Back in the spring of 1993, David and Andy were facing two months with no work in either of their diaries. Andy had just finished producing a project for Nine Below Zero, and David had recently returned from a tour of Japan and the UK with Julia Fordham.
A time spent meeting up regularly each week had resulted in a very productive period of songwriting, and so the idea was discussed of producing and recording an album of these new songs together. Part of the inspiration for this was to be able to provide a resource of new music for their churches – Andy was at Holy Trinity Brompton, and at this time David was at St. Pauls’ Onslow square, and both of them were involved in leading their church worship music teams.
And so it was that at the end of April, a small 8 track tape machine, keyboards, amps, samplers, computer, mixing desk and guitars were piled into David’s flat in Earlham Street, Covent Garden WC2. There was one other piece of equipment that became the most-used and faithful part of the proceedings: a Shure SM58 microphone! It was used for virtually everything … guitars, vocals, backing vocals, drums (along with one other mic, and AKG414) and mandolin. Andys’ engineering skills coaxed some amazingly good sounds out of this wonderful microphone. Drums were set up downstairs in the front room; guitars and mandolins were played and backing vocals and lead vocals all sung in the same room as the tape machine. A little room piled high with equipment, song lyrics and chord charts …
There followed an intense few weeks of recording. David used his tax money to pay for the musicians, tape and overall production costs, hoping that this was a wise investment, rather than a foolhardy act! It helped to augment the prevailing philosophy of necessity at the time – beg steal or borrow recordings!! (Nothing ventured, nothing gained). Eventually everything had been committed to tape or was safely recorded onto the sampler, and the tracks were finally ready to be mixed.
Artwork was commissioned from Wilf Witty who was over in Notting Hill gate working for Chrysalis at the time, and he sent through the final designs which were to surprise so many people … an album sleeve which was going to be individually fingerprinted by the creators. Your very own individualised, personalised copy. If the boys had known then that they would end up fingerprinting some six and a half thousand copies, there may have been some design changes! However, they could not afford a three colour print, so it was a great way of achieving two goals with a bit of ingenuity.
During this time there were a few sleepless nights, mulling over all that needed to be done to get the little album out to those who wanted to hear it. Should they take the album to an existing label? Should they release the album themselves on their own label? And then a bit of inspiration. A little album made in a little room … little room recordings perhaps? Searching for a notebook, ideas were scribbled and jotted down by David one night in the early hours. The opposite of the slightly impersonal music industry of which they were both a part … CD sleeves with a personal touch (literally in the case of the “Praise God” recording) the potential to champion the causes and talents of other gifted musicians who were having a difficult time getting the results they deserved … and some time in the future, perhaps a publishing company to offer the best deals possible to new and established songwriters …?
And so the idea for Little Room was conceived in the early hours of a somewhat sleepless night, and then put to Andy a day or two later to see if he approved of this small beginning. He did, and so the first recording was completed, mastered by Denis Blackham while he chief mastering engineer at Porky’s’ mastering rooms in Shaftesbury Avenue, and then manufactured and released in July. It wasn’t until many years later that David stumbled upon a quote from Leonardo Da Vinci … “A small room focuses the mind. A big one distracts it”.
- Andy Piercy – vocals, acoustic guitar
- David Clifton – vocals, guitars and mandolins
- Dudley Phillips – bass
- Terl Bryant – drums and percussion
- Martin Neil – drums and percussion
- Steve Creese – drums
- Pete Sainsbury – keyboards
- Holly Coward; Jess Rudolph; Ellen, Holly & Laura Piercy;
- Benj, Barny, Kirsty & Josh Lee – backing vocals
- Andy Piercy and David Clifton