Home > 1, Music, The Music Business, The Virgin Islands > Book 2. And Book 4. “Surrender To The Sun”

Book 2. And Book 4. “Surrender To The Sun”

Book 2. And Book 4. “SURRENDER TO THE SUN”

I wrote todays post recently, on the day of the vocal session for the new recording of “Surrender To The Sun” here’s the song and the  lyric.

“Surrender To The Sun”            (by Scott Fagan and Susan Minsky)

Go down by the sea, surrender to the sun, find the one you used to be, forget what time has done.

Go down by the sea and heal your heart, too many memories, are tearing you apart

Your eyes show, your tired so of love of lose or win, old friends know, you’ve got to go, and let your heart begin again


Your eyes show, your tired so of love of lose or win, old friends know, you’ve got to go, and let your heart begin again

Go down by the sea, surrender to the sun, find the one you used to be, forget what time has done.

Go down by the sea and heal your heart, too many memories, are tearing you apart, their’re tearing you apart…

 It’s a simple, surprisingly beautiful lyric that I wrote while visiting Patty and The Bix in their pad overlooking Hull Bay, in St. Thomas in 1976    We recorded it not long after as the “Theme Song” for a Canadian Film called “Recommendation For Mercy” (The film was about a young Canadian teenage boy, who had been accused and convicted of Murdering his sweetheart, lots of folks felt very strongly that he was innocent and had been railroaded by the authorities. I am happy to report that his conviction was recently set aside, he was declared innocent and released from prison. 

 (You can find the original recording on youtube or at http://www.lilfishrecords.com) Warren Schatz produced and arranged it, and it was released by RCA as a single with “Many Sunny Places” on the other side.

 “Surrender To The Sun” went to become #1 on what was then the #1 station in New York City, however it was never distributed beyond New York, so no one outside of New York ever heard it. It was a beautiful record, and led Sid Bernstien to the verge of singing me to a management deal. Had he done so things might heve been very different. Why no distribution? I don’t know. Why no signing? Yo no se…

Nevertheless the recording did bring about quite a positive change with at least one neighbor of mine, I lived on the NE corner of 76th and West End in those days and there was a fellow living at 76 and Broadway, who had a powerful resentment towards me, having to do with fire hydrants and curbing dogs (his dogs) and other city silliness. I couldn’t walk up 76 street at night ‘cause when I did, inevitably a baggie full of doggie nitro, would come flying down from his 10th floor window, I had some mighty close calls. When “Surrender To The Sun” was #1, he confronted me on the sidewalk one day wanting to know if I was the Scott Fagan on the record. Expecting God knows what, I confessed that I was. He stepped forward and stuck out his hand and said “My name is Bob Brown, and I think that your performance on “Surrender To The Sun” is the first perfect vocal that I’ve ever heard.

I was mighty relieved, Bob turned out to be a great piano player with his own state of the art eight track studio. We did a number of recordings together including the original sessions for “Sandy The Bluenosed Reindeer” (song and story) and a demo (the only recording anywhere) of “Sure Has Been Good Loving You Baby” which you can find here…

Bob Brown was a great and mighty piano player, singer and personality, I hope his is alive and well and rolling in the clover. Hiya Bob!

In any case “Surrender To The Sun” is one of a number of songs that I have written that I don’t believe have had a fair shot at finding their audience, (including “Sure Has Been Good” which I wrote with my partner “The Great Cocacola” Joe Kookoolis. In the 60’s) I have recorded a few of them more than once, in an effort to find their audience.

We recorded “Surrender To The Sun” for “Dreams Should Never Die” (The V.I. Songs Vol ll) as an interesting Latin Calypso arrangement, with a beautiful guitar solo by Jeff Medina. (Worlds champeen guitar from Trinidad by way of St. Thomas) When I wrote the Musical “The Virgin Islands Songs” I realized I wanted to reprise more of  what we had captured in the original recording. Interestingly, Jeff Medina and I have been working together on and off since I recorded the original, and put a band together called “ting”(as in Scott Fagan and Ting which has meaning in the islands) because Sid Bernstein was going to sign me and we thought that we would be going on the road to promote the record. Yo no se! 

In any case, life, fate, destiny, happenstance, persistence, determination, luck, irony, serendipity, Warren Schatz and God’s good Grace has allowed me another whack at the tune, another chance to record this beautiful song with this beautiful arrangement (and with what I have learned over these long years in spite of my self)

I will give it the very best of my heart and soul for once and for all.           I hope to make it one for the ages. Or as they say at the old Sixto Escobar stadium “Un Bataso Largo”

Ok now, the session is over and I have done my vocal, I was in good voice, I sang it with all my heart, it is a beautiful song, beautifully arranged, beautifully played, beautifully produced, and beautifully recorded..now we shall see once again if we can get it to the people, and if we can, if they will embrace it.

I’m fully charged, it was done in one take. We did another as a “safety”  and now I feel ready to do at least four, four hour sets for forty thousand people..or carry on from here ‘til dawn.

There is always the question of what to do to come down. This (post performance time) is a dangerous time for singers and musicians, as we have such an intense level of energy, begging to be burned. It used to go to the wenches, but tonight I think I’ll walk it off. I’ll go down by the sea at Lindbergh, and surrender to the cool night breeze and sing to my self up and down the beach until the energy is back to manageable.

We sent the track with the vocals oback to Warren via “You Send” (an online company that allows for the transfer of large music files, fairly quickly) so that he can do the mix. I am anxious to see what he thinks of the work that we have done.

I have a long history with the Wonderschatz, whereas Derrick recorded my voice for the first (but hopefully not the last) time yesterday, Warren has been recording my voice for forty five years. Consequently he is familiar with the instrument and how to mike it (which microphones to use, at what volume, what the bass, mid range and treble concerns and settings ought to be and so on) He started as a recording engineer at Associated Studios on 7th Avenue (above the Metropole) between 48th and 49th streets in New York City, just after I came to New York and started doing demos there in 1964. Many young singers (my self among them) got their early recording experience in demo sessions, doing the vocals for the “latest and greatest” new song from this, that or the next writing team or publishing company. Demo sessions were often stressful and certainly hard work.

You would show up, and there would be a song or two or three that you had never heard before in your life. A collection of professional studio musicians and other, often female, background singers (each one more beautiful and exciting than the next..and all very very good). And you. Often the youngest, and in the beginning at least, certainly the greenest. And above all (yes pun intended) there was the omnipresent tick tock “every moment is money” clock on the wall.

Demo sessions were scheduled for one to two hours at the most. The expectation was that without question, the tracks and vocals were all going to get done within the time allotted. No ifs ands or buhbuhbuhbut’s about it and boy, you don’t want to be the one who is gumming up the works. It was like a crazy musical version of “The Weakest Link”.

“Dear Lord don’t let me forget how this odd melodic change goes in the second release, and have to go back to the islands to explain to one and all why the singin’ fool of a white boy from dung de road is a big fat failure already,”..Or “Dear God don’t let me have to go back and tell Doc that he was wrong about me, that I am just a goofy teenager (with a fondness for drink) from the Islands, who ought to be learning how to whittle coconut trees into toothpicks or free dive Queen Conch sixty at a time, a hundred feet down off hammerhead point” . or “Dear Lord God, what about me poor Mudder”

These and many other things were banging around in my head as I would step into the vocal booth to sing the lead and “make this song a hit!” but I have to confess that there was no more powerful consideration or, immeadiate, heart pounding inspiration for me, than to be singing with the “oh so ultra divine Angeles of the ‘OU WAA”. The background singer girls. I loved them then and I love them now.

Good God awmighty, I just love those girls.

Any way, Warren was the engineer on many of those sessions, and he, like all the rest of us was subject to the tyranny of the tick tock and the idea of the instant elimination of he that faltered. In short, he learned to get it right, quick! (And has been getting it right for forty five years). Those demo sessions were, all things considered, heady, exciting, great fun and above all intensely educational. (Did I mention the beautiful background singer girls?)

Will the Wonderschatz listen and say, “oh poor Scotty, his future is way behind him. They were right, he left his best performance echoing through the catacombs beneath the Pilgrimage Theater in Los Angeles, thirty seven years ago, or, unfortunately I left his best performance in the trash bin, on twenty feet of edited eight track in 1976”. Or might he say “Hmm, the boy has finally learned how to sing a little, s’bout time” or “Too bad he’s finally learned how to sing, but now his instrument’s gone all wavery and quavery all over the place”.

At least I have a comeback prepared for the last possibility. It goes like this, “Oh Yeah? Well If you were sixty four and you tried to sing a song like that, I bet you’d sound all wavery and quavery all over the place too!”  The fact is, if all I can do is waver and quaver all over the place, even I would acknowledge that perhaps I really ought to reconsider “whittling as a way of life”.

Ah well, I do hope he likes it, I just have to wait and see…I’ll be looking for his email today And here it is, and..here is what Warren had to say.. “I LOVE this vocal! So heartfelt and special. Boy!!! You still got it son!”

Sheesh!! What a relief! God bless the Wonderschatz. And now the work begins. We have to accomplish something that we have never been able to do before, and that is to get a Scott Fagan recording to its audience. How to do it? How to do it? We will have to work on that next.

  1. Harriet Blumenau
    March 25, 2010 at 1:41 pm

    WOW! This song never fails to move me to tears. You are just getting better. I love it.

  2. Steve Horwitz
    March 29, 2010 at 9:55 pm

    Just caught up with the last several posts. Wonderful blog and such powerful music.

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