Music for Dozens

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Companion Songs for
I Saw a Dozen Faces… and I Rocked Them All:
The Diary of a Never Was 
by Tim Lee


1. The Windbreakers – That Girl (T. Lee) 1982
— Recorded by David Lang at Trace Studio, Jackson, Mississippi
— TL: vocals, guitar / Bobby Sutliff: bass, vocals / Jeff Lewis: guitar, vocals / Eric Arhelger: drums

The first real song I wrote. It holds up pretty well, and it was a decent start to what turned out to be (at least) 40 years of making records.


2. The Windbreakers – You Never Give Up (T. Lee) 1983
— Recorded by Mitch Easter at the Drive-in, Winston-Salem, North Carolina
— TL: vocals, guitar, keyboard / Bobby Sutliff: bass, guitar, vocals / Mitch Easter: drums, delay manipulation / Richard Barone: e-Bow guitar

A quantum leap in sound and production, tracking down Mitch Easter in early 1982 was among the smartest moves the WBs ever made. This one is about a friend who wasn’t too good at taking hints. Richard Barone’s e-bow guitar really adds a cool element. At the time, he claimed the melody in his solo was straight out of “Moon River.”


3. The Windbreakers – Changeless (T. Lee) 1985
— Recorded by Mitch Easter at the Drive-in, Winston-Salem, North Carolina
— TL: vocals, guitar / Bobby Sutliff: guitar, vocals / Faye Hunter: bass / Mitch Easter: drums

This is where I started trying to break out of the power pop mold, intentionally going for a darker approach. To my mind, I was casting a wider net, sonically, always looking for something different. Having Faye play on the track was a bonus.


4. The Windbreakers – Run (T. Lee / S. Cothren) 1986
— Recorded by Randy Everett and Mitch Easter at the Terminal, Jackson, Mississippi
— TL: vocals, guitar, organ / Bobby Sutliff: bass, vocals / Mitch Easter: drums, end guitar solo

For the Run album, we gathered with Randy Everett and Mitch Easter at Rick Garner’s Terminal studio near the airport outside of Jackson. I might have been listening to a lot of Husker Du around this time.


5. Beat Temptation – On Your Mark (T. Lee / S. Cothren / Bruce Golden) 1984
— Recorded by Bobby Furman at the Track Shack, Clinton, Mississippi
— TL: vocals, guitar, percussion / Sherry Cothren: bass, percussion / Bruce Golden: drums, percussion, saxophone / John “J.T.” Thomas: coronet

Beat Temptation’s first foray into a recording studio yielded this bit of fun. We recorded the song live and then overdubbed lots of percussion, including bowed cymbals and mallets on brake drums. When our friend J.T. dropped by, we wrangled him into playing a coronet solo on the ending. The catch? We didn’t let him hear what he would be playing over. That’s Bruce on the accompanying sax solo, which foretold what lay in store when Robin Sutliff would join the band soon thereafter.


6. The Windbreakers – A Different Sort (T. Lee) 1987
— Recorded by Randy Everett at the Terminal, Jackson, Mississippi
— TL: vocals, guitar, keyboards / David Minchew: guitar, vocals / Sherry Cothren: bass / Joe Partridge: drum

After the Run tour of 1986, that version of the post-Bobby WBs started work on a record at the Terminal before Sherry and Joe exited, followed soon thereafter by David, leaving Rand E. and me to finish up a batch of songs that wound up being a solo record in WBs clothing. This is the title track, which is a good example of the over-the-top fun we had utilizing the studio’s extensive primitive midi keyboard room.


7. Tim Lee – What Time Will Tell (T. Lee) 1988
— Produced by Gene Holder / recorded by John Rosenberg at Water Music, Hoboken, New Jersey
— TL: vocals, guitar, keyboards / Faye Hunter: vocals / Gene Holder: bass / Doug Wygal: drums

After five releases under the Windbreakers name, I chose to officially go solo in 1988 and make a record in Hoboken, New Jersey, with several of my friends from the New York/New Jersey area. Gene was great to work with (as was every one), and I especially enjoyed having my former Let’s Active tour mate Faye share the vocals on this, the title track.


8. Tim Lee – Scared of Love (T. Lee) 1991
— Produced by Gene Holder / recorded by John Rosenberg at Water Music, Hoboken, New Jersey
— TL: vocals, guitar, keyboards / Gene Holder: bass / Will Rigby: drums

The New Thrill Parade was recorded in early 1989 as the follow-up to What Time Will Tell, but after Coyote Records folded, it sat on the shelf for a couple years before being released in France. Back in Hoboken with Gene Holder, this time with his dB’s bandmate Will Rigby. A true pleasure to make, TNTP remains among my favorite of the solo albums I’ve made over the years.


9. Tim Lee – King and Queen of Uptown (T. Lee) 1991
— Recorded by Rob Gal at the Not Bad for 8-Track Shack, Atlanta, Georgia
— TL: vocals, guitars / Esta Hill: vocals / Rob Gal: lead guitar / Tim Childress: bass / John Ceretta: organ / Billy Burton: drums

Rob and I made Crawdad at the onset of the ‘90s as I was on my way out of the music business. We were both experiencing turmoil in our personal lives, but got together every Wednesday afternoon for a few months until we completed the record. This is a bittersweet song, but it was fun to sing it with my friend Esta Hill (of Lava Love and Hillbilly Frankenstein). Rob provided the tasty guitar licks throughout.


10. The Windbreakers – Just Fine (T. Lee) 1989
— Recorded by Randy Everett at the Terminal, Jackson, Mississippi
— TL: vocals, guitars / Bobby Sutliff: guitar, vocals / Raphael Semmes: bass / Mark Wyatt: organ / Joe Partridge: drums

The latter day Windbreakers. At Home with Bobby and Tim was made in between mine and Bobby’s solo projects and was our first record together in a few years. I have fond memories of making this record, especially since the two of us collaborated a bit more than was customary. I played the first guitar solo, while that’s Bobby wailing on the ending.


11. The Windbreakers – Colorblind (T. Lee) 1990
— Recorded by Randy Everett at the Terminal, Jackson, Mississippi
— Produced by Russ Tolman
— TL: vocals, guitars / Bobby Sutliff: guitar, vocals / Michael Thorn: bass / Mark Wyatt: keyboards / Joe Partridge: drums

This one is the lead-off track on the last Windbreakers full-length album, Electric Landlady. Most of the gang from At Home… was back on board, plus we had several other friends join in on the fun. I’ve always been fond of the guitar arrangements on this one, starting with the 12-string acoustic fade-in and ending with the droning one-note fade-out. MT’s bass really drives this one along nicely.


12. Tim Lee – When the Circus Comes to Town (T. Lee) 1995
— Recorded by Bruce Watson at Zombie Birdhouse, Oxford, Mississippi
— Mixed by Clay Jones
— TL: vocals, guitars, bass / Neilson Hubbard: guitar, vocals / Helena Lamb: violins / Charles David Overton: drums

I spent a lot of time sleep-walking through music during my time in Oxford in the 1990s, but I was playing with a lot of good folks with whom I did some sporadic recording. This is my favorite of the era, the sound of which was very much influenced by the involvement of Neilson and Clay. As I recall, Helena was at the studio, hanging around and playing with Garrison Starr, so she got coerced into playing the excellent strings. Of course, any opportunity to play with CD was a good one.


13. Tim Lee – Keep it True (T. Lee) 2002
— Recorded by Jim Rivers at Kat P Studio, Knoxville, Tennessee
— TL: vocals, guitars / John T. Baker: bass, percussion, vocals / Jason White: drums

After moving to Knoxville around the turn of the century, I met John and Jim from the French Broads and we started making some recordings at Jim’s studio. What was initially an opportunity to get together once a week, drink beer, and kick around ideas eventually turned into a “comeback” record of sorts for yours truly. This is the leadoff track from Under the House.


14. Tim Lee – I Wanna Believe (T. Lee) 2004
— Recorded by Mitch Easter at the Fidelitorium, Kernersville, North Carolina
— TL: vocals, guitars, bass vi / Susan Bauer Lee: bass / John T. Baker: lead guitar, vocals / Don Coffey Jr.: drums, percussion

“I Wanna Believe” is the first song on No Discretion, the first album on which Susan played bass. It also marked the beginning of my recording stint with Don. John Baker played the killer guitar solos and riffs on this song, one of my faves of this era.


15. Tim Lee – Real Bad Habit (T. Lee / S. Lee) 2005
— Recorded by Don Coffey Jr. at Independent Recorders, Knoxville, Tennessee
— TL: vocals, guitars / Susan Bauer Lee: bass, vocals / Don Coffey Jr.: drums, percussion

Susan, Don, and I knocked this one out very quickly one Friday night when we were just hanging around the studio, chilling. After a couple drinks, we decided to give this song a particularly upbeat run-through. This is the first (of many) songs that Susan and I wrote together, and this version marks her first time singing in the studio.


16. Tim Lee 3 – Dig it Up (T. Lee / S. Lee) 2010
— Recorded by Chris Schultz at WaveLab Studio, Tucson, Arizona
— Produced by Craig Schumacher
— Susan Bauer Lee: bass, vocals / TL: guitars / Matt Honkonen: drums, percussion / Craig Schumacher: harmonica

This version of “Dig it Up” was only the second or third time we’d played the song all the way through. It came together in the studio one day when Susan just started playing the pulsing bass part while we were setting up. Matt and I fell in with her and this was tracked in less than an hour after we worked it up, making up the arrangement on the fly. Craig added the harp and went to town on the mix.


17. Tim Lee 3 – Weird Weather (T. Lee / S. Lee) 2013
— Recorded by Chris Schultz at WaveLab Studio, Tucson, Arizona
— Produced by Craig Schumacher
— TL: vocals, guitars / Susan Bauer Lee: bass, vocals / Chris Bratta: drums, percussion / Craig Schumacher: keyboards, vocals

One day, Susan posted something on social media about the weird weather we’d been experiencing as of late, and our friend Dan Stuart mentioned that “weird weather” would be a great song title. So, naturally we had to make a song up around the idea.


18. Tim Lee 3 – Magnolia Plates (T. Lee / S. Lee) 2015
— Recorded by Chris Schultz at WaveLab Studio, Tucson, Arizona
— Produced by Craig Schumacher
— Susan Bauer Lee: bass, vocals / TL: vocals, guitars / Chris Bratta: drums, percussion / Craig Schumacher: keyboards, vocals

This is one of my all-time favorite songs that Susan has brought to the table. I think her vocals are particularly good on this as well.


19. Bark – Our Lady of the Highway (T. Lee / S. Lee) 2015
— Recorded by John Harvey and Mary Podio at Top Hat Recording, Knoxville, Tennessee
— TL: vocals, bass vi / Susan Bauer Lee: vocals, drum

This is the first song that Susan and I made up for our then-side project Bark. Recorded live, Susan recorded her vocals with her drum track. In time, this band moved from the back burner to the forefront.


20. Bark – Revolution #none (T. Lee / S. Lee) 2018
— Recorded by John Harvey and Mary Podio at Top Hat Recording, Knoxville, Tennessee
— TL: vocals, bass vi / Susan Bauer Lee: vocals, drums / Christina Horn: moog / Mary Podio: percussion

This song, which is on the first full-length Bark album Year of the Dog, is a classic example of Susan handing me a scrap of paper with some lyrics on it that I took and finished. I actually sang this one the first few times we played it live, but I think Susan sounds considerably better. 


21. Bark – This World (T. Lee / S. Lee) 2019
— Recorded by John Harvey and Mary Podio at Top Hat Recording, Knoxville, Tennessee
— TL: vocals, bass vi / Susan Bauer Lee: vocals, drums / Mary Podio: percussion

Nearly all the songs from the 2019 Bark album Terminal Everything were written following a particularly tough year in which Susan and I both lost a parent, as well as several friends. This one is a true story.


22. Bark – Big Ol’ Party (T. Lee / S. Lee) 2019
— Recorded by John Harvey and Mary Podio at Top Hat Recording, Knoxville, Tennessee
— TL: vocals, bass vi / Susan Bauer Lee: vocals, drums / Josh Wright – baritone lap steel, vocals, handclaps / Mary Podio – percussion, vocals, handclaps

This is the song that emerged once we felt we’d written enough sad ones for Terminal Everything. It’s a fun one that features our pal Josh with his homemade baritone steel.