It isn’t easy to condense a five decade career down to six records, but Richard Anthony Hewson (aka The RAH Band) has done his best.
It was a task confronted earlier by Martin “Atjazz” Iveson who had to pick just 12 of Hewson’s classic tracks to remaster for a new LP. The Rah Band: Producer’s Choice is the title of the new album — a retrospective looking across Hewson’s unparalleled career which has included work with Herbie Hancock and arrangements for tracks from Diana Ross & The Beatles. Mr. Hewson selected six records he’s worked on in his career to tell us about them for 5 Mag’s Select Series.
Perfumed Garden / The Rah Band
This track was the first Rah Band tune to have a vocal, it was sung by my then wife Liz just as a demo. She was a brilliant pianist, not a vocalist, but could sight sing anything I wrote on manuscript paper. The result came out as a very simple naive sounding take, a bit like Astrud Gilberto (also a composer’s wife!) so I decided to use it for the finished track.
Beyond / Herb Alpert Version
On one of my working trips to L.A. I met Herb Alpert through a friend and gave him a copy of “The Crunch & Beyond” Rah Band album which had “Beyond” on it. I was surprised and delighted when he recorded this cover version for his own album, “Beyond.”
Messages from the Stars / The RAH Band
Following the success of “Perfumed Garden” this was the second track to have a vocal by Liz and her voice then became the “sound” of the Rah Band vocal tracks.
The Long & Winding Road / The Beatles
I was called by Phil Spector to do a big orchestral arrangement for this track (which was originally just Paul McCartney singing to his own piano accompaniment). We recorded it at the famous EMI Abbey Road Studios. Paul, however was totally unaware of it and when he found out he hit the roof and didn’t speak to me for a year! Although when it became the massive hit he used my arrangement on his tours, and I did go on to do more arrangements for his Wings albums — “My Love” & “Dear Friend.”
Downside Up / The RAH Band
This was my newfound electro jazz funk period when I had just gotten deep into synthesizers, sequencers, etc. I made the basic tracks in my “bedroom” then finished with sax, brass, drums or whatever and mixed them at R.G. Jones studio in London.
Nobody Does it Better / Carly Simon
Like with “The Long & Winding Road” I got a call to do an orchestral arrangement for the opening titles of “The Spy Who Loved Me” James Bond film but this time Marvin Hamlisch (the composer) knew and agreed to me doing it. Again we recorded the track at Abbey Road Studios and Marvin did speak to me kindly afterwards.
The RAH Band’s Producer’s Choice is out now on digital from Atjazz Record Company, with vinyl to come post-pandemic.