I'm On Fire

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Posted by Prehistoric Fundamentalistic on 01/04/02 - 16:20:56
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Paul and/or Michael may clarify this - yes, on occasion I do defer to other's greater knowledge of certain aspects of...wait for it...THE HISTORY!

One of several exciting ideas in the early 90s - another was a full-blown "BATE" tour! - that Paul was playing around with was an album of duets with female singers. Amongst those he had in mind were Grace, Signe, Ronnie Gilbert of The Weavers (and co-lyricist on "Rose Goes To Yale" and "Champion") and a young singer called Darby Gould.

The song he had down to do with "Grace" was "I'm On Fire". So I'm not at all sure Grace recorded "I'm On Fire" for the "WOH" sesssions.

My guess - and this is just a theory based on circumstantial evidence! (not an official part of...wait for it, THE HISTORY!) - is that Grace recorded her vocal on "I'm On Fire" for the duets album. Several tracks were cut - and when Paul started using the JS name again, he initially said he would come back to the duets album.

When "WOH" appeared in Europe in 98, there was no "I'm On Fire" - but a different (and even better) take of the excellent "Which Side Are You On" - shit, when I first heard that song on "A GUIDE" I thought Kantner was going to have a full-blown renaissance!!- and two Diana covers, including the gorgeous "Blessings".

Unfortunately, there were problems with the European label. Michael was taking a sabbatical and sub (dud!) manager Ron Rainey took the three aforementioned tracks off the imminent (99) American "WOH" and put "I'm On Fire" on instead, complete with a sticker advertising Grace's contribution. (Which made 3 tracks from "DS/VS" repeated on the American "WOH".)

My guess is that Rainey and/or CIC believed having Grace's name on "WOH" would shift more units. So they took the 3-4 years old duets vocal and added new Starship instrumentation.

Paul and/or Michael will be able to tell us what really happened.

Did Grace's contribution sell more CDs? I hate to say it, but her vocal sounds painfully thin when compared to Darby's wild woman moans on the already-released "DS/VS" version.

I have both versions of "WOH" - believe me, the European one is substantially better. 3 outstanding tracks you don't get anywhere else and the track order works better. Less of the Paul song/Marty song schizo feel you get on the American release. (Some people do say the American one is slightly better mastered. Me, I think both versions sound like they were recorded down a toilet!)

No wonder Paul canned Rainey and got Michael back!

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