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Alan, Colin And Elton: What Recording 'Live' With Two Singer-Songwriters is Like

Written by Chief Editor.

Before Elton played Aberdeen last month, he was treated to music performed by some local artists.
 
Among those chosen to entertain Elton and 450 VIP guests was Colin Clyne. Coincidentally, his friend, Alan Sanderson, contributed to one of the Rocket Man's discs, Songs From The West Coast. Colin and Alan recently spoke with Eltonjohnworld.com, and the joint interview appears below. . . .
 
EJW: Colin: Were you able to see Elton afterwards?
 
CC: Unfortunately, I couldn't stay as I had another gig in the evening that was previously booked. I did see him play a few years ago in Southern California when I was living there.
 
EJW: How would you describe your sound?
 
CC: My music is Americana/folk/country type stuff.
 
I'm certainly a fan of Elton's, and according to my producer and friend, Alan Sanderson, my Dunnottar Skies is 'pure Elton.'
 
EJW: Alan, could you discuss what the SFTWC sessions were like? Also, how has teaming up with Colin reminded you of working with Elton?
 
AS: From of 1992- 2002 I worked at Ocean Way/Cello studios in Hollywood as the chief engineer.
 
All of the top acts in the world recorded at these studios and I was lucky enough to work in the main studio 1, where Elton recorded Songs From The West Coast. I worked on this for seven weeks and spent a lot of time with him and Bernie Taupin, recording and mixing. The producer was Pat Leonard.
 
I worked on seven tunes, including the song This Train Don't Stop There Anymore, which was recorded live with the entire band in the room (we recorded the single, Dunnottar Skies, in this same fashion; in fact most of Colin's album, The Never Ending Pageant, was recorded very similarly, which is why it reminded me of this EJ album). We also recorded Colin's album to tape, which is what made SFTWC so special, it had that sound. It was mixed on a Neve mixing console as well, a big part of the sound.
 
Most of the songs were written in the studio: Usually Bernie would bring in the lyrics around 10 a.m., Elton would write the song on the Disklavier, we would record and then edit it, Elton would lay down a scratch vocal. The drummer (Matt Chamberlain) would then lay down drums, sometimes with him, sometimes without. The bass and guitar would be overdubbed as well, with Paul Bushnell on bass and Rusty Anderson on guitar (Paul McCartney's guitarist now). We'd record two songs a day, some of the takes were incredible studio moments, taking only 1 or 2 takes (again, much like Colin's case ). Both were very memorable sessions.
 
Having my own studio down here in San Diego, I try to record a lot of the artists in a similar fashion to the EJ and Clyne albums, set up a seasoned band in the room with a great singer- songwriter and capture the moment.
 
I'm doing the same thing now with Jack Tempchin and his band from L.A.
 
Colin's album is a great batch of songs, as was SFTWC. It's all about the song and having great folks to capture it on either side of the glass.