The Jeffrey Lee Pierce Sessions Project

We Are Only Riders

Release Date: 01/11/2010 · Format: CD / 2-LP · Catalog-No: GR 702

We Are Only Riders is more than just a "various artists" compilation. It's a musical collective of artists who have come together to interpret (and in some cases, complete) unfinished skeletal works by Jeffrey Lee Pierce, an artist they were friends with or whose work they admired. Artists featured on the album include Nick Cave, who has done his own solo track, as well as duetting with Debbie Harry, and playing piano on Debbie's solo track, and added backing vocals on the Cypress Grove track. Mick Harvey contributed to two of the Nick Cave tracks and has recorded a solo track. Barry Adamson plays bass on the Nick Cave solo track and also on the Mark Lanegan solo track, who has also recorded a duet with Isobel Campbell. Kid Congo Powers contributed to Nick Cave and Lydia Lunch tracks.

About three years ago while clearing out his attic, Tony Cmelik (aka Cypress Grove) came across a bag of dusty old cassettes.He started to sort through them and found one marked "JLP Songs". As soon as he put it on he remembered what it was; Tony
& Jeffrey rehearsing material for the album they made together (Ramblin' Jeffrey Lee and Cypress Grove with Willie love"). The album was initially going to contain country songs, but it gradually evolved into a full blown blues album. It was recorded on an old boombox in Tony's bedroom, just the two of them on acoustic guitars. The sound quality was terrible, but was good enough to make out the songs, which were excellent. The three country songs were 'Ramblin' Mind', 'Constant Waiting' and 'Free To Walk'. In addition to the terrible audio quality, there was also no level of performance on these recordings, as Jeffrey was merely showing Tony the material. Releasing these songs from the cassette was therefore out of the question. But if Tony could get them properly recorded, that would be different. Also, because there were no definitive versions of these songs, and there was no idea how Jeffrey himself would have envisaged the completed work, then why stop at one version? It would be fascinating to hear how different artists might interpret these songs from this most basic and crude of templates - the cassette!

Tony initially started to contact musicians through their myspace pages. Mark Lanegan was totally into it and luckily was in the studio at the time, so was able to record his stuff quite quickly. Tony then asked if Isobel Campbell would duet on Free to Walk with Mark, which of course she did. She was so please with it that she added the song to their live shows. Tony then e-mailed Jim Sclavunos and asked if he thought Nick Cave would be interested, who also agreed.

This would have been impossible without Digital technology, with artists adding their parts all over the world - London, Melbourne, Glasgow, Barcelona, Los Angeles etc. Once word of the Project started to get out, more material became available through family and friends. Jeffrey's old friend Phast Phreddie Patterson provided a copy of a home made cassette recording he made of Jeffrey doing 'My Cadillac' and 'St. Mark's Place', which were actually pre - Gun Club recordings. Also, Tony was able to obtain the two inch master tapes of some song ideas they had recorded at the end of the "Ramblin' Jeffrey Lee" sessions.

One of these was "The Snow Country". All they had was Jeffrey's guitar part and the drums; but no vocals. Tony had no idea what Jeffrey had in mind for this song but he had acquired some hand written lyrics that Jeffrey had never used, so they matched 'The Snow Country' lyrics to the track. Gene (?) and Mick Harvey came up with the vocal melody and they had a brand new Jeffrey composition from beyond the grave! With the exception of Lucky Jim, all the songs on the album are brand new Jeffrey songs.

Lucky Jim was on the end of the "Ramblin' Jeffrey Lee" tapes and was the very first time Jeffrey recorded this song. In Tony’s opinion, this version is better that the one that ended up on the 'Lucky Jim' album. Although Tony had a policy of "no previously released songs - only new material", he felt he had to make an exception for this one. The only problem was the tape ran out after about one and a half minutes. But thanks to digital technology, Tony was able to "stitch" an entire song together and then add bass and guitar parts. Debbie Harry added vocals and Chris Stein played Guitar, with Nick Cave's piano to top of it all.

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01. Nick Cave - Ramblin' Mind
02. Mark Lanegan - Constant Waiting
03. The Raveonettes - Free To Walk
04. Debbie Harry - Lucky Jim
05. Lydia Lunch - My Cadillac
06. David Eugene Edwards - Ramblin' Mind
07. The Sadies - Constant Waiting
08. Mark Lanegan & Isobel Campbell - Free To Walk
09. Lydia Lunch - St. Marks Place
10. Crippled Black Phoenix - Bells On The River
11. Cypress Grove - Ramblin' Mind
12. Johnny Dowd - Constant Waiting
13. Nick Cave & Debbie Harry - Free To Walk
14. Mick Harvey - The Snow Country
15. David Eugene Edwards & Crippled Black Phoenix - Like a Mexican Love
16. Lydia Lunch, Dave Alvin& The JLP Sessions Project - Walkin' Down The Street (Doin' My Thing)

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