Peace and Love and Dollar Pints (2019)

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Let’s Go Out Tonight (Flannery)
The Have Nots (Flannery/Wegleski)
Born at the Wrong Time (Flannery)
I Work For You (Flannery)
I Never Really Knew (Flannery)
Rip It Up (Flannery)
Alternative Aging (Flannery)
Moochie (Flannery/Wegleski)
Abbey and Ivy (Flannery)
Rescue Me (Flannery)
Copyright 2019 All Rights Reserved
Recorded at Sound Investments, Old Forge PA
Produced by Joe “Wiggy” Wegleski
Tom Flannery – Guitar, harmonica, lead vocals
Joe “Wiggy” Wegleski – Guitars
Lenny “The Meat” Mecca – Bass, background vocals
Chris “Moonie” Condel – Drums
Tom “That’s What She Said” Borthwick – keyboards, strings
Chris “Hiller” Hludzik – background vocals
Special guest
Chuck Wilson – Didgeridoo and Jaw Harp on “Moochie
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NOTES

If rock and roll is played in the forest and nobody is there to hear it, is it still fucking loud?

Duh. Yes.

I don’t subscribe to the rock is dead crowd, unless they tag the statement with “on the radio”. But then I haven’t listened to the radio in donkey’s years so……

They’ll always be a few angry young gits in a bar somewhere bashing away. I know this because I’m a part of a few angry old gits still bashing away in bars. Guitars. Bass. Drums. Some keys. You can live on it….and it tastes so good to boot.

(I’m a bit of an anglophile when it comes to my slang so….)

It was time to make loud noises again. Had it really been 7 years? It didn’t seem that long. Since none of us had managed to live out the lyrics to “My Generation”, the stars seemed aligned.

So I called the boys. I promised to bring 12 packs of PBR and Middleswarth barbeque chips to each session (reneged on the latter as it turned out….it became Hludzik’s job), and that was all the arm twisting they needed. We were on. A few hours each Thursday night, until we were done. We’d try to knock off a song a session.

Of course I didn’t have any songs, but the pesky details often elude me. So I grabbed a notebook and started scribbling……and by the first session we had one to try.

The last time we did this, me and Lenny and Chris would bang out the basic track live, vocals included. We decided that since now I was sometimes writing the songs the day of the session, we should probably build from the ground up each time to give everybody a chance to digest what I’d just thrown at them. So I’d lay down a guide guitar and vocal to a click track, and we’d start to build from there.

Oh, and if they didn’t like the song, they’d say, very gently, “um……what else you got?” Woe unto me if I didn’t have a backup plan. So my notebook always had at least 2 new songs each session, and sometimes more. It was nerve wracking and thrilling and terrifying and so much fun that I was looking for excuses to not finish. A double album perhaps? How about Sandinista!? Making music with your friends is the greatest feeling in the world.

So a reluctant single album this time…..10 songs. I’ll go through them if I may…so come along for the ride…..

Let’s Go Out Tonight

First one I wrote. First one we recorded. It’s gotta be track one. I came up with the riff sitting on my couch listening to the Smithereens….and quickly grabbed my phone and recorded it with the first words that came to mind….”I feel alright tonight”. Once I had the “peace and love and dollar pints” line….I changed it to “let’s go out tonight”. And we were off. Moonie plays his ass off on this one. The solo is Wiggy’s first take, but that didn’t stop him from recording about 20 more, before eventually realizing that he’d caught lightning in a bottle….as he often does. I remember driving home that first night thinking….”yea….this is gonna be goooood..”

The Have Nots

Wiggy says to me….”you should write a song called ‘The Have Nots’”. He just liked the title. So I came up with a set of lyrics and said “here you go”. He took them and came up with the tune…with that great little guitar hook. Whenever I felt unsure of a vocal I’d make Lenny come into the booth with me….and he’d coach me. And so it was with this one. I remember both of us finding the right melody line for the bridge and grinning like idiots. The Hiller came in and hit them high notes…and it was like the 90s all over again.

And by the way….it’s “Flannery/Wegleski” and not the other way around because alphabetical order….and that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Born at the Wrong Time

You’ll never guess who our favorite band is.

The second Borthwick got a Lowrey organ for the studio, the seed was planted. We had to use it. The only question was, where?

Here.

An all-too-obvious homage perhaps, but it makes me smile every single time.

Moonie played like his namesake. He always knows the stakes.

I Work For You

This is the only track not from these sessions. This was from a one-off session maybe 2 years ago…..I think we just got together to drink and catch up and decided to have a play. I said it then and I’ll say it now….it’s the best solo Wiggy has ever recorded. We were gonna tweak it….maybe re-cut it entirely. But no, this was the take. We didn’t change a thing.

I remember thinking….”I wonder if we can still do this?” And then we walked out of there with this track in the can and I had my answer.

I Never Really Knew

This one almost got lost in the shuffle. I recorded a demo on my phone and sent it to Lenny. We always joked about our love for the Everly Brothers and how one day I’d write a song where we could get our inner Phil and Don on.

We ended up skipping over this during the next 2 weeks, and I totally forgot about it. I couldn’t even remember the title. We met up in a bar (gee, shocking) and Lenny brought it back up again, I found it on my phone and it was back in contention.

But the next week I had another song I wanted to try….and the Wiggy squirmed as I played it. Dead giveaway. He didn’t even have to say “what else you got?”

Lenny says….”what about the one we talked about the other night?”

And so Lenny moved into the vocal booth for the next 3 hours and sang that great harmony to my sometimes incoherent phrasing and we all loved it because it didn’t sound like anything else done before. If radio was still a thing this might be the track they’d play.

Rip It Up

I just love that Hammond sound.

The night before I’d been working on a song for hours….and it just wasn’t working. It was past midnight and I was about to pack it in…..and then this came. In about 5 minutes.

I wasn’t sure about it. I’m still not sure about it. But the boys liked it, and it was fun shouting and stomping through the session. The louder it is the better it is…..which used to be obvious but kids today might need to be reminded because….well….kids today.

Alternative Aging

Stole the title from my friend Pat, who used the phrase in a facebook post. It was just begging to be made an example of.

D-A D-A D-A…all downstrokes. A million miles an hour. I mean…what would you do?

I think we wanted it to be at least 2 and a half minutes….so I scribbled the last verse in the control room and we tacked it on. Stickers for detail we are.

What there is to the arrangement me and Lenny came up with while Wiggy walked to the store to get beer. If that ain’t punk I don’t know what is.

Moochie

This is Wiggy’s track from a documentary film we wrote the music for in 2017.

“Moochie” was a real-life small-town legend…..a big burly biker dude with a heart of gold. Hence the sons-of-anarchy-ish vibe here….very un-Shillelagh-ish, which is why we loved it.

(I suggest you track down a copy of “Don’t Quit: The Ross Cordaro Story”, the film in question from director Liz Naro.)

The track didn’t have words, so I wrote some lyrics, and we all sang them until our voices shredded and I growled “get out of my fucking way…”

Moonie played balls to the wall right out of the chute, so that just drove the arrangement. I wasn’t about to stop him.

And this was before they added the didgeridoo and jaw harp. I’m telling you, these sessions were never boring.

Abbey and Ivy

Wiggy’s idea again. “You should write a song about Abbey and Ivy”.

Our beloved dogs.

We both love the Big Star song “Thirteen”, so that was the vibe I was shooting for here. Hey, if you’re gonna reach, don’t use alligator arms, right?

I thought it needed strings. Borthwick added them. Wiggy played a great acoustic solo (“I told Ivy it would be good”, he said). Drums weren’t working so we just recorded my Doc Marten boot tapping on the floor. And so we had a ballad on the record we swore would contain no ballads.

“Abbey” comes first in the title because alphabetical. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Rescue Me

The song is 21 years old….the final track on my very first record called “Song About a Train”. A record, by the way, the Wiggy picked up at the local Salvation Army for $1, where it still sits, unopened, on the mixing desk at the studio as a warning to anybody who might get a big head in this business.

Since me and Wiggy started playing shows together this song has always, without fail, been our final number. And so once again it closes things on a loud note….with the Meat and the Hiller and Borthwick yea-yea-yeahing their asses off while Wiggy and Moonie tear down the wall and make us great again.

And so….that’s that.

It’s happen again…that’s for sure. But for now…..this is what we leave you with.

In a bit..

–tf