Tribute recordings of Kevin Gilbert, Level 42, Mike + The Mechanics. (Released August 2013)
The three songs on this mini-album were originally intended for tribute albums that, unfortunately, never saw the light of day. They were recorded at various times between the late 1990's and early 2000's (between Simon Apple's "From The Toybox" and "River To The Sea" albums). These are the last recordings with former Apple ('Toybox') singer, John Feldmann.
These three recordings were "collecting dust" for over 10 years. So, figuring it was finally time for these songs to see the light of day, Simon Apple's Jeff Miller, remastered "A Long Day's Life", and "Take A Look" in early 2013, as well as totally re-mixing/mastering "Par Avion" in August 2013 for this release.
The Mike + The Mechanics tribute was initially in tribute to the passing of Mechanic's singer, Paul Young. While the band are "moderate" Mechanics fans, Apple members Jeff, John, and Buzz Saylor, are huge, life-long Genesis fans. Of course, "Mike", is Mike Rutherford of Genesis. "Par Avion" is one of Jeff's favorite Mechanics songs, and this arrangement of his is somewhat stripped down...taking away the instantly recognizable "Genesis drum machine sound" used in the original recording, and making it slightly more "acoustic". The bass pedals in the final chorus are not on the Mechanics recording, but, are instead, a 'tip of the hat' to Rutherford's use of bass pedals on many Genesis classics.
Kevin Gilbert was a tremendously gifted songwriter/musician, who unfortunately passed at age 29, in 1996. Musical genius is a term over-used at times describing artists who aren't truly worthy of that title. However, few, if any, musician and songwriting peers question Kevin's genius. "A Long Day's Life" was John's suggestion to record for the tribute album that was in the works. This arrangement from Jeff & John keeps somewhat true to Kevin's original recording, but does take a few liberties with some different arrangement/production ideas. Like Simon Apple, Gilbert was also hugely influenced by Genesis. (He recorded a wonderful cover of Genesis' "Back In NYC", and also performed a one-off concert of the Genesis double album, The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway). As mutual Genesis fans, there is a bit of a nod to Phil Collins' drumming, and Tony Banks' keyboards during the outro....hopefully Kevin is smiling at the homage.
The four Apple members, at this time, (including bassist, Stefon Pizzuto), were also fans of Level 42. "Take A Look" was intended for a Level 42 tribute album originating in France. (Level 42 is much more popular in Europe than in the USA). Once again, it was John, who came up with the suggestion to record this song. Much like the Gilbert tribute, it stays somewhat true to the original recording, but does add some different arrangement & production ideas.
A Long Day's Life - John Feldmann (vocals, acoustic guitars), Jeff Miller (keyboards, electric guitars), Stefon Pizzuto (bass), Buzz Saylor (drums). Produced and arranged by Jeff Miller & John Feldmann. Engineered & Mixed by Eric Beebe at The Farm. Mastered by Jeff Miller.
Take A Look - John Feldmann (vocals), Jeff Miller (keyboards, guitars), Stefon Pizzuto (bass), Buzz Saylor (drums). Produced and arranged by Jeff Miller. Additional vocal arrangements by John Feldmann. Engineered & Mixed by Dave Robidoux at NFL Studios, and Dave's home studio. Mastered by Jeff Miller.
Par Avion - John Feldmann (vocals), Jeff Miller (keyboards, guitars), Buzz Saylor (cymbal swells). Produced, arranged, mixed, mastered by Jeff Miller. Thanks to Dan Merrill for lending his ears for mastering suggestions/feedback.
(If you are unaware of the audio quality differences of MP3, FLAC, CD's, DVD's: Read Jeff's Blog on 'Inferior MP3 Audio').