Phil Turner's Studio
- Dave Draper
- Vocals, Guitars
- Phil Turner
- Keyboards, Roland Synthesizer
At Ruskin House Folk and Blues Club in 1997, for the second time after about twenty years, I met Bill Perry, an old friend of my brother Bob.
In 2000, Bill started running a little recording studio in Waddon and had apparently bought some sound equipment from a guy called Phil Turner, a schoolteacher living in Raynes Park with his wife and kids. Phil composed and recorded songs on his Roland synthesizer setup at home. He used singers contacted through various channels, sending demos of the recordings to Record Companies in hopes of a deal.
Bill Perry put me in touch with Phil Turner who asked me to send him a sample of my vocals. I sent him a cassette with Bernie Lingard’s I’ll Bring You Love, Rod Harrison’s One of Your Fools and the Cargo version of Black Magic Woman.
Phil replied asking me to come over to Raynes Park and sing some of his songs.
Initially, I was paid a standard fee each time I sang one of Phil’s songs, which were recorded to his Roland synthesizer accompaniment.
After a few of these, we came to an alternative collaboration arrangement whereby I would sing his songs and in return he would provide synthesizer backup and arrangement input on recordings of my songs, on which I would sing and play guitar. These would be produced in his backroom studio in Raynes Park. Phil has a very laid back, leisurely approach to playing and always uses a programmable drum machine on his recordings.
I have cassettes of Phil’s romantic songs featuring my vocals, which are not included here.
Of the three songs of mine presently included, World on a String is the only romantic one, a sort of soulful love song in melodic pop music mode.
The idea for my vocal intro and coda – On a String – On a Stri — i — ing — is Phil Turner’s contribution and gives it quite a magical lift in my opinion.
The vocal finale — No More Lying — No more Lies — on Living in Vain is also Phil’s input. He’s quite a commercial ideas-man when it comes to arranging original songs.
In Civilization, all the lyrics and arrangements are mine, such as the urgently insistent guitar riff that I played, running intermittently through the song from about halfway in.
I rather like the empathetic surges and climactic buildups in Phil’s synth backing on this.
Though these recordings leave something to be desired technically, they capture the mood and message of the songs and are a handy reference to part of my song writing history.
The lyrics near the start of the song — they kill you with guns now — instead of with teeth — have since been replaced by — they kill you with guns now — instead of with claws and with teeth — after it was pointed out to me that when sung it sounded more like — they kill you with guns now — instead of with tea —
Time for a cuppa, I think.