Saturday, 16 January 2016

LP Artwork: Strong Love Affair

The immediately appealing song, Everybody's Handsome Child, which features in this wees playlist has a lyric written by the highly successful arranger and composer, Dr Richard Niles. I had the pleasure of working with Richard and, from his home in Los Angeles, he told me how the song came about...

"I was producing a record in Copenhagen for the American singer/songwriter Michael Ruff and his band. Michael had written songs for Bonnie Raitt and played keyboards for Ricki Lee Jones and Chaka Khan. His band included black American singer Leslie Smith who had come from LA to do the album. We all stayed in a large apartment that had been rented for us by the record label.

"The penultimate evening of recording I got a call from my friend Phil Spalding. I had written and played with him often. “Hey, Rich, I’m playing bass for this geezer Jean Pierre in Paris. He’s a mate of Ray Charles and Ray has asked him to produce his next album in Europe. He asked if I had any songs and I said, ‘Actually I have 3 songs I just wrote with my mate Richard Niles that would be perfect for Ray! We’re demoing them next week!”

"I told Phil I had been writing and had lots of ideas. We would get together on my return and write.

"When I hung up the phone, I saw Leslie standing in front of a mirror, all dressed up, about to go on a date with a “hot Dutch chick.” He was talking to himself in the mirror. “Boy, when you walk into that club looking’ so fine, you're gonna cause a commotion! You’re EVERYBODY’S handsome child!”

"That was it for me. I had the chorus for the song written in five minutes. I thought of Ray’s early songs, the ones he wrote himself like “I Got A Woman”, “This Little Girl Of Mine” and “Hallelujah I Love Her So”. He was, like Leslie, a young, confident lover, bragging about his… fans. I also had read Ray’s autobiography and knew he was an innovator, an iconoclast, a man who had to go his own way.

"So I wrote:

"I’m everybody’s handsome child
Kinda cute, but a little bit wild
What ‘cha gonna do with a boy like me?
Never do what I oughta ‘cause I gotta be free
You got my number all you’ gotta do is dial
‘Cause I’m everybody’s 
everybody’s handsome child"

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