Feature: The John Street Revival’s Chris Insley Gives Us A Track By Track Of Their New Album

With Phil back with us on drums but still with Tom the stand in at that point, we headed into the studio. Chris our new bassist hadn’t been with us too long at this point but hit the ground running learning some of our older tracks and all the new album tracks while making the parts his own. He’s been like a catalyst bringing it all together both musically and personally. It feels way more like a band unit, we hang around together a lot more socially which never happened before. We hang out like mates too which is great. Rehearsals have never been so enjoyable.

The tracks on the album, many were new and some were 4 or so years old that we had but had on the back burner, like ‘4 out of 5’. That really came together when Robbie our lead guitarist put the slide part on there and so that became part of our set.

With the production and music we play, we insisted on recording it live in the studio which we did over two days, 9 tracks. It needs the space and the spill but still have the studio quality which I think we and Jake Evans (producer) achieved. We added the acoustics, BV’s and clean vocal takes later but before mixing, the album was pretty much done in around 5 sessions over maybe 6 weeks studio time.

I personally have this notion of trying to sound like all those great records, Springsteen, The Band, etc with nice big American radio compression to the sound. As technology has moved on since then, it’s far too easy to sound good, where as back then you sounded good because your WERE good. I mean that in
the case of correction, ‘oh lets fix that in the mix’

So recording all the music live with the performance you have to get it right every time. We rehearse a lot and go through sets as a point of keeping on top of the songs. Capturing the live essence is tricky in the studio though.

As Jake (Evens) said on recording live, it does come with it’s issues in one room so in the main live room we had the drums, my amp and Robbie with his amp while I was in the control room playing and singing next to Chris (bass). Andy was in the reception area. This was to minimise spill into other microphones.

We used the same amp set ups through the recording, a Lazy J20 with Robbie self build 20w head. He used two telecasters, one for slide but he used his lap steel for all the slide parts on the sessions.
I brought my Gibson R4 Goldtop and my 59 Gretsch Chet 6121. I intended to use the Gibson throughout but on play back of the first run throughs it sounded to hard on tracks like “I’ll be mine” so I plugged the gretsch in and pretty much used it on everything as it has a few lighter overtones which sound great on record. Chris has this amazing 200w Matamp bass head which he used with his old Fender jazz and Danelectro DC59 bass with flat wounds. Andy has a Tenor sax. Phil used his old Premiere kit I’m sure with his two snare set up, my favourite being the ‘doosh’ snare as I call it, almost sounds like 909 snare. Big.

Track By Track

UPTIGHT – This song I remember writing toward the end of 2020 and we played it live – though still during restrictions – for a live Sky TV programme hosted by Mark Radcliffe, Live From The Edge for which we were allowed to do as it was a production. I never wanted to write any lock down song, I find that a little naff though the song was inspired from some of the madness that people showed on both sides of the fence. The opening lyric ‘Hey what you thinking, did somebody throw a bad stone yesterday, hey what you thinking, did I see it right singing plight songs all the way” was a subconscious reaction to seeing hundreds of folk marching in London on anti mask and vaccine. Each to their own and whatever you think is fine but the stupidity was quite obvious.

I’LL BE MINE – As mentioned earlier, this was written very quickly in response to my brothers sudden separation form his then wife. Just be with yourself, theres no time frame, enjoy being you, get to know yourself and so on. I don’t usually write with subject in mind but this just wrote itself and I could just about write the words down quick enough with how they were coming out.

I’M DOING FINE – In October our previous bassist (mark) mum sadly passed away and I’ve known mark for near on 30 years from being in bands. There a lyric hook that changes though the song – “as a young boy thats doing no wrong / you man doing no wrong / old man going no wrong….and say to myself how I’m doing, i’m doing fine”. That came around in my mind thinking what you’d say to your parent, in Marks case, yes you did a good job Mum and I’m doing fine, were all doing fine from young to old. Thats what we all want as a parent in time isn’t it, to see the kids grow up and know there doing ok. So that was that.

ONE TIME AROUND – This one is a good example for me of liking the music more over the lyric content. I think this one is nonsense in that I had no topic. The lyric ‘If i wait to long on this tide, will it take be one time around’. That lyric was definitely about something that happened with my sister when she was
younger on holiday abroad where this rubber floating ring took her out from the beach, dad swam to get her and later the current brought the inflatable ring thing back around the beach. Quite lucky and I must have been writing thinking about If you wait long enough for something it will happen, it will come around.

YOU KNOW YOU KNOW – Another song that I wasn’t quite sure what I was writing about and that was missing a chorus. One morning I was opening up my shop ( I own a guitar shop) an on the step like a piece of litter was a business card. It was a Samaritans card with a message saying ‘ Talking could save
someone’ or words to that affect with a hand written name on. I was just about to put it in the bun when I thought, hang on, the best advertising is to put a photo on Facebook or something in hope that if it may just help one person then it was worth doing. So i did and wrote ‘it’s always about someone that you know that they know that they know. It someone you know,, you know” and instantly thought there is the lyric. Almost instantly the melody came with the words ‘Sometimes it’s hard to think twice’ The melody just happened and was the missing part to the song. It’s almost like a good bridge than a chorus but I like

4 OUT OF 5 – I think I was in a mood writing this one. Its quite a few years old. “Put your guns away, they’re all fired out” was absolutely about America shootings at the time. My wife Helen Walford, a born and bred American and musician in her own right sings some wonderful harmonies and soaring vocals
where the songs really build up. I love playing this song.

SLIP AWAY – Again, I’m most likely singing writing through someone else issue here, maybe over hearing a conversation or something. I love Robbie guitar lines and how the work with Andy’s Sax lines. Both this and ‘One time around’ are quite similar sonically. I did worry if they had a place on the record but thats how albums work and how they are great things. Song listing tells a story and they absolutely work next to other songs. Like a book, some chapters may not be as good as others but without them they tell the whole story.

TAKE A WHILE – The rest of the band like this a lot more than I do, its great fun to play live and the audience really love it, it’s a great pick me up too in the live set. I’m not sure why it’s not one of my favourites, its super catchy and has that Rolling Stones or Small Faces thing, great energy which ticks all the boxes. Maybe I have come full circle on it and actually love it now. Its a straight up rock ’n roll track!

WHY WAIT – This exactly about the title, Why Wait, go do it today, now before it’s too late, don’t wait for the phone to ring, make things happen. Great slide guitar from Robbie. We weren’t supposed to keep the tremolo on my guitar all the way though but I’m glad we did. A happy accident. Love the ending of this
where it takes off, its unpredictable and reminds me of Small Faces ’Stay with me’ where it has that great free rock out jam at the end I can’t recall the exact order we recorded the album in. I know we started with I’ll be Mine, recording 5 on the Saturday and 4 on the Sunday. There are none that are particularly harder to perform than others, no, lets do the easy ones first because even if that were the case, it’s without doubt that the ones you think are easier would need the more takes.

Check out the track I’ll Be Mine, below:

Find out more via the band’s Website or Facebook

Read our review for the album here

Read our interview with the band here

Previous Album Review: The John Street Revival - The John Street Revival
Next News: Cub Sport Announce Australian Tour & New Album out on 7 April.

No Comment

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.