No Strings Attached! - The Latest Newsletter

Hi and welcome to the newsletter where we dive back into the Get Smart archives and find unheard mixes of the basic guitar bass and drums backing tracks, before the orchestral embellishments such as strings were recorded!

First of all, thank you to everyone who came to see us in Nottingham and Newcastle on the first weekend of the tour! It feels great to be back on stage and meeting you all at the ‘merch table’ after the performance! We really enjoyed ourselves and from all the fantastic comments and conversations in person at the gigs and on the Facebook pages,  it seems you did too! We captured some photos at the venues and showed them alongside fan pictures posted on Facebook etc, but in case you don’t see them, we are repeating them here. We hope it reminds you of what a great weekend it was, and for those with tickets for the next dates, we hope it gives you a taste of what to expect, and to those unable to come this time, jogs a memory of what fun it is to get together and see a live band, especially Squire!!

Here’s a panoramic view from the stage in Nottingham. 

 and the band on stage later.

Compare this to the following nights concert in Newcastle where the venue had panoramic glass windows looking out over the River Tyne!  Its amazing how close the Newcastle venue is to the iconic River Tyne road and rail bridges.

You could see the view from the stage during daylight while we sound checked!

Here’s the band on stage,

the view from the merch table with Secret Affair getting ready to go on stage,

and the Squire merch table goodies!!

You can see the set list here, and side by side with Secret Affairs! We have played so many dates with them starting from 1979, and I feel we really compliment each others performance.

They enjoy a ‘big band’ ensemble with organ, piano, and 3 piece horn section, playing their mix of soul and mod pop, just look at the cover versions for style references, and their drum and bass duo really add that Motown vibe to the arrangements. Although we share the same influences, our 12-string lead harmonic 3-piece sound stands in direct contrast to their sound and allow us to reproduce every style, from the psychedelic overtones of 'Standing in The Rain' and 'No Time Tomorrow', the beat group of 'Its A Mod Mod World', 'The Young Idea', the soul of 'B-A-B-Y Baby Love', 'Stop That Girl', the pop of 'Every Trick (In The Book Of Love)' and 'Kings Road', etc. It may be appear a basic sound palette, but allows us to flex in any direction and show off the inherent Squire character! 

It's this stripped down sound that is the focus of the newsletter, where we dive into the original basic tracks of the 'Get Smart' album, recorded in December 1982 at Aosis studios in Camden, London. The following year, after a Christmas of listening and reflecting on the recordings so far, the arrangements were embellished with percussion, strings, harmonies and some re-recorded vocals. One of the stand out tracks from the original backing track sessions is 'Every Trick (In The Book Of Love'). Here, without the strings, it sounds in its original live arrangement. In fact, it’s the version you will hear at the gigs. 12-string guitar, bass, drums and harmonies. We looked at the multitude of Every Trick versions in a previous newsletter, Feb 6th 2021 - Every Mix In The Book Of Love!, (which you can read by clicking the link picture below)

Indeed, the song was revisited many times to find the elusive definitive version! First, on the B-side of the 'Girl On A Train' single, it is slower and in the lower key of A. Then we re-recorded it again for the 'Get Smart' album sessions, in a faster tempo and in the higher key of B, this higher key making it sound more pop and urgent, and with a string quartet recorded twice creating an octet sound, it became the definitive baroque version! We first mixed the track at Ocean Way studios in Los Angeles for the Get Smart album, with lush reverb and a wide soundscape. We then remixed at Jacobs Studio in UK for the single, with a darker and dryer British mix. We then revisited the track to extend it from 2 minutes 45 seconds to over 4 minutes for a special 12 inch 45 rpm single mix, and yet again reconstructed it from 53 separate short mixes of various sections to create as an instrumental mix for the B-side! And of course, we introduced the original demo in that ‘Every Mix ‘newsletter!

So here we have yet another mix! With no string ensemble! No Strings Attached!!! The original London recording already includes the final vocal and harmonies, and the ‘stops and starts’ are already in place, leaving space for the imagined string lines which came together with baroque styled string section to add the unique flavour to the arrangement. Indeed, when you listen to the ‘bare’ mix, you may be already anticipating the string lines that add the answering phrases and melodic accompaniment to the song, that  make it flow perfectly between sections.

If you missed out on the original Every Trick In The Book version on the B-side of the Girl On A Train single, we still have a few copies left. Click on the sleeve above.

Meanwhile, we hope enjoy the original take of the song as it was recorded during the Get Smart tracking sessions, back in December 1982!

Hope to see some of you at the upcoming dates this week! Liverpool on Thursday 19th October, Leeds on Friday 20th and Sheffield on Saturday 21st!!! 



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