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Mystery Lesley Rae Dowling Single - a stunningly clear and emotional performance


Almost all Lesley Rae Dowling (LRD) songs are lyrically a mystery. But a mix-up on the digital release of her Split album resulted in another mystery. Three of her songs seemed to have gone missing. The delivery of a new production helped clear up the case.

Tully McCully (McCullagh), long time producer of the singer-songwriter, while going through his archive, stumbled upon fragments of some of the early recordings he had made with the diva.

Previously, in 2020 he got his hands on the multitrack tape of half of her When the night comes album and he did remixes of four songs. In 2021 he found some of her studio demos and created two new productions with them. None of them were the missing tracks.

Single cover (c) Songwrights Publishers

This year he worked with some out takes of a song that was recorded around the time of her self titled debut album but only made it onto her Split album some years later. A version of the song appeared to be one of the missing works from the catalogue re-released digitally in 2012. However the track list on the 2012 release was wrong with the music and titles not corresponding.

Technically and performance wise the re-discovered fragments impressed Tully, reminding him of his first impressions of the artist when she auditioned for him before embarking on her recording career. He decided to re-make (more than just remix) of the lyrically deeply personal song written by Lesley in the 1980s (or perhaps earlier). He calls it Never waits for no one, referring of course to Time. 

Lesley's lyrics are often cryptic with vivid metaphors. This song seems to suggest that she might have  translated the lyrics used in the catchy hook from Afrikaans, where she plays with a double negative.  She also toys with grammar, "Or make it future perfect, if you can, Mr Time"

Her stunning voice completely bowled over industry peers when she crashed onto the scene in 1982. The quality, texture and her delivery in conjunction with her piano playing were pretty much unique, at least in her home market in South Africa. That combination of feelings is there to experience in the new single. The voice and piano were recorded, with the warmth of analog tape, way back in 1981!

Tully has remade the backing in crystal clear reproduction with the addition of new instruments recorded with the aid of current digital technology. To which he ads the re-processed analog recordings. The result is a stunning ballad with all the emotion that only Lesley could muster.

When the label for this release Mountain Records, got the master the label manager recognised something familiar and he went back to the 2012 digital release of Split. It turns out that the titles of last three songs where incorrectly credited and this is being remedied to match the 1983 vinyl release. So the songs have been found, and Tully has given new life to one of them and in the process solved a mystery that was bothering hard core LRD fans.


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