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three

1990 three

three is the sixteenth studio album by Tèxord based rock group bad medecine and it is the first album to be released as a CD. The creation of this album was the longest recording session in the history of the group, taking over six months. For the album, they worked with Nuño Gomez again, who had also produced their previous record. It was their best-selling record in over a decade, leading them to tour over the world for over two years straight.
 

Songs


her eyes don’t lie to my ears

1.  [6.32]  by sunset [k/k, beast, gomez]     
2.  [3.27]  though [k/beast, bello, robijn, k] 
3.  [4.12]  blue church [bello/bello, beast, k] 
4.  [3.33]  peaches/peace [beast, k/k]  
5.  [14.55]  the collapsing of a single yellow paperclip on a sunday in the park makes me feel like a freak [k/k]
6.  [6.29]  blissful garbage [k, bello/k]    
7.  [7.28]  seven in the eight [k/k, bello]  
8.  [2.58]  give a signal [k/k, beast, gomez]    
9.  [6.41]  soft killings [k/k, beast]  

over and over again

1.  [5.06]  don’t cry [reprise] [k/k, c nelson]        
2.  [5.12]  a song for a friend [k/k, bello]  
3.  [4.36]  if you’re lost [k, beast/k, beast, bello, robijn]      
4.  [5.21]  money sucks [k/k]  
5.  [9.08]  trumpets & piano’s [n james, k, gomez, bello, beast, robijn] 
6.  [2.29]  and so is love [bello/bello, k]  
7.  [7.51]  back to the seventies [k/k, bello]  
8.  [5.37]  broken water [k, beast/k, bello, beast]
9.  [11.48]  90 minutes [k/k] 
 

Credits


Papa Beer : vocals + guitar + piano
Bello : drums + vocals
Roy Beast : bass + vocals + upright bass + rhodes + pianos
Robijn : el & ac guitar + keyboards + backings

Lead vocals on ‘blue church’, ‘blissfull garbage’ and ‘and so is love’ by Bello
Lead vocals on ‘peaches/peace’, ‘blissfull garbage’ and ‘if you’re lost’ by Roy 
Lead vocals on ‘seven in the eight’ and ‘give a signal’ by Rose Voi

Keyboards, guitar and backing vocals by Nuño Gomez
Trumpets by Cassius Nelson Sax, organ and backing vocals by Kofi Sprague
Violins and backing vocals by Rose Voi

Recorded at the Mick Studiós, Tèxord, February – August 1990
Produced by Nuño Gomez
Engineered by Cas Jansze
Mixed at the Mick Studiós, Tèxord, by Cees Johnson, August – September 1990
Released at myzelf music inc., December 1990


Background


After the release of 'broken', bad medecine went on tour as a quartet and travelled all over the globe playing in rock venues. They also did a lot of sessions for radio stations, TV-appearances for late night shows and small in store gigs. Their previous two records sold not bad and the band preferred playing more nights in one city than one night in a massive venue. In this way, they stayed relatively longer in every city giving them a bit of time to discover every city they visited.

During this tour, bad medecine had written a lot of songs which they recorded quickly upon arriving in Tèxord. When they started writing and adding new songs, they found themselves with about fifteen songs which would be too much for one record, so they stayed longer in the studio to make a double album. Overall, the music is more laid back than the previous album and the influences of later Tom Waits albums & Sonic Youth can be recognised in the songs.


Writing and composition


For the recordings of the new album 'three', bad medecine decided to go in the Mick Studios again. They were very against the current popular rock music and especially how the instruments sounded, so they chose to have a more analogue approach. They choose to work with Nuño Gomez as a producer, who also contributed to the song writing. The band also invited Nelson James & Kofi Sprague to give several songs a jazzy edge. At the same time, ‘three’ can be seen as a summary of bad medecine’s output so far, touching upon blues, psychedelica, pop, jazz and noisy hard rock.

Musically, the songs on 'three' are most advanced in bad medecine's oeuvre as they experimented with song structures, time signatures and voices. The influence of jazz can be heard in 'the collapsing of a single' and 'trumpets & piano’, bad medecine is poppy on 'if you're lost' and 'though', and progressive on 'by sunset', 'blissful garbage' and 'back to the seventies'. The blues can be heard on 'seven in the eight' and '90 minutes' which both have a psychedelic feel to it. More than on previous albums, bad medecine used the voices of all members and there is a lot of vocal harmonies. Not only Papa Beer, but also Roy and Bello do lead vocals on this album and Papa Beer later declared it was Nuño Gomez’s idea to elaborate on the vocalistzz experiment. Moreover, the band does choirs and sing with two or three on half a dozen of songs.

The band took their time in the studio, trying to cover all facets of life in different songs. There are three very loud songs, being 'blue church', 'give a signal' and 'money sucks', the latter heavily leaning on the phaser effect used on Robijn’s guitar. There are four very soft songs, namely 'peaches/peace', 'a song for a friend', 'broken water' and 'and so is love'. The songs 'soft killings' and 'back to the seventies' alternate between a soft verse and a loud chorus.


Lyrical themes


Papa Beer sings nostalgic on 'a song for a friend' and 'back to the seventies' and he is melancholic on 'by sunset'. There is also space for criticism on politics in 'though' and 'soft killings'; on our economic system in 'money sucks'. Not all is negative though, as the songs 'give a signal', 'if you're lost', 'don't cry' and 'peaches/peace' all speak of hope. There is also a song about the circle of life, 'broken water' which focuses on the birth of a child. Papa Beer also sings about love, in 'and so is love', and art in 'the collapsing of a single' and '90 minutes'. The more abstract lyrics can be heard in 'blissful garbage', 'trumpets & piano' and 'seven in the eight'.


Release and reception


'three' is the first album that was immediately released on CD. The artwork is done by someone. Papa Beer is simply credited as K. The outside sleeve is only showing the band name & titles. Inside, there is all the information about who played which instrument on what song, as well as the lyrics. The booklet consists of 20 pages and next to the text, there is a lot of pictures from the band on tour and in studio. On the back of the booklet, a picture of the quartet shows them at a table in a bar.

Following tour was set up to take around one year, as they were grown used to this formula. Papa Beer took a lot of his Fender guitars but also played his Firebird – leaving his Gibson SG at home for the first time since he’d bought it in 1969. Robijn played mostly on hollow body Gretsch, but also used Fender Jaguar. Roy played Fender basses and shared keyboards with Robijn, while Bello brought his Ludwig as always. They played over two hours during gigs, mainly focussing on new songs although old classics were regularly played as well.

The album was in an instant success and sold more records as ‘broken’ and ‘under a broken sun’ in half the time. bad medecine initially did not want to release any singles, but they did enjoy making videoclips so the first song to be promote the album was ‘if you’re lost’ with a hopeful clip in colourful baroque settings, released in the early autumn. The same year still, they released ‘back to the seventies’ which reached high in the charges, reboosting the sales of their album as well and the clip receiving multiple awards. In 1991, the band released ‘by sunset’ which was less mainstream, accompanied by a dark clip, and later that year ‘7 in the 8’ which was a hit again.


Tour


After the first part of the tour, the demand for the band was so high that they decided to add a second leg to their tour. To support this, they released a live album 'live and loud' which was recorded during their shows in somewhere in the summer of 1991. The album was released in the end of 1991 and throughout 1992, the band travelled the world again. They released ‘money sucks’ as a single, which was one of their louder songs resulting in it being showed late at night only.

When plans were being made to record a new album, Roy passed away in a bike accident and Papa Beer, Bello & Robijn decided not to make the album. In the 25 years bad medecine had been making records, they had never released a best of record and halfway the nineties, they were asked to do so. In 1994, 'four' was released on the condition that half of the revenues were donated to charity. One CD has their twenty most popular songs and another CD is filled with remixes made by Robijn and his friend Rafael Vantschildt, using B-sides, never released songs and demo versions. Only after two years, the band started working on their follow up album 'the art of coincidence' which would be released in 1996.

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a cufnosed circus

billy navrovski