Encouraging Whimsy

kbsitepicinstrument001Finally found a moment to locate a copy of the disc so I could play this song for you again.  It’s funny how many people still remember this piece.  The words are from Alice in Wonderland, of course.  The arrangement is not.  Anderson on the harp, myself on guitar and voice, and David Woodhead on the fretless bass.  The additional sounds you hear are a synthesizer hooked up to the divine Mr. D’s bass.  One of the things David did so beautifully in his playing at the time was to combine textured synth sounds with his lovely melodic bass approach (this was always done live, both in concert and on recording, never added in later, and so it formed part of his instrument).  It helped make up that lovely, rich soundscape that was such a significant part of what we did.

If you listen closely, however, there’s a little something different here.  At various points the snyth sounds triggered are directly out of the cartoon universe.  It just seemed so appropriate.  To make things even more interesting we decided not to program specific sounds for specific notes.  Instead we left it completely to chance.  And because this whole album was recorded straight to stereo with no overdubs or edits, what you hear on this track is a live take with all of the delightful accidents that can only happen when whimsy is invited.  And yes maybe encouraged.

Ah friend, you’ll permit me a bit of bemusement that this track is now almost twenty years old.  Remember, too, this was at a time when Canadian folk rulers had decreed that we musicians were not to mess with tradition.  It simply wasn’t done.  Apparently they were convinced that those traditions weren’t robust enough to take the abuse.  You can imagine how popular this made us among those folks.  I suspect you can also imagine how little I cared.  Happily, as is often the case, the official tastemakers were absolutely mistaken, and completely out of step with the general listening public, who asked for this again and again.  And again.  I’m often puzzled when I’m told that much of our stuff was ahead of it’s time.  But on listening, I guess some of it was getting a bit out there.

Sure was fun though.

the song –>The Jabberwock from the Anderson & Brown CD ‘Crimson’, 1991 (A&B102CD)