When digital mastering first came in they used video cassette tapes. I did a recording session in the late 80’s at Emerald City Studios with Eric Vandersande. This included some of my original acoustic songs and a lot of the covers I was doing at my live shows. I was using a beautiful Ovation nylon string at the time (which I no longer have unfortunately) that served me well at over a thousand gigs.

I recorded 24 songs in the session (13 covers, 11 originals) and they were digitally mastered to a Beta cassette. It has taken me a long time to find someone who has a Beta machine with the sound plug in to get these tracks off as I only had them in audio cassette quality. I got them as wav files and then gave them to my talented son Robert (DJ Weaver) who got rid of background hums and re-mastered them.

I am putting up three of the originals today. Firstly a song called ‘Slow Down’ which was a favorite of Karen Lillee’s. She would always ask me to play it when I played at Mirrors Wine bar in Gladesville and when I worked for her when she owned Bevy’s Place at Mosman.

Slow Down – lyrics

The second song is called ‘Steal Your Heart Away’ which is a favorite of Greg and Julie Young.

Steal Your Heart Away – lyrics

The third song is called ‘Remember’.

Remember – lyrics

I wrote this song and sang a lot heavier version than this when I was with the Raiders. I recorded this version of Remember as an after thought on the session night, after dropping the key two and a half notes. I loved the way it came out.

The Covers? Sorry I moved them when I got a new audio plugin – see Playlist-Covers

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My Heart Never Wakes Up Alone

Wrote this song in 2011 and recorded it with Steve Shipley engineering. Just my old Nylon acoustic and my steel string acoustic and lots of harmonies. My sister Julie put the clip together for it to make me happy and it certainly did. Sometimes a hug is just the best thing in the world.

My Heart Never Wakes Up Alone – Lyrics

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Ian Francis Is What It Is Album Cover

I have gone through my old cd’s to find the best mixes or my favourite mixes of songs I have written and recorded (my never ending wips – (works in progress) over the years and put together an album I have called ‘Is What It Is’. Because of programs like spotify, and the tunecore website, I have been able to release this album for the world to listen to and to download if so desired.

The album includes several of the songs already on this website and a few ones I haven’t got around to putting up here yet. It is a strange mix but I hope everyone will find at least one song they like.

Is What It Is – Ian Francis – CD/ Album/MP3 Music

Ian Francis Is What It Is Album Cover

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IS WHAT IT IS

1. Andelain.
2. Breakfast blues.
3. Storyteller.
4. Bang Bang Bang.
5. Ode to no-one.
6. Comes a time.
7. Through the eyes of a child.

8. Hard lady.
9. Song keeps bugging me.
10. Lord how this night drags on.
11. In you.
12. Sell my soul.
13. Miss your love.
14. Only believe in love.
15. Cheeky boy tree.

I have included the track listings and album notes in this post as credits can’t be seen on spotify or the download sites and I didn’t do all this by myself. So thanks to everyone who helped and I hope you have a listen –

CREDITS

All songs written by Ian Francis.
Copyright Ian Francis 1972-2012
All Tracks – Ian Francis acoustic and electric guitars.
Tracks 1,2,3,4,6 – Wayne Rountree Bass, Bobby Donaldson Drums, Geoff Davies Keyboards.
Tracks 8,11,13 – Wayne Rountree Bass, Bobby Donaldson Drums.
Track 9 – Chris O’Leary vocals, Gareth Allen Bass.
Track 14 – Neil Rankin Drums.
Track 15 – Glynn Fussell backing vocals.
Tracks 1,2,3,4,6,8,10,11,12,13 Engineered by Eric Vandersande.
Tracks 5,7,9,14,15 Engineered by Steve Shipley.

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I thought I would put this song up seeing as it is ‘Mother’s day’. This is a song I wrote for my beautiful Caroline and expresses the special ‘Family Love’ that you feel when you have someone special looking out for you, and sharing your life.

It was written when our kids were younger and she was absolutely the mother hen. I remember the song going round and round in my head when driving back to Sydney from a holiday on the south coast with all the family in the car, and the back of the station wagon crammed full of bedding and clothes and Sultan, our dog, squashed in amongst it all.

It was recorded at Emerald City in Sydney with Eric Vandersande one night when I went in and put down cover songs and originals just with my old Ovation nylon string. Probably late Eighties. It was mastered to a beta video cassette and I still have the master but I can’t find anyone who has a beta mastering machine, and I’m not sure if there is still anything on it. So this version is from a cassette, probably second generation and a bit rough but I think the song and the meaning shine through.

Happy Mothers day to all.

Lyrics for All of the Love

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Sell My Soul

Being a religious time of year I thought I might put up a couple of songs on or around the subject.

The first song is called ‘Sell My Soul’ and was written many years ago.

Sell My Soul – Lyrics

When I was younger I had a lot of questions (as we all do) on religion but was very aware of my soul. I could never bring myself to say that I would sell my soul to the devil to get something, as my soul is not a commodity to be bought or sold.

So I tried to work out something the devil could not do for me and came up with this song. I have always loved the story of Jesus his kindness and the way he spoke of love. He is a sort of ‘Superman’ figure of those early years though his legacy has been much abused in the years since. I have always thought it a bit sad that Easter seems to commemorate his death more than his life.

I do have an early recording which I will put up later. This is a version I recorded with Eric Vandersande in the nineties using his beautiful Maton acoustic with a capo on the second fret. I have often thought of adding violins or cellos but I don’t think they would add anything and may muddy up the lovely ambiance of the acoustic guitar.

I Only Believe In Love

The second song ‘I only believe in Love’ was recorded with Steve Shipley about five years ago and features Neil Rankin on bongos and drums. I guess it is sort of my version of John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’ though more from the aspect of what happens when you die than how to live. If there is only darkness at the end, then all you leave behind is your essence and the love you spread when you lived.

Only Believe In Love – Lyrics

If you by-pass heaven due to having no faith and your soul is pulled into the sun, it sort of equates to the everlasting fires of hell. But if we destroy this beautiful world with constant wars and the creation of ever more powerful weapons, there will be no-one left to know that love ever existed.

I hate the fact that so many children inherit hate, mostly because of religious beliefs and unbelievably when their parents supposedly believe in the same God as the people they are taught to hate.

If there is a heaven and God loves us all and forgives us all then I will be allright. The reference to having it the wrong way around simply means that if you live your life with love then love becomes your God. Having had many door knockers tell me that ‘God Is Love’ I have stated many times that Love is God. ‘Love is the one religion, Love is the only God’.

Andelain

The third song ‘Andelain’, is a celebration of a fictional Heaven. It was again recorded with Eric and features Wayne ‘Wally’ Rountree on bass, Bobby Donaldson on drums and Geoff Davies on keyboards. The extra harmonies at the end were provided by a girl who was working for Eric in the office at the time and one of his sound engineering students who was a great guy and had a much higher voice than me.

Andelain – Lyrics

Andelain is a place in the book series ‘The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, the Unbeliever’ written by Stephen R. Donaldson. Before the dark forces take over the ‘Land’ it is a truly magical place but as the story progresses, the only place left where the Magic survives is Andelain and all the past souls of the land gather there and it becomes the heaven of the land.

Hope you enjoy the songs and they make you think a bit and have a great Easter.

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This is another song that was recorded at Vandersound Studios with Eric Vandersande in the nineties. What a clean, crisp and simple recording it is. Wayne (Wally) Rountree on bass, Bobby Donaldson with some beautiful light brush work on the drums. I used Eric’s Maton acoustic and his Fender strat for the guitar sounds.

Lyrics to Hard Lady

I had written the song a few years before we recorded it and it was a regular song I played at my solo gigs. The song is about a beautiful lady called Diane McCallum who was the twin sister of a schoolfriend Ian McCallum. We shared a house in Epping with several other people in the early seventies, just after leaving school and she was a great friend to me, an extra sister.

She moved up to the mid-north coast of NSW and lived in a lovely old house quite a few kilometres out of town. I went up to visit her several times with Caroline and the kids, I remember going up once when my son David was just born and he is 23 now so it was a while ago.

The song is dedicated to her and her husband John who ‘as far as I know’ are still living on the edge of the town and their daughter has grown up to be a very beautiful woman.

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A threnody is a piece of music that evokes emotion and touches the heart where it hurts and stays in your memory, it is often slow and usually a little sad or melancholy.

My sister Julie wrote the words for this song as a poem about watching the sunset over Sydney Harbour and how the sky slowly changes and the colours deepen and the lights of the city and the boats reflect in the water. Geoff read the poem and wrote the music for it.  We included it as a song on Threnody and it gave us a title for the album.

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This New Years Eve at the end of 2010, she took photos of Sydney Harbour, Luna Park and the Sydney Harbour Bridge while she waited for the fireworks to start and they came out well enough to create the following video to illustrate Threnody.

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Ian wrote the music, did the arrangement for and sang this beautiful song, called Thai Girl, when he was asked if he would collaborate on a song, something he rarely does.

Thai Girl Lyrics by Leo Taylor

The words were written by Leo Taylor, an Australian actor, poet and lyricist. The arrangement and recording of the song was done one afternoon, on a home studio keyboard system by Tony Lane, who laid down the tracks while we all crowded around in his spare room. I emailed Leo recently for permission to use it here and asked him to tell the story behind it…

As for Thai Girl, of course you can write it up. I’ve never considered it to be anything other than a co write and I think Ian has done a fantastic job both as arranger and vocalist I always give him a big wrap whenever I play the song. Anyway…here’s Thai Girl and the story behind it is simple. In 1982 I went through Thailand with my partner Cathy and her son Erin who was 4 years old at the time. I was amazed at the street girls who kept hassling me, even when Cathy was present, so one day I sat down in a bar and began writing some poetry about their situation. Years later when I had returned to Sydney I wrote Beautiful Thai Girl in a Manly coffee shop, the one on the corner just across from the ferry wharf… and that’s the story.

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This is a strange little song.

I have three sons that I love dearly and I would not change that for the world but I always wondered what having a daughter would be like. So this is a song for the daughter I never had, my Ode to No-One.

Lyrics to Ode to No-One

Recorded with a steel string and a nylon string guitar. As with many of my songs, it started out with the guitar progression. Three rather strange chords that fit together well because of the open strings in them. I recorded it with Steve Shipley at his studios in Sydney, a place I manage to visit once or twice a year (when I come up with some new material) to see how it comes together and if the guitar parts fit. I generally only get to visit a song once which can be detrimental to the accuracy of the playing but it certainly captures the mood required which can be lost if you get too technical.

As usual, I loved the guitar but didn’t realise how high the song would be until I started singing it. It is pretty much at the top of my range. It is not an easy song to sing and play at the same time and I have only really sung it this once all the way through.

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I have a gig tomorrow with Wally (Wayne Rowntree) and Bobby Donaldson at the Rex in Windsor so I thought I’d put up a couple of the songs we recorded in the mid nineties with Eric Vandersande up in Queensland.

I have always loved the blues and will be posting several more of my blues attempts as I add to this collection. I guess it was the Stones with ‘Little Red Rooster’ that started me off on the blues, it was the first single I ever bought.

I went on to listen to many other British blues artists, especially John Mayall and early Fleetwood Mac who had many connections with their lineups. I think my favourite all-time blues songs are the Fleetwood Mac version of ‘Need your love so bad’ and Led Zepellin’s ‘Since I been loving you’.

Comes A Time

Comes a Time’ was written in the late seventies, I guess the easiest way to explain the song is to say it is a touch of the black dog.

Comes a Time Lyrics

We all go through times when we wonder what the hell is going on and where we are supposed to fit into it. They often don’t last long but I think this song captures that feeling.

I have live versions of this song with ‘The Raiders’ and will post one when I get around to the Raider’s stuff.

Breakfast Blues

Breakfast Blues’ was a mistake. I have always loved to finger-pick blues in E on the guitar and love the way the two acoustic guitars interact on this track.

Breakfast Blues Lyrics

I was doing a lot of solo gigs in the eighties to make a quid cause the band wasn’t making any money so I would often play a blues song at the show and ask the audience for a topic to sing about and then make up the words as I went along.

I was doing a gig in Sydney in town in the Oxford Tavern I think it was. It was downstairs on the corner of William and Castlereagh streets or Pitt street, somewhere around there. I asked for a subject for my blues song and a guy yelled out what I thought was ‘Breakfast blues’. The first thought that came into my head was cornflakes for some reason and I added to it as I went along. I’m not sure of the exact words that night but the song progressed over the years to what you hear – a hair of the dog blues. At the end of the song I asked the guy if he liked it and he said that he had asked for ‘Memphis blues’ not Breakfast.

Geoff Davies is the keyboard player on both tracks.

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