately heard the total difference in attitude and voicing that made Elton's strings different from traditional arrangers. So when we played him our band tracks with rough vocals, he became enthused and away he went with no basic brief for the arrangements other than to be non-traditional and to be cool.


Those string sessions were an epiphany to me. I had been cursed by traditionalism for so long that I'd stopped believing I was ever going to get anything new from an orchestra. But after the sessions were all over, everyone there realised that wed just taken a huge step forward.
Peter Jones has never received the credit he is due in my opinion. He changed the way we all thought about strings and during those few years, both with the various Bootleg albums and the arrangements for Morning of the Earth, Alvin and many other outside projects, he could always be depended on to add just the right amount of coolness to a track so that the strings never sounded cloyingly sweet. They always had a kind of rock integrity about them.


And those Leon Russell singers ... Americans had soul music. Their typical structure, even as far back as the black 'race' recordings and their subsequent white pop imitations, allowed for a separate singing group within the recording to sing the harmonies. Leon showed us how to do that. Particularly with the Cocker recordings, the background voices are so powerful that the choruses double in intensity from the verses just by virtue of the vocals.
I was solo now so I could have one of these singing groups if I chose to. And I chose to. So we formed a pool of great girl singers and hit the harmony trail. We had so much fun and we were simply making most of it up as we went. In fact, the whole record was like that. If you listen to it now, its principal parts are the three-piece rhythm section, the strings and the singers. Everything else is decoration in some form. I never achieved exactly that again, and in some respects I regret it.
John Sayers mixed it superbly and, although he has made some other wonderful recordings in his long and illustrious career, I think the mix on that album still stands up today as being extremely powerful and unique.
 

I remember when we finally agreed it was finished, we took a copy back to his flat where he had this wonderful set of speakers. As was the custom back then, we wound the system up, turned off the lights and listened all the way through. At the end, we both realised, maybe for the first time, what we had achieved. I know the album isn't to everyone's taste and music and, indeed, recordings have moved a long way since then in some regards, but I'm still most proud of that record and I believe that it is unique. And 'unique' has always been my yardstick. My favorite artists remain those who, when they arrived, were like no others around them up to that point in time. Elvis Presley, Little Richard, Chuck Berry. It could definitely be said of The Band, certainly of Bob Dylan, Van Morrison and Bruce Springsteen. The Beatles, the Stones, Joni Mitchell, Crosby, Stills and Nash. The list feels like it could go on forever but it's surprisingly short, given that we can now look at more than 50 years of pop music and rock'n'roll.

I'm not sure how much of the album Ron Tudor actually understood. His mantra was 'show me the single'. There were some hooky songs on there but there wasn't one that screamed 'single' to me. However, as we played it around to our industry mates, 'Ginger Man soon became the favourite, although 'Silver City' also got some serious votes.


In the end I think it got down to the radio guys Trevor Smith, John Torv and Rod Muir, with perhaps an additional, experienced level-headed vote by John Brennan, who decided on 'Ginger Man.
So it was released along with the album and, most luckily for me, 'Ginger Man' and 'Silver City' were both hit singles, and the album too. I say 'most luckily' because if they hadn't, I would probably not have made another recording and would have been satisfied to stay a record producer and writer. [extract from 'From This Side Of Things'by Brian Cadd, New Holland Books, 2010. p119-123]

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This post consists of both MP3 (320kps) and FLACs ripped from my trusty vinyl which I bought as a teenager - and was my first record on the commercial 'Bootleg' label. Full album artwork and label scans are also included. As a bonus, I have chosen to include Brian's 1973 single "Every Mother's Son", but take note that the American release of his selftitled album (on the Chelsea label) actually included this track. (see alternative covers below)
This is a great debut album from Cadd and a must for any serious collector of Australian music.
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Track Listing
01 - Fairweather Friend
02 - Tell The World To Go Away
03 - Where The Music Is Playing
04 - Josie McGinty
05 - Tell Me About Freedom Again
06 - Ginger Man
07 - Pappy's Got The Blues
08 - Silver City Birthday Celebration Day
09 - Suite For Life
10 - Every Mother's Son (Bonus A-Side Single)

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Artists:
Brian Cadd (Piano, VOcals)
Barry Sullivan (Bass)
Phil Manning, Billy Green (Guitars)
Geoff Cox (Drums)
Bruce Woodley (Acoustic Guitar)
Graham Lyall (Wood Winds)

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Brian Cadd Link (MP3)

Brian Cadd Link (FLACs)
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