by jimmypage (ed. actually his instagram page)
On this day in 1987, I recorded ‘Blues Anthem’ (If I Cannot Have Your Love, I’ll Sing The Blues) with Chris Farlowe‚ which appeared on the Outrider album.
Chris was somebody who I first saw in about 1957, in the heats of the British Skiffle Championship, where he sang ‘All By Myself’ – a Johnny Burnette number that was rockabilly and not skiffle and he was extraordinary.
I had seen him play with his band ‘The Thunderbirds’ at the Ebbisham Hall in Epsom and he was truly one of the shining lights of the Southern music scene in the late ’50s and very early ’60s. He went on to build a substantial solo career and I had a great respect for his cavalier vocals.
Here’s an excerpt about Chris Farlowe from JP’s new book, Jimmy Page: The Anthology, available now from @genesis_publications
During the recording of Outrider, I asked Chris Farlowe to come along because I wanted to play blues with him. ‘Prison Blues’ was just a live take with bass, drums, guitar and voice. We did two takes, working really quickly and effectively.
After that, I picked up the Washburn acoustic 12-string and started to play some chord progressions. Chris sang along to them, making up the lyrics as he went. We carried on like that and before we knew it we had completed the whole piece.
Fortunately, somebody had pressed the record button, so we could hear it back. Then we recorded it again with everybody playing live. It became ‘Blues Anthem’.
Creating something out of thin air like that – just channelling music in the moment – was absolutely amazing.
I was really thrilled with it. Later I decided to put some orchestration over the 12-string. I got my Roland 707 guitar synthesizer, which I used to call the ‘Dalek’s handbag’, and came up with this line on it. I think it’s the only time I ever used that guitar.