Wendy James [photo credit: Ricardo Gomes]
Sonic’s Rendezvous Band are one of my favorites. They wrote song after cool song, like ‘Keep On Hustlin,” “Do It Again,” “City Slang,” “Sweet Nothin” and of course, “You’re So Great.” I got my chops singing hard and fast pop songs with Transvision Vamp, and when I heard “You’re So Great,” it viscerally hit me that Fred ‘Sonic’ Smith had written the complete essence of what I was good at. I stored the song in the back of my mind, and waited for the right moment to record it. When I met James Williamson the dots connected and we decided instantly to go and do this together. For all the reasons above and of course, he is bandmates with Drummer Scott Asheton (Stooges and SRB) and he represents Detroit and Ann Arbor, no-one captures the guitar sound of Michigan like James Williamson does. It’s obvious. It was just a question of who was going to shout ‘1,2,3,4…..’
I, like millions of others, begin and end with Bob Dylan. Since I can’t remember when, maybe 12 years old? Bob has been my touchstone. His songs are what I listen to when I need to calm my soul, find my peace, find my strength, affirm my wisdom. Bob Dylan has tracked my soul for all my life so far, and always will. There are of course, so many many perfect moments from him, it’s mind-blowing the simplicity, the complexity, the effortlessness, the timelessness of his words and his melodies. Blood On The Tracks, Bringing It All Back Home, Desire, Slow Train Coming… I mean, I’m just going to list you everything. But… when I was about 13 years old I heard “It’s Alright Ma, I’m Only Bleeding” and that was it for me. He knew everything. Job done. Life explained.
So, now, 2012, when James and I had decided to do “You’re So Great” as a special Single Release, he asked me what my favorite Dylan number is and always, ultimately I go to “It’s Alright Ma.” Enthusiastically we decided to record both songs, and then… Let me tell you, there’s a big difference between listening to “Its Alright Ma” and singing it. I understand his rhythm, his intention, his breath, his humor, his message, to be clear: I understand his choice of words. It was heaven in the studio, losing myself on the microphone, telling the tale, singing the truth, having my few hours bathing in that High White Noise… and James in the control room watching on proudly…Yes. It was a good day… It was the kind of day that explains exactly, innately, why one does this in life.