Girl On A Train - the demo recording sessions! - The Squire Fan Club Newsletter

Welcome to the new Fan Club Newsletter, where we play the very first ‘Girl On A Train’ recording!

Welcome especially to all the new members who signed up after last weeks ‘Girl On A Train’ white label competition announcement! Will will be picking a winner in the next couple of weeks, so there is still time to join if you haven’t already. We have many exciting announcements in the next few weeks so you will want to make sure you get the weekly email reminder that leads to this newsletter. Here's that white label again!

Many of you got in touch to say how much you enjoyed hearing the ‘Every Trick’ original demo two weeks ago. While we are focused on getting to the stage where new studio material is released, there is a vast archive of recordings, from live concerts to demos and alternative versions that remain unheard. We appreciate any feedback on what you may want to hear, or even have as a release. Indeed, there was a lot of interest in what we’ve played so far. As well as the demos and 'behind the scenes' recording sessions, there was a lot of interest in the live recordings: The 1979 Electric Ballroom concert with the four piece line up, the live concert at The Venue, London in May 1980 for My Mind Goes Round In Circles with the three piece line up, and the 1982 100 Club gig with Jon replacing Enzo in the line up! We can’t release them all (...we can in theory!). We also have some more live concerts in the archive. We are curious to know what your preference would be, should we keep adding recordings as clips on YouTube, or physical releases on LP or CD, or even cassette, or download… please let us know!!

This week we are revealing the very first recording of ‘Girl On A Train’ - the original demo!

In the 1980's, the demos were always recorded on this TEAC 3340 1/4 inch four-track machine, with handclaps and acoustic or electric Rickenbacker plugged directly in to the machine. A single mic similarly plugged in for vocals, and echo came from switching a tape channel out of sync.

Nearly every song recorded by Squire starts with this ‘demonstration recording’. A ‘demo' is like an artists sketch, a sonic impression to understand how the idea in your head translates to the world outside. Fidelity and accuracy aren’t as important as getting the idea recorded quickly and hearing the template to understand if the style, tempo and key works with the song, though often the songwriting extends into the recording process as you alter the structure and have ideas on embellishments, harmonies and riffs etc.

Todays songwriting is usually on phones to record ideas on, and then go straight into the recording process on the computer to finish a ‘master version’, often losing how or why the song evolved from idea to finished recording. Back in analogue days, ideas went down on cassette and reel to reel tape, and by virtue of the way you stored the recordings, serially recorded onto tape, the evolution of the song and the song writing style and how you were recording is often easy to understand. And the forensic information is right there on the cassette or tape box! 

And so the tape that holds the demo of ‘Girl On A Train’ also reveals many surprises! First, it is dated 20th May 1980, which means the song was already written by then. You can see five songs recorded in that same session and how 'Over You' follows 'Girl On A Train' in order of recording. In fact, 'Girl On A Train' and 'Over You' sound like they would belong as A and B-sides of a record. The next two songs, like 'When I Try, I Lie', appeared on Get Smart! Yet they sound very different at this early demo stage. The box shows the next demo session was 8th January 1982, missing out the songs recorded for Hits From 3000 Years Ago which went straight from writing to rehearsal to recording within days, so no time or need to demo. From this next batch of new songs, 'Angeline' to 'Open The Door', only 'No Time Tomorrow' and 'Don’t Cry To Me' emerged (its misspelt as 'Don’t Lie To Me' on the box). 

The Singles Album sleeve notes by Chris Hunt state that: "'No Time Tomorrow' was typical of most of the songs at the time", and here they are! The unreleased ‘psychedelic’ Squire is on this tape!
By 1982, the Casio VL-Tone (We now have two, just in case!) had replaced the handclaps and provides the rhythm and sounds for this January 1982 session. Indeed, the tempo and accompaniment for 'Don’t Cry To Me' is all Casio VL-tone, there isn't a guitar on it, and you can hear it next week!

Meanwhile, we hope you enjoy this version of Girl On A Train!

 All the best from Squire!

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