Squire & The Quarter Boys! The Latest Fan Club Newsletter

Welcome to the new Squire fan club newsletter, where we reveal The Style Council connection, and play the never heard before original Jesamine demo!

The recording of ‘Jesamine’ is notable for the incredible trumpet solo, as well as the brass section on the choruses. While the brass section gives the song the character, adding to the joyous celebration, like a bandstand brass band, it is the Beatlesque veneer of the solo echoing the Beatles ‘Penny Lane’ single that is the highlight of the song, appearing with its unexpected timbre in what should be a guitar solo in an guitar/bass/drums band song.

What is more extraordinary, and not appreciated at the time of recording, the trumpet player Stewart Prosser hits a top C on his B flat trumpet, considered the absolute top note of the instrument! (David Mason played a piccolo trumpet on ‘Penny Lane’ pitched an octave higher to hit a 'relatively easy' E). The added harpsichord on the intro and throughout the song adds yet another flavour creating the overall 'summer of love' baroque collage, blending with the band playing a mod beat backing with Stax style guitar chops!

Stewart, pictured above, was part of the horn section of Rye & The Quarter Boys and we met him, quite by chance in Carnaby Street, London, as Squire and his band sold records side by side at the Merc shop, situated upstairs in the Roccafella Centre, a mini shopping arcade in the street.

After inviting them to record with us, we rehearsed at Alaska studios, in arches underneath Waterloo station in London, and then they recorded their parts during the basic tracking sessions at Aosis Studio in Camden Town. So the horn sound was already integral to the overall concept of the album. After the main brass parts, Stewart returned alone to record the trumpet solos, as evidenced by a rough mix version of Jesamine without the horn solo!

Rye & The Quarter Boys originated from the coastal region, south of London, with connections to the town of Rye in East Sussex. The church in the centre of Rye has a famous clock tower featuring two figures that strike the bells every quarter of the hour, colloquially called Quarter Boys. They are also illustrated on a nearby cottage plaque.

Although Rye is a small remote town, it boasts a vinyl record shop, a music shop full of Rickenbackers, and Paul McCartney’s main residence & recording studio is just outside the town. More Jesamine coincidences!

The Quarter Boys brass section made a vital contribution to the Get Smart! album. They appear on the opening track ‘The Life’, as a fanfare of intention. Their contribution to the third track ‘Jesamine’ is crucial. Side Two 'You Don't See Me' and ‘Stop That Girl' captures their sophisticated 'Chicago' style sound, while the title track ' Get Smart!' closes the ‘show’, with a collage of avant grade trumpet improvisation, and a  horn motifslowly rising semitone by semitone underneath.

Although Rye & The Quarter Boys only released one single, the horn section went on to great success to perform with Paul Weller and The Style Council on all their major releases, and later with Big Sound Authority. You can see them perform on the Style Council 'Live in Chippenham and 'Council Meeting In Japan concerts. But they played with Squire first!!

In preparation for the albums recording, all the songs were written and demoed for everyone to learn and arrange into a band sound. The original demo of ‘Jesamine’, was recorded on 25th March 1982, and is now revealed for the first time here! It shows a song with a different arrangement, though all the vocal harmony ideas are in place.

Whereas the single is in the key of F, the original is in E. The key was changed to make it easier for horn players to play their parts on instruments that are most comfortable in B flat, E flat and F keys. The feel is also different. In a similar way to 'Kings Road' being a straight 4/4 beat on the live Mods Mayday album, replaced by a swing beat on the single, so the original ‘Jesamine’ follows a straight beat, as this is the only rhythm available on the recognisable Casio VL-Tone keyboard.

The VL-Tone was first heard on ‘No Time Tomorrow’, and provides the rhythm accompaniment to most songs of the era, for instance the ‘Every Trick ‘demo, and ‘Jesamine’ follows 'Every Trick’ on the sequence on the master demo tape. The melody and lyrics are unchanged but the solo section follows a different chord sequence. Once the band rehearsed the song, the more appropriate moderate swing tempo was decided and  the key was shifted a semitone higher in rehearsals with the horn players at their suggestion.

You can hear the ‘Jesamine’ demo below! The sound reaches back to pre ‘Get Smart!’ days and is yet another fascinating document in Squire’s catalogue of unheard recordings!

There are still copies of the coloured vinyl re-release available, link below, so you can share in the fun of 'Jesamine!

Best Wishes from Squire!

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