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The odd man in the collection here is "Radio." It was the second or third song I wrote for that first recording session in Damascus (in order, "Blue," then "Radio" or "Better Than This," followed by "Play By The Rules.") The song had pop-radio appeal, but not in a way I was comfortable with. I imagined it would be the first song I'd sell to another artist. It’s obvious in every recording that it doesn't fit with anything else in the Soul Parish catalogue. The vocal style was tongue-in-cheek even in that first studio session because I didn't actually like the song. Yet, somehow it must be an important part of the Soul Parish history because I kept going back to it. I intended to release it on Soul Parish Lost Tracks 2 with Electric Blue because the style is closely related to those first pieces, but I held it back because I wasn't happy with the same old vocal treatment, a tired reiteration of a bad idea. So I stepped back from what I had done and thought about what inspired me to write the song.

Those original ideas are highlighted for the first time in this 2021 release. The song was written in a few minutes, based on a riff. It was the riff—the 16th-note synth ostinato—that the whole song was supposed to hinge off of. Remembering that, I re-envisioned "Radio" from the point of view of a producer working to make it radio-ready, club-ready, and to present a consistent image of the artist recording it. How could "Radio" sit along side "Mercy"—even though "Radio" was written first, they came from the same musical mind and within a couple months of each other.

For the first time since I recorded it in 1986, this revision gives a completely reimagined vocal, more aligned with the image I was establishing at the time. The result is something slightly more mature, pop friendly, but leans toward the darker elements that lurk in the bulk of the Soul Parish catalogue. What's more, the extended mix is closer to my original concept for the song than the radio edit.

Lyrically, Radio manages to find an awkward place along side later songs. In revisiting themes from early Soul, I was discovering a lighter side to co-dependency in my lyrics. A draft of "The One Thing" included a now-lost line declaring "I've got plenty o potato chips." In "No Wrong" I offer my lover a credit card, and "Stranger Than Paradise" is more or less about a really great first date. "With Me" brings the whole narrative into the future-that-was-the-80s and flirts with sexual obsession as if it was, you know, normal.

I was looking for fun in my writing. Even if "Radio" doesn't find roots in 60s Soul, it is oriented around the kind of easy listening that made its way out of Soul into crossover R&B. The other songs maybe show more mature songwriting, but “Radio” captures some silly innocence that 13 year-old girls might have swooned over in 1985 (my sister who was 13 or 14 at the time confirms this). All said, it seems fitting to end the Soul Parish story where it began.

lyrics

Why can't I shake this sense of desperation
It's all presiding since the separation
I want you back now, there's no time for question
Please honey, hurry, now I've learned my lesson

I try to phone you but there's no connection
I'd send a wire but you've no reception
The time without you always seems to stand still
So I sit down and look back and turn on my radio

Radio
Please receive!
And tell me, o tell me,
Tell me where she can be

The days and hours seem to run together
I keep on wondering if you're gone forever
Now did you leave me just to watch my heart break?
Tell me, o tell me, just how much can one man take?

Radio
Please receive!
And tell me, o tell me,
Tell me where she can be

I've been thinking of a plan
To get you back again
Why won't you hear my plea?
Forget the past and please come back to me

The message that I'm sending on the airwaves
Your local DJ will be playing your way
This whole misunderstanding I can't fathom
So I sit down and look back and turn on my radio.

credits

from Soul Parish Lost Tracks 3: Radio, track released February 5, 2021
Lyrics and Music, Nicholas Chase, all rights reserved.
Produced and performed by Nicholas Chase aka Soul Parish.
Nicholas Chase: Vocals, Keyboards, Synth Programming, Sequencing, Mix.

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Nicholas Chase

Nicholas Chase blasts the boundaries of genre. The LA Times describes his music as "The Rite of Spring meets Metallica!" and his whiplash-blend of musical styles has been showcased by Kalvos & Damien and Other Minds radio, featured on KMHT Television in New York, on Salve Television, Germany and has been noted by Strad and Double Bassist magazines, and American Record Guide to name a few. ... more

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