‘Milky Tea’

Very occasionally, songs seem to just drop from the sky. ‘Milky Tea’ is one of those, the first track from my most recent album, ‘Can’t Teach an Old Dog’.

Most of the recording for this album was done in man cave of Mr. Goodall – known to some as ‘Tone Control’. One day, I was in the cave trying to play a completely different tune but getting nowhere. There is sometimes a discrepancy between the music my brain and my body’s ability to reproduce it! We felt a break was needed and so Engineer/Producer, Tone Control, went to make a brew. Now, while Tone has the ears of a bat, his tea-making abilities are suspect. The man is obsessed with full fat milk, filling half the mug with the stuff – need I say more?

While he was gone, I just began playing a few different phrases, to rid myself of frustration. What came out was fast, dynamic and it felt alive. Unbeknown to me, Tone had left the desk on, so what I was playing was also being recorded. He returned with two mugs of milky tea and muttered the words…”have you finished, have you?” What was, unbeknownst to me, committed to tape, was 80% of the tune. All of it was completely improvised. After that, I added a middle eight and an ending, then considered the lyrics…

Well, I say ‘considered’ but the basis was “I can’t stand milky tea!” Also in my mind was a recent conversation I’d had with a friend about the human condition and addiction. So, I had the traditional bluesy double entendre in place and the lyrics were beginning to take shape, based around Caroline bringing me a cup of tea in bed – ‘you predicted, I’m addicted’. Mind you, I do love a good cup of tea! You can still hear Tone Control at the very end of the track saying, “have you finished, have you?”

Despite it being an improvised tune, it is actually quite hard for me to play. This is particularly true of its syncopation and harmonics. On the recording, I used my 1929 National Squareneck.

Once we’d recorded it, and added bass and percussion, I was really happy with the result. I thought the instantaneous pull of the song would make a great opener for the album.

To hear a segment from ‘Milky Tea’, click on the link below:

 

‘Can’t Teach An Old Dog’ can be purchased directly from me, here, and downloaded on iTunes, here.

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