This week’s song is ‘Cruel November’ and is the first in an occasional series called ‘what I did in the 80s’. I recorded this track in collaboration with Paul Piacentini around about 1988 or 1989. A gifted musician and songwriter in his own right, Paul was very much the production brains behind this piece. As I recall, it was pretty much assembled by him on his own, with me providing the top melody line and throwing in one or two production and arrangement ideas.
Paul and I spent several years not only playing in a band, but working on various songs, including one or two that were written for other performers. Working with him taught me a lot about production and arrangements. Although we often had very different ideas about how songs should be structured and presented, the creative tension sometimes worked to our advantage and we often found an interesting accommodation between our respective musical desires.
Lyrically, the idea of using the seasons to evoke a political dark age is not blindingly original, but it’s only pop music, already. The notion of this sinister ‘lawman’ and ‘his sloganeering gang’ is one that I have explored, for better or worse, on a number of occasions.