Greatest Other People’s Hits

Notes for CD RELEASE

  1. If You Have Ghosts (4.00)
  2. Words Words Words (3.00) & The Minus Five
  3. Star (2.49) & Fastball
  4. Je Suis Venu Te Dire Que Je M’en Vais (5.19)
  5. Jackson Cage (3.29)
  6. Story Teller (4.48)
  7. Need I Know (3.04)
  8. It’s Only Make Believe (3.20) & Kelly Hogan
  9. Old Bourbon (3.08) & Rick Moody
  10. Benedictus (4.22) & Eric Bazilian
  11. Another Age (4.00)
  12. Wah Wah (5.46) & The Universal Thump
  13. Wreck on the Highway (3.46) & Bruce Springsteen
  14. Covered Up In Aces (3.56) & Elizabeth Barraclough
  15. Think It Over (3.23)
  16. Satellite of Love (4.32) & Lou Reed & Rob Wasserman
  17. Like A Prayer (3.35)

 

  1. If You Have Ghosts
    (Roky Erickson)
    – John Wesley Harding

    Wes: vocal, acoustic guitar
    Steve Donelly: guitar
    Kenny Craddock: organ
    Andy Paley & The Ghost Choir: background vocal and handclaps
    Bruce Thomas: bass
    Pete Thomas: drums

    Produced by Andy Paley
    Recorded and mixed by Mark Linnett
    Eden Studios, Chiswick, 1990

    Previously released on “Where The Pyramid Meets The Eye – A Tribute to Roky Erickson” – Sire 9 26422-

  2. Words Words Words
    (Pete Seeger)
    – John Wesley Harding & The Minus Five

    Wes: vocal, acoustic guitar
    Scott McCaughey: vocal, acoustic guitar, 12-string riff, tambourine
    John Ramberg: electric guitar, baritone guitar
    Chris von Sneidern: harmony vocal
    Peter Buck: bass, 12-string jangle, feedback
    Bill Rieflin: drums

    Produced and mixed by John Wesley Harding, Peter Buck, Martin Feveyear & Scott McCaughey
    Engineered by Martin Feveyear

    Jupiter Studios, Seattle WA, November 2000

    Previously released on “If I Had A Song…: The Songs of Pete Seeger Vol. 2” – Appleseed Recordings APR 1055

  3. Star
    (Joseph Egan)
    – John Wesley Harding & Fastball

    Wes: vocal, acoustic guitar
    Miles Zuniga: electric guitar, vocal
    Tony Scalzo: bass
    Joey Shuffield: drums

    Produced by Gary Burnette and Rob Seidenberg
    Engineered by Joe Baldridge
    Mixed by Greg Goldman

    The Bennett House, Franklin, TN, September 1999

    Previously released only as a promotional single – Hollywood PRCD-11327-2

  4. Je Suis Venu Te Dire Que Je M’en Vais
    (Serge Gainsbourg)
    – John Wesley Harding

    Wes: vocal, acoustic guitar
    Joe Gore: everything else

    Recorded and mixed by Joe Gore
    Produced by Joe Gore and John Wesley Harding

    Joe Gore’s Studio, San Francisco CA, 1998

    Previously released on “Pop Romantique: French Pop Classics”, Emperor Norton – EMN 7011-2

  5. Jackson Cage
    (Bruce Springsteen)
    – John Wesley Harding

    Wes: vocal, acoustic guitar, mellotron, drum
    Carrie Bradley: violin
    Chris von Sneidern: bass, shaker

    Produced, engineered and mixed by Chris von Sneidern & John Wesley Harding
    Ordophon-upon-Avon, San Francisco, CA, June 1997

    Previously released on “One Step Up/Two Steps Back: The Songs of Bruce Springsteen” – The Right Stuff 72438-59780-2-9

  6. Story Teller
    (Rainer)
    – John Wesley Harding

    Wes: vocal, bouzouki
    Ferdy Doernberg: dobro, lap steel, organ

    Produced, engineered and mixed by Ferdy Doernberg & John Wesley Harding

    Droehnwerk, Bad Nenndorf, Germany, February 2002

    Previously released only in the UK on the expanded reissue of “The Inner Flame – A Tribute To Rainer Ptacek” – Fire Records FV 218

  7. Need I Know
    (Jimmy Silva)
    – John Wesley Harding

    Wes: vocal, acoustic guitar, piano
    Scott McCaughey: backing vocals, pianos, 12-string & Nashville acoustic guitars, bass, darbuk, drumsticks

    Produced, engineered and mixed by Scott McCaughey and John Wesley Harding

    The Fuselage, Seattle, WA, August 1997

    Additional recording at the Music Shed, New Orleans, LA, October/November 2009Remixed by Scott McCaughey

    Dungeon Of Horror, Portland OR, February 2018

    Previously released on “Through A Faraway Window – A Tribute To Jimmy Silva”  – SteadyBoy Records SB-0020

  8. It’s Only Make Believe
    (Jack Nance/Conway Twitty)
    – John Wesley Harding & Kelly Hogan

    Wes: vocal, acoustic guitar
    Kelly Hogan: vocal
    Robert Lloyd: accordion, mandolin

    Produced and Engineered by Brian Deck

    Clava Studios, Chicago, IL, May 1999

    Previously released on “Making Singles Drinking Doubles” – Bloodshot Records 100

  9. Old Bourbon
    (Alun Davies)
    – John Wesley Harding & Rick Moody

    Wes: vocal, acoustic guitar
    Rick Moody: vocal

    Produced by Wesley Stace and Rick Moody
    Engineered by Josh Clark

    Seaside Lounge, Brooklyn, NY, January 2009

    Previously unreleased

  10. Benedictus
    (Dave Cousins)
    – John Wesley Harding & Eric Bazilian

    Wes: vocal
    Eric Bazilian: vocal, guitars, bass, keyboards, mandola, drums

    Produced, recorded, and mixed by Eric Bazilian

    Red Door Recording, Wayne, PA, March 2015

    Previously unreleased

  11. Another Age
    (Phil Ochs)
    – John Wesley Harding

    Wes: vocal, acoustic guitar
    Chris von Sneidern: guitar, percussion
    Peter Straus: bass
    Steve Bowman: drums

    Produced, engineered and mixed by Chris von Sneidern and John Wesley Harding

    Ordophon-upon-Avon, San Francisco, CA, 1998

    Previously released on “What’s That I Hear: The Songs of Phil Ochs” – Sliced Bread SB71176

  12. Wah Wah
    (George Harrison)
    – John Wesley Harding & The Universal Thump

    Wes: vocal, acoustic guitar
    Greta Gertler: backing vocal, tambourine
    Dayna Kurtz: backing vocal, tambourine
    Rick Moody: backing vocal
    Art Hays: electric guitar solo
    David Nagler: electric guitar
    Clint Newman: acoustic guitar
    Barney McAll: keyboards
    Walter Hawkes: trombone
    Sean Sonderegger: tenor sax
    Phil Rodriguez: trumpet
    Jonathan Maron: bass
    Adam Gold: drums
    Robert Di Pietro: drums

    Produced by The Universal Thump
    Recorded by Ed Haber, assisted by Damon Whittemore
    Additional tracking by Adam D Gold at Oh Real Yum
    Mixed by Damon Whittemore

    The Bell House, Brooklyn, NY, 19 November 2010

    All proceeds from this song go to George Harrison’s Material World Foundation

    Previously unreleased

  13. Wreck on the Highway
    (Bruce Springsteen)
    – John Wesley Harding & Bruce Springsteen

    Wes: vocal, acoustic guitar
    Bruce Springsteen: vocal, acoustic guitar
    Robert Lloyd: accordion

    Produced by John Wesley Harding
    Mixed by Paul Stubblebine from McCabes soundboard tape and an audience tape recorded by Bob Whitfield

    McCabes, Santa Monica, CA, 18 June 1994 (Early Show)

    Previously released on “Awake: The New Edition” – Appleseed APR 1040

  14. Covered Up In Aces
    (Elizabeth Barraclough)
    – John Wesley Harding & Elizabeth Barraclough

    Wes: vocal, acoustic guitar
    Elizabeth Barraclough: vocal, acoustic guitar

    Produced by Andy Paley
    Recorded by Mark Linett

    Sunset Sound Factory, Los Angeles, CA, August 1989

    Previously released in the UK only on “The Devil In Me” 12” single – Sire W9749T

  15. Think It Over
    (Lou Reed/Michael Fonfara)
    – John Wesley Harding

    Wes: vocal, acoustic guitar, tambourine
    Scott McCaughey: organ, 12-string guitar, baritone guitar, potato shaker

    Produced, engineered and mixed by Scott McCaughey and John Wesley Harding

    The Fuselage, Seattle, WA, Late 20th Century.

    Previously unreleased

  16. Satellite of Love
    (Lou Reed)
    – John Wesley Harding & Lou Reed & Rob Wasserman

    Wes: vocal, acoustic guitar
    Lou Reed: vocal, electric guitar
    Rob Wasserman: bass
    Mike Rathke: electric guitar

    Produced by John Wesley Harding

    The Bottom Line, NY, 12/2/94 (Late Show)

    Previously released as a John Wesley Harding Fan Club Only Single #4 – RSPCJWH #4

  17. Like A Prayer
    (Madonna, Patrick Leonard)
    – John Wesley Harding

    Wes: vocal, acoustic guitar

    Produced by Andy Paley
    Recorded by Mark Linett

    Sunset Sound Factory, Los Angeles, CA, August 1989

    Previously released on “God Made Me Do It: The Christmas EP” – Sire/Reprise 9 26093-2

NOTES FOR LP release:

SIDE ONE

  1. If You Have Ghosts (4.00)
  2. Words Words Words (3.00) & The Minus Five
  3. Star (2.49) & Fastball
  4. Je Suis Venu Te Dire Que Je M’en Vais (5.19)
  5. Jackson Cage (3.29)

SIDE TWO

  1. Benedictus (4.22) & Eric Bazilian
  2. Another Age (4.00)
  3. Wah Wah (5.46) & The Universal Thump
  4. Wreck on the Highway (3.46) & Bruce Springsteen
  5. Like A Prayer (3.35)

If You Have Ghosts

I’d just recorded my first album for Sire/Reprise when they asked me to be on a forthcoming Roky Erickson tribute. The timing was right. Howie Klein suggested this particular song. As I remember, he was very keen on people using songs that had previously been released by Roky on Howie’s own San Francisco-based 415 Records. I remember transcribing the lyrics straight from the vinyl in the studio: there was no definitive version to be found. In fact, I think I wrote them down and sang them wrong.

I recorded the song in London with the Good Liars, with whom I'd recorded my first two studio albums, with the same production team: Andy Paley, with Mark Linett engineering. It was a sensational band - Pete and Bruce from The Attractions, Steve Donelly on ferocious guitar, and the genius Kenny Craddock (RIP) on organ, and they got to cut freer on this Roky Erickson song than they generally did on mine: it had such a solid rock structure. It was a joy to record.

I then got to do some in-stores and whatnot with Roky. I remember him saying to an autograph hunter at Waterloo in Austin: “Yes, but I don’t sign flesh.”

originally recorded by Roky Erickson

Words Words Words

Appleseed did perhaps two volumes of Pete Seeger tribute albums, and this was on the second, recorded with a preeminent version of the Minus Five on a long afternoon in Seattle.

Pete Seeger once asked me to play harmonica at the Cleveland Rock’n’Roll Hall of Fame tribute to Woody Guthrie on Hobo’s Lullaby, and it was one of the finer moments of my life, though in fact it was pure luck I had the right harmonica in my back pocket.

I later MC’ed, and accompanied, on one of Pete's very final performances at the Folk City: New York and the American Folk Music Revival concert, a fundraiser for their exhibit. The show took place in NYC on June 20th, 2013. Pete was 94.

Here’s that version of Goodnight Irene:

Music and lyrics by Wesley Stace (Plangent Visions Inc., ASCAP)

Star

Hollywood Records only had one hit single at the time: The Way by Fastball, who were signed by a mutual friend, Rob Seidenberg, who also signed me to the label, and later took me to Mammoth with him.

Rob had me make some band demos in Nashville (after an interesting but aborted recording in Memphis with The North Mississippi All Stars), which became the first album, Confessions; so we went back to reprise the trick for the next album which was to be - and in fact was - bigger and better. (It was originally called the Man With No Shadow, but Mammoth was then disbanded by Hollywood, and the album ended up being called Adam’s Apple on DRT, which is no longer around and with good reason.)

On one of these Nashville trips, Rob had the good idea for me to record with Fastball, with whom I’d either just toured or would tour. And we all liked the idea of this song. I think only bass, drums and me were recorded there and then Miles did electric guitars later. It came out only as a promo single, though it may also have been an extra track on some very small edition of the UK CD version of the Confessions of St Ace record.

Music and lyrics by Wesley Stace (Plangent Visions Inc., ASCAP)

Je Suis Venu Te Dire Que Je M'en Vais

I picked a later Serge song for a "French language only” tribute album - a great collection on Emperor Norton - because people don’t tend to cover them and I love them all, even the terrible ones I can hardly understand. I was lucky to meet Joe Gore, whom I’d seen playing with Tom Waits, and I decided that this was the project to do with him. No one has ever made me sound more stylish, French, modern or like Bryan Ferry. The percussion track was partly a pair of nail clippers, clipping.

Music and lyrics by Wesley Stace (Plangent Visions Inc., ASCAP)

Jackson Cage

It was none other than Omnivore’s Cheryl who asked me, all those years ago, to be on this Springsteen tribute album (which more or less paid for the making of an entire album for me, either New Deal or Awake, so I was very grateful). My philosophy with tribute albums at the time was, if everyone else is going to be loud, go soft, and vice versa. So this was my complete folkie deconstruction of Jackson Cage, one of my all time favourite Bruce songs, recorded at Chris von Sneidern’s place with Carrie Bradley on violin.

Music and lyrics by Wesley Stace (Plangent Visions Inc., ASCAP)

Story Teller

I was a great admirer of Rainer’s songs, to which I was introduced by his friend, Howe Gelb. This wasn’t recorded in time for the original tribute album, but somehow made it on to the UK CD as a bonus track. Perhaps they were planning a second that never happened. I’ve never seen a copy of it.

I recorded this when I was on tour in Germany at my friend Ferdy’s studio. It’s such an astonishing song - the way the narrative unfolds: what you think it’s about, what it ends up being about.

Music and lyrics by Wesley Stace (Plangent Visions Inc., ASCAP)

Need I Know

Jimmy Silva is one of my favourites, and if I’d met Scott McCaughey a few years earlier, he’d have been a friend too, but sadly I only heard about his work more or less at the end of his life. This was for a Silva tribute album. Unbelievably, for such a simple recording, the song ended up being recorded in Seattle (originally), New Orleans (when Scott was recording with REM there and made some overdubs) and Portland (where it was finally remixed.). This is a different - and newer and nicer - mix than the version on the Silva tribute CD.

Music and lyrics by Wesley Stace (Plangent Visions Inc., ASCAP)

It's Only Make Believe

I’ve done many duets with Kelly Hogan over the years: she’s my (and everyone’s) favourite person to sing with. We’d done this live at shows over the years and finally recorded it in Chicago on a day off for a Bloodshot compilation, but not (as I remember) the one on which it was released. I could have also included on this CD our version of I’m A Little Bit Country (from a fantastic Pravda compilation of 70's songs) which got me my sole ever review from Rolling Stone: negative.

Music and lyrics by Wesley Stace (Plangent Visions Inc., ASCAP)

Old Bourbon

For a little while, when we both lived in Brooklyn, Rick Moody and I had a two-man band called Authros and we actually went to the trouble of recording all the songs we knew, live, in one sitting, across the mic from each other (though we never got round to releasing it: other covers included Matching Mole, X, The Beach Boys (in German), The Watersons, The Zombies, Incredible String Band and The Tubes).

Alun Davies was Cat Stevens’ right hand man, and may well still be. To my knowledge, he only made one record, the sensational Daydo (produced by Cat), my first vinyl copy given to me by Scott McCaughey as part of a legendary haul of LPs he once handed me on a trip to Seattle. It’s a great song about a dog.

Music and lyrics by Wesley Stace (Plangent Visions Inc., ASCAP)

Benedictus

Eric Bazilian and I share a mutual love of Strawbs, and I begged him to let me include this here. I happen to know, in case you’re interested, that Dave Cousins thinks this version is fantastic. What more do you need?

Music and lyrics by Wesley Stace (Plangent Visions Inc., ASCAP)

Another Age

I felt that Sliced Bread’s Phil Ochs tribute would probably be quite folky - see above - so I decided to go for a little volume and energy. The trashiest sounding recording on here.

Music and lyrics by Wesley Stace (Plangent Visions Inc., ASCAP)

Wah Wah

This was a joyous night at The Bell House. The Universal Thump organized a singing of the whole of All Things Must Pass - they did most of the work, rehearsed the huge band, but I picked the song, learned it, and tried to sing the crap out of it.

There’s also a fantastic video for this, which can be found here:

Music and lyrics by Wesley Stace (Plangent Visions Inc., ASCAP)

Wreck on the Highway

This was a wonderful and fairly spontaneous happening, filmed on VHS and Super 8 (though the latter is now lost: perhaps it’ll turn up one day.) On the video, I appear to be giving someone the finger as Mr. Springsteen enters. It’s true, I was: the whole audience, who hadn’t believed me when I introduced him. It’s interesting, but not surprising, that both of the Springsteen covers here are from The River, which was my entry level Springsteen and remains my absolute favourite. I used to cover the title song live occasionally with The Deceivers in 1991. When Bruce says “Is this the one with the bad battery?” (on the video), he is joking about the fact that one of my Takamines had crapped out earlier in the show.

Music and lyrics by Wesley Stace (Plangent Visions Inc., ASCAP)

Covered Up in Aces

I really loved the first Elizabeth Barraclough album, and when I was first recording in LA in 1989, it turned out someone (maybe Peter Case?) knew her. So I asked her to come and record this, my favourite of her songs, to which I was introduced by John Bauldie, the late great Dylan writer and scholar. It was only ever released on the B-side of a British 12” single, and this is the first time it’s been on CD.

Music and lyrics by Wesley Stace (Plangent Visions Inc., ASCAP)

Think It Over

This is an oddity. Scott McCaughey recently turned it up.

I have no idea why I recorded it; neither he nor I remember recording it, or know when it was done, or why. If I had to swear in a court of law, I wouldn’t have been able to identify this song by title, and didn’t even know I knew it, though it turns out to be from Growing Up In Public, an album nobody will ever claim is their favorite Lou Reed record. Having said all that, it’s such a sweet version and we clearly put our hearts into it - and the fade-out is stately.

Music and lyrics by Wesley Stace (Plangent Visions Inc., ASCAP)