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COMMENTS

 I think the level was fantastic.  Detailed comments are based on first impressions.  The standard of production on some of them is quite breathtaking.  As for picking a winner?  Really, seriously, not sure I can.  Really looking forward to the next one! - STEVE W

I agree with Steve W, a really positive start. I will, in the coming months, try and set up a forum so that we can comment freely on each piece without having to go through me via email to have your comments posted. Also I seem to remember that some forums have a ‘voting’ system built in. I’ll investigate. As for the voting here, I have forgotten what convoluted system I had come up with so I’ll refer back to my notes but it could just be as simple as picking one’s favourite and letting me know (we could start awarding points but perhaps life is too short!) - ROB W

Congratulations to all for completing round 1. I think Rob's choice of a title Song worked well and the theme was a familiar enough one to get us all going. Stylistically, we're all over place! We've got Beatles pop, 60s American pop, 70s funk, 70s jazz rock, 80s funk pop, 90s shoegazing rock. Curiously, although not surprisingly give our ages, there don't seem a lot of influences from this century! Has modern pop/rock music hit a dead-end? Are we all just recycling stuff from the golden era of popular music? - MIKE G



1.
The Love Has Gone - Patrick Duffin
The love has gone Patrick Duffin
COMMENTS
Well composed, well played, well recorded, very professional.  What did you say he does for a living? = STEVE W

A consummate professional, Patrick’s composing and playing abilities are unquestionable. This was the first song to arrive and I couldn’t resist listening even though mine had not yet been completed. It was a depressing experience and makes one wonder ‘what’s the point?’ - ROB W

The bookies' favourite didn't disappoint. A lovely song, well performed and recorded. The echoes of Randy Newman and The Beatles are unashamedly there. The ascending chords In the chorus are a joy. The backing vocal arrangement is brilliantly assembled and executed. The lead vocal is great. The chord change into the middle 8 is great. It all seems so effortless and easy. Question to Patrick: Did you find out where everybody went? They didn't all become astronauts did they? Ah, I'm being facetious, I enjoyed Patrick's song immensely. - MIKE G




2. I’ve got to believe (now that the love has gone) - Mark Swift


I've got to believe (now that the love has gone) Mark Swift

Firstly, you may (actually will) notice that its not got the 'The love has gone' lyric or title, although I think bracketts is acceptable! The reason for this is that I intrepreted from your first email that the 'theme' was the love has gone, rather than having to actually use the line and the title, sorry.
By the time your last email came through clarifying the requirement the song was written and I wasn't going back :-), so providing I'm not kicked out on a technicality, here it is:

....   I've got to believe (now that the love has gone).

A song written around the theme of starting again after the end of a relationship and learning to enjoy life by yourself.
I need to thank the following for their help and input:

Laura Baxter - Lyrics and vocals
Finn Swift -  Drums (live, not programmed)
My neighbours - for putting up with Finn's drumming on a daily basis.


COMMENTS
Swifty's - jumps out at you, has the most immediate hook.  Altogether sounds very lush.  Strangely, Laura's voice sounds better on the chorus than the verse, and then it sounds very good indeed. STEVE W

Having listened to Patrick’s with it’s ‘natural’ sound, this came from left field. I loved the opening and the understated nature of the first verse. Once Finn’s drums start in earnest there are some ‘pumping compression’ issues for me which makes it a little uncomfortable to listen to but the song is definitely a grower and I really like Laura’s voice (though she seems to be singing well within herself; she should let go a bit more!) - Rob W

What a great atmospheric start - the pizzicato strings and general orchestral type sounds create a very good ambience for the start of the song - I understand the rates at Abbey Road are quite reasonable now and you certain made good use of the facilities. Nice bass and piano in the song; not sure whether the guitar and drums always work but the song is solidly constructed. Laura's lyric and vocal vocal work ( I like the line about not being "a girl that likes to wait" ). Well done. - MIKE G



3. All The Love Has Gone - Rob Warner


All the love has gone - Rob W

I am my own worst critic. My kids hate it. Helen politely said she really liked it (yeah, right!!) and I’m not sure either, but hey.

COMMENTS

Very sparse start (though strangely I can always hear the bass), in fact a very 'spare' feel throughout.  A typical example of a 'Rob' song, though I only know that because I've heard quite a few in the past. - STEVE W

I’m not happy with the way this turned out. I thought the passage of time since the last time I actually sat down and wrote a song on my own (20 years ago!) would have turned me into Stevie Wonder or Peter Gabriel but the same limitations (of my abilities) became apparent. I should learn that I can’t do it all on my own and that I work better with some collaboration, so I’ll be at least attempting to use my friend, Gemm, as guitarist on the next number. Also, it has to be said that if one writes a lot of songs, one has a greater chance of writing a good one. One-per-month doesn’t sound like much but it is one-per-month more than I have been writing, so hopefully the discipline of this will be good for me/all of us - ROB W

It is with some trepidation that I review my (ex-) colleague's song! Rob, it's not so bad -don't keep putting yourself down. It has a very good soulful vocal; the drums and bass are very well played and entirely appropriate for the material. The girl(?) backing vocals are very nice. Best of all for me is the electric piano - it is great! and places the song in Hall/Oates - type 70s white soul arena - not a bad place to be. The clean production is also welcome and appropriate.  And here's the problem for me - that synth guitar line (which is quite loud at the start!) should be Michael Brecker on the saxophone. I think that's what's "wrong". Oh, I think that maybe the middle 8 could have lifted the song more (like in a Paul Simon song). Good effort Rob - MIKE G



4. The Love Has Gone - Steve & Claire Warner


The Love is gone Steve W

A few words of explanation: well, this has been the first chance Claire and I have ever had to collaborate on any artistic activity, and for that reason alone has already been thoroughly worthwhile.  Shame we get the lyrics already provided for the next round!  From the pov of the music, I wanted to start simple, so the first chord is Am7.  And so is the second one; one of the big lessons from three years of constant study is that often, what might sound like a chord change is just the same chord voiced differently.  However, after three years of watching John McLaughlin's 'This Is The Way I Do It', I couldn't stay in one mode or key for very long, which is why the last chord in the instrumental break is Bb13sus, or Amaj7/Bb.  I look forward to using A13b9 in the next song just so I can play the symmetrical scale - fans of the original Mission Impossible series will already know that, even if they don't know they know!!


COMMENTS

A testament to the limitations of GarageBand.  Bass sounds as though they went up to a ship in dock and twanged the mooring cables.  Chords don't quite fit, especially when you try to solo over them, and the solo sounds like John McLaughlin, if he insisted on wearing oven gloves and was addicted to sleeping pills.  What a shame they didn't find some soggy cardboard boxes, they could have recorded a drum track - STEVE W

I loved the jazz chords. And it was great that Steve and Claire decided to make it sound so ‘retro’ by buying a TEAC Portastudio 144 to give it authenticity! (What do you mean ‘this is a 24bit digital recording’?) This could be extended and one can only imagine the soloing that would accompany it. I think it could have done with drums (that’s code for ‘being in time’) but I also have sympathy that perhaps the limitations of Steve & Claire’s set up meant that the drums may well have sounded like an 80s Casio machine. That said, this is about songwriting not recording, so any criticism I may have about the quality is irrelevant. I love the melody and I love the puppy-dog energy of the guitar-playing. The lyrics match the mood of the music perfectly. And in fact, well done to the new husband and wife pairing (we have three such pairings!) It’s like Ike & Tina (except in the case of my two brothers, I know which part of the pairing would be kicking the sh*t out of the other. Clue, they’re both female!)- ROB W

Lovely jazzy chords. The lyrics are good and the vocal melody is very nice. I could have done with a full sounding bass and some drums to fill out the production. I think this would have helped to balance out the guitar solo, which is very bold! It sounds like you, Steve and Rob, are having fight for control at the start of the last verse - but I can hear from the last few notes that Steve has walked out the easy winner (by 3 lengths) - MIKE G





5. The Love Has Gone - Tim & Julie Warner


The love has gone Tim W

Here it is! I've never really liked recording and this experience has only helped a little. I simply don't like hearing my voice so I've disguised it as much as possible.

COMMENTS

The start doesn't give you a clue as to what it turns into (and my sneak preview didn't give me much idea either).  Really like the telephone vocal.  Has a nice 'shuffle' to it, and a couple of nice bits of incidental guitar.  A typical 'Tim' song, as I've heard him play quite a few times - STEVE W

Like Steve W, I have heard this ‘feel’ from Tim before. Unlike Steve W, I didn’t really like the ‘telephone’ vocal. I know this was a deliberate ploy to disguise it but I think this would have been better if it were sung with a ‘normal’ voice. Having said that, the hook-line is now stuck in my head (along with the tinny vocal sound) so maybe there was unrealised genius in choosing that particular sound. I really like the verse vocal in the lower register and as I’ve already said, the chorus is annoyingly catchy. So in terms of songwriting, one could argue that this ticks all the boxes. However, I think the arrangement did the song no favours. It was a bit muddy and confused and there was very little light and shade (the exception being the Middle 8 - repeated at the end - which takes us away from the shuffle rhythm and, temporarily, into new territory. The Middle 8 is my favourite bit of the song.

I don't think I've ever heard a Tim song before! Classic guitar intro - I thought Gary Moore had infiltrated Rob's website and sneaked in a new recording of Parisian Walkways! The groove is good and funky - I can imagine a big 70s Parliament-type line-up to play this one live. I really like the "sharing" nature of the vocals - I was never quite sure who was going to sing next (and in what type of voice!). The deadpan (New Order) verse vocal works well and I like the radio voice chorus vocal - Tim, you might be trying to disguise your voice but I like the effect and catchiness of it. I think the end section could have been built up more - I wanted it to get all chaotic and then fall apart (spectacularly). Shame that Tower of Power horn section were unavailable for the recording session. - MIKE G




6. The Love Is Gone - Phil Sanderson

phil the love is gone

Sleeve notes ...  I play acoustic guitar ( yes, even the 'rock' guitar is my Yamaha acoustic!) Synth ( the bass ) Sing ( badly, but you knew that was coming ) and did the programming for the drum kits and additional keyboards using (cheap) music software. I do know song is quite long, but it really doesn't feel long, and I didn't want to remove the middle section.  The guitar solo was a first take when I accidentally chose the wrong insert effect on the Zoom R16.  I'm sure I can do better, but I feel sort of attached to the moment of surprise when I found out that an acoustic can sound ok as lead instrument.  My Fender Strat stayed in its case and is probably sulking.  Enjoy.

COMMENTS

Interesting set of chords, though from an aspiring jazzer's perspective, not enough mode changes.  Very interesting rhythms.  He can shred better than I can, damn him, and doubly so if that's an acoustic - STEVE W

He runs like the wind and plays guitar like it too!! This song very much reminded me of the earlier recordings that Another Citizen did which is good in some ways and not so good in others. In those days we’d use a Casio beatbox that just played the same thing over and over and Phil has gone for that approach which is fine to begin with but really seems to get in the way especially in the Chorus. Phil also has a hang up about his voice but all credit to him for not disguising it too much because it is not bad at all. After two listenings, this is also stuck in my head, particularly the bass line in the verse. I am confused by the time-signature that he used in the Chorus but (assuming it was deliberate) has increased my respect for him. And his guitar solo was a cross between Robert Fripp and Alan Holdsworth - and that was done on an acoustic?? Amazing. I think that Phil’s song suffers a little from no light and shade. I don’t think you should be afraid to leave things sparse. It can make the later verses and choruses much more powerful. - ROB W

I thought the Purple Prince was amongst us once again! The clattering percussion and drums are all very welcome, but started to wear me down after a while - the introduction of the acoustic guitar was nice and it would have been good to make more of that sound as a contrast to the synthetic sounds. The English vocal is good - a welcome change from all of us pretending to be Americans! I would like to have heard some girl backing vocals to complement the lead vocal - perhaps you could have asked Prince to borrow Wendy and Lisa for the recording session. The shredding guitar was a surprise, but then I remembered that Prince was a fantastic guitarist, and why not! - MIKE G



7. Summer Clover (The Love Has Gone) - Mike Gosling

Summer Clover (The Love Has Gone)

I recorded the vocals and instruments; Karl Thomas
played the drums on the track. I'd like to thank Karl for listening to a first mix
of the track and for responding with 3 pages of comments and suggestions!
I implemented most of Karl's suggestions - but ran out of time to get to the 3rd page.



Summer Clover (The Love Has Gone)
Words and music: Mike Gosling

All my life I have jumped at shadows
I’ve picked a fight, but not when it mattered
I heard the sound through the hums and the rattles
In this life I have run from the battles

Now, the love has gone
The love has gone away
The love has gone away from me

You were bright, you were blonde and pretty
Our town was small, so we left for the city
A one-roomed place, it was south of the river
I loved the chase, but I just couldn’t live there

Now, the love has gone
The love has gone away
The love has gone away from me

The love has gone
The love has gone
The love has gone

The kids were small, only five and seven
I took a fall as I stumbled for heaven
Got a place in this town so that they can stay over
But the love has gone, like the summer clover

The love has gone
The love has gone away
The love has gone away from me

The love has gone
The love has gone away
The love has gone away from me

The love has gone
The love has gone
The love has gone …

COMMENTS

We both think we'd have been unsurprised to have heard this on TOTP in the late sixties, it really has that feel to it - STEVE W

Mike and I used to write songs together. When I compare what I was able to do and what Mike has produced here, I am embarrassed to say that it seems clear that Mike was always the driving force and I was lucky to come up with the occasional vocal line that would enable me to put my name to songs as a writer. This is the most complete of all the songs on every level. It builds beautifully; it has a very catchy hook with a confident lyric and the sound is so clear and believable. I make no apology in saying that this, for me, is the class of the field. Fantastic job, Mike and I’m sure it will be available on a Sounding Line album very soon! - ROB W



8. The Love Is Gone - Tim Lucas & Glyn Hughes

THE LOVE IS GONE Tim & Glynn

For the record - written and performed by Tim & Glyn. Help from son Simon with mixing and mastering.

COMMENTS

It must be years since I heard Glyn sing, I was wonderfully surprised all over again.  Like Rob's, sounds quite sparse.  Especially like the way the synth bits interweave - STEVE W

Glynn’s voice, laryngitis or not, is always haunting and gloriously breathy. If one were to take Glynn’s voice out the feel would be very much ‘U2’ particularly the pounding bass, the thumping drums and the ‘textured’ guitar. However (and at the risk of being the Simon Cowell - that’s Tony Hatch for you older ones - of the group!) I didn’t feel that this song really caught fire. It was nicely sparse in places but I think the hook wasn’t quite strong enough, but I thought the lyrics were its saving grace. Really well done ROB W

A good warm sound to the start of this. I am transported back to the Shoegazers, the Cocteaus, Mazzy Star. It is so nice to hear Glyn's voice again after all these years. The harmonies are lovely in the later verses. And that infinite guitar sound is fantastic - I never did find that sound on my pedalboard! The drums build nicely, but they could have been louder and more forceful to drive the song to a climax. A good atmospheric effort. MIKE G