The Making of Dandelion

Where do you start with an album?  You start by writing the songs and hopefully when you have at least ten you get a shed load

of money together and you book a studio for a few weeks then rehearse everything until you know exactly what you’re doing. write about six songs then pester your producer/partner to start recording you. 

We didn’t have a studio but we had asmall sun room at the back of the flat with a table in it. That would do probably.

Dave can make stuff sound great anywhere, except for ambulances and police sirens. Oh and blooming trucks and motorbikes

revving up, and the pizza takeaway a few doors down. All can actually be heard on the album if you listen very hard with

headphones on. That was all the fun of it though. Stopping and starting every time something loud happened or the doorbell

went off.

Four months it took us to get the bare bones of the tracks and I managed to end up with ten songs in the process, vocal and guitar.

We were very pleased with it, Dave and I. He proved me wrong, I proved him right. He was probably a bit smug.

Next we needed musicians to colour everything in. My best mate Lucy’s father in law, the great Frank Mizen for a start.

I’ve heard him breathe magic in to so many bands before and many of the songs were written with his banjo playing in mind.

And his lap steel and bouzouki. And pedal steel. We recorded him in Active Audio, Dan Mizen's studio.

My other best mate Nessy, who I met at junior school had bagged herself a multi talented and very posh bit of totty by the

name of Mark Dean. Or in fact, he had bagged himself a multi talented and very beautiful bit of totty by the name of Nessy.

Either way, I knew the clever git would be able to understand the vague descriptions of what I had in my head and he did.

He played recorders, whistle and accordion and it all sounded exactly as I’d described “spooky  like a sad circus and a bit

"Withnail and I”.

My lovely friend Ashley Hutchings was always on the list to play bass on the album. When I was seventeen some biker friends

down the road (Kev and Trish) made me a tape. On one side it had Derek and Clive and on the other side it had

Fairport Conventions ‘Liege and Lief’. That tape was my most treasured possession. It went everywhere with me and was

shoved into so many car stereos that sadly one day it proved to be just too tasty and was eaten in a Ford Sierra that I’d

managed to hitch a lift with.  Anyway, how was I to know that the man behind that amazing life changing music was

one day going to become a good friend and also play on my album.  Mind blowing. We went over to Ashley's house near

Chesterfield and recorded him there.

One day my best friend Lucy had a dinner party and members of her husband’s band were invited, and me. That’s where

I met Jason Odle, drummer extraordinaire and tickler of ivories. I sent him a text message because I’m a massive coward.

Bloody predictive text turned Jase in to Lard and I was very lucky that he had a sense of humour and Lard agreed to play

on the album.

At the same dinner party I briefly met singer Biz Denton who’s vocals I had admired for some time. It was only later when

we needed a very certain kind of voice on two of the songs that I plucked up courage to ask Biz if he’d do it. I was so

chuffed when he said he would. I think he did it in the kitchen.

Some of the album was recorded in various rooms of the flat but for drums and string players and convenience, a fair chunk

was recorded in Lucy's husband Dan's studio. (people always think I’m saying Lucy's husbands dance studio and that makes

me chortle to think of Dan in a leotard, high kicking in front of a mirror)

Anyway, Dan Mizen's studio, Active Audio, is in Harrogate and is fantastic. Dan let us borrow it when ever he didn’t have

anyone in which is virtually unheard of for him these days because he’s so bloody good. We recorded our string players there

too, Angeline Bjerregaard played violin but also brought along her viola which she hadn’t played since school and what a

fantastic job she made of it. Laurence Hughes played Cello and was fantastic. Dave (Creff) wrote the score for the strings

and it was a really magic moment to hear it all come together.  Ashley Johnston played double bass on four of the songs,

we recorded him and his massive double bass in Active Audio too.  His bass would never have got up the tiny stair well to

my flat.

When it came to recording the brass band, there just wasn’t any free time at Dan’s studio because everybody wanted to be in

there. We decided to record at Dave's old haunt at Beaumont street in Huddersfield, the place where “Pretty Young Things”

was written about.  My mate Dave Dunbirch plays tuba and I knew he’d be able to gather up a brass ensemble to play on

“Family”. I’ve known Dave (Dunbirch) since he was seventeen and he lived directly opposite mine and Lucy's flat. Lucy

and I were eighteen and didn’t have much head for cleaning. This flat was a nightmare. You’ve seen Withnail and I? well

this was Lucy and I and ten times worse. We had a laugh though, we made a telephone between houses with two tin cans

and a ball of garden string. Them was the days!

Anyway, Dave came up with some amazing players and that was a great nights recording. We’d waited and waited for that

moment because Frank Mizen (Banjo, Bouzouki) wrote the brass part for us but he was mega busy so we must have waited

about 2 months or more. People ask why it took so long to record this album. It took so long because good things come to

those who wait, that's why! We knew Frank would write a brilliant brass part so we had to wait. Nothing else would do. We

had to wait till Mark Dean could come down from Surrey with Nessy and their babies because only Mark would do.

We had to wait for studio time because that was the best place to work. We had to wait for trains and for my car to be mended.

At one point we had to wait for Dave and I to be speaking to each other again. These things take time when you’re doing it

on a budget. It kind of makes it all the sweeter when you’ve finally got it finished.

All my friends are on this album, either singing lalala on the end of “Monkey” or playing blinding music, or singing harmonies.

My cousin Josie took a train from York to my flat in Knaresborough every Wednesday till her parts were done (hehe)

It was wonderful that we got to see each other so much just before she moved to Australia. My lovely Lucy wailing on the

end of “The North Wind Will” is a magic thing for me too.

Another bit I love is Dan Mizen playing drums on Monkey. It was so hard to get the sound right. They ended up putting the mic

in a different room to the kit and recorded it like that. I love that.

Jason Odle went so above and beyond, he recorded everywhere. I think we even recorded him playing the fire alarm with

drum sticks in Beaumont street.

This album was made with so much care and fun and stress and shouting and laughter but I really hope that what you hear is

just a really nice bunch of music. And some sirens and mopeds.