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Elf 'n Rich is a project that Jeroen Elferrich and I started about a year ago. We've done three recording sessions and the idea is to add a few more songs and then go and gig them in bars, cafes etc. Jeroen's recently become a dad for the second time but we're hoping to take this project forward in the new year.

The original concept was to take songs from the 80s and rework them for piano and vocals, maybe with a little bit of guitar or clarinet even thrown in for good measure. We've widened the remit a bit as far as the songs are concerned, going forwards to the 90s for some of our selections. There's all twelve tracks we've recorded here and a website coming shortly. All of the recordings are from simple 4-track sessions, with everything done live - there's not really any possibility for overdubs due bleedover, so everything you hear is how it happened. If you want a CD of this lot, just shout - they're in CD order here:

The Logical Song

The only one with an overdub - the guitar in the middle (obviously!). Always loved this song since I was a kid. Play MP3

S.O.S.

Yes, the Abba song, done with piano and vocals. Hey, that's the idea of the whole project - take a song and strip it to its essentials, maybe tweak it a little, as we do with the end of this one. We think it comes out rather well. Play MP3

Don't You (Forget About Me)

Probably Simple Minds' best known track, although I could name half a dozen at least that I prefer, mainly from slightly earlier in their career. Another interesting one to interpret. Play MP3

Fake Plastic Trees

I've recently really got into playing this on the guitar, following recording this version, which owes quite a bit to the Marillion one from Unplugged at The Walls. I think the lyrics would pretty much some up my opinion of living in Abingdon, which I guess isn't that surprising given that's where Radiohead got together. Play MP3

In Between Days

I really enjoyed doing this one - well, I really enjoyed doing all of them but it's so completely different to the original but that gives you another handle on the essence of the song. It's one of the really nice things about playing in this format is you get to see what's under the surface of the produced versions. Play MP3

It's Different For Girls

Jeroen made me sing this one again because there wasn't enough grit in the first take - an occupational hazard with recording this stuff, not helped by needing to be note perfect for three or four minutes with no leeway. Yes, it's better to be note perfect always but there is so much space in this stuff that if I so much as drop off a note incorrectly it can spoil an entire take. Jeroen was right. Play MP3

Rio

Jeroen came up with a great way of playing this and we just had to do it. To be honest it's not one of the better recordings and I think it'd come across better in a live setting. I must learn to sing saxaphone better or get the clarinet out again! Play MP3

The Cutting Edge

Most people won't know this one - it's from The Comsat Angels' Chasing Shadows album. Pray for Rain or Carried Away (which we played for years in Midnight Rambler) would be more obvious choices but I used to wander around Redland with Rich Bosworth singing this all the time and that led to us recording it. Play MP3

Cover My Eyes

Jeroen's other half, Ciska, a huge Marillion fan, was rather surprised when she heard we'd done this, as he doesn't share her passion for the band at all! It was actually an afterthought - we had ten minutes spare at the end of the first recording and this is the first take. So, yes, one of the words is wrong. Play MP3

Mad World

Post Donnie Darko, a fairly straightforward choice. Pale Shelter's a better song, mind you ;) I think this one was the first we recorded, which you can sort of hear as the vocals aren't as certain as they are on the others. Play MP3

Black Night

We played this when the ELP project did a short gig at an open day at the Vrije Academie in Delft and thought we'd resurrect it for this - just a bit of fun really! Play MP3

The Chauffeur

I've always been a big fan of Duran Duran since I saw them open for Hazel O'Connor on the Breaking Glass tour. This is a great song (and it had a pretty decent video too :D ). It's a bit of a bitch for Jeroen to get through in one go. Play MP3