Friday, July 10, 2009

Previously unreleased Rod Stewart track with John Paul Jones, David Gilmour to emerge

A song recorded in the summer of 1992 by Rod Stewart, David Gilmour and John Paul Jones will finally be released this September after more than 17 years of collecting dust.

The track is called "In a Broken Dream," and it's a remake of the song Stewart first recorded in 1969 as a special guest vocalist for a band called Python Lee Jackson, which had crossed over from Australia to England.

The story goes that in April 1969, Python Lee Jackson's regular singer, David Bentley, told his bandmates somebody else's voice would suit the song better. Somehow, they reached Stewart, who was then singing regularly for Jeff Beck, and he sat in on this and two other songs during the London sessions that month.

Despite the song's special guest star, multiple releases of "In a Broken Dream" eluded the charts for three years. In 1972, it finally became recognized and entered the charts internationally.

As we fast-forward well beyond Rod Stewart's years fronting the Faces and into his third decade of solo stardom, we emerge at the aforementioned year 1992.

He'd just experienced a comeback of sorts with a series of successful singles in 1989 and 1990, namely "This Old Heart of Mine" with Ronald Isley, "Downtown Train," "Rhythm of My Heart," and "The Motown Song" with the Temptations. Stewart was entering into a period of collaborations with other vocalists and musicians.

Having famously reunited with Jeff Beck in the studio to sing "People Get Ready" on the guitarist's 1984 album Flash, Stewart was now making a habit of recording with all sorts of people: Tina Turner, the band Glass Tiger, and pretty soon it would be Sting and Bryan Adams for the Robin Hood soundtrack. Even Stewart's own Unplugged ... and Seated album and TV appearance would feature Ron Wood as a special guest on guitar, a reunion with his Faces bandmate.

In the middle of all that collaborative work is when Stewart got together in the studio with John Paul Jones and David Gilmour over the summer of 1992, in what appears to be a previously unreported recording session!

The Pink Floyd guitarist had worked with Jones longer than a decade and a half earlier. They'd met up when recording a 17-minute song featured on Roy Harper's rock album HQ, which Jones and Gilmour were happy to play out live on one occasion. (Sincee we've been talking about supergroups involving Jones, allow me to mention that their drummer was Bill Bruford!)

Jones had also worked with Stewart long before that. Toward the end of his days as an in-demand session musician, Jones sat in with the Jeff Beck Group on the recording sessions for Truth. Consequently, Jones plays organ on that album's version of "You Shook Me," only a few months before he did the same -- plus bass and electric piano -- for Led Zeppelin's debut album.

Jones had also played as a hired session musician on two blues covers Stewart recorded in 1964, before the singer was anybody. These versions of "Good Morning Little Schoolgirl" and "I'm Gonna Move to the Outskirts of Town" were originally released as Stewart's first single, in October 1964, and are now available as some of the earliest tracks on his double-disc set 1964-1969.

Again, this brings us to the 1992 meeting of all three musicians, including Gilmour, who was leading Pink Floyd sans Roger Waters. Stewart had just about given up on creating new songs and decided to record some covers. This superstar edition of "In a Broken Dream" has Stewart on vocals, Jones on a steady yet intense organ, Pete Thomas on drums, (Nick Lowe on bass?), and Gilmour on an electric guitar lead that could have been on any Floyd album from Wish You Were Here or after. This was one of six songs Stewart recorded in the summer of 1992 but chose to put on the backburner.

All six of these will be included on the final disc of the 4-CD box set The Rod Stewart Sessions 1971-1998, offered by Warner and Rhino. The set is scheduled for a Sept. 22 release, but preorders are being taken.

Update: Click here to listen to this very Pink Floyd-sounding track now from Spinner!

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