Better Than Before
Throughout January 2004, we were locked away in the studio recording our original debut single. The possibility
of recording and performing our own songs had been discussed many times over the years, but only now that the band
was settled and with such a positive outlook did we feel it time to turn the dream into reality. We released the
single to coincide with the opening of the Spring Tour and the reaction was more than we could have possibly wished for.
Not only were we selling them in great quantities but also the reviews on the web-site were quite amazing. It became by
far the most discussed topic ever on the forum with the overriding sentiment being... "When will the original album be
available?" and "When will you be playing your own songs live?" So we decided to dedicate the summer to writing and
recording more original songs.
The debut Original single
released in March 2004
The Spring Tour had also seen the arrival of our new full colour brochure designed by Anni plus the release of our definitive
Best Of Eagles album. It became known as the green album and was a combination of the previous black and white albums
including a re-recorded version of Seven Bridges Road, now with Tony on board. Fifteen classic Eagles tracks all beautifully
and digitally re-mastered. The spring also saw the departure of guest musician Tracy Neale. With only a couple of weeks
before the tours end Tracy informed us that he would be leaving immediately to start a new life in the Middle East. Whilst
we all of course wished him well, it left us with one big fat problem, in the short term at least. After a couple of days
of frantic phone calls we finally came up with the answer. With only a few days rehearsal, Derek Thurlby made his Talon
debut on June 16th at London' s Millfield Theatre, and without a crochet out of place. In fact we were all so impressed
with Derek's professionalism that we offered him the autumn tour there and then. Luckily for us he accepted. As we had
promised ourselves, we spent the summer recording original material, and one day during a coffee break, Si suddenly exclaimed...
"Free of the Jesse!" "Uh?" came the reply. "A Jesse", our esteemed drummer continued, "is the leather strap situated just above
the eagle's talon". "Perfect album title", we all agreed in unison. I then proceeded to sell the whole original concept, and
with mixed results. The fact that Talon were producing some original work was very warmly received, especially when I further
explained that it would not be at the expense of our Best Of Eagles show. It was the title, Free Of The Jesse that they were
not so sure about. The general consensus was that it was too cryptic and that the word Jesse held other unfortunate connotations.
So it was decided that we would just have to come up with something else. One thing was for sure though. We had to make the most
of the summer because when the autumn tour finally kicked in there would be little time to do anything, let alone spend time
recording. Sure enough the autumn tour rolled around, and as now was the fashion, we introduced some new songs to the show.
Bass subs were added to the PA system for extra power and we also made our biggest investment to date with some state of the
art lighting for Paul to play with. The One Of These Nights Tour opened on September 17th at Leamington's Spa Centre and what
a fantastic tour it turned out to be with so many wonderful memories. Despite a flu virus ripping through the band and playing
havoc with the vocals and the usual mid tour exhaustion, it was the most successful tour ever.
We even found time in early November to put the finishing touches to the album, and what's more the title had been staring
us in the face all the time. One of the tracks written by Tony was called Better Than Before. The lyric portrayed perfectly
the positive outlook that was being felt by us all. And so it was, the new title-track had been found.
Taken from the 'Better Than Before'
photoshoot November 2004
Other Vegas songs included Elouise and Comin' Up Rosy. Peter and I had contributed with several songs. A country ballad When
We Were Young. Plus debut single Town Called Heartbreak and a new song called Searchin', both co-written with our long time
associate Garrie-John Barnes. Plus two country songs in collaboration with fellow song-writing partnership, John Ward and
Ian Sainsbury entitled Closet Full Of Clothes and Leaving Without Leaving. Jonny Miller's contribution to the album had been
immense. Four self-penned songs... Thank You Anyway, Goodbye, Lonely Side To Love and Out Of My Life, the latter being
co-written with Joan Martin. He had also shared the engineering role with his great mentor and Talon's live engineer, Dave Morris.
But most impressive of all, he had brought his considerable talent to bear by producing the entire album on his own. I was then
designated the job of designing the album sleeve, which I found a very rewarding experience. I was extremely proud of what we
had all achieved as a team and we were all fully aware that we had created something very special. There was great hope and
anticipation in the air about what 2005 could bring now that there were two sides to Talon. There was still of course our Best
Of Eagles show, and, as we have always maintained, as long as the public supported it, the show would continue. But now there
was Talon, the original band. Where the journey would take us next we could not possibly predict, but one thing was certain...
We would enjoy the ride.
Chapter 9: The Final Master
Back To Top