The Spy Who Stayed Out In The Cold (ft a celebrity drummer)

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« on: January 12, 2019, 12:52:42 PM »

I wrote this last year but never got round to posting it for one reason or another. It's about Willie Fisher, who was born in Benwell, Newcastle...which is about 15 miles from me. I was born in Newcastle too...not that we're kindred spirits or anything  :P I thought I'd clear out some songs I never posted for feedback but I hope are ok/interesting.

Anyway...he was the Soviet Spy who was exchanged for U2 spy plane pilot Gary Powers and featured in the Tom Hanks film "Bridge of Spies"  I read Vin Arthey's great book about it...and thought I'd do this. I managed to shoe-horn an old Russian tune in for the guitar solo. I used drum loops played by Pete Thomas of the Attractions.

I was always a little furious at myself at using two variations of "cruel" in verse 1  :-[

The Spy Who Stayed Out In The Cold

Born in the cruellest of towns
I swallow up all that surrounds
Disgust for the cruelty of kings
Destined for nobler things

My loyalty is not to be sold
Can’t buy me with silver or gold
I’m gathering moss
One last bridge to cross
I’m the spy who stayed out in the cold

My life IS my disguise
They taught me to steal with my eyes
Followed wherever i go
Can anyone say that they know...

My loyalty is not to be sold
Can’t buy me with silver or gold
I’m gathering moss
One last bridge to cross
I’m the spy who stayed out in the cold.


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« Reply #1 on: January 12, 2019, 05:15:55 PM »
Yo Paul.

Love that syncopated riddim.  8) The bass is just fine too,interesting lines,yet still carrying and driving the song.

I always look forward to reading your lyrics and they are a blessed relief from the usual love song fare,which seems to be everywhere.

I'm old,I'm cynical,I've heard it before,forgive me all you lovebirds.  :D

The drum loops have good continuity and gel well with the track,the ending was pretty cool.

Good work man.  8)
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« Reply #2 on: January 12, 2019, 06:44:48 PM »
Yo Paul
Big dubby rasta-punk... what’s not to like?
I liked the solo in particular, both the melody and the minimalism of it... not too many notes (I’m not a fan of widdly-widdly stuff) and also the simple guitar sound. Just ace, I was hoping for a second helping of it in the latter half of the track.
The song manages to be both hard-edged and chilled at the same time. It felt pretty filmic to me too - could imagine it being part of a soundtrack too.  Great stuff.
It's all too beautiful.


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« Reply #3 on: January 12, 2019, 09:25:41 PM »
I think this punk / reggae fusion style is probably my favourite type of music. I guess it's down to where I come from and the sort of stuff I was listening to a lot when I was younger. You have an amazing ability lyrically Paul. You're able to deconstruct a book and then construct lyrics to a 3 minute song that very few writers can. I absolutely loved the vibe and was glad that you retained that sparsity of sound. The bass sound you have got is absolutely delicious. Rub a dub stylee  ;) Brilliant song


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« Reply #4 on: January 13, 2019, 12:33:36 PM »
So you've got a professionally played and recorded drum track...and yet everything else fits and blends with it to the same high standard...some skill on display right there!

This sounds really good and grooves along nicely.

The era when this style was popular is slightly before my time, and it's not something that I have really ever got in to, but it sounds authentic and if you played a compilations cd of commercially released stuff in the same genre, I don't think I'd be able to pick this out as anything different.

Nice work Paul, good work on the lyrics too.



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« Reply #5 on: January 13, 2019, 03:15:07 PM »
I liked how you worked that Russian folk song in there. Brought me back. I thought the rhythm and vibe we're cool. Nice piece.


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« Reply #6 on: January 13, 2019, 06:03:57 PM »
I’d bring the song in immediately after the main intro riff. 

I always love your vocals and songwriting style. Once again, it’s a pleasure to listen to this.  well written song.  It is well crafted and immediately catchy.  Love the way you lead into the first chorus.    I’d maybe be a little busier on the guitar break that follows. I also think the song s a little short for the bass solo part.  I do love your style of writing though.  I’d perhaps consider developing this into something longer to incorporate those solos .

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« Reply #7 on: January 13, 2019, 10:10:25 PM »
Hey @PaulAds I laughed at this  "I was always a little furious at myself at using two variations of "cruel" in verse 1" - I've SO been that soldier - last version was truth and untruth bookending a verse!!

Great vibe and sound to this. Love the drums! This has a great laid back pace to it.. it's infectious really, the rhythm just pulls you and the sparsely delivered lyrics / vocal really work with the style..

Big thumbs up from me..

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« Reply #8 on: January 14, 2019, 09:21:29 PM »
Has your usual hints of the clash, but the Reggae reminds me of The Police's Regatta De Blanc, and the topic is the kind of thing that Sting would write about.

Some great fusion here.

Some clever and thought provoking lyrics, am glad that you finally shared with the forum.

A great listen.


Viscount Cramer & His Orchestra

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« Reply #9 on: January 15, 2019, 04:54:03 AM »
Great sounding song Paul....bass is super.

Love the intro...but yes maybe come in at 0.25 would be preferable though I do like that next bit (which reappears later ...just bass).

interesting solo which works well though....and as I say I like that solo bass interlude.

Is that Pete Thomas loop from DrumDrops..he's done some stuff for them.....I like their stuff! Sounds good anyway.

Appreciate the sparser reggae arrangement which is sharp and fits nicely here...that bass rings out lovely. I'm working at a reggae thing and it sounds a bit overstuffed!

Good vox too. Enjoyed the listen!

Good luck with your FAWM thing if you're going for it. The idea has some appeal......the challenge....but not for me I fear....I take too long on anything.
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« Reply #10 on: January 15, 2019, 06:37:15 AM »
This has a lot of my favourite things. Not raindrops on roses, but minimal but telling lyrics ("they taught me to steal with my eyes"), a topic probably no-one has else has ever written about before, a new turn on a clichéd phrase, a "sampled" guitar solo(!), spacious production, and just a catchy melody.

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« Last Edit: January 15, 2019, 06:44:19 AM by adamfarr »


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« Reply #11 on: January 15, 2019, 07:50:48 AM »
 Hey Paul  ;D

 'They taught me to steal with my eyes'.....class ;D

 Got a big dose of Dreadlock Holiday, right at the start ;D.  But as soon
 as the vocal started...It was all yours ;D ;D I thought the character of your
 vocal suited this style really, really well....hand and glove thing ;D ;D .

 Memorable/Impressive lyrics...as always ;D ;D .  Just love it mate.

« Last Edit: January 15, 2019, 08:09:45 AM by Binladeda »
Nowt as queer as folk...........my gran


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« Reply #12 on: March 02, 2019, 09:41:20 AM »
Awkward to drag this back up...but I never got round to replying...and then the song sank without trace. I was intending to say some thanks at some point...and then out of the blue, Karen was kind enough to nominate it for SOTM...which meant I'd have felt a little pathetic at bumping it up in an attempt to raise its profile just for that.

I was very grateful for the lovely replies and wanted to address a couple of things in particular

I did originally jump into the verse straight away...but it didn't feel right...so I waited before coming in with the verse and that didn't seem right either. But I thought it was slightly less wrong doing it this way...so I totally get your point...I just flipped a coin on it, really.

The lyrics still bother me and I think I'll change a couple of lines when I get a minute.

And yes, Ian VC...the Pete Thomas loops are from Drum Drops...who do some great stuff. Funnily enough though...I had a few problems getting some of the loops to knit together...which was a bit odd.

I think that covers it...thanks (and sorry) again!


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« Reply #13 on: March 03, 2019, 12:56:06 PM »
I really liked this song Paul...I enjoyed it very much when I listened to cast my vote. I wouldn't´t toy with it too much, it´s well structured and a little different to other stuff on here. Great piece of work.


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« Reply #14 on: March 04, 2019, 03:48:37 AM »
The Russian tune doesn't feel "shoe-horned in". It fits perfectly to my ears. I have no nits.