“Goodbye To Glittertown” –  Fair Exchange

One of the most fascinating things about these Flashback Friday’s is finding songs in their infancy. Hearing the little nuggets that would eventually make the final composition of a song. Even more fascinating is finding songs that never quite made the cut. As I go through my massive box of tapes I have come across many songs that were in their rawest forms, and know now what the finished ones sound like as a completed work.

It is an interesting progression these songs go through. But in the listening of all these tapes I have found even more songs that had much potential, but ultimately were never completed for whatever reason. That is the story of today’s Flashback Friday.

It was 1992. Fair Exchange had been working on a whole host of new music. I moved into the frontman position. The band was experimenting with the addition of another keyboardist to relieve me of being relegated to standing behind my keyboard. Enter Phil Bastanchury. Phil, a gifted keyboardist and very close friend of bass player Marc Miller, was brought into the band and made one heck of a first impression. From bands like Kansas to musical styles like Jazz, and prog. Phil with his Roland D70 could play them all.

The band had tons of new ideas floating around during this creative time. One idea the band threw around was to do a concept album. One of the many titles offered for this concept album was one I had tossed into the mix. The title was, “Welcome to Glittertown”. The concept was loosely based on the story of the prodigal son. The album would follow this prodigal’s rise and fall and ultimate redemption. There was even an idea for the album’s cover. The idea was to have on the front of the album an enticing glowing golden cityscape, “Glittertown”. It included a road sparkling in gold stones leading up to this shining epic city. From the back of the album, you would see that it was all simply a pretend wooden facade.

There were several new songs that were written during this time for this concept album idea, including the songs, “Higher and Higher”, “Welcome To Glittertown” and “Find Your Way”. Some of these were eventually completed and made their way onto the Crimson Fable album, “Fragments”, which was ultimately released in 1999. One song idea that started out as a strong contender but was never completed was to be the albums epic finale, “Goodbye To Glittertown”.

I had been heavily influenced by Marillion’s 1989 album, Seasons End. I knew I wanted to find a way to create a similar epic tone to the music Fair Exchange was working on. Although I had garnered the lyric, ‘Glittertown”, from Marillion’s earlier 1984 album, “Script for a Jester’s Tear“, from the fourth track of the album Chelsea Monday. The concept of what Glittertown was to become was all mine.

The song itself was to be the epic conclusion to the entire concept album. The realization of what the protagonist in the story had forsaken and had bought into. It would show how he would ultimately be redeemed by finally leaving the place that had promised so much yet deliver so little.

I had come up with the song’s chord progression and concept. The band, Gary Zdenek (drums), Marc Miller (bass), Phil Bastanchury (synth/keyboards) and I on (vocals, piano) would improvise a jam that would ultimately be an arrangement to the unfinished song. All the parts outside of the basic chord progression were improvised in these recordings. Including lyrics and melody. Not present at this jam session was Fair Exchange guitarist, Dave Perrigan.

There seemed to be a lot of enthusiasm for the song after the jam session. It seemed the band wanted to pursue its completion. Unfortunately, guitarist Dave Perrigan gave it a lukewarm reception after hearing it. The song would eventually be shelved and ultimately forgotten, until now. Below are six very raw and very improvised jams of the unfinished Fair Exchange song, “Goodbye To Glittertown”. Bad vocals and all.

The last sample is a final edited version of all the jams pieced together to make one version of what could have been the completed song if it had been finished. It takes the best parts of each of the jams and creates one masterpiece. It was a fun and creative time. I appreciate now having had a chance to take a look back. I hope you enjoy this lost treasure, now found.

  1. Glittertown (Jamm 1) New Jerusalem 8:16
  2. Glittertown (Jamm2) New Jerusalem 2:32
  3. Glittertown (Jamm 3) New Jerusalem 1:47
  4. Glittertown (Jamm 4) New Jerusalem 2:25
  5. Glittertown (Jamm 5) New Jerusalem 3:30
  6. Glittertown (Jamm 6) New Jerusalem 4:16
  7. Glittertown (Mix) New Jerusalem 8:52