Jordan: the Demos

There was a very exciting piece of news this morning. The demos of “Jordan: the Comeback” turned up on an open google drive. At time of writing they are still there. Get them while you can. The discovery was announced by Christian on Facebook, and as usual with this sort of thing, a frenzy of interest and speculation ensued: had Paddy leaked them deliberately? Were they real at all? What did this mean?

Yes they’re real. No they weren’t leaked deliberately by the band. It signifies nothing in particular. They are worth listening to, absolutely, bury any scruples you might have and listen to them if you’re at all interested in how Paddy worked at this time. Maybe the possibility of a Jordan Box Set just receded a little; either way, why deny yourself the simple pleasure of listening to something new?

First of all, the actual music. You’ll find it fascinating, very close to the final product in terms of arrangement, lacking mostly the sparkle and pizzazz Dolby and the other musicians brought. There’s a beautiful version of Scarlet Nights in a stripped back piano version. It’s a fully formed and very finished set of recordings. Dolby, when he heard it, despaired of doing anything other than diminish the perfection of the Jesse James songs. And an unreleased marvel, “Who Intrigues You Now?” which is a gorgeous song. That popped up on YouTube not long ago, presaging the arrival of the full set of demos.

And then to the obvious question: how much more of this sort of thing is there lurking? And the answer is an absolute ton of it. You’d be amazed. And I know that’s a really shitty thing to say to fans, that there is a secret cache of amazing stuff but you can’t hear it, but that’s the truth of it.

We could start with the official Sony archives, which is stuffed full of outtakes, demos, live recordings, but the only real route to that is via official permission, which, I hasten to add, I’ve never had, but I’ve seen the catalogue, John Birch somehow got hold of it. The problem is that if you ever by some magic key got into that archive, you’d hit a wall of material which you could only really listen to peremptorily, the sheer quantity would destroy your desire to listen to it very quickly. So be careful what you wish for.

And there is other material circulating in small circles too, the real schizzle, the early recordings, the dodgy cassettes, the Steve McQueen demos, the rehearsal tapes, missing songs. The problem Paddy has in keeping things quiet is that people really love his music, and when someone gets something good, it is inevitably shared somewhere to someone else (in confidence) and eventually someone gets careless and it ends up on an open Google Drive or Soundcloud. And this is what happened this time from what I can see. The unfortunate effect of this happening is more likely to be doors closing than opening, especially if confidences have been broken in the process. But once the stable door is open, ride the horses.




16 thoughts

  1. No need reminding me that i don’t think like a businessman, but i don’t understand the advantage to Sony of keeping the material vaulted. From cumulative reading here the impression is that would be Mr. McAloon’s choice, but i’m surprised a company of such dominance would respect his wishes (unless something was agreed and signed by both parties). If one posits the average age of those who bought “Swoon” or “Steve McQueen” as they were released is 20, then those who most would want to hear what Sony (or Paddy) is sitting on are in their mid-50s. As Mr. McAloon i expect would agree, our ability to listen to and read about his art is soon going to deteriorate, if not already. While i’m convinced the appeal of this music will continue long, long, long after i’m gone, it’s very frustrating to know that the technology to sell lossless downloads of this material is ready now. Someone more versed in how that would be set up will have to explain at what point the investment would be recouped and profits would accumulate. To Mr. McAloon i would ask, “Why not share with those who recognized your excellence at the time you sought an audience?” To Sony, i would say “i cannot give you money for what you won’t make available.”

    1. These sorts of things are never simple. Paddy via Keith Armstrong have to sign off on anything that’s released. There were some indications this was going to happen last year, but it hasn’t. From what I can gather, Paddy doesn’t like his rough sketches to be out in the wild, he wants to be represented by finished versions, and even when he was showing willing, his tapes were somehow locked in a trunk under a mixing desk he couldn’t move, which sounds a little like prevarication. Possibly he may be talked into cashing in on his archive, as a sort of retirement plan, but if the reaction to the leak of “Crimson/Red” is anything to go by, he gets angry when this sort of leak happens, and more so if it was part of some sort of archive release project. It’ll be interesting to know the source of the leak, and just who got careless with the files, but as I said in the piece, it might actually close doors rather than opening them.

      I have no skin in the game here – the leak isn’t anything to do with me, it’s material I’ve heard from other sources anyway, and I’m not a member of the leak police either and certainly not taking any position on the morality of listening or downloading it. I’m observing like most of the rest of us, but I can’t really ignore something of this significance, and hence posting about it. If there isn’t a DCMA takedown heading towards the download source I’d be very surprised, and I’d strongly advise not hosting copies for onward distribution.

      1. Paddy is a genius, maverick but now above all else, an eccentric gentle man. He has a vision of what he should release that doesn’t tally up with what record companies demand and us dwindling hardcore group if fans dream of.

        There’s a ton of live stuff from mid 80’s into 90’s that deserves a release but Sony are giant, Paddy is probably not the easiest man to negotiate with now and the really scary thing is that there really isn’t many of us left who would buy it. Agreed we’re committed, because for anyone who cared about music at that time knows, he was peerless but it’s tiny sales. Unless Paddy is right behind this, it’s hard to see it happening. Our last real treat was the acoustic versions of Steve McQueen which were fantastic but just left me frustrated why wouldn’t he book the Albert Hall and play them live. It’s clear there is so
        much going on with Paddy with his health and well-being that playing live is not going to happen again and we have to pray that his muse can be coaxed into releasing new material and / or someone can convince him
        of that value of releasing old material and that it’s just a glimpse of how he created such perfection and that it won’t be judged as finished project.

      2. I can understand not wanting to release the early versions of existing songs. Fascinating to hear them as a fan, but for the artist, they were a part of the process; the fully realized vision already exists.

        Live recordings, though? Release that shit. No excuse, Paddy 🙂

        Does anyone know if these demos were delivered in with the exact sequencing here?

        1. Sequencing – according to notes with the “Birch” MP3 set. I’ve done some forensics and the set at the google drive is not the same as that, same bitrate of 192kps but different encoding and lead in timing. Therefore this did not source from there, it’s from someone else.

          1) Looking for Atlantis
          2) Wild Horses
          3) Let the Stars
          4) Who Intrigues You Now
          5) Carnival 2000
          6) Jordan: the Comeback
          7) Jesse James Symphony
          8) Jesse James Bolero
          9) Machine Gun Ibiza
          10) Moon Dog
          11) All the World Loves Lovers
          12) All Boys Believe Anything
          13) The Ice Maiden
          14) Paris Smith
          15) The Wedding March
          16) One of the Broken
          17) Michael
          18) Mercy
          19) Scarlet Nights
          20) Doo Wop in Harlem

  2. Thank you thank you thank you for this….did I be sure and say thank you……..good. You should have been awarded an honorary P.H.D in Sproutology by now. Where can one find the Steve McQueen demos you mentioned in the article? Forgive my ignorance. Have you posted em here or can yah? Thanks once again.

  3. BRILLIANT!!!!
    (and now, if somebody has a REALLY good sounding soundboard/radio
    recording of a 1990 tour concert I am willing to swap for my JORDAN:

  4. Thanks so much for sharing this. I appreciate that the band may not like it being out there, but it’s such a treat to hear these wonderful songs in an early (and beautiful) form, especially in these depressing times.

  5. Thanks. I guess Paddy is into that Donald Fagen level of perfection and he doesn’t want stuff released unless he’s 100% happy with it even though we would all happily pay for a box set of takes, outtakes and Paddy breaking wind.

  6. Dear fans , i admire your patience and your insistence to find explanations to the never ending silence Mr Mc Alloon orchestrates for more than 20 years , apart from crimson red maybe ( eventhough the production was so low)

    Prefab sprout, since 1988 , is my favorite band and gave me so much pleasure from 1988 to 2000, but after a while, listening to his interviews in which he explains having hundreds of songs but keep on making mysteries on why he does n t releases them starts to really break my b….
    Why stating he will release an album in sept 2019 and in may 2020 nothing happened , and of course not a single word , how long can we wait a girl at a date that doesn t come ??? After a while you give up.

    I understand paddy faced health problems, but then stop making interviews and vaguely promising things that never come , be honest, say that you retire and we’ll listen the records of the past.
    Paddy’s attitude in the last 20 years regarding his art, is something i don t want to listen anymore , but let me ask a couple of questions i have in mind for that :

    – How does Paddy feeds his family with such productivity ? Don t he feels a little responsible for them ?
    – Why not caring, just a bit, on his fans base ? which now is like snow under sun
    – Why having completely fucked up a career that could have been so brilliant, by not releasing his creations ?
    – Why writing songs everyday and not offering them , showing them ? What’s the point here ? For who does he stores them ?
    – Why do you wear this fucking Santa Klaus beard ?? Does your wife like kissing that ?
    – Why having sent away Dolby ? Calumn is so classical and with no inventions , to my ears at least, there is not that freshness Thomas could bring, calumn is very common, and the production so cheap, why forcing yourself to go against all evidences ?
    – If you can t register anymore in studio apparently, then supply your demos to Thomas , or another producer that will put that in shape ( with your final approval ) and then keep on writing in your ceilar as much as you want but at least some songs will be released from your jails.
    – This imaginary producer could reunite the all band for real ( without you if you can t , just like Brian Wilson) and make real organic sounds , not this attari stuff, stop that shitty sound, it come on …..
    – What is the purpose of keeping all those songs stored for no one ? Just give us a clue , why spoiling all this, what are your real motivations ?
    Prefab sprout was the sound of my youth, i saw them twice in Paris, Paddy’s voice was so special and hypnotic to me, i promoted so much that band to my friends, colleagues for years, that i have enough of it now, you made us wait too long now, and I’m afraid we ll never hear anymore new songs freshly produced, like those days in the 80’s when you were hearing on the radio this or that song for the first time , it was so good to discover it, a full springtime in 3 minutes ….i don t care about demos, and i don t care who spreads them, who cares

    1. This is not meant in a mean spirited way, but some people do care about demos. I am one of those people. I do not expect other people to care, but I am the kind of person that would buy a notebook of a writers earlier versions of my favorite novel if such a thing ever existed.

      I understand your frustration Renato. I adore Prefab Sprout too and wish new material would come out. I have the same frustration (as do many others) with Kate Bush whose music I also adore. She does not allow box sets with unreleased material and she does not put out new albums. And obviously people would buy the stuff like hot cakes. However, attacking personal choices like whether you want a beard (and how one’s wife would react to it) seems like an attack that could be very personally hurtful. I would say the same as to commenting on how he feeds his family. You might have the right to say something but I have the right to react which I am doing right now. To make such an attack on Paddy seems beyond the pale to me. After all, didn’t he supply you with decades of aural bliss listening to brilliant music as you said yourself. Now all of a sudden you degrade him on a personal level? I am sure Paddy worked very hard to give us what he gave us. And I am sure that all came from a deep place. I am grateful to him for that. This comment is not an attack on you Renato, hopefully you will take it as constructive criticism.

  7. The answer to most of those questions is ‘Because can/can’t/want to/don’t want to’. The answer to the personal stuff is ‘It’s personal stuff’.

  8. Concerned my initial remarks might have been taken as instigation to comment unpleasantly about Mr. McAloon for what we all wish was more output.
    i’ve seen how retinal detachments in both eyes can affect someone’s functioning. Can’t imagine what kind of effort is necessary to discern between false and real sounds as one tries to work with music, though.
    Beyond those limitations, it’s his art, and his choice about what to share and what to keep to himself.
    Somewhere Joni Mitchell spoke of having trouble listening to her previous recordings, saying her mind would fill with misgivings wondering if she should have done things differently. Perhaps Mr. McAloon holds on to much of his work trying to avoid such distress.
    Would note how meaningful it is to have piano rolls of Gershwin performing his own compositions, however. Hope someone could persuade Mr. McAloon to make sure he has at least minimal sketches of his many unrecorded songs accumulated, rather than just leaving sheet music behind.
    Whether i get to hear those treasures, or if they aren’t aired out until sometime in the distant future when the magic of his gift is studied at the university level, it frustrates me that i don’t know what to do to help him with his legacy.
    And i wonder what the purpose is of assembling and saving what the siteowner has indicated is voluminous if those who would adore it never get to hear it.

  9. Hi Jw

    I got it and of course i take it as constructive comments.
    My post was a angry reaction on this never ending silence that lasts for so long.
    There was no offense in my mind on paddy’s beard, simply i remembered so many times how much the guy was interesting and fresh in his interviews, even good looking, and now why hiding behind this beard that hides his face, his glance , just like he’s doing with his songs ?
    I just don t understand in fact, why he’s letting die the heritage of his gift, and do not get that his creations are real natural medicines that we may need.
    I have the impression that paddy can be stubborn sometimes on his opera, that something got blocked in him since the refusal of his album “let’s change the world with music” by sony, maybe he got offended there and something broke in his creation process , or release process.
    I have nostalgia probably, they were damn good, and they had so much to explore and touch us
    So don t be misunderstood, my note was a love message to what they gave us, but at the same time bitterness for the silence and promises not held.

    Ah Kate Bush, funny i was listening army dreamers lately, and that’s exactly what i think to be part of, an army of dreamers waiting for new songs…
    She was so sexy, so mysterious, so talented for melodies coming from her intimity
    Anyway, again, no offense for the bearded one here, just a virtual kick in his ass stating, ” hey guy we like you, and would like to hear from you”, just like from a friend, a good one we enjoyed being with

  10. Great contribution, The Old Transformers. It sums things up perfectly.

    To me, surely ‘Who Intrigues You Now’ is about Wendy Smith. But who knows, I like a bit of mystery meself!

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