Monday, March 09, 2009

Nearly 15 years of bafflement and anxiety have just come to an end. That's the length of time I've been familiar with 'Love Gets Strange' by Nick Lowe on his 1988 album Pinker and Prouder than Previous, and the length of time I've been trying to work out the chords on guitar. I assumed that it was beyond my meagre skills, but as most of Basher's excellent back catalogue can be expressed in four chords at most, I thought it unlikely. I worked out a set of chords that sort of got me through the song unaccompanied (G E Am D on the verses, G F C and one I couldn't quite get on the chorus), but were at noticeable variance with the pitch of the record. The one thing that never occurred to me until just now was that they might have speeded up the master tape. So, I twiddled the pitch control on the turntable until my chords fitted, and once the spot had been found, guess what, Basher's voice sounded more natural and, well, Nick Lowe-ish. It's a subtle difference, but it's been like taking off a pair of tight shoes. And, as the icing on the cake, I've just located the long-lost jewel case for Two Against Nature for Steely Dan, which had fallen down behind a bookshelf. Call it low-effort spring cleaning.

3 comments:

Kecske said...

I'm a huge Brinsley Schwarz fan and, as with Neil Innes, I find the quality and range of Lowe's songwriting astonishing.

LF Barfe said...

Me too, although this is a cover of a John Hiatt tune. Nick Lowe continues to develop wonderfully - his more recent ballad-heavy albums are particularly glorious. And never forget that this is a man who, in 1988, wrote a song with a verse running "Well do you remember Rick Astley?/He had a big fat hit, it was ghastly/He said I never want to give you up or let you down/Well I'm here to tell you that Dick's a clown/He was just a boy when he made that vow/I'd bet it all that he knows by now/All men, all men are liars...". If that isn't genius, it's pretty close.

Apres la Guerre said...

Adjusting the speed without the original artist or producer's permission? Not the way I'd go.....