Hard-to-find

Let me put you in the picture,

let me show you what I mean. Ian Brown is the flattest singer in the world, ever. When he starts to sing, and I use the term ‘sing‘ in the loosest terms, you couldn’t get one of John Squire‘s plectrums between the arse of his flared Joe Bloggs and the Spike Island toxic sludge. But you knew that already.

stone-roses2

Stone Roses, 1993

So kudos to Simon Dawson. He’s the anonymous genius who mixed ol’ monkey boy’s flat-as-a-pancake vocals into the rough polished diamond that is The Second Coming, the Stone Roses long-in-the-making second (and final) album. Why Dawson isn’t mentioned in the same breath as Nigel Godrich or John Leckie or any of those other indie-producing wunderkinds is anyone’s guess. If I was in a band and looking for that Led Zeppelin plays Sly Stone’s Greatest Funk Hits sound, he’s the man I’d be looking for.

reni2

Reni & Mani do a Brown

As a band, the 3 non-singing musicians can really play. Listen to this, the vocal-free rehearsal track that became ‘Daybreak‘.  8 minutes long at the fade-out and not an overdub within earshot. Or listen to this, John Squire and Reni jamming on effect-heavy guitar and drums. Like, cosmic man! They can really play. But. Add the vocals and you get this. The 1993 demo of ‘Love Spreads’ sounds like heavy funk soup. It was my favourite record when it came out. I played it to death. I’ve never played the demo to death, though it is something of a curio. But the demo version lets you appreciate the lengths Simon Dawson had to go to at the controls in order to get the whole thing sounding fantastic.

In more innocent times, I used to de-tune my guitar to open G, grab an empty botle of Stella as a rudimentary slide and freak out in front of the mirror as I played along loudly to ‘Love Spreads’. In actual fact, all you need to do is drop the thick ‘E’ string to a ‘D’, get yourself a decent £5 slide and play along to the tab below. S’easy, man!

E|-------------------------------------------------------------------------|
B|-------------------------------------------------------------------------|
G|-------------------------------------------------------------------------|
d|-------------------------------------------------------------------------|
A|-------5-----5/8---5/8---5/8---5-------0---3-5---5/10---8---5---0-5------|
D|-0---------0-----------------------0----------------------------------0--|
 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------|
---------------------------------------------------------------------------|
----7-----------------------------------------7----------------------------|
--7---7\----------------------0---0-------0--------------------------------|
----------0-5/8---5/8---5/8-----3---5/8-----------0-3---5---8---5-8---5----|
---------------------------------------------------------------------------|
 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------|
----------------------------------------------------------------10-----8---|
--7-------------------------------------------------------------9------7---|
--7-------------------------0-------5---5\--0--/5--/6--/7----/7-7---/5-5---|
------0---5/8---5/8---5/8--------------------------------------------------|
--------------------------------0------------------------------------------|
                                           
--------------------------------------||
8-------------------------------------||
7-------------7-----------------------||
5-------------7-----------------------||
----5/8---5-----0---3---5---8---5-8---||
--------------------------------------||

squire1

John Squire, Glasgow Green

A wee ned punched me full in the face at this gig. Sore, yes, but not as painful as the bootleg I have of the show. Those flat vocals. Ouch!