Old Wave – The Lost Roundhouse Tapes
In 1983 I was given the chance to record an album. It was going to be called ‘Old Wave’ after one of the tracks, but also as a tongue-in-cheek counter to New Wave music. Artist Owen Bell had painted a picture for the sleeve using the Hokusai wave with the earth rising behind it instead of the moon: it was very striking. Sessions took place at The Roundhouse Studios owned by Bronze Records at Chalk Farm.
From what I can remember, ten tracks were recorded but some weren’t quite finished when the funding came to a halt: the album was abandoned, and life moved on.
Fast forward thirty years and I came across a 15ips, 1/4 inch, stereo copy master tape (which I didn’t know I had) of most of the Roundhouse tracks. Someone heard about it and there was talk of releasing it but, once again, it didn’t happen. In the meantime the multi-track master had disappeared, as had the 15ips 1/4 inch stereo master (both probably thrown away), along with Owen’s sleeve painting. All that was left was my tape.
I was aware that magnetic recording tape can deteriorate over time and that the tracks might be beyond saving. Nevertheless I took the tape to John Dent at Loud Mastering who had experience of cleaning old tapes. One problem was the white leader tape between the tracks, which had resulted in damage at the beginning of some tracks, but on playback it sounded as though some might be saveable. John then converted the tracks into studio quality AIFF music files, but I still wasn’t sure what to do with them.
Then, at the beginning of this year (2016), I decided to do something about this lost album. Some tracks hadn’t really worked out in the studio and one song was totally irrelevant, in that the subject and lyric were out of date, but I thought some tracks were worth preserving, if only for the musicianship.
I decided to have five tracks mastered for an EP. Then, some time later, I decided to add another track because, for the musicianship alone, it didn’t deserve to be forgotten.
I recorded three of the songs many years later.
I couldn’t remember recording ‘The Venturer’ in ‘83 so it became the opening track on ‘Songs From The Lynher’. I wanted to include it here mainly because of the musicianship.
I did remember recording ‘Take It While The Moment Lasts’ and ‘Old Wave’ in ‘83 but assumed the tracks would never be released, given the loss of the original tapes.
I thought ‘Take It While The Moment Lasts’ had a third verse which I couldn’t remember, so I wrote a new one for Songs From The Lynher. I later discovered there hadn’t been one!
I’d been playing Old Wave live with just an acoustic guitar so I thought I’d re-record it acoustically for ‘The Hallicombe Sessions’.
I then discovered that there had been two different mixes of one of the tracks, ‘Walking Round Corners’, and I only had one version. Roger Moss, a long-standing friend of mine who had played guitar on the sessions, had taken away a cassette copy of all the tracks, one of which was the other mix.
I’d remembered that Marc Fox, percussionist with Haircut One Hundred, had played timbales on Walking Round Corners, but I didn’t have that version. However, it was on the cassette that Roger had. Accordingly, he sent me, from his home in France, a WAV file of his version. It seemed to me that the timbales were an essential part of the track, primarily as an intro to the choruses.
Using Logic, I managed to add those chorus intros onto my stereo track, but to be safe, when it came to mastering, I took along various versions in case my editing didn’t quite cut the mustard. Thankfully Simon Heyworth and Andy Miles at Super Audio Mastering managed to add the timbale chorus intros seamlessy into the main track.
There is also a harmonica on one of the tracks and I was convinced that Marc Fox had played it. When I contacted him he had no recollection of the session, so I phoned Jerry Boys, engineer and producer. He couldn’t remember either. However, I’ve credited Marc with the harmonica playing, in the absence of any other suspect.
The sessions featured the three Daves: Greenslade, Mattacks, and Quinn, all great musicians. Dave G had played with my band in the early seventies for a short time but is largely known for his work with Colosseum and his own band, Greenslade, and as a fine composer of TV Music. He put a lot into these sessions and pushed me in directions I might not have ventured, vis-a-vis the use of synths and a non-acoustic guitar approach.
Dave M is best known as a founding member of Fairport Convention but has played with many fine musicians, both live and on record.
Dave Q played bass with The Mechanics, a Cornish trio featuring ‘Big’ Al Hodge and Alan Eden. Al was a phenomenal guitarist and singer who sadly died prematurely.
I managed to contact Dave Quinn this year, after thirty years. He said how much he’d enjoyed playing on the sessions with Dave M. and you can hear why: they gel so well together.
Roger Moss played guitar with Randy Van Warmer, me, Medicine Bow, and currently plays in a duo ‘The Two’ with Thomas Ottogalli in France.
Ginny (Murray-)David, along with her brother Gavin, sang with me in a trio in the late seventies. She has a stunning voice which, sadly, you only hear briefly on these tracks.
Jerry Boys has won four Grammys for his sound engineering.
Owen Bell, the painter of the original cover, is an old friend who was living near me in Cornwall at the time of the Round House sessions. He is best known for creating all the art work for the TV series, Thomas The Tank Engine, and for creating a series of stamps for the WWF and the Australian Post. Although he lived in Cornwall for many years, he was born in Australia where he now lives. I contacted him re the original sleeve art in the hope that he might still have it. When we both realised it had gone for ever he offered to paint another one digitally, so that’s what you see on my website and my Bandcamp site.
So here, after thirty-three years, I present to you a little bit of musical history: the final distillation of those lost Roundhouse tapes…..
Available for download only from https://tonyhazzard1.bandcamp.com/ and iTunes and Amazon, etc.
Tony Hazzard November 2016