For 7 hot summer days in July 2015 we crammed ourselves into an unlikely recording studio; a changing room of an outdoor swimming pool in Skegness. With the 1938 Presto recording lathe on the floor we began to cut 78rpm lacquer discs to the sound and view of families enjoying the sunshine and having fun in the pool behind Sheesham & Lotus & ‘Son.
The sound of the banjo, fiddle, Sousaphone and assorted harmonicas and kazoos coming from such a room must have been a little out of the ordinary, even for Skegness. But as the swarf was brushed painstakingly away from the 10” lacquers, in true British fashion…nobody paid the slightest notice, to either the old timey sounds or the matching outfits.
We worked our way through classic tunes such as Charley Jordan’s 1930s hit Keep it Clean originals such as Bedtime Walkaround (written after a sleepwalking incident of Teilhard’s), re-recording when swarf got stuck under the cutting needle and created squeaks and skips. The playback of each recording was greeted with anticipation and silence; breath held to see if was a good cut.
There were moments of hilarity and joy, and of fun and laughter, all set to the sweet sounds of Sheesham & Lotus & Son who defy time by bringing the sounds of the past into the present: a perfect match for Lathe Revival. We aimed to record 10-12 tunes but ended up with 23. Given more time we would happily have recorded 23 more of the band’s seemingly endless repertoire.
21 of these tracks will be available on a brand new CD, which will be released soon. All digitised sensitively to retain the unique quality of the 78rpm disc. More details to follow.