After the wonderful response to “Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow” Andy and David had requests for a follow up recording. By now they had worked on several productions and projects together, including Alex and Jenny Leggs’ new album, a recording for Dave Bilbrough and the BBC TV projects ‘First Light’, ‘Routes and Rhythms’ and ‘Songs of Praise’ amongst others.
It had been three years since their last sessions – they never were ones to rush into things! David had now moved to Chelsea, and it was again decided that in keeping with the relaxed recording style of the previous album, initial sessions would take place at home before traveling to a studio to record the bass and drums, string and orchestral parts. Some twelve songs had been written between them, and as it would transpire, two more would be completed during the recording process. And so they began again… long hours through the day and into the night, with the help of very tolerant neighbours and tolerant Noz (David’s flatmate) keeping her sense of humour and staying patient. The Mona Lisa cafe became the lunchtime/supper-time refuge on numerous occasions, even warranting a mention on the album sleeve credits.
Once the initial song structures had been recorded to tape ( this time a new 16 track machine bought with earnings from the first recording), West Park studio was booked in Littlehampton ready for recording the bass and drums. Martin Smith (former lead singer of Delirious) engineered the sessions, and all the parts were safely committed to tape in one very long day. David and Andy had both worked with Martin several times before on various recording, Andy having produced the first four Cutting Edge/Delirious albums, so they had a great working relationship. Mark Russell was a good friend of David’s from Tanita Tikaram and Julia Fordham touring and recording days, and he had subsequently made a name for himself as a string arranger and writer/producer. Being the generous soul he is he kindly agreed to write and produce the string arrangement for “We do not presume”, and to orchestrate “The Lord has done great things for us”. He also worked on keyboard parts for the rest of the tracks, transferring them from the tape masters and down-loading them to Logic later in the schedule. Julia Fordham was in London visiting from her home in Santa Monica, and she agreed to duet with Andy on “My Beloved One”. Another visitor from America, for a tour with the Woodthieves on which David was also playing, was Emmy Lou Harris band member Phil Madiera. His wonderful Hammond and keyboard playing has graced innumerable albums, and he came to visit the little room in Chelsea to add his distinctive style of keyboard and Hammond playing to some of the tracks.
Due to the limitations of budget it was decided to mix five of the less complicated tracks in the studio at the flat, and hire all the outboard equipment needed to do so, and to then travel down to Rockfield studios in Wales to mix the remainder of the tracks. Flight cases full of compressors, limiters, reverbs and a Yamaha O2R mixing desk were shoe-horned into the front room of the flat, and the final stages in the process began. Three days later, the first five tracks had been beautifully mixed by Andy, just in time to get the equipment back to the hire company! After working through the night on the final day, they drove down to Rockfield Studios to complete the final mixes. The remaining tracks were mixed in the studio where Queen recorded the album A Night At The Opera (featuring Bohemian Rhapsody), XTC mixed Nonsuch, and Oasis recorded (What’s The Story) Morning Glory? And what splendid mixes they are too.
Wilf Witty was commissioned again to design the artwork, and gradually the project was completed, finally being released in August 1996.
- Andy Piercy – vocals, acoustic guitar
- David Clifton – vocals, guitars and mandolins
- Dudley Phillips – bass
- Phil Barker – bass (Follow)
- Steve Creese – drums and percussion
- Troy Donockley – uillean pipes, whistles
- Mark Russell – keyboards, orchestral and string arrangements
- Mark Edwards – keyboards
- Phil Madeira – accordion and organ
- Julia Fordham – courtesy of Virgin/Circa records, vocal on ‘My Beloved One’
- Alison Berry, Claire Barker, Ellen, Holly & Laura Piercy and Sarah Brooks – backing vocals
- The Emperor String Quartet: Fiona Bonds, viola; Simon Smith, violin; Martin Burgess, violin; William Schofield, cello
- Andy Piercy & David Clifton