A Little Ray of Happiness
A Little Ray of Happiness
A double album on CD of 2 hours of ad-libbed songs by Des Cox.
Nothing ever seems to be quite normal in my life, which I suppose is all down to me and the way I behave, and making this double album is no exception…
I love writing poetry and have done so since at junior school… Whereas friends could turn screwdrivers and bang nails with hammers, the only talent I was blessed with was in being able to write poetry, stories, songs and draw. Recently a friend in Sweden who had copies of many of my poems, called to say how much she loved them and as I could write great songs, then could I please put them to music… She pointed out that the lyrics to most modern day songs were crap, whereas my poems were beautiful and had so much meaning, but I told her that I really didn’t want to record again.
I should just say that back in 1964, a friend and I signed with EMI as a duo under the name of Des and Dave, but I have never recorded as a solo artist before. Anyway, very eerily strangely, a few days after the call from Sweden, I had a similar call from my daughter Anna. “Dad, you write such beautiful poems and songs, so why don’t you go into a studio and record them.” But again I said no… Then a few days after that my wife, Ulla, suggested the same thing and again, I said no. Then a few days later, completely out of the blue, one of the world’s greatest music arrangers and producers called to suggest the same thing.
We hadn’t spoken for years (He used to be the drummer in our band back in the 1960s) so it was strange, but he told me that he had just done an interview with an American magazine and the interviewer asked him who was the best lyricists he had ever worked with; (Wil had worked with the very best including Paul McCartney, Adele, Beach Boys, Elton John, The Who, Pet shop Boys, Meatloaf etc., but when he answered the question he replied. “Well it’s not someone you will have heard of because he avoids notoriety, but his name is… Des Cox.” That made him think of me and believe it or not, he asked if I would put music to my poems and record them. He even offered to pay all the recording costs and would happily use Abbey Road or the like, but on condition I would record them as a solo artist… Then he added… knowing you, you’re going to say no but, if you ever do record then promise me that you will do it as you want to do it, for you have your own very rare and special talent.
Then would you believe, as few days later I got a call from a bloke I had worked with years ago when I recorded some music for a TV programme in a small studio in, and he said: “Look, I worked with you years ago recording and I always thought you were special, so now I’ve got this computer programme that allows me to record here at home, can I record you?” He added, almost beneath his breath… I won’t charge you much money
Wife Ulla suggested that it really wouldn’t hurt if I just went to his flat and did a couple of numbers, and so I shrugged and thought, yeah, why not. So I went to his flat, which turned out to be one of the smallest flats in the universe and it wouldn’t have rated in the worlds top tidiest flats either, but all I cared about was the music and at least when someone called to ask if I’d record my poems I could say to them…I’ve tried and it didn’t work.
When I got to his place he looked at me and asked. “Have you got any top-lines for your songs?” “No.” I replied… “Well, are you going to play the melodies to me then?” “No.” “Well, how can I record you if you ain’t got no songs?” I paused… “Look, I’m going to just recite one of my poems to myself in the hope that a melody for it will come into my head and when it does, I’ll count you in (he and a backing singer) and when I start to sing, you do your bests to follow me.” They looked shocked. “But you can’t ad-lib a record… no one ever does that in the recording business!” “Well that’s what I’m going to do and if it doesn’t work, well we’ll just call it a day and bin it.”
They thought I was totally mad but remembering what Wil had told me about how important it was for me to do it my way, that’s what I did and so I took the microphone and started to recite one of my poems and as I did, as if by some strange supernatural force, the melody came into my head and as it did so I counted them in and started to sing…
When we got to the end of the song they had tears in their eyes. “Are you alright?” I asked. .”That was so beautiful.” He replied. “But why?” “Hmmm, well instead of reading someone else’s musical scores you have had to listen to me and in doing so, you have listened to my melody and every word very carefully and in doing so, you played from your hearts and soul and that is real soul music.
I can’t write the whole story here, other than to say that those two original numbers turned out in the end to become a double album and a whole stage show lasting over two hours, full of everything from comedy to impersonations to all types of songs including country, rock ‘n’ roll, ballads, even psychedelia and lots of original stand-up comedy and comedy songs and all totally ad-libbed. So far three tacks have been released as singles and all have gone into the European and World Top 100 Charts, one even getting to Number One in the World, which is amazing when you consider that this isn’t a recording done in one of the world’s greatest recording studios, but in a tiny little flat, with just a basic recording computer programme and one microphone… No double takes, no voice trickery and enhancements, just what is perhaps one of the most basic music recordings ever made, and when it ends the hope is that you will feel so much happier than you did before it started to play.
One last bit of info, which I really shouldn’t tell you, but the title itself came from a bloke called Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex, who came out with it when discussing the disabled forces games he used to organize, so thanks Harry, but no, you’ve already got far too much money so before Megan even asks you to demand more… It won’t happen, for this record is really all about really bringing happiness and understanding to everyone in the whole wide world, so do enjoy it.