How It Came To Be That Eddi Sang ‘Sweet Mountain’…..
Whilst I was driving home from work on a glorious hot summer’s afternoon in 2001, I turned the radio on; Steve Wright, I don’t normally listen to the radio, but for some reason, there he was…. I tuned in just as he announced that after the next song his special guest was to be Eddi Reader; one of my favourite singers…
I had got into her music years ago, Laurence had a spare ticket for a folk gig, it was ’93 , we headed over to Cambridge in his old land rover. We took our seats in the wonderful Cambridge Corn Exchange, I noticed in the row in front were the group ‘Everything but the Girl’ a good sign I thought, I was right. What a great concert! I immediately fell in love with the way Eddi sang, so emotive and expressive whilst singing, moving her arms to the ebb and flow of the music, lost… she sang one of my favourite songs, ‘Dolphins’ a great Fred Neil song that was little heard of then; now it seems everyone sings it! Well that was it, I was hooked and as is my way when I like someone, I went all out and bought all her records.
So now as I cast my mind back to 2001 and Steve Wright, Eddi is talking of her record collection saying she has a few gaps, she said she has Neil Young’s ‘Harvest Moon’ but not ‘Harvest !!! and a few other albums she mentions that she would like to have. I have tickets to see her the following night at the Stables in Wavenden.
So once I am home I ponder on her interview and wonder about what sort of music she would like, it inspired me to set about compiling her, a tape – yes it was still tapes in those days – I love creating compilations. Casting my eyes over my cd collection, wondering to myself what would suit the listeners’ taste, but I also want to give them that little something mind blowing that will alter their path forever… I have actually always aimed for this…. little did I know how true that was to be….. I decided to start it off with Nilsson’s ‘One’, no idea why, but took it as a good start. Popped on Nick Drake, Neil Young of course, Dennis Wilson, so underrated and yet sublime music, in-between Neil and Dennis I popped a little known Brian Wilson gem called ‘Sweet Mountain’ Brian wrote it with another musician who he had staying with him at the time, a lovely chap called David Sandler. the song appeared on an album featuring Brian Wilson’s wife and sister in law in the early 70’s, I have always loved it. I can’t actually remember what else I popped on; I remember it was an eclectic mix.
Fast forward to the next day, her concert was great as ever, lovely venue, in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by fields. I was really nervous about the tape. Sometimes at the end of the concert Eddi would come out and say ‘Hi’, but needless to say not on this occasion, luckily the drummer passed by, so I asked him if he would mind giving Eddi the tape, he looked at me as though I was a freak, but agreed.
Life went on, I thought no more about it, until a month or so later, and I got the following e-mail from Eddi – I had popped my e-mail address in just in case!
Date: Fri, 27 Apr 2001 HI eddi reader here….that tape you gave me was amazing LOADS of stuff I hadn’t heard … I particularly loved the ‘Spring’ track ‘sweet mountain’……and the version of b wilson’s wonderful…much better than the one I have on smiley smile……only thing is I was playing it up at kate rusbys place and I have lost it between here and Sheffield…. I am soo upset because It was the soundtrack to my Easter…..Is it possible for another copy?…I want to hear sweet mountain again so much….. I hope this email reaches you …. thank you from the bottom of me heart love Eddi.
I was filled with immediate panic, shock that she had e-mailed me, joy that she liked it and horror as of course I couldn’t remember what I had put on the tape. I managed to do the best I could, popped it in the post and in doing so began a pen pal friendship that lasted for quite a few years, which included her telling me she had seen Jeff Buckley live in small pubs around London, what it was like when she won the Britt Award and general chat. I even managed to talk her into coming to one of Brian’s Pet Sounds’ concerts, she sat a few seats behind me so during the interval I popped over to say ‘Hi’, announcing my arrival as ‘the one who keeps e-mailing you.’ She was so lovely, introduced me to her friend and even sang a bit of ‘Sweet Mountain’ to me. It turns out that that was the song that had caught her attention. She loved it and vowed to record it one day.
So here we are, its winter 2009, I received an e-mail from Eddi’s ‘my space’ blog’s about Ireland and how much she loves it, then tagged onto the end of it,
‘where is Lucy’……’
I pause and think oh that’s funny she mentions someone called Lucy and read on slightly intrigued, have to re read, as she mentions ‘Sweet Mountain’ and how I must know I was the one that planted the seed. It turns out she has recorded it!!! Its track 6 on her new cd Love Is The Way!!! listen here
I e-mail immediately of course and a week or so later Eddi sent me a signed copy! Eddi tells me that this was the song that had helped her fall in love. So my aim to alter the path has had a wonderful ending! Eddi fell in love to the song and I now have one of my favourite artists singing one of my favourite songs, isn’t life wonderful;…
Go and check it out, she does a wonderful job! Brian and David would be proud! Thanks Eddi
© Lucy Hall 2009
As if that wasn’t enough, a few years later I befriend a chap called David, turns out it is the David of Sweet Mountain fame, and we have now become firm friends, so all in all this song has had a wonderful effect on my life too! the power of music…..