Welcome to the new Fan Club Newsletter, where you can hear the very first version, for the very first time, of ‘Don’t Cry To Me’, the B-side of ‘No Time Tomorrow’.
Thank you to everyone you answered us last week, when we enquired whether you would like to hear more of the archive material? The answer was a resounding yes, and with a preference for being able to actually own it on vinyl LP and CD, rather than just have it available on YouTube or digital. It means of course, we will be compiling some very interesting releases in the next few months, and you will hear about them here first, so make sure you are subscribed to the email reminders and newsletters. The emails will send you directly to ordering pages and the link won’t be available elsewhere, so if you are subscribed, you can get to the front of the queue and hear pre-release tracks and grab the special extras!
Welcome to all the new members who signed up after the last two weeks ‘Girl On A Train’ white label competition announcement and demo issue! Next week we will will be picking the winner, so there is still time to join if you haven’t already to make sure your name goes in the box!
Last weeks newsletter explored the demo cassette that included ‘Girl On A Train’, and the other tracks on the tape were split into two sessions, five from May 1980 and a second session of five songs from January 1982. While the songs are unmistakably Squire, and all the demos were recorded on the same four-track tape machine, there is a sonic difference between the two sets of recordings. The first is an ambitious layering of ideas that required two or three lots of bouncing, and meticulous planning of overdubs with double tracked handclaps just to provide a rhythm track. The second batch feature a newly acquired Casio VL-Tone.
Squire had joined the electro revolution that was sweeping pop music in the 1980s! Only kidding…. while we weren’t about to reinvent ourselves as Depeche Mode (though they did also perform at the Bridge House in their early days), the availability of digital keyboards in the early 1980s provided a way of creating a crude drum track instead of recording demos with a clapping track to play along to. Indeed, the VL-Tone, released in June 1979, was was the first commercial digital synthesiser from Casio, combining a monophonic synthesiser with a sequencer including ten built in drum patterns, and also for some unknown reason, a calculator! While rock stars were adapting to the potential of the Fairlight CMI, a snip in 1979 at nearly £30000, the price of a house.
Casio's model cost a mere £70, and it was the low quality of the sounds, called piano, violin, organ and flute, (but sounding more like various versions of ‘squeak’), that gave them their unique character. They often appeared on ‘novelty ‘records, such as Trio's ‘Da-Da-Da’ from 1982. But they also appeared on other more notable records from the era such as Human League ‘Dare’ and The Fall ‘Hex Education Hour’, as well as many demo recordings, such as XTC ‘Coat Of Many Cupboards’. And of course Squire's own 'No Time Tomorrow' and 'Don't Cry To Me'. So Squire were also pioneers at the sharp end of the technological revolution!
Indeed, we got quite carried away exploring the capabilities of the little machine as you can hear on the demo of ‘Don’t Cry To Me’. The drum track was performed ‘live’ by switching between patterns, which could be done mid pattern to create a ‘break’ or drum fill. The one note at a time monophonic keyboard was played through twice to create a two note chord. Those three tracks had to be bounced down onto one track, to make room for more recording, and then bass and two vocal tracks were recorded.
So the fidelity sounds a lot clearer than before, and the drums are much too loud, but already bounced onto the rhythm track, so too late to adjust the volume!
Nevertheless, the end result captures the essence of the song, and it is interesting to hear the song with no guitars, which highlights all the ‘pop’ influences without the grungy attitude that often comes with demo recordings! We hope you enjoy the version, and this unique glimpse into the Squire archive!
Next week we will be announcing the winner of the ‘Girl On A Train’ white label test pressing. Those who have seen the previous two ‘live’ announcements, will undoubtably know who the real star of the show is. We will post the video next weekend!
All the best from Squire!