I’m gonna cut right to the chase without too much philosophising or hyperbole. I got to mix a tune by two of my absolute heroes, Van Duren and Jody Stephens. Now, this is not a song that was recorded recently, no indeed. The tracking of this song dates back to the mid-seventies and it was recorded in holiest of holy Ardent studio in Memphis TN.
If you don’t know who Van Duren is, look him up now. Or wait for the documentary on him called WAITING which is coming out soon. It’s directed by my mates Greg Carey and Wade Jackson (whom the latter collabed on this mix with me).
Van is one of the true unsung heroes of 70’s American singer-songwriter and power pop, coming from the same circle of friends as Chris Bell and Alex Chilton. His story is far too vast and unbelievable to go into detail here - you’ll have to wait for the film for that. Just please go and check out his album Are You Serious? on Spotify and thank me later.
Jody Stephens is someone who is very dear to my heart as a drummer, singer, and songwriter in one of my favourite bands of all time, Big Star. I’m not going to spend any time going on about Big Star here - i’ll save that for a blog post in the future. All I will say, is getting to mix such a banging tune that has Jody drumming and singing, and Van playing bass and singing lead in that voice that could melt your soul, is such an extreme pleasure that sometimes I have to pinch myself and say “did that really happen?” Getting feedback from Van Duren over the phone and Jody Stephens via email (“I love it! Don’t change a thing!”) was so trippy, and fantastic.
So anyway, this tune never had a final mix as it was from an abandoned album that was never fully finished. But here is the first gem to come from these sessions. Listen to that piano - yes, that’s the same piano as 3rd/Sister Lovers and Radio City.