Search This Blog

Monday, October 4, 2010

200. "Cold July Rain" by James Dignan

Requested by Chris Franz.

If you don't know New Zealand resident James Dignan for his music, visual art or writing (much of which you may peruse here), you may recognize him as the guy who requested "If You Have Ghosts" a few days ago. James did not request his own song, although he did graciously provide an mp3. I've never met James in person but I've known him as an internet personage for something like 15 years and at various times we've appeared on limited run compilations together.

One of them was Tinfoil Thoths: Songs from the Globe of Fegs, available in its entirety here, which I assembled quite some time ago. James at the time didn't have access to digitizing technology, so he sent me an actual cassette tape of a number of his songs. There was one in particular, "She Doesn't Have to Say What's on Her Mind", which was an acoustic reading of what sounded so much like an early Gene Clark number that I immediately wanted to produce a band version of it with me cast, rather vaingloriously, as Roger McGuinn. I've never gotten around to it, but the arrangement of this song owes a bit to the early Byrds itself... it's somewhere between "Lady Friend" and "She Don't Care About Time", although I sort of switched the guitar roles around, putting the 13-string on strictly rhythm duty and playing the lead with the sort of super-literally retro-postpunk guitar sound that I generally try to avoid like the plague these days because I kind of did it to death in the '90s, before it got cool again. It was nice to go back to it and discover that I can not only still do it (I honestly wasn't too worried about that) but that I've also gained enough instrumental facility that my quick and dirty lead lines tonight sound a lot better than the ones I labored over in actual studio sessions back in 1994 or whenever. Just wish as many people were hearing me now as did then... I'm really quite a good deal better across the boards.

Oh, hey, it's my 200th song! Doesn't seem like much of a landmark coming so quickly on the heels of the midpoint of the project. It does, though, make me wonder just how long ago I passed the point of having finished more recordings for 39-40 than for any other previous project. No clue, honestly.

Personnel: Rex


  1. i don't know if it's the song, the air today, or the guitar work; but i've got chills. i keep going back and forth between each version. it occurs to me that it's winter in new zealand in july.

  2. I know, isn't that great? I can't decide whether or not the lyric is cooler if you know it's an antipodal song, or if you don't. It's like the flip-side of "Super Sunny Christmas" by Redd Kross.