Working with Bernard Butler from 1997 to 2021 – Mastering new tracks for a reissue of an album I recorded and mixed 24 years ago

Bernard Butler

While working on Teenage Fanclub’s ‘Songs From Northern Britain’ album, newly signed labelmate Bernard came to hang out with us at AIR Studios. He subsequently called me up to take over engineering duties for his no-expenses-spared debut solo album People Move On. He even persuaded my alter-ego Gonzo Lagonda out of retirement to have a go at sawing away on cello. The lovely late Denise Johnson came to add vocals, there were proper 12 piece string section recordings to do, and some indulgence on my part experimenting with mixing effects. All on analogue tape, and not a Pro Tools screen in sight – this was 1997 and we even strolled down the hill to see Princess Di’s funeral cortege sweep past one Saturday afternoon. Reviews had this down as a better album than The Verve’s Urban Hymns! So when Bernard recorded the following album Friends And Lovers we had an abortive start at RAK, then I persuaded him to come up to Chipping Norton for some of the recording. We went to Konk too – all three were great studios! Sadly, Creation Records folded very soon after the album’s release, so it never got the promotion it deserved. A lost classic! Hear it below…

People Move On reissue

Bernard recently made contact to ask me to master tracks for the deluxe 4 CD / 2 LP reissue. He had recorded new vocals over the instrumental versions we had mixed in 1997, having never been entirely happy with his original vocal performances. And these are quite different! There are one or two interesting differences in the backing tracks, as we would have mixed instrumental versions, then sometimes made changes to the final mix. As well as the entire album and all the B-sides, I have also mastered live tracks which I recorded at his early solo gigs Upstairs At The Garage, and there are some fun outtakes and isolated string tracks from the session we recorded with 12 string players at AIR Studios. Details here… The 2021 version is available as a double-vinyl release, and separately, the B-sides are available as a double-vinyl release on Record Store Day, April 2022


Bernard recently said…

“George has worked on too many ends of my creative process to mention over 4 decades, from engineer, to mix engineer, cellist and now mastering engineer. The reason is simple – he knows how to do all of the above better than me and probably better than you, and it’s always a sensible decision to get George involved. Most recently having George master and remaster work for me has felt like the vital set of golden ears that everyone needs when you are coming to the end of your tether on a record. George makes sure it ends up sounding better than you expected!”

And of the People Move On reissue, someone on a Facebook forum I’m on for expensive record players said of the vinyl reissue, “One of the greatest albums ever written… remastered and signed . Probably the best remaster of all time.”

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