From the "Superior Quality Eggs" tape... Recorded in March of 1990, this was the first of three tapes recorded by Adam Lasus at the old Studio Red in Philadelphia. Adam's ear and all-around good vibe helped foster the band's growth. The Low Road was a four piece combo with Mike on acoustic guitar, Palmer on harmonica, Rosie on violin and Mark on snare, hi-hat and floor tom [or a bucket!]. Before entering the studio, they had just been practicing in Rosie's small bedroom on Green Street, and we hadn't performed live as this collective unit. Mike and Palmer had recorded an early collection of songs at Mike's place when they were both working at KWY News radio, but what was about to be recorded at Adam's would be a lot different. When listening back to the mixes of from this early session, we could tell this was special. We were excited by the fullness of the sound, the harmonica and violin arching and weaving through the loneliness of the Mike's voice, his words and melodies, and the pulse of the drums. And there was humor, too. There were so many possibilities where this could go.
We asked Topher Horner from Go To Blazes, if he'd play upright on Wicked Was the Wind, and he became our bass player for the next year. Incidentally, By the Wall was an older song of Mike's and the title was influenced by a line in David Bowie's "Heroes" (which the band eventually covered years later).
From the "Crunch" tape... Recorded in the Spring of 1991, Crunch was the second of the three tapes to be recorded by Adam at Studio Red. By this time, there was a pretty good buzz about us around town. We had received many good mentions in the local papers from the first tape. We were being managed by Howard Kramer and Dave Reckner of Raw LTD, and the attendance at both our coffee house and club gigs was growing quickly. "Affair" was already a staple in the band's set and highlighted Rosie's vocal. In general, the collection of songs on Crunch were more upbeat with more realized, rhythmic arrangements, and Mike was honing in on his ability to write dark, cynical pop songs with humor (i.e. She Smokes Too Much).
From the "Fru-fry" tape... Recorded in December 1991 at Studio Red. Alan had joined the band six months prior in June 1991, so this was among his first recordings with the band. Between a growing amount of gig opportunities, consistent rehearsing, Mike was writing more complex songs with varying musical styles and rhythms. Alan's ability to be a creative collaborator was quickly realized, and the band was being pushed forward even further. This song was the band's most ambitious vocal arrangements to date (check out the harmonies as the song ends). The version of this song has a decidedly different feel from the one later we recorded years later for "Fidelity." So we might as well link that, as well.
This version of Good Morning, Lazarus was recorded in September of 1995 at Tongue & Groove by Dave "Stiff" Johnson. The recordings with Dave were much different from previous studio sessions. Camped in the studio for long periods of time, and he pushed to get different sounds and grooves out of the band, as he had recently been successful with the first G-Love and Special Sauce record. While the song has a similar spirit as the oringal, it's decidedly less subtle and more influenced by psychedelic-era of the Beatles and Beach Boys this time around.
More songs coming soon...