One of the fascinating things about Flashback Fridays is finding songs in their infancy and hearing the small nuggets that would eventually make up their final composition. Even more intriguing is finding songs that never entirely made the cut. Searching through my massive box of tapes, I encountered many songs like that in their rawest forms before they had been worked out and completed.

It is fascinating to see how these songs progress. But in listening to all these tapes, I have found even more songs that had so much potential but were never completed for whatever reason. That is the story of today’s Flashback Friday.

It was 1992. Fair Exchange had been working on a whole host of brand-new music. I moved into the frontman position. The band was experimenting with adding another keyboardist to relieve me from being relegated to standing behind my keyboard. Enter Phil Bastanchury. Phil, a gifted keyboardist and very close friend of bass player Marc Miller, was brought into the band and made one heck of a first impression, from bands like Kansas to musical styles like jazz and prog. Phil, with his Roland D70, could play them all.

The band had tons of brand-new ideas floating around during this creative time. One idea the band threw around was to do a concept album. One of the many titles offered for this concept album was one I had tossed into the mix. The title was “Welcome to Glittertown.” The concept was loosely based on the story of the prodigal son. The album would follow this prodigal’s rise and fall and ultimate redemption. There was even an idea for the album’s cover. We wanted the album cover to feature an image of a spectacular golden cityscape, “Glittertown.” Then when you saw the back of the album, you would only see that it was all just a made-up facade.

During this period, several new songs were composed for the concept album idea, such as “Higher and Higher,” “Welcome To Glittertown,” and “Find Your Way.” A few of these songs were later completed and recorded.

One song idea that started as a strong contender but was never fully realized was to be the album’s epic finale, “Goodbye To Glittertown.”

Marillion’s 1989 album Seasons End heavily influenced me. Although I borrowed the lyric ‘Glittertown’ from Marillion’s earlier 1984 album, “Script for a Jester’s Tear,” I wanted the concept album we were writing to be all our own. I wanted to create a similar epic tone and knew I had to find a way.

The song was the epic conclusion to the entire concept album. The realization of what the protagonist in the story had forsaken and sold his soul for. It would show how he would ultimately be redeemed by finally leaving the place that had promised so much yet delivered so little.

I had come up with the song’s chord progression and concept. It was Gary Zdenek (drums), Marc Miller (bass), Phil Bastanchury (synth/keyboards), and me (vocals, piano) who would improvise a jam which would result in an arrangement of the unfinished song. All the parts outside of the basic chord progression were improvised on these recordings. Including lyrics and melody. Not present at the initial jam session was guitarist Dave Perrigan.

There seemed to be a lot of enthusiasm for the song after the jam session. The band seemed to want to complete the song. Unfortunately, guitarist Dave Perrigan gave it a lukewarm reception after hearing it.

Despite the lukewarm reception from guitarist Dave Perrigan, the band still had other ideas in the works for the concept album. However, as time went on, other priorities and projects arose, and the idea of a concept album based on “Welcome to Glittertown” slowly faded away.

But even though the album was never completed, the band’s creative energy during that time period is still evident in the raw and improvised jams of “Goodbye to Glittertown.” It’s a reminder of the excitement and experimentation that goes into creating music, even if not every idea comes to fruition.

Listening to these recordings and reflecting on the creative process behind them can also provide inspiration for future projects. Who knows, maybe someday “Welcome to Glittertown” will be revisited and given the full attention it deserves.

In any case, the discovery of these lost tapes is a testament to the enduring power of music and the importance of preserving and documenting our creative endeavors. It’s a reminder that even ideas that were once thought lost or forgotten can resurface and inspire new generations.

  1. Goodbye To Glittertown Jam One Fair Exchange 8:16
  2. Goodbye To Glittertown Jam Two Fair Exchange 2:32
  3. Goodbye To Glittertown Jam Three Fair Exchange 1:47
  4. Goodbye To Glittertown Jam Four Fair Exchange 2:25
  5. Goodbye To Glittertown Jam Five Fair Exchange 3:30
  6. Goodbye To Glittertown Jam Six Fair Exchange 4:16
  7. Goodbye To Glittertown (Mix) Fair Exchange 8:52

Flashback Fridays

Stepping Back In Time Revisiting Lost And Forgotten Projects

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