Here is the second part of the story I promised. You can read the first part here. Actually, Gus came back to my mind this week with the passing of David Bowie. Gus was one hell of a story teller and story he recounted to me many times was how he produced Bowies’s “Space Oddity”. Not the same story over and over you understand but different facets of it. I recall he told me how he brought in Rick Wakeman, one of the few, if not the only guy who owned a Melatron at the time. Gus explained how they created colour coded charts for the parts Rick was to play. Another story Gus told me that I’ve not seen or heard anywhere else is how he came to be producing “Space Oddity” in the first place. Apparently Tony Visconti was producing the album but called Gus to ask if he wanted to do one track that he (Visconti) was not wild about. He sent Gus the demo and when it arrived he was sure there had been a mistake. Gus called Tony and asked had he sent the wrong demo. No, Visconti said, that’s the one. Gus said, are your crazy, this is fantastic! However, Visconti wasn’t wild about the song so Gus produced it and the rest, as they say is history.
However, I digress. We had finished the marathon writing sessions that produced “Going Solo” which I hoped would make it to the next Elkie Brooks album. I think there were three demos in all. A rough with just me and a drum machine and then a more involved one made in a small studio. The third demo was cut in Lynx studios, Shieldfield Newcastle and Gus declared he would come to Newcastle to produce it. I assembled a team: Maureen Harold Vocals, Paul Smith Drums, John Cook Keboards, Frankie Gibbon Bass and I played guitar. The session was great but there were a few occasions where Gus forgot he was not on some big budget Elton John album or something. At one point he wanted to edit the 24 track multitrack tape which is unheard of when making demos. Two-inch tape costs so much and anyway the studio did not have a 2 inch editing block. Anyway, we got the job done and it turned out pretty good.
The next task was to play it to Elkie Brooks. Gus had produced Pearls and Pearls ii with Elkie. Both were collections of well know songs by big writers. However when Gus went to visit Elkie disaster struck. Elkie declared she wanted to do her own material and not another album of covers so that was me out. However, it was still quite an adventure to write and record the song so I don’t regret it at all. Here for the first time ever you can hear the song and imagine how it may have been as an Elkie song.
A few years later I did get a couple of songs on an Elkie Brooks album. Gus was no longer producing her records but he did help me squeeze a whole lot more out of one of the songs. He called me up and went through some suggestions. This was totally a favour as he wasn’t producing me at that time either and the publishing deal we’d had was over. It was just an act of generosity. As it happens the Elkie album I got a couple of songs on ended up being called Pearls iii so I made the cut anyhow !