In the early days of his career, Freedy Johnston wrote a number of remarkable songs that were never recorded for any of his albums. Over the years, Freedy’s friends have collected a number of these songs from various sources: live recordings, radio broadcasts, 4 track demos, early studio work, and incomplete rough mixes of 24 track recordings. These friends and fans grew to love the songs and would trade cassette compilations.
""Friend In The City"" was an excellent early rocker. On ""Happy Birthday"", a four-track demo where a lonely Freedy toasts his birthday, he created a conversation with himself by overdubbing his vocals. ""Light Of Doubt"", an incomplete outtake from his 1990 debut album The Trouble Tree, was a classic song that got away.
A couple years ago, Bar/ None presented a CDR of these disparate recordings to Freedy and suggested he consider an album of his great lost songs. To our surprise Freedy had four track recordings for just about all the songs in question as well as a couple we had never heard before. The songs were laid down between 1986 and 1992.
“ ‘Happy Bithday' was actually written for my cousin for his birthday,” Freedy remembers, “ ‘Captain Astro’ was about a Witchita Saturday Morning cartoon host I used to watch when I was a kid and 'Can’t Stop Shaking' was recorded with a Sony stereo mike that I accidentally ran through the wash and then a dryer cycle. You can hear that it’s working but a little funky.”
On these recordings, Freedy plays all of the instruments. There's a uniform sound to the recordings although stylistically they are quite diverse as he works his way through country, rock and roll, even a disco groove or two. With the exception of a live version of ""Man With The Four Stroke Heart"" that appeared on an early Bar/None compilation, none of these songs have ever seen the light of day. All in all, 14 great lost songs from one of our finest songwriters.
Mastering Engineer Scott Hull at The Hit Factory (Garbage, John Mayer, Steeley Dan) took his time making The Way I Were into a uniform listening experience.
""These recordings are not trying to be anything more than what they are”, says Scott. ""You are hearing the songs as they were concieved, the basic unadorned creations as Freedy first imagined them and they are simply great songs in any context.""
Freedy is currently working on new recordings in Nashville with producer Roger Moutenaut and drummer Anton Fier, along with long-time collaborators Cameron Grieder on guitar and Brad Albetta on bass.
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