Quiet’s dangerous. We live in a world of bluster. But then again, some people don’t have any fear, and play it half as fast and half as loud as the others. You can’t look away, when it’s quiet like that. — Sippican Cottage
As fate often had it in those dear dead hippie days beyond recall, I was in the booth watching and listening long ago when the great Glyn Johns was producing “Willow” with Joan Armatrading. His largest problem with getting the take was getting Joan to overcome her innate shyness — even in the studio. To “come out from behind the piano, dear,” and address the microphone.
This vid might be from that session — it was long ago, and my old brain fades — but it shows how a singer can shape a song by surrounding the silences. It’s an amazing clip. Through the microexpressions on her face, you can track her mapping, thinking, feeling, reaching within, and then shaping the song around the silences.
In those sessions and others, it was Glyn Johns’ habit to let the song begin, listen to the first few bars, and then shut the whole thing down by punching up his mike and saying, “Sorry. Not sold.” Then the band would begin again and… “Sorry. Not sold.” and… then again “Sorry. Not sold.”, and…
As I recall it, once this take started he just let everything roll.
Come running to me
When things get out of hand
Running to me
When it’s more than you can stand
I said I’m strong
To be a
In a storm
Your willow oh willow
When the sun is out