Richard Clapton has referred back 50 years for the nucleus of his new album ‘Music Is Love 1966-1970’. The title track is a David Crosby song which has special meaning for Richard.
“I’ve always been aware of Crosby’s history and in the fact that the latter days of The Byrds there were a lot of problems,” Richard Clapton tells Noise11.com. “I hear he had been going through a tough period. What he said in a recent interview was that his first solo album was something he had to do because he got so heavily into drugs and was distraught. He was a very damaged human being at the time.
“By that time I had moved to Berlin and I had a German band. The German band had an amazing guitar player called Ziggy. Ziggy got into the David Crosby album because each song had a different guitar tuning which attracted him. That was the first time I had gotten into smoking pot. Pot and Crosby go together. Ziggy and I listened to that album over and over again.
The Clapton version of the Crosby song came together with help from Richard’s guitarist Danny Spencer. “Fast forward decades, Danny Spencer, who I have been playing with for 22 years, is an aficionado of this genre of music,” Richard says. “Early in my relationship with Danny I got Danny into this album and Danny just ate it up. ‘Music Is Love’ is not an easy song to reproduce. Danny ended up doing all of it himself. It’s a strange song, it has strange tuning, everything about the song is strange. Danny had total control of the song”.
Recording ‘Music Is Love’ began in Sydney had had to be finished off remotely because of Covid. “The other thing I have to say is we recorded it with bandtracks at a studio in Sydney called Rancom, which is owned by Garth Porter. Rancom is great because it’s very authentic, it has all the old gear, old mics, old outboard gear which gives you that authentic old sound. Then we had to have time off because three of the boys play with Jimmy Barnes, the drummer is from Baby Animals, I was touring as well. We had to put it on the back burner for several months and then Covid hit”.
Danny drove the album’s sound. “All the guitar overdubs and the backing vocals were done by Danny except ‘Love The One You’re With’ which is Mahalia Barnes, Eliza Jane Barnes and Darren Percival,” Richard says. “Every other vocal is by Danny. That is because he was in St Kilda which was a hot spot, so he couldn’t really go anywhere, so we did the bulk of this album on laptops”.
Richard Clapton ‘Music Is Love 1966-1970’ will be released on 9 April 2021.
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