Muddy Manninen - Background Story

 

This is Muddy Manninen's background story for his solo album, which he kindly allowed me to publish here.

 

Hello, all you good people!

Before I get in to my sales speech, I'd like to share some stuff relating to the songs on the album. How did they come about, what equipment did I use, influences.
As I have mentioned earlier, I consider myself as a bit of a late bloomer. Sometimes songs manifest themselves quickly, which was the case with Blue Horizon, which I wrote for WA. Ian Harris had the lyrics, I read them thru, and the song actually played itself to me. It is a rare, but a wonderful feeling, you feel like you are channelling something. Price To Pay on the album came about a bit in the same way. It started as an acoustic song, the work title being "Crosby", because somehow it reminded me of David Crosby's songs. All of the guitars were done at home, playing thru a small Fender amp. Same goes with the bass, an early 70s Gibson EB3.

Swan Song was another pretty fast one, musically. Acoustic guitars recorded at home, with an Rode NT2 mike. Kev did his vocal somewhere in Spain, drums and percussion were recorded in Soundshack studios. Isn't modern technique wonderful, when it works? :)

But usually I am slow in my writing process. I don't force ideas, try to make them happen right away. Lil'Rosie, which i named after my daughters, Lilia and Rosita, started its life many years ago, in a WA soundcheck. 10 years ago I think... First there was the chord sequence, and a vague idea how the drums should sound. I kept thinking about the song in my head, slowly adding different parts, trying them out. It's not the most complex song in the world, but this is a perfect example why I say there probably won't be another solo album :) ... I am slow! Rosie's guitars were again played thru a small Fender amp at home, I used a Tech21 Leslie pedal for the chords. The lead bit was in DB studios thru a Randy Rhoads Signature Marshall into Marshall 4x12 cab, loaded with 25w Greenbacks. Obviously there is a big Peter Green vibe in this song. Peter was a huge influence, and still is. But I hear a bit of Carlos Santana in there as well...

I never felt comfortable with Vox amps, though I know other players have dug out great tones out of them. Danger Zone got me thinking I might have missed something. We recorded the basic track in Gregg's home studio, and all of the electric guitars were done with an VoxAC30, with a little bit of crunch added with a Bogner Blue pedal, which has been a mainstay on my pedalboard for quite a few years now. I can't say enough good things about it. Great little piece of equipment. Drums, percussion and keys were rerecorded in Soundchack Studios, and I think Dave, Hughie and Mark Perry did a great job. Like in every song played!
And btw, this is a one take wonder, all the fills and solo all in one take.
By the way, all the guitar tones are my Les Paul 59 reissue. The only other guitar I used was the Epiphone Wiltshire reissue, which I use for the slide

Bastard I started working on with Patrik and Riku, while still living in Helsinki. We tried to get a band going, but due to my busy schedule with WA, and Riku's with Sunrise Avenue, things never really took off. Which is shame. I think this as my Thin Lizzy song. There's the obvious twin lead bit after the solo, and Jenny really nails the vocal part and the lyrics. Marshall RR all the way on this one. Somehow I managed to lose the close mike lead track on this, so the only track we had to wotk on was the ambient mike one. Hence the maybe a bit boxy sound...

Cheese Rolling is another older song. I think I wanted to do something, which would have that Booker T & The MG's groove to it, Green Onions you know. We worked on this one with Tom Malm in Helsinki, and all it needed was a new drum track. And if you don't know, Cheese Rolling is annual competition here in the Cotswolds, near Cheltenham, where they actually kick a huge, round cheese down a very steep hill, and people dive after it. And the one who catches it is the winner. Needless to say there are a lot of broken bones...
All of the guitars, believe it or not, were played thru a first generation Line6 Pod... does this take away all my rock credibility, if there ever was any? :) oh yeah, and sorry, this was with my now deceased 57 Les Paul Jr reissue. It got trashed by the airline coming home from a tour. And the first solo is a Strat.

Dickies is my tribute to Dickie Betts, but like I said before, there's a bit of Johnny Winter, Clapton (the woman tone) and Leslie West in there as well. I loved the original Allman Brothers Band, and I think Dickie often got overshadowed by Duane. Dickie is a very lyrical player, writes great melodies, but still knows how to play the blues. Just listen to Jelly Jelly on Brothers And Sisters album.
Marshall RR again with a Les Paul.

Not Even A Shadow we wrote with Ian Harris, I had the chords and some melody ideas, and Ian just started singin, making up lyrics as we went. This was a quick one too. All the bits just came together easily. It's magic when it happens. This is one of my faves on the album.
Dunlop Octavia in the intro, played with a Les Paul thru a Mad Professor 101 amp. Those of you who have seen me play live, know that the volume swell thing is one of my favorite tricks. Not really a trick, but you know what I mean :)

I always liked Bread's Guitar Man. I think it's a great pop song. Good melody, nice chords. So once, drunk enough to stand my own singing, I did a very basic demo, just an acoustic guitar and some electric lead. It still sounded ok the next day, so I thought to myself this needs to be done properly, one day...
Listening the the playback I realised this actually is my tribute to Paul Kossoff. I think that after The Beatles there is no other band which has shaped my musical world as much as Free did. Even when I play the bass, I try to make it sound like Andy Fraser! Round the period of Free At Last, Kossoff's vibrato had matured to that nice, slow vibrato he had. And he still had the intensity he had earlier. Paul Rodger's probably my all time favorite singer.
Koss was never in a rush to go anywhere, playing vise. And he played every note like his life depended on it. Great tone!

Another Day hasn't got much guitar on it, and that's just fine with me! It is such a good song, and Patsy does a wonderful job on vocals and saxes. Good to have your ears a rest every once in a while!

Jammin was inspired by Shuggie Otis. He made two brilliant albums in the early 70s, Freedom Flight and Inspiration Information, playing most of the instruments himself on the latter.
There's a long jam on Freedom Flight, that's got a very Hendrixy vibe to it, and I wanted to do something similar. I played a sort of drone acoustic guitar, and then started adding things to it. Another inspiration for this was an English band called Jade Warrior, which had long, extended instrumental passages on their albums. It's the Epiphone on slide, and the Les Paul for the rest.

And finally The Jester... first there was the acoustic riff, the funny eastern melody came after that. This in my mind is Allman Bros with a twist. I wanted to have a wah wah sound like Zappa in Toads Of The Short Forest. It didn't quite turn out like that... but my intentions were good :). Mark Perry played a wonderful keys solo here.
I added a bit of lap steel with my ancient Arioso at the end.
This song was Marshall RR all the way

Hope this gives you a bit of insight to the tracks
Those of you who want a CD can get it from my website, www.muddymanninen.com

Now you can also download the album, from CD Baby, ITunes and Amazon, whatever site you have been using for your music.

Thank you for your support!

Muddy

 


Written by: Rainer Frilund - Last update: Jul, 2017