Throwback Thursday

A Dangerous Affair

Back for more? so soon?

Well here it is, this week’s Thursday Throwback. Once again plundering the archive of musical missives from the dim and distant past of yours truly.

(my my Donovan, we’re in a particular chipper mood today aren’t we!) 

Yes we are, bounding weekendward and one beer down so jovial is my current disposition. 

Not to put a dampener on it, but here is a funky little number extolling the perils of overindulging in all chemically induced pleasures.

Taken for the Crystal studio sessions – Dangerous Affair

Back with more jollity tomorrow!


Love this Life

This could equally have gone under the title of Something Old Something New as the post a few days ago did but for different reasons; Something Old – a Strawberry Thieves track (they have all been kicking about a fair while now), Something New – a remixed version of “Love this Life”. 

I love the guitar solo the most!

When I was putting my modest studio together in earnest a couple of years ago, I invested in an up-to-date version of Cubase and started digging through some of the archived recordings. I also figured it was time to revisit some of the things I’d learnt but since forgotten back at college. 

“Love this Life” was recorded during the same sessions as “Too Close for Comfort” but never got finished. The drum track had a fair amount of cross talk and the bass recording just didn’t capture Ian’s playing, so I spent a fair few evenings re-programming them note by note to give them the weighty punch I was after. I also recorded some new ad-lib vocals for the outtro.

My favourite part of the track has always been Paul’s duelling guitar solo and the guitar is squarely front and centre throughout.  

If I’m honest I don’t think the vocals sit quite right in the mix just yet and I’ll be looking to re-address that at some point but you know, a work in progress is still a work. Leave your thoughts good bad or ugly below (I want them all!) 

(Line mentioning “tomorrow” goes here)


Too Close for Comfort

Happy Thursday everyone! This week’s throwback is this first (and currently only) track to have a full release across the various digital distribution platforms. 

‘Too Close For Comfort’ was written some 20 years ago in the midst of a rather unhealthy relationship. It was a regular feature on the Strawberry Thieves live set lists.

The track was recorded in 2014 during sessions at House of Mook rehearsal rooms with overdubs and mixing done in the Donovan Jones home studio. Final mastering and tweakary was courtesy of Steve Turnidge who had also mastered the Roxy Music covers a couple of years previously.

The full line up was as follows:

Phil Wright: Drums
Ian Wheeler: Bass
Paul Say: Lead Guitar
Oliver Whawell: Keyboards, Backing Vocals
Donovan Jones: Lead Vocal

Here’s a clip from the single

Not a Spotifier? Well have a listen to the following speedy live performance at the now (sadly) defunct Snooty Fox in Wakefield

Check out Mr Say’s bouncy chimp dance!

There is potentially more to come out of those House of Mook sessions, if only the day job didn’t capitalise on so much of my time.

Tomorrow is Friday and you know what that means, don’t you?


One way ticket to the past

Throwback Thursday this week takes us back to Bolton, more specifically the Railway Venue where the Strawberry Thieves appeared on a couple of occasions. 

Amongst the Strawberry Thieves original tracks on the set list were a generous smattering of pop covers strategically interspersed to ensure the hordes of screaming fans didn’t get too overwhelmed.

We always liked to pick tunes from across the ages so a classic from the Kinks or the Beatles  was often included. On this occasion we opted not for the Neil Finn inspiring ‘When I’m 64’ (see a previous week’s earworm), but instead ‘Ticket to Ride’.

Ian Wheeler does a sterling job of vocal harmonies as well as providing his usual bass expertise.

‘Foor tickits to Bowl’ten purlease’ 

Happy days, seem to remember it completely lashed it down on the way home though. Typical Pennine weather!

Let see what tomorrow brings


Dreamer boy

Throwback Thursday brings another archive Strawberry Thieves track. This week’s is an early demo of ‘Dreamer Boy’. An introspective self-referential lament with a glimmer of hope. It rarely made the setlist for  gigs but I have hopes to give it an airing at some point soon.

Always keen to get feedback, it’s inevitably difficult to get a real perspective on something that you’ve lived with for 20 years or so. 

Dreaming of tomorrow 


How well are you sleeping?

When I was but a young music technology student and just less than hopelessly romantic in nature, I awoke one morning from a vivid dream of someone who I had long sought after. In the usual manner of many young men, this was a very private longing and not one that ever became public. It did however get recorded for later public consumption within the song presented in today’s Throwback Thursday post.

This demo was put together a couple of years later with band mate Oliver.  His then wife Katka who was also playing live with us makes a guest appearance on vocals. It’s on the list to be re-recorded at some point but I think this version has a naive charm that I happily stand by.

The comments box below is there for those who have something to say. Don’t be shy 🙂

Tomorrow is just a sleepless night away


Trying to give Steven Tyler a walk for his money

Possibly the most fun you can have on stage is an upbeat song with storytelling lyrics that you can really deliver a performance to. The kind of thing that springs to mind would be someone like Adam Lambert camping it up to 11 for “Killer Queen” with more gay abandon than even Freddie dared.

The closest I’ve got to date is throwing a few shapes as homage to Steven Tyler when performing Walk This Way with good friends as the Strawberry Thieves. So while Steven was rocking Donington with Aerosmith bringing his 40 years of experience to the masses, we endeavoured to bring some fun to a Friday night at the Heckmondwike Comrades Club.

Do I aspire to greatness? Of course. 

Will I get there? Surely it’s all about the journey, not reaching the destination 🙂

Catch you tomorrow for this week’s Friday Favourite..


Something approaching Hysteria

Throwback Thursday. I’m sat in Mum’s Comfort Food in Edinburgh about to tuck into a buffalo burger while the kids and missus enjoy Sausage & Mash, Macaroni Cheese and haggis-stuffed chicken. We’ve had a fantastic day of culture starting with Bite-Sized Breakfast theatre with Croissants, Coffee, strawberries and comedy (Star-spotting Frank Skinner in the audience). After lunch some street entertainment, a sojourn into the Scottish National Gallery, followed by a Harry Potter tour of the city (thanks to Johnny our excellent guide).

Sitting waiting for our food we’ve had ‘Freebird’ by Lynrd Skynrd to which my son annoyingly sang the guitar solo, but that is not today’s track. Neither is ‘Hysteria’ by Def Leppard which also played. Your treat today is the subsequent 80’s one hit wonder  ‘(I just) died in your arms’ by Cutting Crew.

You lucky people!

Enjoy the music while I enjoy the burger 🙂

Catch you tomorrow


Thowback Thursday: Oh Yeah, that one!

Thursday is going to be the regular place to find me trawling the archives of recorded material that I’ve worked on and am still happy to listen to.

Almost a decade ago, at some point in 2008, my fellow Strawberry Thief and lifelong Roxy Music fan, Oliver Whawell heard about a Roxy Music and related “progeny” tribute album project. Bands were being invited to submit alternative takes on their favourite Roxy Music songs. This was eventually to appear as “Take Refuge in Pleasure (The Songs of Roxy Music Re-visited)“. Oliver was absolutely up for it and I was happy to go along for the ride.

Working up two tracks for submission it was a 4 Saxophone-led instrumental cover of the Phil Manzenera track “Frontera” which appeared on the Deluxe Edition. The second track was a “lounge lizard” cover of the 1980 hit “Oh Yeah – Roxy Music – Top of the Pops Performance“, sadly it didn’t making the cut. I take some refuge in the fact that no other covers of that song appeared on the album either. But here it is preserved for posterity – enjoy!

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Cheers m’dears!