A few weeks back our ‘grizzled bass warrior’, that’s Chris Ralfs to you, asked whether he might bring an old pal along to The Shed for a bit of a jam. Well, to quote Keb Mo, “the door is always open”, so in came Chris with his long time buddy Brett Ralph.
Brett, an Eden local, strode in, plugged in his acoustic guitar, and launched into a couple of his original songs. We played along as best we could, and very smartly realised that Brett is a superb songwriter, an excellent acoustic player, and a fine vocalist. Score !
The songs kept coming, and Brett quietly let us know “yea, I have about eighty originals up my sleeve”. Well, we thought, if they are anything near as good as the couple of tunes you just rolled out we have a veritable gold mine of new songs to play with here. Much excitement and anticipation !
Chris had brought Brett along for a specific purpose. They have been mates, and played music together, for many years – decades in fact. Chris was well aware of the high standard of song writing and performance that Brett delivers, and has set a goal of recording a high quality cd of Brett’s songs, using the resources of The Shed along the way.
OK we thought, here is a brilliant opportunity to keep The Shed busy, not to mention challenged, for months.
Game on !
Brett has been back to The Shed three or four times since. During those visits, Brett, Chris, Neil, Raymond, Ken and Pete have accompanied Brett as he has run through a batch of songs, sussing out which might might work best on the cd.
Of course we had the recorder rolling................always a smart move, you never know what is going to happen. Gems appear.
Sure enough, when we played back the results of day one, we were very pleasantly surprised. Not only had we captured a few songs from start to finish, they actually sounded pretty darn smart.
On further listening, it really sunk in just how good Brett’s songs are. They are short, punchy, and they get well and truly stuck in your head. So, are they pop songs ?
They tell real stories about real people and events on the far South Coast of New South Wales. So are they folk songs?
Pop Folk ?? You figure.
Anyway, we started to think we should introduce Brett to our millions of PBGB Blog fans.
We figured that the recording of the ‘formal / hi tech / carefully crafted cd’ was one thing, a long term vision. But in the meantime, why not post some some out-takes / bootleg versions of Brett’s songs on the PBGB Blog ? We reckoned that some of the quick ‘demos’ we were recording sounded very damn smart, and it would be a pity to waste them.
So what we figure is that we'll post, over time, a smattering of Brett’s songs, picked up off the cutting room floor, and pasted together for the PBGB Blog.
To that end, we have created a Brett Ralph Project page, which you can have a trawl through by clicking on that title / icon on the right of your screen.
The first song we offer up is titled "Love and Laughter".
Love and Laughter is a happy love song. It was the first song of Brett’s we ever played. It’s a cracker.
This version features Brett on Vocals and Acoustic Guitar, Neil on Guitar and B3 Organ, Chris on Bass, Raymond on Organ pad, and Pete on Drums. The production comes courtesy of a collaboration between Chris and Neil.
Brett – a very warm welcome to The Shed !!! Your visits have put a real spark into our regular Seshes. We believe in your music and your playing and singing abilities, and we are keen to work with you on all sorts of projects.
And folks, watch this space for more postings of Brett’s songs – released here in typical Shed Jam / Bootleg / Out Take / Demo format as Brett works on his cd.
Thanks for introducing Brett to us Chris – a big win all around !