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Album: Dear Catastrophe Waitress
Artist: Belle & Sebastian
2003 Rough Trade Records Ltd.
CD: RTRADECD 080

The band members are not credited on the album. However, the band were:
Bobby Kildea: bass, guitar
Chris Geddes: piano, keyboards, Hammond organ (10)
Mick Cooke: trumpet, guitar, bass
Richard Colburn: percussion
Sarah Martin: violin, lead vocals (5)
Stevie Jackson: lead guitar, lead vocals (1)
Stuart Murdoch: lead vocals, guitar, piano

Additional musicians:
Gavyn Wright (leader), Perry Montague-Mason (leader of 2nd violins), David Woodcock, Chris Tombling, Warren Zielinski, Jackie Shave, Patrick Kiernan, Boguslaw Kostecki, Julian Leaper, Kathy Shave, Benedict Cruft, Everton Nelson
Viola: Peter Lale, Robert Smissen, Bruce White, Gustav Clarkson: violins
Anthony Pleeth, David Daniels, Martin Loveday: 'cello
Mary Scully: double bass
Helen Keen: flute
Kathleen Stevenson: flute, piccolo
Chris Cowie: oboe
Sue Bohling: cor anglais
Mike Lovatt, Noel Langley, Derek Watkins, John Barclay: trumpet
Chris Dean, Jeremy Price, Barnaby Dickinson: tenor trombone
Richard Edwards: bass trombone
Jamie Talbot, Stan Sulzman: alto saxophone
Philip Todd: alto and tenor saxophone
Chris Davis: tenor saxophone
Jeff Daly: baritone saxophone
Nigel Black, Richard Berry: French horns
Frank Ricotti: percussion
except
Billy Rumfitt: trombone (5)
Julian Nicholas: saxophone (5)
 

Produced by Trevor Horn
Recorded at Sarm West Studios and Sarm Hook End by Julian Mendelsohn, except (4) at Berkeley 2 Rehearsal Studios, Glasgow by Dan Vickers & Phil Tyreman
Orchestra recorded at Angel Studios by Steve Price, assisted by Mat Bartram
Horns for (5) recorded at Parkgate Studios, Battle by Darren Allison
Mixed at Sarm West Studios by Robert Orton, Julian Mendelsohn & Dan Vickers
Additional mixing at CaVa Sound Workshops, Glasgow by Tony Doogan, assisted by Michael Bannister
Additional engineering by Tim Lambert
Assistant engineer: Phil Tyreman
Mastered by Frank Arkwright

Orchestral arrangements by Belle & Sebastian, except (1) by Horn/B&S
Brass arrangement by B&S/Horn (11)
All arrangements scored and conducted by Nick Ingman
Orchestra contractor: Isobel Griffiths, assisted by Charlotte Trinder

Pictures by Stuart
Design by Divine Inc.
 

Tracks:
1. Step Into My Office, Baby (4:12)
2. Dear Catastrophe Waitress (2:23)
3. If She Wants Me (5:05)
4. Piazza, New York Catcher (3:03)
5. Asleep on a Sunbeam (3:22)
6. I'm a Cuckoo (5:26)
7. You Don't Send Me (3:08)
8. Wrapped Up in Books (3:34)
9. Lord Anthony (4:15)
10. If You Find Yourself Caught in Love (4:16)
11. Roy Walker (2:57)
12. Stay Loose (6:42)
 

Notes: The first three singles from the album were "Step Into My Office, Baby", "I'm a Cuckoo" and "Wrapped Up in Books" respectively. The album was nominated for the 2004 Mercury Music Prize UK Album of the Year, although it did not win.

The band are democratic, with joint credits and a website that doesn't even mention most members' surnames. However, Murdoch is recognised as the main songwriter, with Jackson and Martin also contributing songs and the band as a whole arranging the material. In an interview with Xfm radio (UK) shortly before the album was released, Murdoch, with Martin, went through the album. Murdoch described (1) as Jackson's tune where they then collaborated on the lyrics. (2) is an "old song" based on a real event that they had not previously got right, written by Murdoch with "Mick's arranging with the help from most of the rest of the band chipping in ideas". (3) is "another older song" by Murdoch. (4) is by Murdoch and is about the media frenzy over Mike Piazza's sexuality. The band tried recording (5) in the November before working with Horn as one of the first songs that led to this album; the song was written by Martin. (6) and (12) were the last two songs Murdoch wrote for the album. He describes (6) as "quite confessional" and goes on: "I sort of wrote it last at night, stayed up late and bought it in red hot in the morning. And we had it together pretty much as you hear it on the record in about half an hour. And it was tremendous, I'd never had an experience of writing and then arranging with the group that matched that." The piece references Thin Lizzy, both musically and in the lyrics. The band entered the studio without having finalised the structure of (12), the last song written for the album. The melody and words for (7) are by Murdoch, with the trumpet refrain by Cooke. (8-10) are by Murdoch, while (11) is by Jackson.

(9) had been a live standard for the band before the album.

Murdoch has described how, while the band was playing a US festival, their cleaning lady put them in touch with Horn. "She said she knew Trevor because she was his housekeeper in LA, and that he was interested in working with us. I actually doubted whether she knew him at all to be honest, and we never heard anything else for six months. And then he got in touch..."

The band are named after an old continental European cartoon series. Session trumpeter Noel Langley and trombonist Barnaby Dickinson were in Earthworks Underground with Bill Bruford. Percussionist Frank Ricotti is a regular Horn session player. At Belle & Sebastian's 24 Aug 2003 show in Los Angeles (CA), Horn joined the band on stage, singing and playing bass, for a cover of "Video Killed the Radio Star". (HP, 19 Sep 04)


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