The Charlie Morris Band
Guitar, lead vocals
Marco "Speedy" Jeanrenaud
Backing vocals on Got Greedy: La Traia Savage
Backing vocals and wisecracks on That's What She Said:
all the boys, plus Alan Craig, George Harris and La Traia
All songs written by Charlie Morris (BMI)
We recorded the basic tracks at Relief Studio, Belfaux, Switzerland,
with Dom Torche behind the glass.
Mixed her down at Panda Studio, Clearwater, Florida,
George Harris at the board.
Mastered at Fullersound, Miami, Florida, Michael Fuller at the helm.
Marco "Speedy" Jeanrenaud plays Bosphorus cymbals.
Thanks to Alan Craig for sneakernet support.
You'd think there would have been plenty of oil to go around
After all, it's just lyin there in the ground
You'd think the oil we have in the USA
Would have been plenty for our day-to-day
But Noooo, they say we got to import our fuel
From countries where the leaders are barbaric and cruel
Political problems, endless turmoil
But we never would have needed their oil
If we hadn't got greedy
We all got greedy
Oil is black nasty sticky stuff
It's worse than heroin, we cant get enough
It's the lifeblood of dictators, the fuel of war
It's honey to the rich, poison to the poor
It means easy money for evil men
Like gangland chicago come to life again
It's poison to drink, poison to breathe
Its influence has poisoned our democracy
It's booze, it's crack, we just cant quit
But we never would have got strung out on that shit
If we hadn't got greedy
We all got greedy
Gridlock, noise and hot asphalt
Road rage, fatal accidents, suburban sprawl
Asthma, bronchitis, burning eyes, chest pain
Global warming, poison runoff, acid rain
Insurance bills, DUI, lawsuits galore
Corruption, terrorism, oil war
Oil fouls our beaches, it fouls our lungs
Cars kill our dogs and our teenage sons
Now they're off to war, and we all know why
But maybe they wouldn't have had to die
If we hadn't got greedy!
Seven of these tunes are new, and three are recycled. New Fool is of course Fool, but with a rock beat, slide guitar and organ instead of the former countryish shuffle. Monsieur Miracle is Charlie's old chestnut, updated with a zydeco beat and the addition of a washboard part. Not Much Glory is one that we had been doing a lot, and the live arrangement was quite different from the previous recorded version, so I decided to include it.
Three of these tracks (New Fool, Jelly in a Jam, I Got to Have It) we recorded in early 2008 at a Swiss radio station. They were recorded "live," that is, direct to two tracks. Markus played their grand piano and his Nord Electro keyboard. Does this contradict what the liner notes say? Well, you'll have to wait for my authorized biography to learn the true story. The more CDs you buy, the sooner such a tome is likely to be written.
For the other seven choons, we recorded the basic tracks at Relief Studio in Belfaux, Switzerland, at the end of our Summer 2008 tour. Studio owner and engineer Dom Torche is a killer keyboardist (who sometimes fills in for Markus) and has an incredible collection of vintage keys. We made use of the grand piano, B-3 and Fender Rhodes.
I took the results back to Florida on a stack of discs, and there we ran into an opportunity. It seems that Relief and Panda enjoy two different versions of ProTools, and two different versions of the Mac OS, and that they are wont to use slightly different conventions for naming files. The resulting apple-flavored concoction (would never have happened with PCs) took us three days, much colorful obscenity and no small amount of liquor to disentangle. Fortunately Mister Alan Craig, who is of an analytical disposition, was on hand, so we went through the files on his home ProTools setup and were able to get everything into the desired shape to proceed.
Just as Dom Torche's Touch of Keyboard Reality was the perfect place to record Markus's pearly parts, so was Panda, with George's ever-growing wall of amps, the perfect place for the next step. I recorded my guitar parts at Relief with my silverface Deluxe, but the tubes were starting to go bad, and the sound was crappy. I decided to re-amp all the guitar tracks, using a handy impedance-matching gadget that allows you to feed recorded tracks to the guitar amps of your choice. I replayed a few of the guitar solos, kept all the original rhythm parts, and re-amped everything, trying to find the perfect tube tone for each piece. We used an assortment of Supers, Deluxes, and a Bassman, usually mixing the sounds of two amps together. For the overdriven sound on Got Greedy, I believe we added a Dr Z amp to the mix. I then re-sang all my vocal parts, added some BVs and wisecracks, and we were ready to mix.
George performed his usual mixological magic, and we sent the result to the Swiss boys for a shufty. They thought the mix was a little too thin, a litle too "clean," and George and I agreed, so we went back to the mixing board. We transferred the tracks to an old 2-inch tape machine, then painstakingly passed the tape through a bowl of my special barbecue marinade that I use for my grilled chicken and ribs, jumbled the tape into a huge rat's nest and soaked it in beer overnight. When we fed the tape back into the machine and played it, the mix was perfect - beefy and warm, with a vintage vibe. Oh yes, George also did some stuff at the board, adding a little compression here, a little more room mike there.
By this time, I had spent so much time and money that I decided to go for the gold and do the mastering at Fullersound in Miami (instead of simply doing it at Panda, as in the past). A great mastering job is the icing on that cake, and it's good to have another pair of ears. Michael Fuller has some of the best ears in the business. He does nothing but mastering, and every square inch of his wall space is covered with gold and platinum.
It seems that all my CD covers have been born of desperation - I reject all the obvious choices, then at the last minute I come up with something that, in the end, I think is just right. Now, most blues CD covers feature a photo of the artist holding his or her instrument, often with a bluesy background such as a railroad yard or a funky Southern store. With all due respect to my many friends and colleagues who have made CDs with such covers, I think this concept is extremely boring (and besides, I've already used it twice). Perhaps it's appropriate, as most blues albums are all about the guitar (or harp) solos, but my albums are all about the songs. I try to make my covers entertaining, and appropriate to the concept of the album.
At the time this CD was mastered, I still had no idea what the title would be. I thought of something like "More songs about getting drunk and doing something stupid," but Got Greedy doesn't fit this concept, as (I like to think) it is an intelligent social commentary. When I hit on Ten Tall Tales, I got the idea of using cartoons, which is something I've thought of doing for some time. Robert Crumb and Joost Swarte were both busy, so the gig went to Tom Bell, a Florida musician, artist and campy crazyman who shares my love of comix. Astute fans will have noticed that there are ten cartoons. Each one goes with one of the ten songs. If you can guess which one is which, I'll send you a free CD of your choice (while supplies last, better email me quick).
My brother Bruce Morris came up with the idea for Stagger Home. We were drinkin and yarnin one night and he sang, "Gonna stagger home to my baby, hope she won't be too mad." I took the ball and ran with it, and there you go. The logo on the front cover I developed from a design that Devin Rice did for me several years ago.