Background to Our Songs: No Bells
Written by Jimmy
The essence of Abubilla Music is so far represented in two places: No Bells and King Henry’s Tears (click here for video). Here’s the background to No Bells.It started with Coffee. 8AM in morning. Summer 2010 Autumn Jam. The oldies were up (Jimmy, Rob, Lew and Martyn). The less developed were still asleep. Conversations about really, really good music. Lew plays Ella and Joe Pass
Second move, 8.03. Diet Coke, Jimmy and a Black and Red Book. The rest of the oldies get coffee and Jimmy grabs a Diet Coke, gets into the sun and a lounge chair and writes the lyrics to No Bells. He feels there are not enough songs about what the British and American soldiers have gone thru in Iraq and Afghanistan, nor their spouses at home. So he wanted to write about the terror of waiting for a call from the pastor, saying your serving husband or wife his died. His mom has talked about what that call feels like — her first husband died in WWII. Of course that meant she married the second husband, who produced Jimmy. So he’s a bit on the fence about this thing.
Third move, 8.23, Jimmy grabs Lew, Rob, Martyn, Ed, Andy (all now awake) and runs them to studio with sheet of lyrics. Lew leans to Ed and says – ‘These are chords I’ve always wanted to use if I played for Ella.’ Ed goes to keys and writes basic structure with Lews chords. These are: G, Bb6, amin7, Ab7b3
Fourth move, 8.41, Jimmy runs now to get Lou, who’s woken up and sitting in sun under porch in everyone’s favourite spot in the villa. He says, ‘we have a song – we need your voice and a melody.’ He’s excited. She looks at him and roles her eyes, muttering, ‘you’re an idiot.’ Jimmy didn’t see.
Fifth move, 8.44. Lou and Ed play the song. Lou with lyric sheet. Other boys add instruments, she adds melody, boys add suggestions and a song is born.
Sixth move. 8.51. Jimmy presses red button. Band preforms it’s magic. Piano solo from Ed, guitar solo from Martyn, out of nowhere. Drums and bass first take. Song is done. Jimmy and Andy look on in awe.
Seventh move. 8.57. Jimmy suggests that we should make this sound like a 78 – a record from the 1940′s to link the bride to the soldiers’ brides from every war before. Andy goes on line and finds filter. Applies filter. Song sounds like 78. Band looks on in awe. Jimmy waves arms to attract attention to himself. Band walks out of studio wordlessly.
Eight move. 9.00. Jimmy and Andy ‘bounce the song.’ It is done. In one hour. And we are not kidding. One of our favourite songs. Came out of nowhere. We were just drinking caffeine. Of course, being the Saturday Morning Canasta Club, we mess around with the song for another 4 months only to return to the original …
A final note: where are the songs for these wars? Folks are fighting, suffering and dying – at the front lines, in the back lines and at home – on the orders of folks we’ve elected. It is not an issue of politics – these are folks that are there on our orders. You’d think we’d pay a bit more attention to what they are going thru.