A-Z of Dead Man Singing: F

A-Z of Dead Man Singing: F

129 days ago

F is for ‘Feel Like Going Home’, a song with a huge role in the early part of Dead Man Singing. I first heard the song when Mark Knopfler’s Notting Hillbillies covered it on their album Missing: Presumed Having a Good Time, but the original was the work of Charlie Rich. Rich was a regular session player for Sam Phillips’ Sun Records in the 50s, but he saw himself as a jazz player who leant in to country music to be more commercially viable. He recorded several versions of ‘Feel Like Going Home’ throughout his career, but I’d recommend a demo version available on the 1997 compilation The Essential Charlie Rich. It’s just Rich and his piano, with no further accompaniment or production. Legend tells that he performed a similarly sparse version of the song for Richard Nixon around the time when Watergate was on the verge of bringing down his Presidency, and if you listen to it, it’s not hard to imagine Nixon drawing parallels with his own experience.

F is also for the Faces. One of the most important bands in the story of Dead Man Singing. They are the reason I gave Cindy her name, the spark that brought Dave and Cindy together, and – indirectly – the catalyst to Dave’s post-death career change. The book also features a gig by a Faces tribute act. They seemed like the perfect choice: a band from Dave’s past but also one whose back catalogue provided a jubilant feel-good vibe.

It says something about the Faces’ quality that the lead singer went on to become (for a time) the biggest solo star in the world, while the guitarist and the drummer joined the Rolling Stones and the Who respectively. Sadly, bassist Ronnie Laine was plagued with ill-health, being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1977 and living with the disease until his death in 1997. Keyboard player Ian McLagan died in 2014, and while I was far too young to ever see the Faces play live, I did see Mac perform as part of Billy Bragg’s backing group The Blokes in 2002. That may not sound as impressive as his former band-mates’ subsequent careers, but he remained a great player and it was a fantastic night.

Have you seen any great musicians out of their more familiar context? Either making guest appearances, or backing someone else?

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