I just caught a new post by Julian Hall on Youtube. He was interviewing Jerry Pike the man who co-produced Level 42’s first album – “The Early Tapes.” A school friend slipped me the album around 1980 and it changed my life.
I put it on and my mind was instantly blown. It had a profound affect on me – cosmic, like nothing I heard before. Before then I listened to whatever my brothers but suddenly this pre-teen found his voice. I quickly borrowed everything they released (which wasn’t much at the time as they only just formed); so in the absense of material I started following the artists that influenced them, Mahavishnu, Miles, Stevie. I got sucked into the world of Funk Soul and Jazz. I became an addict tuning into pirate stations, going to soul meets off the CB radio, anything to get my latest fix. Still it was not enough so when Kal, a fellow funkster, suggest we start our own band I said yes. I played guitar and he bass. We rehearsed in a back room at a youth club in Tottenham hooked up with a singer and keyboardist my brother was teaching to drive and a drummer Kal knew from Uni. That was the start of a beautiful time of discovery and creation as we clawed our way up the gig ladder graduating from pubs to stadiums.
That was the beginning of my Odyssey.
Today we decided to do a cover – Stevie Wonder’s Superwoman (Where were you when I needed you). It was a no brainer chosing the track but the path preceding it quite accidental.
It was 1983, I was taking a driving lesson. My instructor slipped on a CD at the end and as I got out I asked him who it was, he shouted “It’s Stevie Wonder you should check him out.” as he pulled away. I was 17, didn’t know the track and I didn’t really know Stevie Wonder.
Speed forward three years. I was 20 in Harlem NYC and had some time to kill. Behind me was a record store. I quickly browsed the CDs and calling out to me was a cover with really cool image, It was Music of My Mind, Stevie’s classic album. I thought why not? Bought it, slipped the Walkman on and hopped into a chequered cab to take me to the Airport. Superwoman came on. I smiled knowingly as I realised it was the same track I heard from my driving instructor back in ’83.
He was right to plug the track. I couldn’t get enough. At the airport I bought Talking Book. When got back to London I bought Innervisions and so on.
Superwoman – I am waiting for the vocals to be laid down ..so only instrumental atm.
Tonite was written in mid June 2019 Saigon. I was staying with a family at a house in Saigon. It was morning I had just written a verse and was searching for a hook. The boy next door was dating the daughter of the family I was staying with. I sat in the palor watching as they spoke to eachother in Vietnamese. Naturally I didn’t understand a word but could tell by the looks on their faces what was going on. As he turned to say goodbye to me he broke into English turned to her and said – “See you –Tonite” I do not know what happened that night but if the song is anything to go by – Plenty!
The date was 1st June 2019 , I’d been in Saigon for a week. I began my daily ritual; up at 6.30am went down to the living room, sat in front the alter and sipped a cup of chrysanthemum tea. I heard incantations of monks chanting in the distance put my tea down and sung the words Simply Amazing. It was a commentary on the morning I guess. I don’t know exactly where it came from, it makes me believe there are truly unknown forces at work. As people we can either do something with what has been gifted or bury it. I chose the former and Amaze Me was born.
We have recorded a handful of tracks. Today I mixed and mastered Side Games. It’s a song about the trials of a lady who is tempted to revisit an old flame but has second thoughts when she see’s her Ex with another girl.
The song was written on break in Vietnam, as was most of the album. The melody came to me as I ducked into an alleyway for a smoke. It was raining; I stood huddle in a door way lit up and the melody popped into my head. I smiled as I knew I had something and rushed back in doors to record it. It’s started off as – I Know (what you came here for) and wound up as Side Games. Sometimes my intial ideas are replaced by others, as with this song, the initial words was simply a placeholder till I found something better – Side Games.
I don’t know how you found us but I am glad you did. My name’s George, Songwriter for Sunstone. This is is my first Blog entry, so please forgive me if it’s a bit rough.
Let me dive straight in. We are busy working on the forth album entitled Odyssey. The name, I would like to say draws from the epic poems of Homer, but truth is, it came to me as I stepped out of my car, a Honda Odyssey. I use it as a vocal booth to record guide vocals to our songs before I hand them over to K.O. our singer.
I literally just finished laying down the lead vocal guide to a new song called Crush. I wrote it in Vietnam where I spent three months writing the album this year. I was not happy with the hook so spent 3 days back in Cali trying to get it right. I pretty much gave up when it came to me whilst making a cup of tea. The words – I got a secret crush came and I rushed into my car , the Odyssey, to lay it down.