After the demise of Vinegar Joe, Chris Blackwell of Island put Elkie on ice for the remainder of her contract , meaning that she remained signed to Island but could not record. She then signed with A&M and recorded a disco orientated album in LA whichsank. In 1977 I was called to play on her next album ¨Two Days Away¨ Along with Trevor Morais on drums. Isaac Guillory guitar and Jean Rousell on keys. Produced by Leiber & Stoller, this is probably my favourite out of all the albums I played on.
It was a great experience working with producers Jerry Leiber & Mike Stoller. Mike and Jerry brought a case full of song demos and allowed us freedom to come up with our own arrangements with some guidance from Mike. They worked very methodically. Laying the rhythm tracks, we would generally work from 10am – 6 pm and record four batches of about ten takes at a time. After each batch we would take a break and then they would tell us what to change or what to keep. I couldn’t understand why they did so many takes until we were done with the rhythm tracks and Elkie asked when she was going to do the vocals. They said “We’ve already got them!” They were keeping the guide vocals looking for natural performances. The album contained two of Elkie’s biggest hits “Pearl’s A Singer” and “Sunshine After the Rain”. I also later played on another of her hits “Lilac Wine” which was recorded live in the studio in one take with a full orchestra.
Elkie was and still is one of the best singers I have heard!
And now the not so nice! I worked with her through tough times from 1971 – 1978. When she fired her band the first we knew about it was when we read about it in the newspapers about a month before we were due to tour with her. There was never a call from her or her management.
Not long before that we played at the Royal Albert Hall. At the post gig party Elkie was presented with a gold album for Two Days Away.
Her manager told Trevor and I that Leiber & Stoller had also ordered the award for us, but that Elkie did not want them presented to us at her party and we were to pick them up at the office.
If you should read her autobiography be aware that it contains lies and half truths! The story of her “Christmas mugging” is recounted by ex husband Pete Gage in the Vinegar Joe story above. The story in her book is another different fabrication. The band´s tour manager and ex drummer John Wood was the first on the scene. He told me that it was simple case of domestic violence.