Wednesday, June 10, 2015
fables of the reconstruction
R.E.M. were needing inspiration and reached their destination with gravity and good advices written on southern gothic wisdom walls. After two celebrated albums ('Murmur' and 'Reckoning') with the production team of Mitch Easter and Don Dixon, the band decided to record with British producer Joe Boyd, famous for his work with Fairport Convention and Nick Drake.
Peter Buck reveals: "Both Mitch Easter and Don Dixon were busy doing their own creative stuff and we all felt that it would be good to have a change, because they didn't want to get associated with us permanently any more than we wanted to be associated with them permanently...We had a list of producers who were interested in us, and Joe Boyd was one of them. We do things by intuition; we didn't think whether he had a track record or whatever - I liked his records, I liked him. We just decided on the spur of the moment, 'Okay let's do it with him. Let's fly to England tomorrow and do the record.' It was that simple. We met him on Wednesday, and we decided on Thursday to fly to England, and we left Friday."
'Fables of the Reconstruction' was recorded during February and March of 1985 at Livingston Studios in London with engineers Berry Clempson and Tony Harris. The album features Bill Berry on drums and backing vocals (credited as "WT Berry – Best Boy"); Peter Buck on guitar, banjo, and harmonica (credited as "PL Buck – Ministry of Music"); Mike Mills on bass guitar, backing vocals, and piano (credited as "ME Mills – Consolate Mediator"); and Michael Stipe on lead vocals (credited as "JM Stipe – Gaffer Interpreter"); with David Bitelli on tenor and baritone saxophone for "Cant Get There from Here"; Camilla Brunt on violin for "Feeling Gravitys Pull"; Jim Dvorak on trumpet for "Cant Get There from Here"; Philippa Ibbotson on violin for "Feeling Gravitys Pull"; David Newby on cello for "Feeling Gravitys Pull"; and Peter Thomas on tenor saxophone for "Cant Get There from Here"
Mills muses: "We didn’t have a clear idea what we were going for on Fables – we didn’t have time to formulate one. We wanted this new album to be a little more focused. Some of our best stuff is on Fables, but as a whole I think it’s weak. We wanted to have enough time to write good songs for this one...I thought Michael’s voice was pretty clear on Fables. It’s just that what he says is not what you expect to hear. At first, you might not follow his thought because he leaves out words that normally would be there. But if you keep listening, you can follow him. Michael’s gotten a little more confident and better at it every time we record."
Stipe says: "We suddenly had all these songs that were somehow narrative. Although I hesitate to use that term because all along we've said that our songs are not stories - not a beginning and an end with a middle and some kind of crisis point that has to be resolved. Most of these, I would say, would be a slice somewhere out of the middle, there's not really a beginning or and end. If you had to call it a beginning or an end. If you had to call it a narrative, it's probably not a complete one. That is real new for me, though, and it's real new for us. I found myself surrounded a whole lot when we were writing these songs by fables and nursery rhymes and Uncle Remus and old tales. The idea of stories being passed down and becoming a tradition, and having those stories become as much a part of a way of living or a particular area that you live in as the religion or the trees or the weather, I like the connection between that and the South ... "'Reconstruction of the Fables of the...' The cyclical title, to me, really defined the whole entity that the band was taking on at that time. 'Fables' brings up the whole thing about storytelling, and that kinda ties in with lost heritage, the tradition of a story being passed on from generation to generation."
Berry considers: "The first thing I thought of was literally the definition of the word, and that was what we did when we wen to in to write the songs and do the record. We pretty much just stripped down and started over, because we did write all those songs at one time."
'Fables of the Reconstruction' became their biggest album yet, going to number forty in Canada, thirty-five in the UK, twenty-nine in New Zealand, and twenty-eight in the US.
"Cant Get There from Here"
'Fables of the Reconstruction'
All songs written by Bill Berry, Peter Buck, Mike Mills and Michael Stipe except as indicated.
Side one – "A Side"
00:00 "Feeling Gravitys Pull" – 4:51
04:52 "Maps and Legends" – 3:10
08:03 "Driver 8" – 3:23
11:27 "Life and How to Live It" – 4:06
15:35 "Old Man Kensey" (Jerry Ayers, Berry, Buck, Mills, and Stipe) – 4:08
Side two – "Another Side"
19:46 "Cant Get There from Here" – 3:39
23:25 "Green Grow the Rushes" – 3:46
27:12 "Kohoutek" – 3:18
30:29 "Auctioneer (Another Engine)" – 2:44
33:12 "Good Advices" – 3:30
36:43 "Wendell Gee" – 3:01
Rockpalast October 1985
0:01:22 - Feeling Gravitys Pull
0:06:07 - Harborcoat
0:10:00 - Sitting Still
0:13:20 - Maps and Legends
0:16:47 - Fall On Me
0:19:46 - Green Grow the Rushes
0:23:44 - Driver 8
0:27:34 - Hyena
0:30:36 - So.Central Rain
0:34:42 - Have You Ever Seen the Rain?
0:37:30 - Can't Get There From Here
0:41:30 - King of the Road
0:42:49 - Seven Chinese Brothers
0:47:05 - Auctioneer (Another Engine)
0:50:17 - Old Man Kensey
0:54:25 - Little America (Big Little USA)
0:57:15 - Pretty Persuasion
1:03:10 - Theme From Two Steps Onward
1:08:10 - Toys in the Attic
1:10:53 - See No Evil
1:13:38 - Second Guessing
1:18:50 - Ghost Riders in the Sky
1:21:21 - (Don't Go Back To) Rockville
1:25:55 - We Walk / Falling in Love Again / Behind Closed Doors
1:30:11 - Paint it, Black.