My Darling Clementine – ‘The Reconciliation?’ – Song By Song
1. Unhappily Ever After
Our pedal steel player Al Cook suggested we try and come up with a tri-et as opposed to a duet. I thought it was a great idea but needed to find the right scenario that suited a 3rd voice. Given that there is a lot of arguing in our songs, it made sense that the 3rd person be some kind of counselor, maybe a marriage guidance counselor , who could help Lou and I patch up our differences and see the positives in our marriage. By the time the final chorus comes around I think Kinky has talked some sense into us. If any one can, it is Kinky Friedman.
2. No Heart In This Heartache
On the surface a regular “man leaves woman heartbroken song” but actually it has a twist. Yes the man leaves the woman but she is actually all the happier for him going. She never really liked him all that much anyway. In turn, he is dismayed that she is NOT heartbroken and quite happy without him. His male ego is dented.
3. I Can’t Live With You When You Can’t Live With Yourself
The only cover on the album, written by the late great rockabilly singer Ronnie Self, who is most well known for his songs I’m Sorry and Sweet Nothing which were hits for Brenda Lee. I found this song an a tape of old demo’s of Ronnie’s I was given. It has never been recorded before, it had remained just a demo. A wonderful title too – a classic country song title!
4. Our Race Is Run
For many years I have loved the writing and recordings of all the southern soul guys, especially Dan Penn and Spooner Oldham. When we started making The Reconciliation? album I wanted it to be all like this. If the debut was ‘Nashville via Chalk Farm’, then this one would be ‘Memphis via Sheffield’ …. maybe album no. 3 will be? Fabulous horns on this and stunning guitar work from Shez Sheridan. Possibly my favourite track on the album
5. Leave The Good Book On The Shelf
A God-fearing man sees his once respectable and churchgoing wife slide away into carousing, spending and flirting with other men. He pleads with her to return to reading the “good book” and straighten herself out but she now prefers more worldly pleasures and is not listening to him. Will leave it to the listener to decide of this is an autobiographical song or not
6. No Matter What Tammy Said (I won’t stand by him)
A reply song to Stand By Your Man. I wanted to write a song which said actually it’s ok to NOT stand by your man. I love Tammy Wynette and I love her voice, but that song has a lot to answer for. I wanted to write an anthemic song that’s just as much fun to sing along to, but this time with the right message. It’s a dark subject matter: A woman tells how she’s “seeing black and blue and purple ’cause he keeps seeing red”. But she decides enough is enough and leaves him. I also felt it was important to put a good man in the song, who’s appalled by how this woman is being treated. Between them they tell the story of her escape.
7. King Of The Carnival
A song based on the documentary movie “Circo” which follows the trials and tribulations of a struggling family circus in Mexico. The eldest son, who now runs it, is torn between the struggle to keep the circus going (despite dropping attendances), and keeping his wife and children happy who have grown tired of the way of life….always traveling from town to town and making no money. A lot like being a musician! He loves the life and the chance to perform each night. When she leaves him, midway through the film, it suddenly feels like a country song – so I wrote it. MDC has some first hand knowledge of Mexican circuses as when Lou was 17 she left England to travel with one as a professional dancer for 12 months. I think that explains a lot!
8. The Gospel According To George
The majority of the lines in this songs are lifted from the George Jones auto biography “I Lived To Tell It All”, a startling, warts and all account of this great mans life and career. How he lived to reach his 80’s is incredible. He should have been dead many times over. Being George , and not only the greatest country singer ever but one of it’s finest writers too, there are some wonderfully poetic lines in the book, and they just needed to be put into song. This was written 5 months before he died, so the closest I ever got to writing with him.
9. Ashes, Flowers & Dust
I wrote this song for anyone who’s lost a parent but gained a child. The death of my father and Michael’s mother were subjects almost too painful to write about. The sadness being compounded by how they are missing out on seeing our daughter. I wrote this song imagining being granted a wish- that they could come back again for a few hours “and hold our daughter’s hand once more”.
10. I No Longer Take Pride
The tale of a man who who has everything life can offer… wealth, health, happiness, fine clothes, nice car, who dines at the best places and most of all, he has a loving wife and a strong relationship. When his wife passes on suddenly all the material things don’t matter anymore and the pride he took in his appearance and lifestyle, it just slips away. The song ends with his wife singing to him from beyond the grave telling him to ‘always take pride’ and to know she is watching over him
11. Let’s Be Unhappy
A man trying to find happiness with his new partner is being stalked by his former lover. She wont leave them alone despite him trying to warn her off. In the end, he thinks life may just be simpler if decides to be ‘unhappy ‘ with his old lover.
12. Miracle Mabel
A song of love, marriage and IVF.
My husband and I dreamed of having our own child, against all the odds. Then, at last, a miracle happened. “Just a tale of everyday folk, and their miracle, Mabel.”