Early in 1997 David’s Jeff Tarayla, a songwriter and producer from New Jersey, flew down to North Carolina to begin the process of planning the recording of David’s next record. The two of them sat in David’s living room with a DAT recorder and laid down simple versions of the songs that were in the running, then spent three days talking about them; deciding which ones to record, how they should sound, what instruments, players and effects to use.
A few weeks later David traveled north to for step two. The primary musicians got together and rehearsed for three days, then they pretty much moved into the studio, TraxEast in South River, NJ . They spent twelve to fifteen hours at the studio each day, starting around noon and working well into the night, and eight days later Hard Earned Smile was all but finished.
Support from David Wilcox, Bill Mize, Chris Rosser, David Hamburger, and Tom Prasada-Rao adds to the solid rhythms and sonic depth of the record.
Many people who have the first edition of this record don’t know that there’s a hidden track on it. I mean really hidden. It’s not one of those tracks that comes on several minutes after the record ends (like you might hear on S.S. Bathtub if you’re patient), it is tucked in before the first song. I know that doesn’t sound possible, but it’s there. Here’s how to hear it:
When you first put the CD in press play on your CD player, then hold down the scan (not skip) backwards button and watch the time display, which will show negative numbers. When you see the readout get to about three minutes and fifty seconds let your finger off and you will hear the song P.O. Boogie. Don’t let it go too far, though, or it will go back to zero and you’ll have to start over. The recording was a rough one we did in the studio on the spur of the moment—one take, one microphone. The producer walks in halfway through and starts playing shaker, then walks out and shuts the door at the end. Hope you enjoy the little bonus.
- Mr. Bennett, bass, harmony vocals, mandolin, requinto guitar, harmonica
- Dave Bush, drums
- Tim Carbone, violin
- Edno, percussion
- Jim Gilheany, fretless bass
- David Hamburger, electric guitar, dobro, pedal steel
- Rick Lewis, organ
- Bill Mize, acoustic guitar
- Tom Prasada-Rao, harmony vocals
- Chris Rosser, piano
- Jeff Tarayla, a.k.a. ‘Lucky’, shaker, harmony vocals, electric guitar
- David Wilcox, harmony vocals
- Stephanie Winters, cello