3 & ¾

by Thom Carter

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about

Technology is a double-edged sword, and what you gain in precision from recording in a controlled, logical way, you sometimes lose in emotion and immediacy. I have always recorded my albums by myself in the flats where I happen to be living, so they are not exactly made in ‘studio’ conditions or with pro-quality equipment, but my aim for each of them was to get the best possible standard of production that I could.

For this record, I did the reverse, and bought a badly dented Spanish guitar for £10 in a Hastings junk-shop, and a tired-out Grundig reel to reel tape machine with dirty heads and old tape off Ebay, plugged in my mic where it stood, and hit Record.

What came out is what you hear, bounced back from the tape masters to my laptop and into the digital world. Everything was done at the same time in one take, all into one mic in my tiny studio flat, there and then, in the instant - surrounded by the reflections of sound from the hard walls and the mist of hiss and clicks, and, inevitably, all of my own imperfections.


The songs are about my life in the moment, as it happened, not written out and recorded over months and long after the moment had gone and the memory had passed. Like the hiss and hum, I used to try and avoid all that - now I embrace it as part of what music is all about, and I let it colour my work accordingly and accept it for what it is - even when it all drops out, breaks down and disappears.


The album is named after the speed at which the tape runs trough my reel to reel machine - 3 & 3/4 inches per second.

credits

released August 5, 2011

Words and music by Thom Carter. Artwork by Thom Carter, based on a photograph by Rachel Pickles. Produced by Thom Carter.

Copyright Verlaine Records 2011, All Rights Reserved. [CAT. VR_020]

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Thom Carter Hastings, UK

Slow-motion alt-folk songs for those who are also walking backwards...

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Track Name: February
Seabirds with their wings open,
Sailors without sea above,
All across the beach they come,
Seagirls with their wings above,

Come and talk to me, Leida,
With your swan-wing suit and coat laid out,
Under the counter, in February,
(When the customers don’t come for the scenery),

Oh, for the scenery.

Music plays, somewhere on the Western Road,
Like a Siren’s song to the fishing boats,
As they go, so easily,
From the land, into the sea.

Oh, into the sea.
Track Name: Ballad of a Newstand in St Leonard's
Looking like you just got married,
In your nervous suit and a tie,
With Sweet William in your pocket,
And the Friday Ad stacked up by your side,

Wont you let me take a copy?
To read one on my way,

Wont you let me take a copy?

Of the free ads from yesterday,
Of the free ads from yesterday.

On the street I see a woman,
She pushes an old-time pram,
She got 3 children and wool black dog,
That she ties up on the empty paper stand,

I don’t know her but I see her,
Every single day,
We both pick up the same paper,
Maybe I should lean across and say,

“Raining weather that we’re having”,
“Did you see the storm at sea”?
“I hope you find what you are looking for”,
“In the Friday Ad, or anything”,
“In the Friday Ad, or anything”.
Track Name: Wind Blows
Wind blows ‘round the corners of the windy seaside streets,
Wind blows ‘round the corner,
Blows on me,

Wind blows through the pockets,
Of my jacket and my jeans,
Wind blows like a Tiger from the sea,

Like you wont believe,
Like you wont believe,
Like you wont believe,
Like you.

Wind blows in the market place where Jeanie sells her clothes,
And wind blows on the books owned by Simone,

Wind blows in the coffee shop at the bottom of the Norman road,
And wind blows me on my way back home,

On my own,
On my own,
On my own,
Own.
Track Name: Light as a Feather
I went shopping for a record,
Got three LP’s for a pound,
I got The Seekers, and Dean Martin,
And Elvis singing ‘Loving You’ and ‘Wooden Heart’,

I don’t know if I’ll get bitter,
The longer that I wait,
Oh, I know The Times Are Changing,
I just don’t know if they’re for better, or if they ain’t,

They say that it all fades out,
And that’s plain for all to see,
I heard the same thing in the vinyl sound,
When it was playing back to me,

I found a song that had a pencil cross,
On a track that you liked best,
So I played it on my Westminster player,
From the top of the kitchenette,


Its been playing from there,
On and off all year,
Light as a feather,
Comes the music to my ears,

Light as a feather,
And on my mind again,
Light as a feather,
Comes down steady in the air.


Well, the men all dress like Neil Diamond,
On the faded run down streets,
I see them walking down from the White Rock to the Old Town,
With guitars with broken stings,

One says, “I’m not looking for salvation”,
“Or anything else that you might suggest”,
I say, “that’s fine by me, I’m not looking either”
Can’t remember now if I ever did,


It’s been a long December,
And a long and lonely year,
And light as a feather,
All that’s come will disappear,

Light as a feather,
Is how it’s been this year,
Light as a feather,
That runs heavy in the air.
Track Name: More Faith in You Than Me
I believe, but I’m helpless, against your stupid heart,
I believe, but I’m thoughtless, to the waiting stars,
I believe, when I see them, but I’ll never see them all,
Oh lord, I am a believer,
I just don’t know if it’s in you, or me, or either of us anymore…

I think that God is a woman, I think that God is a man,
I think that God was here before us, in the seas and in the land,
I think that God will be forever, and then gone in just a flash,
I don’t know about religion,
I think that God is probably better without that…


And I have more faith in you and me,
But if I change my mind, forgive me everything,
You showed me kindness, and I showed and I showed you my teeth,
Oh, I have more faith in you than in me,

It’s just I don’t feel the same,
For long about anything,
So please don’t mind me if I go my way,

I’m counting to forget,
But sleep just wont come yet,
And my mind is chirping like a bird at dawn,
Like a bird at dawn.


So your rulers have been caught,
And paraded down into the screaming mob?
Maybe they’re human, after all?
Torn down, with the posters of their faces, that are pasted on the buildings, and the walls.


Oh, why can’t we do that here a little more?
Burn the EU flag, and make a bombfire of their laws?
I’d like my country back now, don’t we all?
Feel like an aborigine,
Just before all the white men turned up on the shore?


It’s hard to predict what you don’t know,
In the ever-moving forward-backward future that we’re sold,
Can you change it, or is the answer always ‘no’?
Do my actions count for anything?
Or is it all already written out?
From the moment that we come until we go?


And I have more faith in you than me,
But if I change my mind, forgive me everything,
Some things were just meant to be,
Oh, I have more faith in you than in me,
I have more faith in you than in me.