The 12 Weeks of Fate Line (aka Fate Line Fridays) – He Once

The Fate Line Friday today looks at the second song on the record – He Once. This is one of the older songs, written by me a couple of years ago and arrangements musically and vocally finessed over many rehearsals and performances. It is an observational plaintive love song – nothing ever straight ahead for me, it has both bitter and tender sentiments. 

I love how the bridge has evolved, with five-part harmonies blasting in, first with the band in full flight and then in an a cappella version. “How many flights will he take to get back home, to ramble or to roam….” At one point the harmonies then strip away to just two soft voices singing “across the unforgiving seas.” The bridge finally ends with a lone plea – “…this once elusive love is waiting here with me.”
The mando and guitar duet from the Jo(h)ns is also a fave, particularly in the instrumental coda when we repeat the musical phrase in a more unhinged way – the boys let loose and my rhythm guitar strumming shifts into 5th gear. Too much fun!The Good Doctor John’s Take:The musical thread that runs through this song is the lovely melody that Jonathan and I play together, which was written by Simon. Even though the song has an obvious English folk feel, I keep thinking of Greek bouzoukis whenever I listen to Jonathan and me playing. I particularly like the end section, when Jonathan and I break away from the melody into what sounds like inspired soloing (which in reality for me was a painstakingly constructed part). I also encourage you to listen to Astrid’s bass on this track, which is some of her most fluid and melodic playing on the album.

Simon says:

For some strange reason this song elicits the most Spinal Tap quoting of any other. Perhaps it is the Druid-like melody section, particularly at the end, when someone at rehearsal can often be heard uttering the immortal words: “…and oh how they danced, the little children of Stone’enge.” (see 2:47 on clip below)


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