Category Archives: 11th Hour

This is material from the Christian pop/rock band, 11th Hour.

Paul’s 40th Gig – October 2010

October 2010 in Corsham Town Hall

Variously plagued by ill-health and injury, the performance at our first live performance in many years was missing key members Jez and Russell (who ended up acting as sound man). Old friend and sometime keyboard player for the band, Paul Hazell, manfully deputised on drums (with no rehearsal!).

Personnel:

Paul – vocals, guitar, bass

Andy – vocals, guitar, keyboards

Steve – vocals, guitar

Paul Hazell – drums

The gig was ambitious. Held in the daytime, it lacked a little atmosphere and most of the guests were deep in conversation rather than listening to the band. The initial set was patchy but the second set took off with a barnstorming Sweet Home Alabama – and the rest was history!

The gig was ultimately quite a rousing success. It was notable for the only outing of the most recent collaboration between Paul and Russell – Something That Will Last. This reflective song looks back over past years of being a Christian, and then looks forward to the believer’s glorious destiny in heaven. The track is a big favourite of mine!

Sweet Home Alabama (c)Rossington/Van Zandt, 1974

Spirit From Above

Something That Will Last

Calling Earth EP – 2000

callingearth

Recorded January – March 2000 at Stanford Sound and GBM, Abingdon.

Track listing & song page links:

1. Marred
2. My Inspiration
3. I Can See Her Face

Copies distributed on CD: ~30

Cover by Jez Fernandez.

This EP was recorded for the purposes of publicising the band in 2000.

Copies went to all sorts of people, from people involved in Christian music, to friends, family and anyone else who was interested. The EP was our first official release, and represents a good effort at capturing the band’s sound.

Despite the relatively good technology on offer, some of
the ‘invisible’ backing that underpinned the actual bass and drums
recorded on the EP was rushed, the result being that My Inspiration, in particular, was a little slow and lacked punch. (Entirely Paul’s fault!)

Additionally, a less than magical antique microphone meant the vocals were pretty thin, or authentically 60s, depending on your point of view. Still, the group played well and the songs shone through: Marred for its chorus, excellent guitar work and imaginative lyrical concerns, I Can See Her Face for its sheer groove – and Steve did a fantastic job of arranging the song from Paul’s original version.

This CD enabled us to make some connections in the Christian music
scene and play several high-profile gigs that year.

The EP was recorded in a Fostex R8 reel-to-reel tape recorder and a
Fostex R81 2 matching mixing desk. Although it was digitally edited with Cool Edit, all subsequent band releases were recorded digitally from start to finish.

History of the 11th Hour

11th hour at prayer?
11th hour at prayer?

1991 After several years as a rock music fan, Paul Jackson buys a guitar and tries to emulate his musical heroes. Tries to record a Beatles song on a cassette machine and pens a few (thankfully) long-forgotten songs.

Paul playing guitar 1992
Paul playing guitar 1992

1992 With help from a guitarist friend called Alan, masters the guitar further and writes another song, Private State. Not too good, but playing and singing coming on well.

1993 Becomes a born-again Christian – still interested in music, but begins to write songs about his new-found faith.

1994 Paul meets Russell Dyer at Grove Free Evangelical Church, Oxfordshire. Russell is also a guitar player and songwriter. The two hit it off immediately and begin playing and writing together. ‘Spirit From Above’ is first significant effort. Paul buys a Fostex 4 track cassette machine and gets stuck into making demo recordings.

1995 Paul & Russell write and record more songs. They meet guitarist and songwriter Steve Gascoyne whilst the duo are leading a service at Hanney Mission. It is nearly a year before all three work together. ‘Don’t Throw Your Love Away’ written this year.

Paul in the 'studio' 1995
Paul in the ‘studio’ 1995
Russell recording 1995
Russell recording 1995

1996 Paul, Russell and Steve start to work together with various jamming sessions. Paul makes more demos at home. Not so many new songs this year, but the threesome are gelling well. Band work on each member’s strongest material.

Russell, Paul & Steve 1996
Russell, Paul & Steve 1996

1997 Jez Fernandez joins as drummer upon returning to Wantage from university. First gig, as the ‘Jesus Loves You Free Electric Band’ in Abbey Meadow, Abingdon. Pretty hot – weather wasn’t bad either!

Abbey Meadow gig 1997
Abbey Meadow gig 1997
Russell at Abbey Meadow gig 1997
Russell at Abbey Meadow gig 1997
Jez at Abbey Meadow gig 1997
Jez at Abbey Meadow gig 1997
Steve at Abbey Meadow gig 1997
Steve at Abbey Meadow gig 1997

Later in the year, Paul buys an 8 track tape machine and a decent mixer – the sky’s the limit! They play at roadie Dave Owsnett’s engagement party at Abingdon school in December. Paul prefers to forget his attempt at ‘Everybody Needs Somebody to Love’ singalong with Afican gospel choir. Cue stoney faces and silence in the hall!

1998 Band plays at a youth event in Garford as ‘11th Hour’, a name coined by David Henderson from church. Many of the songs have evolved well and the band seems to be getting more and more proficient. In December band start recording three songs in two days at ‘Stanford Sound’. Project actually finishes at end of May 99!

Stanford Sound

Jez & Russell recording at Stanford Sound 1999
Jez & Russell recording at Stanford Sound 1999

1999 Big Christmas gig for friends and family in Grove village hall. Quite good actually – even if ‘Brown Eyed Girl’ will never be the same again! Paul Hazell joins band as keyboardist. Paul J writes ‘Marred’ (about Northern Ireland) and ‘My Inspiration’.

Grove December 1999
Grove December 1999

2000 Year begins with the ‘Calling Earth EP’. Recorded with help from Mike Parsons at Grace Baptist Mission studio, Abingdon. Three songs are attempted, and finished off at ‘Stanford Sound’. EP is a bit of a mixed bag but certainly the most professional sound yet achieved. Copies of the EP are sent out to various organisations. Band plays UCB ‘Cross Rhythms’ festival in July (how did we land that gig??) and youth events in Faringdon (Sept) and Littlehampton (Nov).

Cross Rhythms 2000
Cross Rhythms 2000
Cross Rhythms, Okehampton, July 2000
Cross Rhythms, Okehampton, July 2000

Russ’s ‘Hope In The Saviour’ helps give the gigs a very direct focus on the Gospel. The 11th Hour’s star is rising and there is talk of it fast becoming Wantage’s best contemporary Christian band! 😉

2001 Unbeknown to them, band plays last gig at the Q Gundersen’s ‘Impulse’ event in Faringdon in February. Also performs four songs ‘live to air’ at UCB Cross Rhythms radio station in Stoke, the day before final gig.

Outside UCB, Feb 2001
Outside UCB, Feb 2001

The band can now go in a new direction, but not all are keen to pursue the commercial route via Cross Rhythms. By now the band is taking up a lot of time and, with wives and babies on the way, the band goes into hibernation….

2004 After a large investment in the facilities at Stanford Sound, band begins to record semi-live album Milestone, a collection of their best tracks so far. They attempt to record the songs as live as possible in an attempt to recreate the songs as they were performed on stage. However, some of the songs evolve during practice sessions and the band decide to record these more interesting versions for posterity.

Seck mixing desk, Stanford Sound, 2005
Seck mixing desk, Stanford Sound, 2005
Andy & Russell, Stanford Sound, 2005
Andy & Russell, Stanford Sound, 2005
Let there be drums! Stanford Sound, 2004
Let there be drums! Stanford Sound, 2004

2005 Recording continues at Stanford Sound, spurred on by the fact that Paul will be getting married early 2006!

2006 Milestone released on limited edition CD in February.

March 25th 2006 – Photo opportunity at Paul & Liz’s wedding.

Paul & Liz's wedding, 2006
Paul & Liz’s wedding, 2006

Milestone LP

Milestone - 2006
Milestone – 2006

At last! After performing together since 1997, the 11th Hour finally got the album they deserved!

Sam Dallyn created the excellent cover.

The album was recorded between December 2004 and April 2006 at Stanford Sound, Stanford in the Vale, Oxfordshire (Paul’s home studio).

Tracks & song links:

1. Marred [2005 Version]
2. Don’t Make It Right
3. Pushin’
4. My Inspiration
5. Since I Met You
6. Lonely Road
7. Don’t Throw Your Love Away 1
8. Reap What You Sow
9. Don’t Throw Your Love Away 2
10. Unemployment Blues
11. Spirit from Above
12. Walk Away
13. Reminds Me of the Son
14. Lucy
15. Hope in the Saviour
16. Face is of a Beauty
17. Don’t Run from the Light
[ 18. I Can See Her Face – hidden track]

The Making of Milestone

This project was conceived because, even after the band’s regular gigging had ceased, Paul had long wanted to put together an album of all the songs the band performed on stage. Unfortunately, a track-by-track audit of the tapes of the 11th Hour’s gigs showed that they were neither comprehensive, or sometimes competent enough, to put together a definitive live album of their best songs. Milestone was their biggest project ever, comprising 17 tracks on one CD, all pretty much recorded from scratch. It was a tall order, made all the more challenging by the fact that, during recording of the album, Paul had met his future wife, Liz, and was getting married in early 2006.

The album was made possible due to a large investment in the facilities at Stanford Sound, centred around a Roland GD-10 digital drumkit for Jez. A massive 18-channel Seck mixing desk allowed many more permutations of monitoring and recording. Headphones were purchased, along with a headphone amplifier, which created a virtual studio in the musician’s ears – while the neighbours heard nothing! This may have allowed the band to break free of any inhibitions they may have had recording in a home environment, because the results were thrilling! It was certainly the best environment the band had ever had to record in as they were all able to play together, and crucially, properly hear one another at the same time. The upstairs bedroom became the control room and the lounge, with its tangle of wires, amps and guitars, became the ‘stage’.

The general idea was a semi-live album, with no more drum machines! Jez took to the GD-10 kit like the proverbial duck to water, which was the foundation of the live rhythm section. Where possible, all the drums, bass and rhythm were recorded live, without overdubs. Guide vocals were also laid down at the same time and the final vocals were normally re-recorded as overdubs.

‘Semi-live’ meant that the recordings could not have horrendous blunders, but they were not always going to be polished perfect either. There were, inevitably, a few damped strings and fluffed notes, but these were triflings when compared to the amazing punch and pace of the band playing live. A couple of the songs, Don’t Make It Right and Hope In The Saviour, were remixed and overdubbed from studio performances that were already ‘in the can’ from previous efforts. Quite simply, it would have been pointless reworking Russell and Steve’s existing versions of these songs. These were definitive versions: intimate, passionate – and powerful. A third song, Paul’s Reminds Me of the Son was actually a complete reworking of the ‘First version. Andy’s piano and trumpet remained, overdubbed with new drums from Jez and new bass and vocals front Paul. Again, why try to reinvent the wheel?

Andy Mckenna mode a valuable contribution to the Milestone project. In one weekend, he added brass, acoustic guitar and organ to the epic Don’t Run from the Light.

What’s the last track?

Anyone with the CD copy of Milestone will have noticed a ‘hidden’ track, number 18. This song is actually ‘I Can See Her Face’ from the Calling Earth EP.

Recording is a funny business. Your first efforts are often disappointing, but like a lot of things in life, it gets easier the more you try it. Calling Earth was one such example. The first two tracks, Marred and My Inspiration, weren’t awful by any means, but somehow didn’t capture much of the excitement that we got from playing the songs live. The third and final track, I Can See Her Face, was a different story. It wasn’t that it was a particularly good song live, it was just that it all wonderfully came together in the studio! This is without a doubt the 11th Hour’s definitive version of this track. Sure, the microphone’s weren’t up to much, and the slightly strained vocals on the key change will always knock my ear out, but this version has so much going for it. Jez is wonderful, Steve’s solos are fantastic and where would it all be without Russell keeping order with his absolutely unshakeable trademark rhythm guitar? (Interestingly, this is probably the rockiest piece of music to be recorded at Grace Baptist Mission studios in Abingdon!) Thanks to Mike Parsons for all his help.

So, this final track made it on to Milestone for several reasons: It was unlikely ever to be recorded this well again, and it provided a contrast with the band’s current output. A bit of nostalgia and a reminder that the Milestone was by no means the band’s first recording effort. Finally, it proves to us, the band, that recording is worth persisting with. We are grateful to God for our progress as musicians, both on stage and in the studio. On Calling Earth, we got it right 33% of the time. On Milestone’s 17 tracks, we probably really hit the groove on over 14 of the tracks and created definitive versions in the process. By my maths that’s a hit rate of over 80%! Good progress in six years.

To my brothers in Christ – Russell, Jez, Steve and Andy. Thank you, and well done!

Paul

I Can See Her Face [Hidden Track]

© 1993 Paul Jackson

Waltzed up to me, she was just about five foot five
From that moment on, I knew what it was to be alive
The things she made me feel, a thousand poets couldn’t express
I was trying to say the words but I knew they’d come out a mess

High street, I’m looking scruffy, here she comes the other way
Wished I’d changed my clothes and I wish my hair would get up and stay
Briefest smile, eyes are touching, nothing I can do or say
Back to square one, as she walks off to another day

Time’s passed, and years later I can still remember those days
Everything’s the same with me, never making any headway
The past is always smiling and I wish it never went away
But I’ve got hope for as long as the memories don’t fade

Eleven thirty Sunday evening trying hard to slip away
Memory, image forming, just the same as yesterday
But I’m mistaken!
The image is being taken
To the little bunch of thoughts at the back of the brain
Where every little moment just remains the same..

I can see her face
I can see her face
I can see her face
It’s a perfect reproduction of a time and place

I can see her face

Paul: “An interesting one this. A song with a very simple chord pattern that seemed to be (slightly) based upon ‘R.O.C.K in the USA’ by John Cougar Mellancamp, a song I enjoyed in the 80s (although I subsequently realised it had some unhelpful lyrics in it…like so many good tunes).

The song is about that feeling of having a memory come into your mind very forcibly, so much so that you actually feel that you are back ‘there’, wherever that might be. I think it is the sort of thing that happens when you hear a certain piece of music. In my case, my post-adolescent mind remembered the face of someone I had been keen on a few years before and I thought I could remember her face particularly vividly on one occasion. Verse three is a bit self-indulgent from today’s viewpoint, twentysomething angst in the face of another rejection, perhaps? Well, it all turned out right for me in the end and Liz was worth the wait!

Steve broke up the rather cyclical pattern of this song and made it much more of an epic for the version we eventually took on ‘tour’ and recorded. An incredible Edge-like guitar delay slowly moves in, followed by bass notes and Russell’s rock-solid rhythm guitar building to a cresendo and fade-out. It’s an unusual structure with only one chorus, right at the end. I liked the way that Pete Townshend would sometimes end his songs with a chorus or a fade that was completely different from what had preceded it.

And, yes, this is the ‘hidden’ final track on Milestone, exactly as it appears on ‘Calling Earth’. We couldn’t better it!”

Don’t Run from the Light

© 1994/97 Paul Jackson

Don’t run from the light
Don’t run from the light
Things will only get darker in the night

Don’t run from the sight
Of Someone so pure, so bright
Because the hand that you’ve been holding
Is really nothing short of a lie
And the hand that seems so easy
Wants to blind you ’til the day you die!

Don’t run from the light
There’s really no need to fight
Because the things that you’ve been hiding
Will eventually come to light
But if you’re sorry and you mean it
Then the Lord will set you free for life

Don’t run from the sound
He’s calling out all around
And if you dare to listen
He’ll illuminate your fallen plight
And if He speaks the truth
Then you’re taking up your cross tonight

(Solos)

Please don’t fear the preaching
It’s only truth that I’m teaching
And if you feel discomfort
Rest assured it’s hands of love I hold out
And if you think I’m crazy
Then I think it’s more to do with doubt

Go walk in the light
Go walk in the light
And now you know you should do
Then this is your appointed time
You’ve started on the journey
And He’s with you all down the line

(End phase)

Jesus, the Only One
Jesus, God’s Only Son
Don’t run from the..
Don’t run from the..
Don’t run from the light
(Ad lib to fade)

Paul: “It was 1994 and I was home from University on holiday playing around on my guitar. I stumbled upon this riff which I was particularly pleased with and started writing some lyrics. They reflect what I still passionately believe – you can continue to shut out Christ, the Bible and preaching, but it won’t get you anywhere in the end. Every moment of trying to enjoy the pleasures of the here and now, at the expense of knowing Christ, will plunge a person into the ‘outer darkness’ (Matthew 25:30 KJV). People are always on the look out for a good party, but Jesus warns us to make sure we are in attendance at the best party of all – His! Things will only get darkner in the night, so take this song as an impassioned plea to receive the salvation that Christ commands all of us to receive.”

Face is of a Beauty

© Steve Gascoyne

Your face is of a beauty I can’t picture
And a thousand words can’t describe your loving smile
I watch you travel miles through this life’s dark adventure
Travelling upstream against the current I watch you go
As you grow tired
And this pain was all you knew
And yet you still smiled
Is that why I love you so?

I see your photo smiling from the sideboard
And I think of you and when you were a child
I’ve cried the silent stream that runs to your pillow
You looked up, the tears were running down your face
I tried to wipe them
But they were cried many years ago
Disillusion and disappointment
Now you’ve got to let them go

Chorus 1:
Don’t know why I love you so
I can’t get it out of my mind
It picks me up and throws me down
Makes me feel kind of funny inside
But even though it hurts me so
One thing I can’t deny
That this love, oh! this love’s the best love that I’ve found

Now in the garden a young man he was crying
And as He prayed, the blood fell to the ground
He knew His fate, He knew that he could save us
He turned around and found His friends asleep on the ground

He had to leave them
It all happened years ago
But at that time they did not know
To what lengths His love would go
(Now I ask you)
Is there anywhere in this world where my Lord’s love can’t go?
Or a mountain He could not melt down to the sea?
For I was lost, hurt, upset and so unhappy
That He found me and gave His love for me

Can I deny it and say that it’s not true?
To say that He never loved me, believing the lies I once knew?

Chorus 2:
Don’t know why I love Him so
I can’t get it out of my mind
It picks me up and throws me down
Makes me feel kind of funny inside
But even though it hurts me so
One thing I can’t deny
That this love, oh! this love’s the best thing that I’ve found