For a long time before I began making contemplative acoustic-guitar based music, I wrote and performed in a Midwestern, pop-rock style. This peaked in 1987 when I was signed to a strong indie label called Passport, who teamed with PolyGram to release nationally my debut album ‘Long Distance Calling.’
The album’s single was played in about 170 mid-size markets, and a video was filmed, enjoying 12 weeks of rotation on MTV. But after this initial push, the label chose not to promote a second single, and so the album quickly faded into obscurity. My time in the big leagues was over.
Over the years many people have written to tell me how much they liked the record or in some cases how much it meant to them, reminding them of a time in life they were particularly fond of, or a certain love affair they associate with the album and such, and while some music seems to date and deteriorate at the hands of time, for some people this album has to my pleasure developed a reputation as a ‘lost gem;’ – the preferred destination for forgotten popular music.
30 years ago this month, that album was released, and so to celebrate this most thrilling, heartbreaking and heady period of my life, I’m posting a re-mastered 30th Anniversary version of the album, with a re-sequence and cover idea closer to what I had in mind at the time. I asked my long-time collaborator Geoff Michael to re-master the tracks, and I think it’s a great improvement; it’s louder, warmer, and creamier, with less sibilance at the top, which makes the details more audible. Remember, it was made in the ‘80s – things sounded a little strange coming out of studios back then. Digital technology had just arrived and could make things a bit brittle. Hopefully we’ve addressed that in a positive way. I think it makes the music speak better in the 21st century.
Making a record with a major label is a very collaborative experience, and producer Howard Benson had a very strong and valuable vision for this album. He sincerely and passionately liked the music, was an absolute gentleman throughout, and wanted to deliver for me and himself and the label and the audience a hit record. We argued a lot but also saw eye to eye on many things, and though the record works as it was released, I’ve also wanted to hear it closer to the way I would have done it had I been steering the ship. So that’s what you’ll hear on this version. The basic tracks of the album were recorded at the Sunset Sound Factory in Hollywood, on the same board that ‘I Want You Back’ by the Jackson Five, as well as many albums by Fleetwood Mac, Jackson Browne, Marshall Crenshaw’s ‘Downtown,’ and countless other great albums were recorded. Some overdubbing was done in Woodland Hills, right near the condo my good friend Steve Rosenbaum owned at the time.
For those of you that know the album, you’ll note the omission of ‘Precious Town,’ (the red-herring single), and ‘We See As One.’ As both of these were written in response to the label’s request for ‘tougher, more upbeat single material,’ I personally never felt they came from the heart, and so have left them off. For me, they weren’t really of a piece with the rest of the music.
If you’ve never heard this album before, I hope you enjoy it, and if you have, I hope it takes you back to a place in your life that you remember fondly, or at least interestingly.