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GIANT SAND – Cover Magazine

2002 | Year of Original Release

Giant Sand - Cover Magazine (2002)
“Released in 2002”

1. El Paso
2. Johnny hit and run Pauline
3. Iron Man
4. Human _ Lovely Head
5. The Beat Goes On
6. Plants and Rags
7. Wayfaring Stranger_ Fly Me to the Moon
8. Red Right Hand
9. King of The Road
10. I’m Leaving Now
11. Blue Marble Girl
12. The Inner Flame
13. The Beat Goes On

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Howe Gelb – Vocals, Piano Things, Guitar, Bass, Harp and Clunk
John Convertino – Drums (1,3,5,7,8,9,10)
Joe Burns – Upright Bass (4,5,7,8,9,10)
P. J. Harvey – Vocals (2)
Sofie Albertsen Gelb – Backing Vocals (5)
Noah Thomas – Trumpet (3)
Neko Case – Backing Vocals (7)
Kevin Salem – String Stabs & Blur Choral (4)
Ari Posner – Congas (3)
Mike Grimes – Upright Bass (3)
Aaron Graham – Steel Guitar (3)
Nick Luca – Main Theme Gut Guitar (3)
Matt Ward – 2nd Vocal (3) Piano (6)
Kelly Hogan – Backing Vocals (7)
John Rauhaus – Pedal Steel (7)
Jacob Valenzuela – Trumpet (7)
Craig Schumacher – Harpoon (8)
Aaron Burtch – Drums (11,12) Bottles (13)
Jim Fairchild – Guitar (11,12) Bottles (13)
Saholy Diavolana – Guitar & Backing Vox (11,12,13)
Laureline Prod’Homme – Bass & Backing Vox (11,12,13)
Amelie Van Hoorebene – Bottles & Backing Vox (13)

Produced By – Howe and Craig Schumacher (more often than not)
Recorded mostly at Wavelab, Tucson
Engineered By – Craig Schumacher mostly and Nick Luca sometimes
Mixed by – Craig and Howe (more often than not) – 4,5,9 & 10 by Kevin Salem at his place in Woodstock.
Tracks 11 & 12 Produced by Harald Are Lund at Music Hall, Oslo – Feb 4 2001 – Engineered by Terje Hellem
Track 13 recorded at Studio Brussels Radio

About “Cover Magazine”…

“I think a time to recycle is called for. There’s plenty of stuff out there…too much. Perhaps the ozone does suffer from too many songwriters and their emittings slowly floating up and tangle up the atmosphere. This record needed to be choreless. It is mostly captured live in the studio, with the intention of seeing where exactly we (me, John and Joe) are with each other at the moment. A buoyancy occurred.”

-Howe, Tucson 2001

Reflections on each song by Howe:

1. “El Paso” (Robbins) / “Out on the Weekend” (Young)
-Welp, it seemed to one day that both songs had the same chord structure. When I tried it out, I was almost wrong, and so close to being right that I forced the issue. The lyrics to both, I realized after the surgery of such, reflected a similar patter of involvementÖWhy was the lonely boy packing it in? Why head out to LA? What troubles did he leave back in Texas exactly?

2. “Johnny Hit and Run Pauline” (Doe, Cervenka)
-X was such an importantly fun band for us in Tucson during 1980. We had the gumption to open for them back then. I cut the track here on just an acoustic guitar with an A/B switch to my amp, added some favorite radio white noise on the top, sprinkled on Polly (PJ Harvey) for taste. Specifically when I realized how young she was in 1980 and had therefore never even heard them before, I knew there had to be some kind of triangular fusing.

3. “Iron Man” (Iommi, Butler, Ward, Osbourne)
-One of the greatest songs ever written and oddly over looked for reinterpretation. I heard the ëLibre de Graseí boys playing their set one night and had an immense desire to utilize the piano with them. Bringing them in to attempt Ozzy became a kind of obsession. After the obtuse session, I realized the recording of my bathtub drain might fit nicely over the top. Ooh, hear how it mixes delightful with the congas?

4. “Human” / “Lovely Head” (Goldfrapp, Gregory, Norfolk, Locke / Goldfrapp, Gregory)
-John Parish gave me a record he played on while we were on tour last year. It was Goldfrapp. I hunkered down in the bunk with it for many a mile (those bunks are not unlike coffin confinementÖand very conducive to such a soundtrack.) Tania Bowers sent me a cd of her own stuff (Via Tania), and without telling John and Joe, while we were cutting the song, I played her cd a bit right there and thenÖwith one hand on the walkman and one on the piano. Nice fit.

5. “The Beat Goes On” (Bono)
-Somewhere in Spain a fine fellow driving us to the festival played this version of Buddy Rich and his twelve-year old daughter doing this song. I couldnít shake it. John, Joe and I sat around the studio like professionals for most of the morning, then got up and nailed this one in one take and took the rest of the day off.

6. “Plants and Rags” (Harvey, Ellis)
I met Polly through John Parish. They helped me out when I was trying to put together a tribute record for my friend, Rainer Ptacek when he was stricken with cancer. They did not know him at the time. I will always love them for that. And since have come to grow enamored with the spin of such a Polly.

7. “Wayfaring Stranger” / “Fly Me to the Moon” (Cash / Howard)
This was one of the first songs Rainer ever taught me back in the 70ís. It was with him in mine I suppose that it came across my fingers here and now. It was also the first song of the session without the mics completely set up yet. But how can you control such harvest? Late that night when everybody had left, and me and Craig were winding down, Neko (Case) and Kelly (Hogan) and her posse showed up to unload their equipment for their upcoming session. Perfect timing. They were all just road tired enough to mean it more than ever.

8. “Red Right Hand” (Cave)
-The wife again. She made me learn this one. Sheís so good to me, what could I say? Could be construed as an odd gloved Christmas tale of Saint Nick lurking the countryside.

9. “King of the Road” (Miller)
-This one struck me in Chicago just moments before the New Years Eve gig last year with Calexico. Ha ha ha. I donít know what that means either.

10. “Iím Leaving Now, Adios” (Cash)
-Johnny and Merle singing with each other. Who could resist? Great way to head out.

11. “Blue Marble Girl” (Gelb)
-I guess this is a cover now since it was on the solo record instead of a Giant Sand record. This evening was recorded on a big mobile truck in Oslo when we were opening for Pollyís tour then. Since Calexico were also on the road, I assembled this band with the darliní French girls from Candie Prune (aka Andice Rupen) and the good people of Grandaddy. A tear wells up with the memory.

12. “The Inner Flame” (Ptacek)
-Same as above, but this is one of the songs Rainer wrote during his final year here on the planet. The family reinvented and captured there in Norway.

13. “The Beat Goes On” (Bono)
-The very first thing we did was this radio show in Brussels on that PJ Harvey tour. We had no idea how or what we were going to do to pull off said tour. The boys beat the beer bottles, the girls wobbled their warble, the piano toyed with the motions. All in all a good omen.