Red Rabbit Music
Excessive Sobriety (2016)
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Lyrics & Performers
Back in 2011 Red Rabbit - Randy Bryant, Steve Raymond, and I – began recording some tracks in Steve’s home studio, affectionately known as YouGetWhatYouPayFor Studio. Mostly what we were looking to do was archive some of the songs we enjoyed playing live, or ones that I liked to sing, as well as some originals that I had written as part of a larger project. I envisioned the latter to be an ambitious double CD affair, but as often happens, life ended up setting our actual agenda. It’s not yet been completed, as we regularly deferred to more insistent matters, both musical and personal.
As a consequence, late last year Steve began pressing to compile some of the material we’d already recorded and release it as a single CD. I wasn’t particularly enthusiastic, since I saw it as compromising my original grand scheme; but Steve’s a man for whom I have a great deal of respect, and he can be singularly persuasive when he wishes to be, so I acquiesced. I’m glad I did.
Excessive Sobriety features sixteen tunes, half of them mine and half them composed by other artists. It doesn’t really fit any particular genre, a characteristic that’s been both our band’s blessing and bane from the beginning. Some of the stuff’s just plain silly, like Porcelain Bus or No Second Chance. This Wheel’s on Fire is a snapshot of how we sound live, played free-form on the stage of our favorite venue in the world, the Uaimh Bhinn in Ireland (see The Hare’s Tale elsewhere on the band website). Walk Away Renée and City of New Orleans are songs I love to play, and Monster is our solitary venture into social commentary. This suite of tunes, recorded originally by Steppenwolf almost fifty years ago, rings as true today as it did then; but the thing I enjoy most about it is the authenticity of the instrumentation: not only am I using my 1967 Rickenbacker 360-12 through an actual ancient Leslie 145, but there’s also a real sitar and – most wonderfully of all – a Mellotron, the storied keyboard of the 1960’s, played by the inimical Dennis Sturdevant.
Dennis is only one of the gifted musicians and singers we’ve had join us at YGWYPF. Phil Jacoby played keys and sax, and he’s one of the finest instrumentalists I’ve ever worked with. Larry Sauer joined us on hand drums; our old friend Jim Timmerman played mandolin; and his wife, Dolores, played flute and was one of six background vocalists. There are certain things I simply prefer to do with women, and singing is one of them. Stacy Boyd, Carrie Giger, Carol Plough (also our cellist), and Susan and Molly Herner brought the goods any number of times, and we’re so grateful. My own family – Peggy, Randi, and Jesse – even makes an appearance as the kazoo chorus in You Can Make a Weapon out of Anything.
I am a profoundly blessed man. I’ve had the privilege of playing with Randy for more than forty-five years, and with Steve almost thirty. It was their company I tearfully left when my niece summoned me to my mother’s deathbed two years ago; they were the first to learn of my struggles with drugs and alcohol and of my sobriety (hence the album’s title). They’ve seen me at my best, and they’ve seen me at my worst, and still they remain. Their rock solid foundation has provided me with the platform upon which I’ve built so much music for three decades.
Making music really isn’t substantially different from making love…truly making love. You have to be willing to become completely vulnerable to the other; you have to completely trust the other; and you have to fully commit to the other. The men and the women on this record have allowed me to create something well beyond myself, something that will – hopefully – remain. It’s our genuine hope that you enjoy it in the same spirit in which it was created.
Jeff Purvis 12/31/2016
Sample the songs from Excessive Sobriety!
|01 No Second Chance||09 Nothing At All|
|02 Ballad Of A Thin Man||10 The Secret Seashore|
|03 I Soft Landing||11 A Whole Lot More|
|04 Higher Ground||12 Monster|
|05 Levon||13 Porcelain Bus|
|06 You Can Make A Weapon Out Of Anything||14 This Wheel's On Fire|
|07 Walk Away Rene||15 In Praise Of Fine And Impractical Arts|
|08 City Of New Orleans||16 Bring It On Home|
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