Don't Ask Me if I Ski in Aspen

Don't ask
the album the songs

The Album

So you wake up and there's one word on your mind - Nashville!

OK, you don't own a stetson or a pick-up truck and the nearest you've got to wrestling cattle was at that dodgy club down the King's Road.

But hey, impulse rules - so, Delta flight 257 to Atlanta - hop on the local shuttle to Nashville, with the regional finalists of the all-American under 18 cheer leading competition! (Felt like the dad in American Beauty).

Then, large as life, by the baggage carousel at Nashville Airport, Mr Mark Dreyer of Mark Dreyer Productions fame - player, purveyor, creator, facilitator extraordinaire of Nashville twang and sundry sounds - with his pick-up truck.

Immediate tour of Nashville by night - one street of music company offices and one street of bands in every bar - that about did it (oh yeah, plus the titty bar - "titties are always in style" - quoth Mark. Then a put-down (seriously) at "Truckers Motels to The Gentry" - bed, chair, cooker (no pots and pans mind), fridge and khazi, all for $150 per week (yes, week). OK, you have to disengage the fridge to get some sleep and there was the small matter of the phone in your room (and most others) ringing incessantly for no reason, but the parking spaces were generous (the trucks, you know).

And that was the very room where, one drowsy Nashville dawn, track 2 (“Garcon”) poured from NM’s pen - the one about that one in a million shot where you're at that swanky eaterie about to pluck the already-ripened fruit when "she who must be obeyed" pitches up! - kind of "Pina Colada" song gone seriously pear-shaped.

Anyway, on to the sessions. House by the lake, yard, dog, sun shining, Mark's trademark cinnamon in the coffee (buggered the percolator, but what the hell) and Charlie, your genuine "Okie from Musgogie" (or something like that) on standby (the same Charlie who wrote "Up on the Hurt, Over the Will" - don't ask - good line though, so it was nicked and bunged on a Hamptons song!).

Charlie, of course was accompanied oft as not by his main squeeze - who went by the name of Robin Hood - a curiously silent figure, perhaps on account of the resemblance between her dental array and that of the Hessian in "Sleepy Hollow".

On with the sessions - fantastic players - Dow, Mike, Bruce, "Turbo", Brian, Gary, Sean, Terry (who had a roadie for his harmonicas - top drawer – sadly Terry, a good Christian save the penchant for chemicals, surrendered to them and is now with his God) and the man himself, Mr Mark Dreyer.

Into the night with Mr Dreyer - vocals here, guitars there, swift trip backstage at the Grand Ole Opry - recognised none of the twenty or so acts, with the possible exception of George Hamilton IV (sad). Friday session taken over by Sean on account of Mr Dreyer trying out for the latest incarnation of the Billy Ray Cyrus (Achy Breaky Heart) band. He got the gig, but then the whole thing seemed to evaporate - now how often does that happen? Also pitched up in none other than Porter Waggoner (RIP)’s dressing room, gave him the album….no doubt he listened to it avidly…….

Anyway, got the whole thing basically done in a week - acoustic guitar on "Six Years On" done after three hours sleep on the morning of the plane back to London (got that laid back feeling though, Mr Dreyer!). Back to blighty and our good friends Dominique and Alex at Wolf Studios, Brixton. More vocals (including young Stephanie Murray) and guitars - naturally including original Hamptons, Neil, Sally and Mark.

So - a slightly off piste work for the Hamptons: a country(ish) album recorded by a lake in Tennessee and mixed by a Frenchman in Brixton! Stranger things, as they say, have happened (we guess).

Hot dang - think I feel another one coming!...