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Rowayton Music
Three Bands
Rowayton Music Links
Chapter 1 - Blue Light
Chapter 2 - Dave's Room
Chapter 3 - Airfix
Chapter 4 - Blue Monday
Chapter 5 - The Boston Years
Chapter 6 - The December Projects
Chapter 7 - Pinkney Park
Chapter 8 - Grass Roots
Chapter 9 - The Albums
October Palace
Leftovers and Other Exotic Foods
New Shoes
Chapter 10

New Shoes


“Leave it too long and it slips away”

New Shoes


Group: Noyes and the Boyes
Recording/Mixing Period: January-May, August-October 1987
Location: Soundtec Studios, 25 Van Zant Street, East Norwalk, CT

After Leftovers & Other Exotic Foods, we wanted more professional help with our recording. We found Soundtec Studios in the basement of a converted factory building in East Norwalk, CT. It was new, modern, professionally run and huge. The main studio space (there were two) could fit a small orchestra. One of the two sound booths was large enough to contain a white baby grand piano (in tune). The engineer staff, led by Peter Hodgson, was very competent. (It was also a big thing that he didn’t allow smoking in the control room, let alone other activity.) By that time, Scovil Studios was out of business anyway, and we all had a little more money and a lot less time to spend. It was getting harder for us to play together like we used to. By this time, Audrey Ludemann had two young children, Tom May was preparing to leave the area and considering moving to Maine, Ed Flinn had a burgeoning social life on CompuServe, one of the earliest online communities. All of us were looking at new directions in our personal and professional lives. We didn’t think this would be our last formal project, but it was. We talked about the project in the fall of 1986. Harry had moved back to Rowayton in February of 1986 to learn woodworking, so the band lineup was set at this time. It was the same as we had for October Palace, except Dave Procter wasn’t playing with us:
  • Audrey Ludemann Vocals, guitars, bass, keyboards
  • Ed Flinn vocals, congas
  • Harry Hussey vocals, guitars, bass, keyboards
  • Mark Lebow drums
  • Tom May vocals, guitars, bass
  • Greg Smith vocals, guitars, bass, keyboards, harmonica
Practices began in the Fall of 1986 with the line-up pretty set. We did much of our practicing in the basement of Scott Wyland’s house on 255 Morehouse Lane in Fairfield, CT. Scott provided a lot of logistical support for the making on this album.

We entered the studio in January of 1987. We chose Soundtec Studios, 25 Van Zant Street, East Norwalk, CT. Soundtec was the biggest, most sophisticated studio we’d ever worked in. They had twenty-four tracks. This allowed us real extravagances, like using eight tracks just for Mark’s drums. We used both “through the board” and live “room sound” for the acoustic arraignments. The result was the best technical recording we ever had.

We were also lucky to have the personal attention of Peter Hodgson, one of the owners. Peter pushed us the way a good producer would. His influence was significant in both the recording and mixing. Blaise Sikes assisted.

We also featured Dave Hopkins on piano for one song and Chris Hussey on saxophone for three others. On and off, we spent eight months in the studio during 1987. We did the more “electric” songs first, followed by the simpler acoustic songs. The final song list included:

Montreal Hotel Room was another collaboration, with Tricia Lowrey’s lyrics set to Harry’s music. There’s an incredible full sound of the whole band behind Harry’s vocal. Harry’s arrangement pushed Audrey’s harmony toward discord and brought the kind of lead out of Tom that he rarely was allowed to do with us. (Audrey, as she always does, shortened the title because she found it unnecessarily long. She referred to it always as “City.”)

We found out something incredible on this album. Ed Flinn wanted to sing and write! More importantly, he could! Insomnia is a straight up R&B song with very subtle lyrics. (Listen closely.) We all really liked this piece, the first thing we had heard from Ed since he wrote Alabama for 1973’s Winter Circus.

Audrey had been playing the Sippie Wallace/John Beach song Woman Be Wise since before the rest of us knew her. This version captures her performance nicely. Even though the primary accompaniment is the harmonica, listen to Tom’s intuitive acoustic guitar. By the way, the original list called for the Jonathan Edwards song, Shanty (which had also been considered for October Palace). In the end, Audrey decided that Woman Be Wise was a better choice,

It Takes Away the Magic is Harry at his best; complex music, direct lyrics, with a strong dose of autobiography. We worked really hard on this one, especially the background vocals. This song also features two other important performances. Mark Lebow and Ed provide the unique percussion mix that always differentiated us, and Harry’s brother Chris (older and taller than at the January ’76 Blue Monday session) played distinctive sax.

The vocal arrangement became the subject of a video project by a former girlfriend of Harry’s, Anne DeFelice. Shot at my house on Fourth Street, “Harmonizing” is the only video in existence of Noyes & the Boyes.

Overdrive is one of Harry’s more sophisticated efforts. This song wouldn’t sound out of place at the Algonquin Hotel’s Oak Room Supper Club. We kept the arrangement and participation simple as befit the mood. Chris once again provides a great sax accompaniment on this spare arrangement and Audrey doubles her voice on the last refrain.

Everyone got to do some of their favorites, even if they weren’t originals. Harry wanted to do the Jerry Harrison/David Byrne song Heaven. We all liked it and Harry sings like he means it. The organ sound comes from a small Casio that Harry had. We used it throughout New Shoes and it sounded great through the board. For some reason, we didn’t use the congas on this.

We asked Tom to suggest a song when we were preparing the album. He chose Spodie because it gave him a chance to do the other kind of music he liked and he was a big David Lindley fan. . As with his lead on Montreal Hotel Room, this was the “other” Tom; entirely lacking sweetness. Like Ed’s vocals, this was a Tom we’d never heard before, not even in his work with the Buzzereds. His lead matched the style of his vocals. This song was a good choice; fun for some of us and good for the rest of us.

Hunger Moon was one of my two original contributions for this album. Harry and I disagree on this one. I think the arrangement and structure are indifferent and much prefer the simpler, sparer version Audrey and I do with her on vocals and me on a 6 string acoustic. I do like the piano work by Dave Hopkins, NB.87.W.NS.40P, NB.87.W.NS.41P especially on the quiet last verse.

We began Side II with the old Felix Pappalardi/Gail Collins song about whaling, Nantucket Sleighride. I’d first played this song with Dave Procter back in the Airfix days, and Josh Kramer and I did it during our time in Boston, but Audrey, Tom and I had worked out a three part harmony in the years we three had played together. This was the first of five “acoustic” songs we recorded. (The drums required eight tracks and the songs we did during this session constituted the “electric” ones.)

Gorilla, You’re a Desperado is a Warren Zevon song that I always like, especially that LA oeuvre that Zevon was so good at. We had fun with this song. The whole band gets to play. Chris does great sax and brother Harry provides a not so nice backing vocal at the end. Audrey thinks it’s a fluffy addition to the album, but who cares.

Rio de Janiero Blue by Richard Torrance/John Haeny had been a minor hit for Nicolette Larson in 1978. As I recall, Josh had played this song for Audrey back in the Take Two days. (He had learned it from someone else.) When Audrey decided she wanted to learn it, Josh had forgotten the chords. So, Audrey and Harry figured it out. Like Montreal Hotel Room, this has a big sound and a necessarily strong rhythm section backing Audrey’s vocals.

Urge for Going is a Joni Mitchell song we had been playing for years (wrongly, as it turned out). The song had been a B Side and never appeared on a Joni Mitchell album, so we had had only a rough idea of the words and music. By the time we entered the studio, I had learned the correct version. (Melissa Janicke helped me with most of the corrections.) Harry sings a very good, very thoughtful lead and does the second guitar solo (behind Tom’s slide). When I first heard this solo, I thought this lead was completely wrong and ruined the song. Fortunately Harry was more insightful and when I listen to it these days, I’m glad he ignored my opinion.

Ed had a whole file of songs that he’d been writing over the years. (I have this file as a computer printout, including a fictional persona that Ed had developed to explain these songs.) Root Canal was the second song he offered up. This is a great song; it’s all about Ed’s lyrics and the way he sings them. I also have production notes from Tom May in which he makes special note of Ed’s pronunciation of that British island in the Atlantic as “Bumudo”. Harry provides the “dirty slide” guitar.

Hello in There is an older John Prine song that Audrey had learned via Bonnie Raitt. Audrey provided her own harmonies and Tom provided the usual fine guitar, playing under the lead vocals and harmonica. Also, Harry’s bass is beautifully understated.

Spanish Dancer is a song I had written back in 1982. It parallels Just Before in many ways, but is actually a very different song. When I played it for Audrey she developed a picking that became the base of the song. Tom took the lead vocal and as usual, make the song his own. For this definitive version he provided the lead (actually two leads spliced together by our superb engineer, Peter Hodgson). Harry provided the evocative keyboards and Mark, Ed and I provided rhythm. I was very proud of how this came out and think that it’s one of our finest efforts.

We had finished almost the entire album. Mark was long done with his parts and Ed had gone home for the day. We had a couple of overdubs before we would begin mixing. This is when Tom hesitantly mentioned he had a short musical piece called Little Tumbleweed. He played it for us and speculated on the parts Harry, Audrey and I might play. I also went and picked up Ed at his home (an hour after I dropped him off), telling him he wasn’t done. We recorded this piece very quickly, the last recording we ever did with Tom, a fitting companion to Spanish Dancer and a fitting end to the album.

Harry has remarked that this project is interesting because of how much everyone “filled.” Harry, Audrey and I played an electronic keyboard that Harry owned. Harry, Tom, Audrey and I all played bass. The strategy was to put the best singers/lead players forward for each particular song and for the rest to provide support where they could.

This album was also produced as cassette. I’m not sure how many we made, but I think the run was between 100 and 200.

We had considered many titles and cover concepts for this album. I still have sketches with provisional titles like Insomnia, City, Root Canal, Sittin’ Pretty, and Catholic Tastes. I always thought New Shoes was the best and most accurate concept. Ed Flinn took pictures of Michaela Laetsch, actually her shoes and legs, for the cover. Our friends Bob Kress and Lynn Luchetti did the graphics to make a slick, glossy cover, our most professional packaging we ever had.

This was to be our last formal album project. No one had the time and everyone had other uses for the money.