Take Me!

In late 1988 as The Wedding Present toured with some new songs that would become familiar on Bizarro, there was one oddity. Up until now their songs had lasted between three and four minutes. When Take Me, I’m Yours (as it was originally known before being changed as David Gedge kept getting told about the Squeeze track of the same name) was aired it was a seven to eight minute epic. Not only was the length impressive but the fact that it isn’t a ballad, is. For the majority of its life, it is played at the usual breakneck speed so all four musicians were physically shattered  after playing it. Why they put themselves through this torture for art, who knows?!

This was a lyric that made me feel gooey inside. I loved the personal little touches like “orange slices and that Fall lp”. The Fall are a bit of a love of David’s and other than the cover of Jumper Clown and the occasional impersonation on tracks like Sucker, this is the only actual direct reference. “Orange Slices’ of course became the name of a major TWP/Cinerama fanzine created by Darren Bugg which your author today wrote many articles for.  The line “And when someone brings up your name/I can feel myself begin to change” is such an apposite description of the frisson when you fancy someone that it just can’t be bettered.  I never liked the line about washing hair on alternate days though – who doesn’t wash their hair every day? The other most swoonsome line is “And oh that feeling/When your hand returns to mine”. I know girls won’t believe this but some boys really like holding hands too.

After the refrain of “you get lovelier every day” we enter an instrumental section which is just delirious to listen to, especially live. Back in 1988, this used to end the set before the encore. Yes, you heard me right, The Wedding Present used to do encores no matter what Mr Gedge might like to pretend to you now. ;) By the time it arrived on Bizarro it was over nine minutes long and sometimes at gigs has gone beyond that. It is the longest song they’ve created and therefore remains for many, their magnificent octopus.

Questions and Answers with David Gedge:

Infamously, it was originally called ‘Take Me, I’m Yours’ but you were reminded of the Squeeze song and so changed it.

DLG: Ha, yes… you know, I had totally forgotten about that Squeeze song when I was writing this, which is a bit embarrassing, really. Then afterwards I thought, well, it’s too late now… and does it matter if my song has the same title, anyway? Finally, however, when we came to record it for Bizarro I decided that it did matter and retitled it.

Any alternate versions that never saw the light of day? This could be lyrically or musically. Some versions have it as “Guess I might as well stay out here” rather than “Think I might as well stay out here”

DLG: I don’t ever consider my lyrics as being set in stone, to be honest. I see the songs as living things, if that doesn’t sound too pretentious! Sometimes I change words because I feel they can be improved. But other times I’ve probably just remembered them incorrectly!

What do you feel about it now? Do you like playing it live? Was it always planned to have a 6+ minute instrumental coda? The Bizarro version is 9:14 minutes but the live versions seem to vary from 4:30 to 9.

DLG: Yes, we’d always planned to have the long outro. I love the interplay between the guitars and the bass and the ‘big’ guitar tune that comes in just before three and a half minutes and returns later. I think there’s so much going on melodically that, even though it’s just three chords, it doesn’t get boring.

I think we were revisiting the idea we’d had previously on ‘This Boy Can Wait’ but with the notion of doing it… better. Occasionally, depending on which live set we’re playing, some shortening may be appropriate, yes.

What made you make this song so long?

DLG: One of my favourite ever pieces of recorded music is the live version of What Goes On? from The Velvet Underground’s Live 1969 album and I’d be lying if I didn’t say that that song was influential in the making of this one!

Do some people balk at the length when playing it live? It’s always been a massive live favourite but is this offset by the any ‘pain’ at playing it?

DLG: Not really… I mean, I think initially it can seem a little daunting… but I find that band-members are usually very keen to rise to the challenge. It can be especially tough on drummers, though. I remember when we were rehearsing for the Bizarro tour in Los Angeles, Charles Layton [drums; The Wedding Present, 2005 onwards] made us turn the air conditioning off so that we could experience proper hot and sweaty ‘concert’ conditions! That was a very good idea actually; rehearsing this song is a bit like training for a sporting event.

Is there anything you would change about the song now?

I’m not too keen on the little scream I do after the final chorus, ha, ha. And sometimes I think that the ‘Status Quo’ section is a bit silly… but then it works well as a respite before ‘the onslaught’ returns. And I suppose I quite like the fact that it’s a little tribute to a band who I loved when I was in my early teens! In recent years we’ve used that ‘Status Quo’ section as a chance to ‘take it down’ – as they say in the rock ‘n’ roll game – which allows the song to re-build better and heightens the impact of the following bit even more than it does on the recording.

As with so many other songs from this period, it has so many extremely personal touches of angst in the lyrics. How much is exact truth and how much was made up? For example a line like “Orange slices and that Fall LP” must be based on a real moment – how does that resonate today? Funny that Orange Slices was used by Darren Bugg as the name of the fanzine from the late 90s/early 00s. Was there a specific Fall album that this referred to?

DLG: I can’t remember which Fall album it was… but, yes, I do like throwing in bits of real life into the lyric from time to time… I think it makes a song more ‘real’. Orange Slices was a great name for Darren’s fanzine… and one I would never have thought of.

What was the book you were competing with? You keep asking her to put ’that’ down.  

DLG: No specific book that I can recall. I think I just put that in there as way of explaining that I felt ‘the object of my desires’ was being too… intellectual… about everything and that they should just throw caution to winds and run away with me!

Some of the lyrics combined with the vocal melodies in this song are just bliss. Lines like “It’s like a panic and a rushing sound in my head”, “And, oh, that feeling when your hand returns to mine” and “Can’t you kiss me once properly? Well of course I mean it” are all so full of bursting emotions that it’s hard to write about them objectively. Do those lines still make you feel how you felt when you wrote them?

DLG: Yes, it’s easy for me to recapture those feelings of desire and panic. They’re common emotions, aren’t they? I remember Peter Solowka [guitar; The Wedding Present, 1985-1991] thought I was singing about a ‘Russian’ sound in my head… or so he claimed at the time.

‘Take Me!’ is slightly unusual from this era in that it’s an out and out love song with absolutely no dark or negative connotations. When you write about the joyous moments of love and lust you seem to capture the perfect moments. Do you think about this sort of romantic perfection a lot? The final lines about “Warm hands and the things you say” is such a beautiful final image.

DLG: I think about every aspect of my writing a lot… that’s why it takes me so long!

Official Lyrics

I’ve spent all day trying to decide about the things that you said last night
Did they mean nothing or were they filled with hidden clues?
And can you really have stayed till three?
Orange slices and that Fall LP

I feel so lonely when I get back from seeing you
And when someone brings up your name I can feel myself begin to change
It’s like a panic and a rushing sound in my head
A huge weight pressing on my chest
And now I spend hours trying to look my best
But I still meet you the day before I wash my hair

Oh won’t you put that down and take me, I’m yours?
When will we have this chance again?
Oh, please just put that down and take me, I’m yours
We might never have this chance again

That must’ve been a knowing look, oh, when you moved to pass your friend his book
And, oh, that feeling, when your hand returns to mine
I think I might as well stay out here, oh but, can’t you kiss me just once properly?
Well of course I mean it!
I think about you all the time

Oh won’t you put that down and take me, I’m yours?
When will we have this chance again?
Oh, please just put that down and take me, I’m yours
We might never have romance again

Warm hands and the things you say
You get lovelier every day
Warm hands and the things you say
You get lovelier every day

Written and published by Gedge, whose publishing is administered outside of the UK & Eire by Fintage Publishing BV.

Studio Versions:

1 – The Complete Peel Sessions recorded as Take Me, I’m Yours! 24/05/1988; broadcast 30/05/1988 TIME: 8:06

Recorded by : David Gedge (vocals, guitar); Peter Solowka (guitar); Keith Gregory (bass);  Simon Smith (drums); Dale Griffin (producer) and Mike Robinson (engineer)

2 – Bizarro version recorded 1989  TIME: 9:21

Recorded by : David Gedge (vocals, guitar); Peter Solowka (guitar); Keith Gregory (bass); Simon Smith (drums);  Chris Allison (producer) and Steve Lyon (engineer)

Live Versions:

1 – Live 1988 Disc 2 (Valencia)  TIME: 7:26

2 – Live in Leeds 2010 TIME: 6:25

3 – Live in Tokyo 2010 TIME: 9:14

220px-TWPBizarro
Bizarro
Complete Peel Sessions
Complete Peel Sessions

Live-1988-sleeveThe+Wedding+Present+-+Bizarro-+Live+In+Tokyo+2010+-+Sealed+-+CD+ALBUM-55095051N+ZPLXP4L._SL500_AA280_

Live:

Played a lot from 1988 to 1991 and was often the final song before the encore!  Was resurrected in 2006/07 and of course was part of the Bizarro gigs in 2010 onwards.

Video:

No official video so here’s a live version from 2010.

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3 thoughts on “Take Me!

  1. Just discovered this blog – it’s great!
    Saw this played at Wolves Civic (I’m guessing in ’88?); I vividly recall the massive wall of sound it generated and the unbelievable amount of moshing in the crowd – I’m pretty sure most of them were needing a quiet song to be played 10 minutes later…

  2. As I remarked to David ages ago, a live version of “Take Me!” also appears on the All the Songs Sound the Same 10″. I have no idea if the recording is from one of the shows already listed but, regardless, it’s a noteworthy recording!

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