Songs in a Scottish Accent 2: the thing with demo versions

Here’s the thing with demo versions: you sometimes batter one out, first take of everything, because you’re so taken with the song that you want to share it with someone. When you share it with another musician, you usually preface it with remarks like, ‘it’s a bit rough, but…’ which is code for ‘I know this is less than perfect, so don’t be telling me I come in late on the second verse, or the guitar could be lower in the mix, because you know I know that already, right?’

This demo’s a case in point. I woke up one morning with the (very simple) melody going through my head. At the breakfast table, I started writing some lyrics; and unlike some of my songs, they came out in a single string. I mean, I couldn’t get them down fast enough. I don’t think I’ve changed more than one or two words since that first draft. They’re not the most literary lyrics I’ll ever do, and they’re not even autobiographical, apart from the last verse, but they get the job done. They’re heartfelt, and while they could be about some place on the Rust Belt Springsteen drove through once, but actually, they’re about my native land of south Fife, in the Scottish Lowlands.

The demo itself is probably my favourite of all time so far, since an earlier version of it’s what got me into the Isaac Brutal band, and I’ve performed the song live with them a couple of times now. It was still one that I filed mentally under ‘needs a bit of work before it’s really useable,’ for some time. I had problems in particular with the drums – Mixcraft’s library is set up primarily for techno and hip hop type stuff, and the gated Eighties style track I’d put on here just to have something to play along to wasn’t to my usual taste. Although probably appropriate for such a Springsteen-influenced number.

However, I went back to it the other day, and decided it had a bit of raw intensity. I particularly liked the organ solo I’d improvised: not quite Al Kooper lucking out on Like a Rolling Stone, but not far away from as good as I can do.

So here it is, pending a final version for the album. It’s a bit rough, mind!

POSTSCRIPT: Sorry, I’m too tight to go for the pro version of Soundcloud and host every single version I’ve ever recorded of stuff – as if anyone would want to listen to them all! Here’s the final version I settled on.








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