|Dave Hill about|
|"The Making of BT3"|
The idea for BT3 never really went away. Ray and I knew that we most certainly had not scraped the barrel and as that quality threshold was very important, the seed for '3' was there even as we completed 1 & 2. We definitely talked about this when we were in the Townhouse Studios in London in 1992.
We both began to make fresh noises about BT3 from time to time, which, on reflection, seem to have increased during early 2000. There was no premeditated attempt to tie in with this anniversary or that; it just seemed the time was right. Finally, around late July 2000, Ray and I decided to get together to see what we collectively had. There was a nice gap in Ray's commitments and though the Siren label was very busy with several projects, it seemed the right opportunity. I went back to research material and tapes I had from 1&2 (as well as recordings such as the US radio sessions, which I had specifically requested from the radio stations at the time) and Ray went back to his tape vault.
We met at Hi Level for a big 'comparing notes' session, which also involved hearing the material Ray had in mind from the various tapes he had and the intention of the session was to break the back of things so that I could go back and get on with the clearances of non-band owned material amongst other things. Actually, Ray said: " OK. So now I'll leave you to it"...
By this time, Ray had made it clear that they would very much like our label to release this new selection and of course, my two fellow Directors - Pete Duncan (he manages Elliot, you know) and Drew Adams - were delighted. Realistically, as there were no new songs recorded since 'Neighbourhood', something like this would fill the gap for the band very nicely, particularly with the tour coming up. He and the band were/are giving our label a terrific opportunity to have one of Britain's finest bands on our catalogue. Crucially, Ray and I also knew that we could work together extremely well as a team. This wasn't charity; this was because the band - and Ray in particular - had faith in us to deliver a terrific product. So, we had a six week run in to get finished tracks and art work so we'd have the cd ready for the November tour. Ray and I met early August - we had until mid September.
The final track listing wasn't really that far away from what we started with. We knew what was usuable from last time - I was particularly interested in 'Positive Earth' for example, and Dave Wood was very helpful to us with that - but we were very keen that there was less reliance on early material. What we were looking for was something which brought us right up to date.
On that first draft track listing was a rehearsal version of 'Woman' (the same tape we ultimately took 'Meet Me' from) - but the bass was monstrously loud; we went back to the 'live' '80's 'Will You Miss Me' - the Jacka & Rod Woody Guthrie showpiece we'd considered for 1 & 2 - but there was even better stuff. In the spirit of those two Volumes, we also wanted to get cd release for material not on that format to date - so we included Ian's '2 Way Street' and Tim Healy's magnificent 'January Song'. Ray's face was a picture when he played me 'Dragon of Dreamland'- like a kid who'd just got the full set of football cards without telling you... we heard a couple of versions of 'Heaven Waits' but the final choice REALLY had balls. Several tracks from the US radio sessions were really great, but 'Ireland' really shone; a shame the back of house 'live' recording of one show was so poor ... and finally, why '100 Miles To Liverpool' again ?
Simple. It's a wonderful song, beautifully performed at time in Lindisfarne's career that was personally very special for me. I'd put a lot of acoustic radio sessions in for that tour and the lads had really risen to it. It was immensely satisfying that they' d enjoyed this so much - hence the Untapped & Acoustic Tour.
Demos, such as "Elvis'-period 'Black Rain' and 'So Lonely' were up for consideration, too; a version of 'Marshall Riley' from the Ridge Farm sessions but we were constantly juggling these criteria of Quality, Rarity and Breadth of Timescale. It wasn't written down - but that's what we were looking for.
As a result of so many requests from fans, Ray felt it was important that we also try to include the non-album b sides from the Mercury label period; sadly, they proved to be financially restrictive. Even 'See How They Run' ( the b side of 'Parties' was in their grasp, even though it did not surface on that label - as well as 'Brand New Day'. Please don't run away with the idea that we wanted these for free; it just seemed fees and percentage royalties on top were set and that was it. So. No Mercury tracks.
Another casualty was the Mitch-sung version of Clear White Light recorded at Impulse circa 1969; Mitch though he had it in the attic - and Dave W thought he had it in the Impulse archive. Neither found it. Yet.
Chasing Virgin for their tracks was an absolute nightmare. Having been given one persons name as contact, it took several calls to establish that this was the WRONG person, who then passed the request to someone else, etc,etc. I was absolutely staggered. And bloody angry with their handling of our formal request for use of the material. Ultimately, the price asked to licence three tracks - the band version of 'Mr Inbetween', 'Positive Earth' ( which proved to be the Impulse version, in any event) and 'Blues for a Dying Season' from the Brethren Morgan sessions - was ludicrous. We were particualarly sad about 'Blues...'. It was a crucial pointer to the band at that time and also to Rod's writing. Not only was it not financially viable - to an even greater degree than what Universal had asked for the Mercury tracks - but by the time we HAD got a response, we were beyond our deadline.
More promising, however, was the possibility of one or two tracks from Rod's 1974 recordings with Mark Knopfler. We never really got to these in '92 for some reason, but for me, the idea of putting them out eventually never really went away. Clearly - wearing my label 'hat' - I wanted very much to have the 'Knopfler' name involved with the project. Of the four tracks - two acoustic, two electric - Ray favoured one of the acoustic . It was certainly more complete as a song, although I felt one of the electric tracks had potential,too.
note: photos taken from www.knopfler.net
Ultimately although this second track was so frustratingly, so NEARLY a coherent vocal, we stuck with our first choice. Still, the prospect of using a Mark Knopfler track was tempting, particularly with his instantly recognisable tones married to his distinctive electric picking style so clear - even in this 'work-in-progress' state - but it didn't 'fit'.
Right from the 'off', Mark's out-going Manager, Ed Bicknell, was very supportive. Though Mark was in the middle of a months holiday ( prior to the promo activity around his new album), I was put in touch with his p.a. The tape I sent to Ed had been forwarded to her and she passed it Mark. He had no idea what was on there. There were not even any titles. He must have been intrigued.
As promised, a few days later, a positive reply came back from Mark. I then pointed out to his p.a. that there was no title; after another phone call, she came back to me to say: " Mark says give him a couple of days". Sure enough, he came up with the title in a couple of days. Thanks very much for that, Mark. He didn't HAVE to bother - but he did.
We also re listened to the Kathryn Tickell Dust on The Needle recordings and though - dare I say it - I wanted to embrace the commercial potential of one of Kathryn's tracks on the selection, it just didn't feel 'right'.
Moving closer to date, I had kept the 'live' version of 'Stillhouse' from the Mike Harding show, very much in mind for BT3. Featuring as it does Chris While & Julie Matthews, alongside Steve Phillips and Brendan Croker.It was a stormer on the night, I clearly recall.We got a cd of it, but Ray felt it would be a more sound idea to record something with Chris and Julie at the Rockingham Arms in August. He was right. This brought us bang up to date.
I wanted us to return to the idea of some dialogue amongst the tracks again. Mr L had a better idea. " There's some great stuff from that Lincoln show; you know - that one where " some were smoking roll-your-owns and Woody he had none ". So, having listened through to it together at that first session at Hi Level in late July, Ray selected the edits and Dave Bainbridge sewed it together magnificently. Ah ha. Methinks we have a 'hidden track' here, Yes ?.
For the cover too, we were agreed that we wanted to get away from the 'Celtic'-thing - in the same way as Dave and Ian achieved it with 'Neighbourhood'. Throughout the period since 1992, Ray and I had always referred to 'BT3'; a shortened, convenient reference to this mythical Buried Treasures Volume 3. Gary C had come up with a concept for the upcoming tour based around the idea of the ever-present 'chemistry' that makes 'Lindisfarne' what it is. Ray liked the idea of 'BT3' as a chemical equation. To give it a REALLY contemporary feel, I felt we could take things a step further; I spent an intensive week with Siren's designer in London, Steve Clark, and he very quickly came up with the 'atom' concept that 'locked on' to what I had in mind.Well done, Steve (he's doing OTM too).
Tony Waite at Precision Audio in Hartlepool did a fantastic digital mastering job with the various formats of the final material - cassettes, dats, cds - equalising all the sound and achieving a real balance of 'feel' for material across such a big time scale. Ray came down to Hartlepool to listen to the final sequence declared himself well pleased and we were ready to go.
And do you know what ? Ray subsequently thinks he's got early 'live' cassette tapes of Downtown Faction... and Dave W reckons he's got that 'Eleanor..'.did somebody mention '4' ?
Dave Ian Hill, Siren, HQ 5/01/01
Additional Information PRECISION AUDIO is run by former Durham Street engineer/producer Tony Waite. He can be contacted on (44) 0 1429 422216 or email him at: firstname.lastname@example.org Apart from his studio activities Tony has his own band NEEB that created a lot of interest having played both Glastonbury and In The City last year. He has alos recently recorded and mixed (in 24 hours) a 'live' album from ex PIL member, JAH WOOBLE when he recently played to a packed house at THE STUDIO, Hartlepool - where Tony is responsible for training at the venue/studio. Tony is currently workiong on several more Projects for the SIREN label, inclduimng a 'live' album from COLIN HODGKINSON, formerly of the seminal jazz rock trio, BACK DOOR; the updated BOB YOUNG & MICKY MOODY collection; ROD CLEMENTS' ONE TRACK MIND [finally to be released on CD format.RG] and the final album by the late ALEX HARVEY.