Darling Pretty  

"Well in fact I recorded a song in America, and then went back to Ireland to get the beginning, because I wanted to hear it recorded, hear the melody played that way anyway, so then there was some other music that was there and then I just chopped it off, so at the moment there's just this intro which is with the whistle and harp and accordion and the fabulous Donal Lunny on bazouki and Sean Keane on violin, and again it's the same set-up except this time it had Derek Bell from the Chieftains, and there's there's just that, plays the melody and then dives into the same tune but done rock 'n' roll band style, so it makes a kind of a link between whatever these links are supposed to be between." 


"'Imelda' is just another rock 'n' roll tune, what I call kind of a portrait job, same way as 'Money For Nothing' or 'Sultans Of Swing' or 'Rudiger', all of these tunes, they're just songs about a type. 'Imelda' is really about a type, it's always struck me as being pretty funny, just looking at the difference between Naomi Campbell in all of this gear and some other people that waddle in and out of the shops dressed from head to foot in it. So I really see it as a type, it's always been a source of some astonishment to me I suppose, that somebody could be dressed head to foot in something that adds up to more than most people earn in a year. The 'Imelda' name does a lot really in one word in terms of a type." 

  Golden Heart  

"'Golden Heart' again was recorded pretty much all together, so I was thinking about maybe taking my guitar off and playing it again properly, but I had a feeling from the session, so I just left it. That's ... it's always a very exciting thing when you can keep as much from the original session as possible on the record, and that's really what happened- And it's just a love song." 

  No Can Do  

"'No Can Do' is a little bit like 'What's the worst job you ever had?' and in fact this, in fact the warehouse, was not the worst job I ever had, but came close to it. That started off more as a straight rap style of a thing, and it just, the more I played it back the less I liked it, and wanted to change it around into something else, so with the help of Guy and Chuck we chopped it up and made it into something else, and I just thought, I felt as though I hadn't done justice to it musically so I wanted to just put more into it, I'd written it too quickly, and originally it went into a kind of country blues thing that again I just got rid of. Might want to do that on stage though, just extend it into this other thing. But it's really about a time when I was frustrated and wanting to be a musician and not being able to, it was that period where there were a lot of people like me, in the warehouse as well there were musicians, as well as a lot of other unfortunate people, and it's just really about that period, I suppose, and people have often written tunes about jobs that they did and really, that's I suppose a rather bad attempt at doing the same thing, only it's not as good as 'Big Boss Man." 

  Vic And Ray  

"'Vic And Ray' is another portrait job of some paparazzi, but the lower end of the paparazzi spectrum, there is like a pecking order of paparazzi apparently, and I was just a little bit astonished that, always been mildly appalled that you could spend your entire life waiting around and stuff. And you think well, maybe they've got a mother in hospital that they've got to pay for or something, it's a relevant thing, everybody's got to earn a living. I suppose it's just, I feel so lucky and fortunate to be doing what I do, and I suppose I feel sorry for them, that's really honestly what it is, although I have respect for anybody that does a job well. But it's the idea of a life, it seems if you've only got one life then you might try doing something creative or lasting with it, you know." 

  Don't You Get It  

"Oh, 'Don't You Get It' is really, it's not about, even though it says 'Don't you get it, I don't want to buy your car,' it's not about a car. It's just the idea about buying an idea, it's the idea of not wanting to go your way but wanting to go my way, and it just applies to so many things, you know. If the record company wants you to do something or other and you say 'No, I don't want to do that, I want to do it this way.' And really, you could apply it to anything that you want, I think it's important to be able to please yourself because I think if you can't please yourself then you can't please anybody." 

  A Night In Summer Long Ago  

"'A Night In Summer Long Ago,' I suppose that answers some genetic chip in me, I've always felt an affinity with old Celtic music and I suppose it was the first music that I heard in Newcastle, and borders music in Glasgow' when I was very small, and when I was pretty small in Newcastle, it's just always been part of my background, so when I've had to do things like 'Local Hero' or 'Cal,' I've never had a problem getting into that melodic area and making music that way. I just feel it's an attractive way to play, or an interesting way to play, if you like, a love song, the idea that it's, if it's setting the scene that's way, way, way in the past, that it can still be relevant to situations now. You know, a man has still got to put himself in front of a girl, boy puts himself in front of a girl and says 'Can I have this dance?'. And the other thing about it is that the character in the song is still puzzled at the end at why this beautiful girl should want to have anything to do with him. So that feeling of being fortunate is still relevant. I was talking to a guy the other day and he said he feels very lucky to be with his girl every day and I said 'Well, you're a lucky guy,' that's exactly what the song's about. I remember a keyboard player in Pat Metheny's band, we were in the studio, a jazz musician, he was in one studio and we were in the other, this was about ten years ago and he said 'Man, how do you get that stuff to sound that way, 'Local Hero', that stuff sounds like it's a thousand years old." 


"Well, 'Cannibals' really comes from a combination of things, it's a touch of tongue-in-cheek with the 'Jungle Rock' influence from listening to so many old rockabilly records, being in love with Chuck Berry and hearing shades of 'Promised Land,' which is one of my favourite ever songs, and I've always loved that area, you know, same as 'You Never Can Tell,' Chuck Berry was about the first person I ever saw live on a stage, I was about 15, Newcastle City Hall, and I was just in some kind of heaven - so there's an influence there, it was before I'd really heard or studied cajun music really, but there's an influence there, and it's also bits of being a dad, and the sort of things that being a parent, and the sort of things that children say to you. And also my own dad said to me once when I woke up in the middle of the night, I must have said I was worried about cannibals and he said, 'Well, once upon a time there were cannibals, now there are no cannibals any more, go back to sleep.' So it's just a combination of all kinds of junk. Well, again, with 'Walk Of Life' it's the same thing, you hear a kind of cajun influenced thing happening except it wasn't played on the accordion, it was more a farfisa thing, "Walk Of Life,' but in fact 'Walk Of Life' was recorded by a cajun artist afterwards, Charles Mann had something of a cajun hit with it, I understand. It's just an influence that's there, it's just my idea of bliss is going home and playing the Balfour Brothers or, you know, hearing 'Promised Land', I mean to me that's just, you know 'Promised Land' would be the kind of song that if you were asked the question, 'Is there a song you wish you'd written well that would be mine, you know - or, but on the other side, away from R&B, it would be something like 'Raglan Road', which a traditional melody, not ascribed to anybody, words by Pete Kavanagh, so there's a combination going on with me and my idea of bliss is somewhere, I've said this before somewhere I think, but it's really somewhere where the Delta meets the Tyne - often when I'm working with a group, with a band I'll say 'No thirds,' which is the 'me' in the 'do-me-so-do' take the third out and you have something Celtic, there's a drone, but with the blues that moving third place, there's something about the meeting of black and white music that I just adore. Which I suppose has led to the joy that I get out of a lot of roots music, it's to do with being brought up with folk music and then getting involved in the blues, and going back, '20s, '30s, '40s, '50 and so on and so forth, so there's a mixture, there's just a glorious stew, for me." 

  I'm The Fool  

"'I'm The Fool' I like the sound of, I'm pleased that it came out the way it did, I have to thank Chuck I suppose for that, and Richard, we got good sound going with the acoustics and then took what I call the Jurassic Stratocaster, this Jurassic Strat that Paul Kennerley, a dear friend of mine, who's an Englishman who writes songs, lives in Nashville and and he'd given me this Strat as a present, 1954, and I just plugged it in and played the solo on it. It just, to me I like the way it's worked in terms of the texture and the idea, and the idea is as well that, just being genuinely sorry for something that you've done, just having to face up to it, you know." 

  Je Suis Désolé  

"'Je Suis Désolé' just follows the cajun thing, again just listening to a lot of cajun music I suppose and coming out with something of your own. Because that's all we are, you know, we absorb and squeeze something and something else comes out that's yours. And quite a few of the songs on the record seem to me to have, for some reason, have taken a moving theme, and this just ties up again with cajun music I suppose, and I was down in Louisiana recording some of this stuff, and it ended up being recorded in, this particular version ended up being recorded in Nashville but with the Louisiana musicians. Sonny Landreth, who I'd got to know quite well before, I'd been playing on his record down in Louisiana anyway, and we started to try and record this, and Steve Conn on accordion, who was in Sonny's band then, and Michael Doucet, who's a wonderful fiddle player from down that way who Kennerley turned me on to, and Billy Ware on triangle because you hear the triangle on this thing, that's really a feature of cajun music, and I hope I'm not insulting people who know about the music, but that's a very important part of it, and then Michael Rhodes and Eddie Bayers, who are the bass player and drummer, were in Nashville, so those guys came up and we just put it together up there. And it was fun playing with Sonny at the end of it because, you know, we managed to share some breaks going on out, because it was a good vibe and it was rocking, and it was a good mood so we just played out." 


"'Rüdiger' is a German autograph hunter, he was there the first time that we went years ago and he's there now, as far as I know', that's just, I wrote the song about 12 years ago, maybe more, I don't know, maybe 15, and never could, never really wanted to put music to it, never could find music to it that worked and then I found it, and because it was just a good time for me, it just seemed as though it wanted to have a tune. So there you've got an ancient lyric, I never felt as though I had to change a word, so I didn't, just for some reason, probably just because I was feeling good about things and feeling productive, and out popped the tune for it, and the only difficulty in the studio with that was, the first time that the guys played it, they played it a little, 'cos they were so keen to be playing it, it was like unleashing the dogs of war, so they played it a little bit up, and it just had to be more sad, bring out the sadness a little bit, went back in and there it was just like that, that's how marvellous those players are." 

  Nobody's Got The Gun    

"Er, 'Nobody's Got The Gun' is just a song about an attitude to relationships, it's as simple as that, and it's just done in a way that I, a simple musical way that I kind of liked, it wasn't going to go on the record originally and then Chuck saved it with a magnificent mix, and Guy too, Guy did some stuff afterwards, these little marimba things and we had fun just playing about with it. I've always, you might just hear a tiny shade of Sam Cooke in there because I've always adored that music, maybe there's a little touch of his influence there and, 'Don't know much about history' feeling in the guitar playing, obviously it's not in the vocal (laughs). I've known Vince Gill for a long time, it's always lovely, I mean I first heard Vince when he was singing backing vocals for people and I realised what a skill it was, especially if you can't sing, you always feel a little in awe of people who can, I've always been a great admirer of people who can sing like birds, Dolly Parton and Vince, so yeah, Vince is singing on a couple of things, there's also 'Are We In Trouble Now' he's singing on too." 

  Done With Bonaparte  

"Oh, I was reading about, first novels and then historical novels and books about the period, I ended up once I started writing 'Done With Bonaparte' I found that I had to even research it, I'd be saying 'Could you lose an eye at Austerlitz and still go on the Russian campaign if you were a French soldier?' and so on and so forth, and asking questions of heads of history departments and things. It was quite fun to be doing that, you start feeling like a halfway real writer because you've actually got a genuine research question to ask - I was interested in it for a number of reasons, it was interesting to me that they called Napoleon 'The Little Corporal' and that's what they called Hitler too, and there are the parallels with Yugoslavia and other things going on, people being sold a dream, quite interesting to me that nothing really changes. And as you get older of course the importance of history increases, and you wish that you'd, well I certainly do, wish that I'd had more of history, and I suppose because I didn't, I went on to study English more, I'm more interested in history now then I was when I was a kid. Just reading the - this must be incredibly dull to people who don't know what the hell I'm wittering about - but reading about history has actually given me quite a lot of pleasure, and you only really have history-, the present is over as soon as it's happened and becomes history, and the future we don't know anything about." 

  Are We In Trouble Now    

"'Are We In Trouble Now' is a falling in love song, but it's country style, country in its form except that Franklin, Paul Franklin, liked the way that the middle eight went and suggested that it just go out that way, which I'm eternally grateful to him for. And it was a real treat because we've got 'Pig' Robbins on piano, who's played with George Jones for many years, it was actually my pleasure to play with George not so long ago, that was just a wonderful experience. Quite a lot of my mornings I spent listening to old George Jones tunes. But anyway I loved the attitude on that, the piano playing is just something else...it's a country song, I suppose, kind of a country song, I'm sure it won't be covered over there but that doesn't worry me. It's the only one that I feel a bit embarrassed listening to it, I can live with most of the others but this makes me a bit embarrassed because a song of that sort of form, you'd expect to have a proper singer on it, and that was a problem, it was very hard for me to sing it, but because Vince is on the backing vocals it makes me sound almost halfway, almost there, but it's Vince that's making it sound better."

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