Category Archives: First EP – 2003

Released in 2003, First was a 4-track EP by Paul Jackson and Andrew Mckenna with contributions from The 11th Hour.

‘First’ EP – 2003

First EP

Recorded at Stanford Sound, Oxfordshire, October 2002 – Feb 2003.

Copies distributed on CD: ~50

Cover by Sam Dallyn

Question: What do you get if you mix a frustrated home studio enthusiast and a talented multi-instrumental music student? Answer: ‘First’, by Jackson-Mckenna…

This was Paul’s colloboration with the multi-talented Andy Mckenna, who offered keyboards, guitar, vocals and trumpet to the EP. At the time of recording, Paul had only known Andy about 6 months. However, this project led to enjoyable (if infrequent) work together, mainly in live performances.

Paul Jackson:

“This EP happened because Andy and I had recently met on a UBM beach mission in Looe, Cornwall, August 2002. We clicked immediately and started to record music together the first chance we got, which I think was November. It was also written to encourage a Christian student friend who was spending a lonely year in Spain.

The core of the album was laid down in two hectic weekend sessions, with Andy staying the weekend at Stanford Sound. I oversaw Russell and Steve’s contributions, without which, the album would have been a guitar-solo-free zone…and who wants that?

I did the production and mixing with moral support from everyone else. The whole enterprise was squeezed into a busy time as preaching engagements abounded and the PFS (FIEC’s Prepared For Service course) assignments were coming thick and fast! Finishing ‘First’ was sometimes frustrating and trying, but I hope you will agree that it was worth the effort. The EP still sounds fresh today. It is arguable that this version of ‘Spirit from Above’ is slightly more gripping than the Milestone version as the excitement seems to build and build, but don’t let me put thoughts in your head!”

Track Listing & links to song pages:

1. My Inspiration
2. In Your Presence
3. Reminds Me of the Son
4. Spirit from Above [Psalm 139]

Backing vocals: Russell Dyer
Guitar solos on Spirit from Above & My Inspiration: Steve Gascoyne

Spirit From Above [Psalm 139] [First EP]

(Inspired by Psalm 139)

© 1994-5 (Jackson/Dyer)

Going away, but I know the Saviour’s love is never far
I’m led away, but with God in front the path is never dark

If I rise on the wings of the dawn, I know you’re there
And if I settle on the far side of the sea, I’ll know you’re there

Oh Lord, where can I hide from your Spirit?
Oh Lord, where can I flee from your love?
Oh Lord, where can I hide from your Spirit?
Grant me the Spirit from above

Whatever steps I may take in the journey of my life
I know that God longs to see me leave the wrong, and choose the right

When I’m away from the friends and the family that I love
It’s good to know I have a friend that cares for me from up above

Oh Lord, where can I hide from your Spirit?
Oh Lord, where can I flee from your love?
Oh Lord, where can I hide from your Spirit?

Grant me the Spirit from above (x4)

 

Paul: “This was written in late 1994. I had a chorus and a first verse, and left the rest to Russell to finish – a very Lennon/McCartney way of working! I seem to recall arriving at Grove Evangelical for an evening service after a weekend away and we were due to perform this song to the congregation. Russell showed me his further three verses and said “Is that alright?” kind of thing. We performed it there on the spot! (Well, that’s how I remember it, but who knows?) I do know the famous riff came in early 1995, and that was a pure fluke when I was experimenting with the top two strings of a guitar!

Were those verses ‘alright’? – they were absolutely wonderful! A model of elegant simplicity. Poetry. A great song about God’s fathful presence.”

PJ on ‘First’ version: “The first released version of this 11th Hour classic. A reasonable version had been attempted in 1999 but no-one was terribly happy with the wobbly tempo, which was part and parcel of the painful early recording methods.

From the first bars, there’s plenty of excitement. Unlike previous attempts, the momentum continues after the (shortened) first chorus, one of Andy’s suggestions. Also look out for the gorgeous piano counter-melody that links the verses.

For the first time, the end section’s ‘duelling guitars’ are captured. Listen out for Russell’s patient and bluesy fills giving way to another hard rock wig-out from Steve!”

Reminds Me of the Son [First EP]

© 1997 Paul Jackson

Each time I hear a song of beauty
Each time I’m lifted by a melody
I’m reminded of your Son
From whom all this blessing comes
And if all this seems too much for me to take
Just imagine how I’ll feel when I see your face!

When I walk the sand at midnight
Hand in hand with my sweetest love on Earth
And although I might pretend
That our love will never end
I remember that our lives are but a breath
And eternity with Jesus is my rest

Middle 8:
These are the things I bring to mind
When the light’s gone out and I no longer see
The world has all but turned to stone
Will Jesus ever set me free?

When I consider what your hands have made
Love and care in everything you’ve done
And this world can be such fun
But it’s not the only one
So be reminded of the Son that sets you free
Each time you hear that sweetest melody

PJ on ‘First’ version: “Originally attempted live in Summer 1997, soon after its genesis. Andy brings some keyboard dexterity to this interesting piano ballad about Creation, beauty, depression and, ultimately, God’s complete trustworthiness. Attempted live several times since ’97, this recorded version has a definitive feel to it, thanks to some really emotive trumpet work on the middle 8 and fade-out. And, yes, the big echo hi-hat sound in the early verses is trying to sound like the album version of ‘Let It Be’!”

In Your Presence [First EP]

© 2002 Andy McKenna & Paul Jackson

Lord, I’m climbing
Up to another day
Lord, I’m trying
To walk the narrow way
But I’m finding
My heart can go astray
Leading me away from you

Chorus 1:

But I’ll rise up on those eagle’s wings
I’ll walk and not grow faint
In your presence, there is great joy
And your holiness, lights up my tired eyes
Take evil away, remove the sorrow from my heart
Lord, do a work in me
Lord, please set me free

Surrounded by your presence
You’re Faithful and True
Lord, may I never stop thanking you
Come, Lord Jesus, fill me anew
Fill me anew

Chorus 2:
And I’ll rise up…

Verse 3:
solo

Chorus 3:
Yes I’ll rise up…

PJ: “Something new! Andy’s own song gets some well-deserved airtime. A great hymn of longing for God’s felt presence and assurance. There are a lot of musical textures in this song, as you’d expect from Andy, and a lot of space for the music to breathe. The fadeout section with piano solo (4:05 onwards) is redolent of early 80s ‘Soul Mining’ by The The, particularly the Jools Holland solo on ‘Uncertain Smile’ (just nod if you don’t know what I’m talking about!). It transpires that Andy is a fan of Essex’s finest jazz pianist, so perhaps there is some unconscious inspiration going on here!”