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I was messing around with a new instrument when my son asked if he could play bass with me. Twenty minutes later -- blam – we have the framework for Sweet. The boy earns a writing credit, I guess. Maybe an extra $2 in his allowance for the week. Nah, that would set a bad precedent.

Later, in the state of euphoria I always experience while doing the dishes, the melody hit me. It was fairly white-bread until Natalie did her magic. We argued over one lyric - I wanted "I'm free, a free sister" instead of "I’m free, free, baby." I respect Nat's decision, but focus groups continue to generate mixed data on this topic.

Also, I had to do a google to make sure that “honeysuckle grows on the vine.” Thankfully yes, it does. But had it not, I wouldn’t have rewritten it. It’s more important for lyrics to flow than to be actual-factual, don’t you think? Take for instance the Doobie Bro’s claim that “catfish are jumpin” in Black Water. It fits the song, makes you feel like you’re in the South, I get it. But please – catfish are total bottom feeders. There are claims out there on the interwebs of jumping catfish, but these were clearly fabricated by Doobie minions to deflect criticism from this preposterous lyric. But we digress…

The ambient sounds at the beginning and end came from traffic at the corner of Peachtree and Piedmont, and a quick walk-through at the Buckhead Diner. This is a grab for the street-cred we so desperately crave.

The sax solo is the work of Mr. Marcus Henderson (Marshall Tucker). I believe what you hear was the first take -- there were only two. We were sitting in a circle around the mike, and he blows this unbelievable solo. Testify, brother! My dentures nearly fell out. So I go, “Hand me that thing, let me show you what I would do there.” He actually started to fork over his horn.

We wanted to get some Atlanta Symphony players to do the string figure at the end of the bridge. And I had all these cool string parts in my head to do over the solo. Just what we need – more parts (Sweet has 38 tracks). But time and budget being what they were, we did the strings with Proteus. It’s probably for the best – if I was able to run around saying “Oh yes, Chumley, I scored that piece for an ASO quartet,” I would soon become an insufferable snot. Sometimes I like to grab a little wand and pretend I’m conducting that section. But the room always starts spinning and I lose all sensation in my limbs… it never ends well.

Sean O’Rourke (Sugarland, Mother’s Finest, Aquarium Rescue Unit…), as always did a stellar job on the drum tracks. We were talking about the arrangement, and he recommended that I add the chunky LesPaul / Marshall guitar part in the bridge. This was an historic first - a drummer asking a guitar player to make more noise. But I generally try to do as I’m told. “Shakin’ the bush, boss.”



hey baby...

well it's sweet, like honey
just like honeysuckle grows on the vine
and I'm free, free baby
ain't got nothin left of you on my mind

woke up this morning and I wanted to say
look here baby, it's a beautiful day

for so long, I've waited
like a flower awaits the day
and I love, so freely
noone can ever take that away

woke up this morning and I wanted to say
look here baby, it's a beautiful day

not afraid of growin old
it's a part of the play
but if the truth is bein told
I was running away

runnin from a place
that I don't understand
I ain't runnin no more
'cause I'm taking a stand

took a hard cold sober look
and saw into the light
when the moon looked back at me
at the end of the night

it's another day, just another day

it's a beautiful day...

well it's sweet, like honey
just like honeysuckle grows on the vine
well I'm free, free baby
ain't got nothin left of you on my mind


from Betcha Didn't Know, track released July 1, 2009

Vocals: Natalie Kendrick
Lyrics: Natalie Kendrick and Mike McLeod
Guitars, Keys: Mike McLeod
Bass: Mike and Graeme McLeod
Sax: Marcus Henderson
Drums: Sean O’Rourke
Mixing: Mike McLeod



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