‘Ghosts’ is a collection of a selection of the work of Casimir Greenfield, chosen from Cas’s personal archives. The music here has been gathered from acetates, demos, unreleased tracks and experiments.
The quality of the recordings ranges from ultra lo-fi home demos to the slightly higher-fi of studio acetates and tapes.
The earliest recoding dates from 1969, the most recent is from 2015.
A prolific songwriter, Cas has never been afraid to experiment and the latest recordings are sound-scapes utilising acoustic instruments including cello, piano, violin and voice.
About the songs:
‘Time’ began life sitting on a wall in Sitges, Spain, overlooking the Mediterranean sea in 1971. I clearly remember scribbling down words on a scrap of paper. I drank Sangria for the first time that evening. I was on my honeymoon.
The lyrics became the basis for the song ‘Archaeology’ found as an acoustic demo recording later in the album. It was in 1979 that I re-discovered that scrap of paper and turned them into the epic track that opens this retrospective set of hitherto unheard recordings.
I was working in a German studio with multi-instrumentalist Charly Schade on a children’s musical. Whilst there we began writing together and it was Charly who co-wrote ‘Time’. It has remained in the vaults until now.
‘Coming Up Strong’ was a mainstay of my early live sets in the late sixties – a great tune to pay and sing – the ‘bomp bomp’ riff proving very popular. It became my first single, selling about three copies, so here it is in a slightly re-worked form. It was recorded in the Dutch World Service studios in Hilversum at around six in the morning on a Sunday. The drummer failed to turn up hence the acoustic version you hear here.
‘Nuclear Love’ emerged from my disco days. Europe was feeling the heat from the nuclear threat in the mid Seventies and this song was a culmination of the perceived fear and the desire to dance. We survived a little longer…
‘Mister Moonlite’ was a great stomper I wrote to cut through the barroom babble any live performer faced away from the formal theatre or concert set-up. Sometimes you just needed a good old primal thump with minimal lyrics to get those feet tapping and win the audience over. ‘Mister Moonlite’ worked everytime. Shine on!
‘Touch & Go’ just arrived. I love the blues and my formative years were spent listening to old 78’s blaring out the sounds of The Delta, and that’s where the influences for the song came from. I still like the Walter Mitty reference – sums up much of my life.
‘Lolly Pop’ started with a riff. I had seen a film about an alien arriving on earth, dropped into the East End of London. Just an average joe, he saw the mundane day-to-day existence of the Eastenders as a thing of wonder and mystery. Hence my ‘back to the planet’ references and the idea that the singer is arriving on the planet from the future. I wrote the song in 1979. It’s just a bit of fun! (This is a remix taken from a studio acetate)
‘Belladonna’ came from my early lyrical folk beginnings. Boy with guitar and Joni’s first album living in the wilds of the English West Country. It is a pretty little song that became my second single. This is from the studio acetate, so pops and crackles are included. There is a lovely cello arrangement and the bass that moves from left to right is an homage to Strawberry Fields. We were all caught up in the Walrus wailings of the time (I got to see ELO in their early days so I wasn’t the only one) and those nuances were all over the track. Bucolic and full of naivety. I love it!
‘Gotta Put Some Love In My Life’ was a song I wrote for someone else but ended up featuring on an album I recorded in 1977. Full band and killer guitar solo.
‘Cube Dance’ was built around a click track. I added the lyrics and we took it from there. Another collaboration with Charly. 1979.
‘Bang Bang Bang Bang’ was written and recorded in 2013 and this is a studio session we just discovered. The song was played twice (this is the second version) and then forgotten. Rufus Fry plays the blues harp, Shane Boothby bass, Mark Goudswaard guitar and Callum Partridge is on drums. The guys were all under twenty years old, I was sixty-three – music is a great leveller. We went on to play at WOMAD together, but this song gets its first outing here.
‘I’m In Love Again’. A bit of fun, written for someone else, recorded while I had flu, a solid bit of songwriting that sits nicely in its time and place which was 1978. Yes, those are castanets you hear. Oooh La La!
‘Archaeology’. As I wrote earlier, this song forms the basis of ‘Time’ but is a song in its own right. A pretty little number, and typical of my early live sets. This is a demo recorded in Amsterdam at the home studio of a dear friend, Joop Panhuise, who knew everyone. A mad genius, his ideas were far reaching and often mis-understood at the time. He took the ‘tiny house’ lifestyle to extremes in his compact Amsterdam flat and would transform it into a cinema, a recording studio, a disco, a restaurant in the blink of an eye. This song and many others were recorded there.
‘Swan Song’ is another Amsterdam recording constructed with Joop’s help. We’re talking 1971 here and the lyrics have a mystical, obscuring quality that reflect my tastes at the time – Lear, Lennon, Peake. What does it mean? What indeed does it mean?
‘Ryeford Pitch’. There is a skilful song on ‘Boy In The Attic’ (Secret Lovers) that covers the same ground as Ryeford Pitch. Guy finds girl, girl goes off with someone else, guy gets girl back and as it turns out, lives happily ever after. A bit of a Ballad Of… kind of song, but fun and rocky. This was recorded in 1971, this is the only take and has remained unheard until now.
‘Tangled Up In Love’ was a groovy little number from 1979 that opens with Syn Drums (Or The Drums of Sin as many think of them…). Not a timeless song musically – a little bit Tin Pan Alley, but it has a certain charm. I turned this into a Radio Caroline jingle for a daily programme called ‘Espresso’, so if you are a fan of pirate radio, this may be more familiar to you than most.
‘Notes On The School Gate’ is another of those young love songs. A true story to boot. I was very short sighted as a boy and vain too, so rather than my prospective girl friends knowing I wore specs, I’d take a sidekick along with me to watch out a certain girl – he vamoosed when she appeared. If she failed to turn up, I’d leave a not on the gate. They sometimes re-appeared in my English lessons… Have a listen. Same line up as ‘Bang Bang’ but without Rufus. One take, never heard.
‘Home Thoughts’. Here is a piano and synth riff from an unfinished track from 1977, treated and mixed with a fiddle hoedown from 2013. An evocative soundscape that spans the years.
‘Ghosts’ takes a cello quartet from 2015 and is blended with the percussion and bass riff from a one-chord jam session from 2013. Once again a shifting, expansive sonic journey that evokes, for me, the memory of those who have passed. I feel that in the times of the double vinyl album, this would have made a fitting close. It is placed so that it woks as a finale to this collection of archive tunes.
Everything included on this first set of archive recordings has been chosen for a reason. Any artist who has lived a long life will have a collection of disparate ideas and works that will be linked in some way, albeit not immediately apparent.
I do hope you enjoy my selection. I welcome any comments. You can contact me through my website at www.casimirgreenfield.com