I get so many people asking me, “Is there a Bakelite Radio Volume I?” My intention was always to record Volume I, but it didn’t work that way. We started at Volume II. And then there came Volume III – after that disc, it didn’t feel like I could go back to Volume I. So then we did Volume IV. After Volume IV, I somehow, without knowing it, I ended up with songs that sounded like I had recorded Volume I.
I did find a demo of songs that I was going to get around to record for Volume I. I would do this a lot - go in and record everything without taking a breath, listen back in a week or so, pull the eyes out of it, go back in to Woodstock Studio and start the recording process. Somehow I let these recordings go through to the keeper.
Most of the songs for Volume I start from this lost demo of songs. I kept Let The Good Times Roll, Anna and Nobody’s Fault But Mine just as I found them. Yellow Roses has always been around in my musical life - this is one sad old song with Ed Bates is on the pedal steel, John McAll playing the piano and I love the tom-toms (a little Hawaii in St Kilda). I heard Trying To Win on a road trip into the heart of WA, a big drive with lots of music for the journey, I always made lots of CD comps before the iPod and this song was on a Sunny Terry and Brownie McGee LP. I turned it around some - Ed plays lap steel, John is jamming along in the background, the bass is loud and I find the conversation between the musicians here very attractive.
Hang My Head and Cry was a nice find; Arthur Alexander was a great singer songwriter, a true artist, this format for a song still works today. Ed is back on the steel again, that old time religion John playing piano the way I would love to play country music and Claude Steve and Nicky just glide through it.
Holy Cow comes from New Orleans. It’s a ‘50s hit for Lee Dorsey. I thought it would be a good track to soup up in country way with everyone in and Ed leading the way on that lovely sewing machine. I love the way the songwriter put together Just For A Thrill. John plays sweet piano that helps the singing, not my normal style but there something in this song I hope I get across, just for a thrill.
Be Real what else can you say in life. Jimmy Reed is the pop king of the blues. Reed’s songs are played and recorded by everybody who loves the blues. One of the songs from his vast catalogue is a song called Insurance, let’s get some. Steve plays a dirty bass intro, Claude and I do the guitars, Nicky is playing the drums. Blues Around My Head is a fun song to play - John Claude and myself are having that conversation that normally wouldn’t work around this feeling but, somehow the spirit of this simple blues format does just that - work without being jazz music. The Everly Brothers had a massive hit with Let It Be Me. I wanted to slow it down and make it more desperate, musically let the harmonic structure do its thing and play with the melody some.
Come Back Baby is the last track on Volume I. We recorded it on the weekend of Ray Charles’ death. I was drawn to like a moth to a flame. Ray Charles was it and is still it. We never played it again.
Well that’s Volume I. Good-bye for now.
- Joe Camilleri
released 05 September 2009
Joe Greighton - Bass
Claude Carranza - Guitar
Tony Floyd - Drums
James Black - Hammond Organ, Piano
Ed Bates - Pedal Steel, Lap Steel
Wayne Burt - Guitar
Simon Starr - Double Bass
Nicky Bomba - Drums, Percussion
Stephen Hadley - Bass
Wilbur Wilde - Sax
John McAll - Piano
& Joe Camilleri - The Rest