Shadow Across The Moon album notes:
Special thanks to:
Producers Tony Berg and Frank Wolf, who helped us sound better, along with wringing the best possible performances out of all of us. Also, Dan Bates, Frank Sposato and Ken Jordan, engineers and co-mixers without peer.
David ‘Spiggy’ Miller, guitarist and vocalist extraordinaire who played and sang with Second Language from September 1987 through July 1988 and features on Rapture (Capture Me) and Believe on this album.
Richie Owens, a remarkable multi-instrumentalist and vocalist who was briefly a member of Second Language in late 1989 and appears on Until Yesterday Comes and Welcome To Paradise [version 2] (the earlier version of which appears as a bonus track on Second Language’s Silent Crossing CD/album).
Dan Nolton (guitar) and Freida Woody (vocals), both of whom performed live with Second Language in the late 1980s and/or early 1990s and are featured on bonus track Don’t Want To Know. Dan also plays some of the guitars on All Fall Down, Pictures In My Head and Sinking Feeling. Freida also provides the backing vocal on Not Your Own Man. Both had worked together previously in Field Day, a fine band that were contemporaries of ours as well as good friends.
Michael James, who co-produced our WrongSpeak CD and guested on guitar with the band during 1992 until we found Sam Graf (1993-1996). Michael co-produced Time Has Come on this CD.
Mike Murray (guitar), Chris Fudurich (multi-instrumentalist) and Akani Fletcher (percussion) who performed with the band for live performances during the band’s last two years, all of whom feature on the acoustic rehearsal version of Where Are You Going?. Sam Graf also appears on this track and Time Has Come.
AKAI for its unique 12-track recorder/mixer which allowed us to at least make some really good demos in the long droughts between studio recording sessions.
Album notes by Jessie Jacobson
Double CDs featuring lots of bonus tracks by a virtually unknown band aren’t necessarily in demand. I know that and yet we persist in releasing forty unreleased Second Language tracks recorded between 1985 and 1996 over these two discs.
Though we had a record deal briefly and came close on so many other occasions, we had very little material released during the band’s existence. A vinyl EP, Souvenirs in 1984 and a full-length CD, WrongSpeak in 1996 were our only releases during that time. Those two releases essentially bookend the band’s history. Both will be re-released, with bonus tracks, in 2021, the 40th anniversary of Second Language’s formation. In 2019, we released the CD Youth Is Not For Pleasure, recorded in 1985.
Yet much of our strongest material has remained unreleased and virtually unheard. So between this album and a further set covering 1987-1992, Silent Crossing, we are looking to finally right that wrong.
I could say it’s for the sake of posterity or legacy and it is, of course, but I also believe the things we wrote about in the 1980s and 1990s are still more important than ever today. And I feel the music, while of its time to some extent, also holds up really well and might finally find its audience.
Shadow Across The Moon is the title we’ve chosen for the eleven song collection of Second Language tracks recorded between 1986 and 1991 found at the beginning of Disc 1. The title comes from a lyric in the song Say It, which, as with the rest of the material on this album, is released for the first time ever here, along with an early demo version of it on Disc 2. The other eight tracks on Disc 1 and the entirety of Disc 2 are, in effect, bonus tracks (for details, see below).
The release of all the Second Language recordings on various albums this past couple of years was a direct result of efforts by Brian Edmiston. In 1986, as a young man, he saw the film Welcome To 18 which featured our song Words Into Action. He then searched for other material by the band fruitlessly over the years. Brian finally tracked us down via social media in 2018 and persuaded us to release all our recordings that had never before seen the light of day.
CD 1 notes - Shadow Across The Moon (+ bonus tracks):
This eleven song album contains material produced in various studios by producers Tony Berg (seven tracks) and Frank Wolf (two tracks) and various engineers (Dan Bates, Frank Wolf, Frankie ‘Blue’ Sposato and Ken Jordan) over a five-year period covering 1986-1989 and 1991. The band had split up at the end of 1989 and did not exist throughout 1990 but began working together again in early 1991 on a solo project of mine (under the name Signal 2 Noise) that morphed into a full-blown Second Language reunion from 1992-1996.
The core members of the band throughout this period were Brian Bielski (drums), Jarrett Lesko (bass, vocals) and myself (lead vocals, guitars).
Of the eight bonus tracks on CD 1, Don’t Want To Know also comes from the Frank Wolf sessions in 1991; five are 12-track demos from the same period; and two tracks, My Love Is and Done date from 1996-1997
Toni Zeto, Second Language co-lead vocalist from 1983-1987, features as a full band member on four of the songs recorded over 1986 and early 1987, after which she left the band. However, following her departure, she was kind enough to guest on backing vocals for two further tracks, Rapture (Capture Me) and Heaven’s Gate (an earlier version of which, sans Toni, appears on Silent Crossing).
Jerome Faulkner, Second Language co-founder, keyboardist/multi-instrumentalist (1981-1986) appears on two tracks (Words Into Action and The Game) from 1986 recorded before his departure mid-year.
Finding a replacement for these two was impossible so the band went in a different direction and towards the end of 1987 added British expat David ‘Spiggy’ Miller on sterling guitar and vocals. Spiggy slotted in remarkably well with the Second Language improvisational method of songwriting. The band’s sound, of necessity, became more guitar-oriented though keyboards weren’t entirely abandoned. Sadly, studio time being hard to come by during his tenure in the band, only two tracks here feature Spiggy’s fine fretwork, Rapture (Capture Me) recorded in 1987 while he was a band member, and Believe, upon which he features as a guest in 1991.
Richie Owens briefly joined the band towards the end of 1989 and features on two songs, Until Yesterday Comes and Welcome To Paradise. We always regretted that we weren’t able to keep going once Richie joined because his contributions, like Spiggy’s before him, helped to completely revitalize the band after another spell as a three-piece (joined for live performances by guest guitarists Jim Novak or Dan Nolton).
Say It and the remake of Long Goodbye (an earlier version can be found on Youth Is Not For Pleasure) highlight the three-piece version of the band in 1987. The remaining self-produced recordings of the three-piece lineup between 1987 and 1989 appear on Silent Crossing.
A few of the bonus tracks on this album include guest performances by Dan Nolton (guitar) and Freida Woody (vocals), both formerly of L.A.-based band Field Day, contemporaries and friends of 2L.
Katriina Huotari (1991-1996) joined on keyboards and features on the Frank Wolf recordings on Shadow Across The Moon (as well as all of WrongSpeak) – the first time the band boasted a full-time keyboardist since 1986. In the interim, Jarrett, Brian and I had shared keyboard duties on Second Language recordings along with Tony Berg on a few of the tracks he produced.
CD 2 notes - Bonus Tracks & Demos (1985-1987, 1991 + 1995-1996):
The second CD of this collection includes virtually all the 4-track and 8-track demos Second Language recorded between 1985 and 1987. It features the 1984-1986 five-piece lineup of Toni Zeto, Jerome Faulkner, Jarrett Lesko, Brian Bielski and myself.
Additionally, we've included an unreleased studio recording from the WrongSpeak sessions, Time Has Come, which was left off the original release owing to time considerations (CDs could only fit 74 minutes back then). Time Has Come is a separate song but some of its lyrics come from 1981 2L song Under The Flame (a remarkable four versions of which were recorded by the band between 1981 and 1986 – one of which features on Souvenirs (Revisited) and a third elsewhere on this album). The personnel on this track is the 1993-1996 lineup of the band: myself, Jarrett and Brian, along with guitarist Sam Graf, and keyboardist Katriina Huotari.
Where Are You Going was recorded on digital audio tape at a 1996 Second Language rehearsal and features Brian, Jarrett, myself and Sam Graf along with guests Chris Fudurich, Mike Murray and Akani Fletcher, all of whom were live members of the band in 1995-1996 (Chris on guitar, bass, drums and then keyboard when Katriina left; Mike on guitar and vocals; and Akani on percussion - djembe, conga and more). There is an unfinished studio version of this track that will be mixed and released at a later date.
Also included is the rough mix of my unfinished 1991 solo 12-track demo of Not Your Own Man which features Freida Woody on backing vocal. Freida had performed live with the band for a few gigs in early 1991.
Tracks 1-9 and 19-20 exist only as demos.
Tracks 13-18 were eventually re-recorded in the studio by the band.
Tracks 17-18 feature the four-piece lineup of Jarrett, Brian, Toni and myself after Jerome Faulkner left.
This demo of Say It has a different, earlier lyric (by Toni Zeto and me) than the final studio version on CD 1 (for which I wrote new lyrics on the spot in the studio following some cajoling by producer Tony Berg).
The demo version of Land Of The Living features an introduction/bridge addition by Jerome Faulkner that was later omitted on the studio versions. A 1992 studio version is on Silent Crossing.
The Call was the only 2L song to come out of the brief month-long period in late 1983 during which Scott Bledsoe played bass with the band (though he wasn’t involved in the composing of the song).
The basic structure for Out Of The Spotlight came from a series of improvisations in late 1983 featuring then-drummer Rick Winward on bass along with Jerome Faulkner and myself, to which I later added lyrics and a melody. This was during the late 1983/early 1984 period when Deon Vozov was our guest bassist/keyboardist prior to Jarrett joining in February 1984 and Brian a month later.
The Fire sadly never made it into a recording studio but the bridge of the song was later added to the WrongSpeak version of Swing Time (the original version of which, sans bridge, is on Silent Crossing).
Under The Flame (Time Has Come) is the fourth of five recorded demo versions of this 1981 song co-written by Jessie Jacobson and original 2L bassist Chris Hutchinson. The third version is a bonus track on Souvenirs (Revisited), while the two earliest versions will soon be available as free downloads on the Second Language website.