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Say You Will
Peter Murphy, 20 May 2003
In Buckingham’s palace, he sits by the windows in a silk kimono watching the waves, paranoid eyes scoping the strand as his fingers fiddle with the strings of an old Spanish guitar. The band have gone home for the night, Fleetwood’s kit still set up in the corner, a scarf of Stevie’s draped on the mike stand, John’s baseball cap tossed on the glass-topped table. Christine’s gone for good, leaving the lion’s share of the writing to Lindsey and his old flame.
He puts down the guitar, pads over to the mixing desk and runs the reel one more time. That sound, that’s all his. He sculpted it and shaped it. On his own songs he dubbed layers of acoustic guitar runs and arpeggios and harmonies and counter melodies and shrouded it all with echo. It sounds pretty great.
The first song ‘What’s The World Coming To’ tugs a wry smile from the corner of his mouth. Classic Mac. Then there’s ‘Murrow Turning In His Grave’, which could be 16 Horsepower meets CSN&Y. Some of these tunes, he thinks they sound as good as anything the band have ever done. I mean, ‘Come’, that guitar solo, that’s easily as good as ‘The Chain’, although they’ll hardly get the credit for it. But what can you do? They never understood Tusk either. But he’s still learning, after all this time, he’s still messing with the formula, which is something.
Except for Stevie’s songs, he’s faithful to them. They’re just so her, even down to the titles, ‘Thrown Down’, ‘Say You Will’, ‘Running Through The Garden’, and the way John and Mick kick right in to that patented mid-tempo plod that’s as comforting as a heartbeat. And she’s singing so great – on ‘Everybody Finds Out’ you can just see her swishing her petticoats. And ‘Bleed To Love Her’, that’s like the feeling when autumn comes to a seaside town.
The reels shudder to an end, the loose tape flapping like a kite ribbon in the wind. He turns off the light, goes back to the window and sits looking at the sea, sipping his Evian, thinking Jesus, where did the time go?