Friday, July 12, 2013

Sing Me Back Home

Early 1977 plans were well underway for a live Rolling Stones record, with most of the tracks being taken from the 1976 Paris concerts. Both the British and American music scene were evolving fast, with an emphasis on a harsher back to the roots music. Mick Jagger always had a feel for contemporary music and suggested that the Rolling Stones return to their roots and record some songs in a club, just like in the old Windsor and Richmond days.

After some research the El Mocambo club (capacity 500) in Toronto was booked, the intention being to record five gigs and place some of the tracks on the forthcoming live album. Plans were disrupted when Canadian police visited Keith Richards' hotel suite, and arrested him with a charge of intent to drug trafficking. All events were temporarily put aside for the band's two (March 4-5, 1977) remaining sets at the El Mocambo club, which both were inspired and electrifying.

On March 12, 1977, Keith Richards, while technically detained in Canada on bail pending a decision on the charges following the drugs bust, went into Toronto's Sounds Interchange Recording Studios, to record some tracks Gram Parsons taught him. Keith: "It was quite likely that jail time was on the cards. It was Stu who suggested that I should use the waiting time to put down some tracks of my own - put something down to remember the man by.

He hired a studio, a beautiful piano and a microphone. We just did all the country songs, nothing different from what I do any other night, but there was a certain poignancy about it because at that moment things looked a bit grim. I played the George Jones, Hoagy Carmichael, Fats Domino things I'd played with Gram. Merle Haggard's 'Sing Me Back Home' is pretty poignant anyway. The warden is taking the prisoner down the hall to his execution".

Adapted from the following sources:
Martin Elliott, The Rolling Stones Complete Recording Sessions 1962-2002, Cherry Red Books, 2002.
Keith Richards, Life, Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 2010.

1 comment:

  1. March 12-13, 1977: Sounds Interchange Recording Studios, Toronto, Canada.
    Keith Richards: Apartment No. 9 (Austin-Paycheck) (5:08)
    Keith Richards: Say It's Not You (Frazier) (3:46)
    Keith Richards: Sing Me Back Home (Haggard) (4:40)
    Keith Richards: She Still Comes Around (Sutton) (2:56)
    Keith Richards: Worried Life Blues (Estes-Merriweather) (2:22)

    770312A 12-13th March: KEITH RICHARDS. Toronto, Canada, Sounds Interchange Recording Studios. Producer: Keith Richards. Incl.
    - Apartment No. 9 (Austin-Paycheck)
    - Say It’s Not You (Frazier)
    - Sing Me Back Home (Haggard)
    - She Still Comes Around (Sutton)
    - Worried Life Blues (Estes-Merriweather).
    Musicians: Keith Richards (voc, gtr, bvoc, p)/Ian Stewart (p).
    Note: Recordings were made on March 12, some mixing and overdubs had been done by Keith Richards the day after.