Silent Song Through The Land

Silent Song Through The LandMileHighMusic (Released April 9th 2018)

Personnel
Silent Song Through The Land
Diego Pacheco-Bloch – Bass
James Tobin – Mandolin / Ukulele / Backing Vocals
Ewa Reciak – Backing Vocals
Christy – All other instruments and voices

Don’t Let My Marigolds Die
Produced, arranged and performed by Christy

Production
Produced & arranged by Christy

Silent Song Through The Land

Having been a huge Ron Davies fan for many years, I thought I’d try recording one of his songs, one of many I would love to record. Silent Song came together very quickly, thanks to brilliant help from Diego and James, who added their mercurial talents within days of me creating the main bed of the song. Ewa added the essential finishing touch of some lovely angelic female vocals. I owe thanks to them all, and also to Szymon of Bury films, who kindly produced a video to go with the track.

Don’t Let My Marigolds Die
Recording a b-side delayed the release by six months, until I thought, what the hell, and then just added some extra parts to a quick scratch version of a brilliant song by another songwriter I love, Bill Fay. My recording is rather primitive, but hopefully, it might lead the listener to go and search out the original version from Bill’s second album, 1971’s Time of the Last Persecution.

Christy – Silent Song Through The Land (2017)

Filmed in Greenwich by Cinebury. Additional credits: Diego Pacheco-Bloch – bass, James Tobin – Mandolin & Uke, Ewa Reciak – b.vox. Plus thanks to my beautiful girl, boy and wife for their fleeting appearance and patience 🙂

The Mandrakes – Who’s Is It Anyway (2015)

A photo collage video for Mandrakes song recorded back in approx. 2006

London Sessions

Loss of GodMileHighMusic (Released 2013)

Personnel
Vocals & Guitar – Christy
Drums & Percussion – Karl Smith
Bass – Arliss Fry
Lead Guitar & Vocals – Nigel Evans

Production
Arranged & performed by Zen.
Composed by Christy, except ‘Pass Me By’ & ‘The Ballad of Bob & Linda’ by Nigel Evans and ‘Free’ by Nigel Evans with help from Christy.

Remixed, produced & mastered by Christy at MileHighStudios, London, 2013.

Collection of tracks recorded at Zen HQ London on 4 track cassette recorder in the spring to summer of 1997, except Groover recorded at old Zen HQ Suffolk in summer 1996.

Loss of God

Loss of GodSpindly Killer Fish Records (Released 1993)

Personnel
Vocals & Guitar – Christy
Drums & Backing Vocals – Karl Smith
Bass & Backing Vocals – Arliss Fry
Lead Guitar – Simon Osbourne

Production
Composed, arranged & performed by Zen.

Remixed, produced & mastered by Christy at MileHighStudios, London, 2014.

Original EP, tracks 1 to 8 recorded in a weekend in July 1993 at Soundback Studios, Ipswich, UK.
Tracks 9, 11 & 12 recorded at rehearsals during 1992/93. Track 10 recorded live November 1993 at Customs Club gig.

News Update 2014

A server failure took this site down in late 2012 / early 2013 and I’ve been far too busy with more important things to get around to getting it online again, but found a fairly quick fix, so here it is, like an unwanted apple. The music and videos have been added, so there are plenty of links to albums and singles from across the years, with more to be added as time permits. Have a listen and let me know your thoughts on anything that interests you. Peace, enjoy!

My Life In Headphones

My Life In Headphones(Released 2013)

Personnel
Christy – All instruments* and voices

*Additional player credits:
Nathan Persad – drums on Web of Lies & Suddenly Summer
Richard Burton – pedal steel on Web of Lies

Production
Composed, arranged, produced & performed* by Christy.

Recorded, mixed & mastered at MileHighStudios, London, from 2010 to 2013, except where noted on individual download pages.

Whilst recording new songs, i often remind myself of old songs, long forgotten songs. A key change, part of a riff, a feel, something, enough to get the memory cogs turning. It is then fun to work them out and see what they might have sounded like if they had been arranged & recorded with the bands I played with back then. I’ll hunt through the old C90 cassettes which are home to the old 1990s demos, find the original scratch demo, usually just a guitar & vocal, sometimes with harmonies or a bass guitar, tambourine, always recorded pretty much live on a 4 track cassette recorder, some just on a regular cassette deck, and never cut to a click. Then i put that in the comp, find the tempo, and mimic all the parts that were there and build out from it, avoiding heavy editing of parts i might not include if the song were written now, to preserve the feel of the demo. Mute the demo and you have a polished version of an old song.

Why bother? I must admit, i don’t know, apart from it’s fun to revisit some of these songs – a few of dozens – that slipped between the minutes. They aren’t the best of the old songs, they aren’t the most musical even, they weren’t selected, they just popped up whilst I was working on the new Greater Good, Ewa Reciak, Nathan Persad etc albums over the last couple of years and songs are better being heard, rather than gathering dust on a shelf.

There are three songs now, there will be more to come, there are already another dozen or so recorded, just awaiting a few unneeded minutes to finish them. I hope you enjoy these sketches, these memories, as they grow.

Ready Or Not

The Mandrakes - Ready Or Not(Unreleased 2005 – 2007)

Personnel
Johnny ‘Thunder’ Fleming – Drums
Colin ‘of Dale’ Kavanagh – Guitar
Richard ‘Dicky Star’ Durasow – Bass/Vox
Christy Mandrake – Guitar/Vox/Keys/Harp

Production
Arranged, Recorded, Engineered & Produced by The Mandrakes

Executive production and mastering by Christy

Who, what and where were The Mandrakes? I don’t know to be honest. Friends jamming, getting loaded, very loaded at times, playing, ‘let’s get some tracks together, enough to do a show’, that was about what we did, enough songs for a show. There were plenty of others tried out, ‘The Cold Streets of London’, ‘Don’t Lead Me Astray’, ‘Grace Says’, ‘I and Time’, there are fragments, half jams, full jams, meanderings, nice passages, a riff that tales off. Focus wasn’t that necessary, it wasn’t really that kind of a gig, that ultimately means there isn’t a huge amount of polished tracks to show for the 2 or 3 years The Mandrakes existed from 2005 to 2007. A few ended up on my solo album Shine & Rise, ‘Rescue Me’, ‘Busy’, ‘Try For The Sun’. We did do a gig though, actually many gigs, some really good gigs, the odd duffer, which is par for the course on the London originals circuit but some great ones. There is video from some, so that will be edited and posted to Youtube as time permits.

So, what’s all this then? Well, i guess it’s an attempt to make sense of the time the band was together. Collect together the tracks that were played and recorded in various basements, rushed free recording sessions at audio colleges etc, to various degrees of professionalism, most on standard home equipment. There was always an intention to go and ‘record properly’ at some point, but some point never arrived and so we have these echoes, these moments. I can see Colin setting up mics in Willesden, Richard singing vocals in a basement in Ravenscourt Park, Johnny to my left on stage at the 12 Bar. Many many Friday nights at the rehearsal space in Denmark Street, ‘who’s brought the bag of beers… what else you got…’. Some good memories, some good moments, some captured here. More will be added as time permits. I’m still finding more on all the data CDs and tapes!

~ Christy, 2011

p.s. Why the title? Well, I suggested Shine & Rise for a Mandrakes album should one ever appear and then used it for my own album, Rich suggested Devil’s Apples. There were others, The Greater Good was one, plenty of others I’ll keep under my hat for possible future use. Ready or Not really just sums up the recordings, Now or Never, Get It or Forget It etc etc. It’s just time to put these tracks to bed finally, and they are better getting heard than gathering dust in a cupboard. As Johnny would say ‘This IS the money shot’

All tracks by The Mandrakes except where noted, for specifics see individual track credits on download page.

London City Dreams

London City DreamsMileHighMusic (Released July 2005)

Personnel
Christy – All instruments and voices*

*additional players on About You – Zen:
Andre St. Clair Dyer – Drums/Keys
Ceri James – Rhythm Guitar
Hamid Halbaoul – Bass

*additional on Dellow Street:
Hamid Halbaoul – Bass

Production
Composed, arranged, produced & performed* by Christy.

Recorded at MileHighStudio 2004 except About You, for which drums, bass & rhythm guitar were recorded at a Zen band session upstairs at the Royal George pub, Tanners Hill, London, June 2004, using equipment & rehearsal space of the fine band RedRoute, so thanks to Dave for that. Only a stereo mixdown with drums, bass, rhythm guitars, keys and talkbox survived a computer meltdown at the Drezone Plant a month later, so all vocals and additional overdubs were added to the stereo mixdown at MileHighStudio during 05/06.

From London City Dreams single, recorded 2004, which had a very limited release – maybe 20 copies(!) – in mid 2005, more for friends than anything official.
London City Dreams & it’s B-side Dellow Street are both home demos, but both being strong songs and unlikely to be re-recorded in the near future, it makes sense to issue them on the MHM download store in their stark unpolished maximum charm versions, enjoy!

About You also features on the Christy album Shine & Rise
About You demo added Oct 2013 – recorded back in early 2004.

Shine & Rise

Shine & RiseMileHighMusic (Released Nov 2009)

Personnel
See extended notes below

Production
Composed*, arranged, produced & performed* by Christy.

“Shine & Rise is an enjoyable, varied and sometimes crazily joyous collection that sees Christy pillaging from the past and reinventing it in his own image, while transporting the listener back to the 60s, 70s and beyond.
For this reviewer, one of the highlights of the set is ‘Try For The Sun aka Surf Tune’; it kicks off with crazy castanets and the sort of spaghetti western melody that usually accompanies Lee Van Cleef emerging from the saloon to shoot ’em up on Main Street, and explodes into a punked-up Beach Boys stomp – a delight!”
– Rock’n’Reel magazine’s Diane Mason.

The album Shine & Rise – which could quite easily also be called Hodge Podge Stew – has finally been finished and mastered. The track listing which includes 12 songs collected together from latter day Zen tracks, a few Mandrakes tunes and some solo recordings has now confirmed and includes the sweeping La Fille Francaise complete with full orchestration, uptempo rock of Déjà Vu, and death-pop of Crazy Lady, along with a multitude of others which are sure to swirl through your brain like an acid drenched carousel in the land of Oz.

Special thanks to all the artists who feature on the tracks here. I have made an effort on every song to credit everyone correctly.

La Fille Francaise
Bass, drums & rhythm guitar cut live at Orange & Blue studios, Catford, Aug 2007. Additional overdubs completed at MileHighStudio. Strings added via internet from Canada.

*additional players:
Fabulous Drums – Andre St. Clair Dyer (Drezone)
Spontaneous Bass / Mandolin – James Tobin
A big thank-you to both for their playing on this track.

Ian Cameron – Violins & Violas
Corbin Keep – Cellos
String arrangement by Christy.

Too Much Information
Drums, bass and rhythm guitar recorded live in a basement, Ravenscourt, London, 8th Feb 2007 by the Mandrakes. Additional overdubs added at MileHighStudio.

*additional players – The Mandrakes:
Colin Kavanagh – Rhythm Guitar
John Fleming – Drums
Richard Durasow – Bass

Crazy Lady Blues
Bass, drums & rhythm guitar cut live at Orange & Blue studios, Catford, Aug 2007. Additional overdubs completed at MileHighStudio.

Written in 5 minutes on a sunny late afternoon in Shepherds Bush whilst waiting waiting waiting for a band rehearsal to happen…

*additional players:
Fabulous Drums – Andre St. Clair Dyer (Drezone)
Spontaneous Bass – James Tobin
A big thank-you to both for their playing on this track. Neither knew the song, but testament to their skills, we jammed it once or twice, then nailed it in two or three takes, 20 minutes from start to finish.

Who’ll Love Me Now
Bass, drums, both rhythm guitars & lead vocal all cut live at Alchemia studios, Islington, 2004. Only a stereo mixdown survived and the additional overdubs were completed on to that at MileHighStudio during 08/09.

*additional players:
John Hartley – Drums
Ceri James – Rhythm Guitar
Hamid Halbaoul – Bass
John who is an old friend who I met at a film shoot in the 90s and Hamid who I met at this session, hadn’t heard the track before the tape rolled, and Ceri had only had a brief run through of the arrangement the night before. With some waving guitar conducting as we went, it was nailed in two takes.
Hamid, Ceri & I went on from here to form the last incarnation of Zen, along with Drezone during 2004. Check out the Zen single we cut that year.

Try For The Sun aka Surf Tune
Drums, bass and rhythm guitar of main track recorded at a rehearsal studio in Willesden, London, 10th Sept 2006 by the Mandrakes. Additional overdubs added at MileHighStudio.

*additional players – The Mandrakes:
Colin Kavanagh – Guitar
John Fleming – Drums
Richard Durasow – Bass

Rescue Me Rescue You
Drums, bass and rhythm guitar recorded at Alchemia Studio, London, Nov 2005 by the Mandrakes. Additional overdubs added at MileHighStudio.

*additional players – The Mandrakes:
Colin Kavanagh – Guitar
John Fleming – Drums
Richard Durasow – Bass

Déjà Vu
Drums and bass recorded in a room in East London, April 2004. Additional overdubs added at MileHighStudio.

The original recording, made by the band Zen, was unusable due to the way it had been ‘engineered’ for a ‘dense live room sound’ as advocated by the studio owner. Several remixes didn’t solve the many leakage problems, so it was shelved, which was a major disappointment to a band then being courted by Sony. Last year it was dug out, all stripped back, the best drums kept/sampled and then rebuilt. The bass, in two parts, was found to be good but everything else was then rerecorded into the production you hear here. Somewhere between this version and the demo cut at Alchemia in 2003 with John Hartley on the drums is probably where it would’ve been best, judge for yourself, I have just added the demo version (Oct 2013) – if only i could turn that hi-hat down on it…

*additional players:
Andre St. Clair Dyer – Drums
Hamid Halbaoul – Bass

Zen in 2004 were:
Christy – Vocals & Guitar
Andre St. Clair Dyer – Drums
Ceri James – Vocals & Guitar
Hamid Halbaoul – Bass

About You
Drums, bass & rhythm guitar recorded at a Zen band session upstairs at the Royal George pub, Tanners Hill, London, June 2004, using equipment & rehearsal space of the fine band RedRoute, so thanks to Dave for that. Only a stereo mixdown with drums, bass, rhythm guitars, keys and talkbox survived a computer meltdown at the Drezone Plant a month later, so all vocals and additional overdubs were added to the stereo mixdown at MileHighStudio during 05/06.

*additional players – Zen:
Andre St. Clair Dyer – Drums/Keys
Ceri James – Rhythm Guitar
Hamid Halbaoul – Bass
Christy – Vocals, Guitar & Keys

Devil Take Me Down
Drums, bass & rhythm guitar recorded by band Zen at the – now demolished, facade retained, soon to be plush flats – Distillery, Deptford in South East London, 1st June 2004. Additional overdubs added at MileHighStudio & the Drezone Plant.

*additional players – Zen:
Andre St. Clair Dyer – Drums & Vox
Ceri James – Guitar & Vox
Hamid Halbaoul – Bass
Christy – Vocals, Guitar & Harp

Table For One
Bass, drums, both rhythm guitars & lead vocal all cut in 2 hour session at Alchemia studios, Islington, 2004. Only a stereo mixdown survived and the additional overdubs were completed on to that at MileHighStudio during 08/09.

*additional players – Zen:
Andre St. Clair Dyer – Drums
Ceri James – Guitar
Hamid Halbaoul – Bass

Help *written by Lennon & McCartney, published by Sony/ATV
Drums recorded at a Zen band session upstairs at the Royal George pub, Tanners Hill, London, June 2004, using equipment & rehearsal space of the fine band RedRoute, so thanks to Dave for that. Nothing of the other instruments that were added at the Drezone Plant a month later survived a computer meltdown, but having found the drum track I thought it’d be interesting to hear what it sounded like finished, so all additional overdubs were added at MileHighStudio during 08/09. The original idea for the arrangement was taken from hearing 10 seconds of a Lennon demo for Help played at a plodding speed. It made sense, the lyrics and music hint at a ballad that was at the time of the Beatles recording popped up as a new single was required.
I know the Beatles and covering them – or have now become aware(!) – is a touchy subject, I was told by friends I originally tried to jam the arrangement with, that it wouldn’t work. It has definitely received the most critical response to anything I’ve recorded, but I think Andre, who played by himself to a click and my conducting guitar in headphones, laid down a really great drum part, and personally I dig the Beatles and am pretty pleased with the way this has come out.

*additional players:
Andre St. Clair Dyer – Super Bombastic Drums

Busy
Drums, bass and rhythm guitar of main track recorded at a rehearsal studio in Willesden, London, 10th Sept 2006 by the Mandrakes. Additional overdubs added at MileHighStudio.

*additional players – The Mandrakes:
Colin Kavanagh – Guitar (excellent 2nd solo)
John Fleming – Drums
Richard Durasow – Bass

News samples on Busy taken from the web, those I know sources for are And, yes, I DO take it personally Blog & CounterSpin Radio, thanks to them and those like them that work to make sure we get to hear as free and fair news and press as possible.