I played on Marianne´s ¨Broken English¨ album and also the follow up, ¨Dangerous Acquaintances¨. Broken English, recorded in 1979, has sold millions to date and is gold & platinum in a few countries. The band, consisting of Barry Reynolds, Joe Mavety, Terry Stannard & myself, had considerable musical input on this album. Marianne was kind enough to give us writing credits, but to my mind the musician that has not received enough recognition for his work in shaping this record was Steve Winwood. The record was reissued in 2013 as a double CD. One CD has the original finshed recording with just the raw band. The other CD has the polished version with the addition of Steve Winwood´s keys and other overdubs. Marianne and I prefer the raw band tracks in many ways , but we feel that the record would not have been as successful as the final version.
This record has actually made me more money than any other but , although I am proud of my work on it , I do not like it very much! I was amused when I read that Eric Clapton threw it out of the window when Patti Boyd kept playing it!
My bass sound on this record not typical. I used my Series 1 Alembic bass in this record and for some reason engineer Bob Potter wanted to record it out of phase. It is somewhat buried in the mix on the final version but clearer on the raw band mixes.
The producer Mark Miller Mundy had no previous experience. The record would not have achieved success without his input, and , for that matter, would never have been made! He became the producer because Island Record´s Chris Blackwell owed him a favour. He was a bully in the studio and the record took months to record instead of weeks. He would not pay us until it was complete. ” I could advance you some money but I don´t feel that would be right!” We were going broke. When we made the follow up album an Australian TV crew showed up to present Marianne with a gold album. We were so broke that Marianne promptly traded it for dinner for the band in the pub next to the studio! An example of an instruction from Mark. ¨Stop! We have to try a different key!¨¨Why¨?¨¨Well there´s only four riffs in the key of E and we´ve tried them all!¨
Steve Winwood advised Mark throughout the recording of Broken English and we got through it. I was fired before the recording of the follow up ¨Dangerous Acquaintances¨. The band spent a disastrous couple of weeks in the studio and then rehired me. I can´t say I had a good attitude at that point! We took months again recording. Drummer Terry Stannard and I tried to keep metronomic time but I realised that Mark didn´t find the track exciting unless we rushed! Without Winwood the album was a mess!
I am recounting all this because by the time we were done I was just waiting for my money so that I could leave the UK for good .
In fact the two year experience actually soured me on recording for some years and I was no longer interested in pursuing a studio career!
It was good timing as studio work was rapidly thinning out anyway!
As a footnote , my publishing was signed to Mark´s publishing company which quickly went bankrupt due to mismanagement. It reverted to me. I then became a victim of fraud when I signed with Clive Steven´s publishing company Interterranean Music. After getting stiffed for a few thousand dollars I got a release from him and Warner Chappell successfully handled my copyrights for 15 years until 2007. Clive passed away in 2019 just as I found out that he fraudulently sold my copyrights in 2013. To date I have successfully cleared the matter up with BMG Music and Sony Music but Universal Music and Clive´s family will not respond to me and a portion of my royalties is still being ripped off!
A postscript. I´m taking the opportunity to correct some misinformation that was in the book ” Marianne – As Tears Go By” by Mark Hodkinson. He states that when we toured Ireland prior to recording “Broken English” the band was afraid to play in Belfast and that we bailed on the tour and went home early!
First of all “the band” did not have a collective mentality and we were certainly not afraid to go to Belfast! The truth is that there were only one or two dates left in the tour. We had been on the road for almost a month and had not been paid one penny. We were all flat broke! Marianne had been able to borrow some money from her friends in Dublin to pay for some meals but there was no one we could turn to on our way north.
Marianne´s manager for the trip was her neighbour Isabella Dulaney who had no music business experience.
The day before we were headed to Belfast we had set up and sound checked in the club. I put my last couple of coins in a slot machine and kept winning. I called the road crew over and told them ” Look, this machine is trying to pay me!¨ On the next pull I won the jackpot which was the equivalent of a few hundred dollars.
Isabella approached me and told me that the agent had promised to show up and pay us every date so far and he was due to come that night form Dublin. She had her doubts. She told me that the amount I had won was just enough to get the band back to London if he did not show up, otherwise we would be stranded! Would I lend the band my winnings to get us home?
It turned out that the machine had just been installed and was not yet calibrated. The owners and locals were not happy with me and the road crew had to protect the bag of coins that the club would not change!
Of course I did and we returned home. Marianne returned to Dublin and threw together a band to play a local punk rock club.
The day after we got home the tabloid newspapers announced that Marianne´s band had left her in Ireland because we were afraid to go to Belfast thanks to her press agent!
No, it was because we were clearly being stiffed and about to be stranded! The slot machine windfall was a blessing!
To compound the falsehood, Marianne repeated the story in her autobiography ” Faithfull” with some fanciful elaboration about the band ( with our collective mentality) missing the bright lights and big city!
In the mid 80´s Marianne was in Hazelden for drug rehab. I heard an interview with her on PBS where she stated that part of her treatment was to summarize her life. She sad that there was so much that she couldn´t remember that she had to have all her press archives sent to her! And so is history written!