With the past couple of free Club EDA downloads we fulfilled a few requests, so now I feel like exploring one of my own personal favorites, "Do You," which I consider to be the most under-appreciated song on Jewel's second album Spirit. Like several of my previous blogs, Jewel will again be dropping in to share with you some of her own recollections about writing this song.
As a sophomore effort, Jewel's Spirit album was an ambitious leap forward in terms of both songwriting and production. Unlike her debut album, it contained quite a bit of new material, including "Barcelona," her most haunting ballad yet, one of her biggest hits, "Hands," and the original recording of "Jupiter," all of which widened the scope of Jewel's music. The album also contained several staples of her live repertoire, including "Deep Water" and one of her oldest songs revamped into a rocker, "Down So Long," which has since become a permanent fixture of every band tour while remaining a staple of her solo acoustic repertoire. All of these songs contributed to Spirit becoming one of Jewel's most popular albums, but it was "Do You," the last song to be written, that remains my favorite track on the album.
"Do You" was written in July of 1998, during a whirlwind of activity and a head-spinning time in Jewel's career, when the pressure of her early success was hitting an all-time high and the demands on her time were never greater. At that moment in time, her first album was rapidly approaching sales of 9 million copies and was the longest-running current album on the Billboard charts. Her "Foolish Games/You Were Meant For Me" single had just set a new record for longevity on Billboard's "Hot 100" chart (breaking the previously set 60-week record set by Los Del Rio's "Macarena") and Jewel had just taken on her first serious acting role in Ang Lee's Civil War drama, Ride With The Devil. Her first poetry book, A Night Without Armor, had also just been published and was now on the best sellers list, not to mention several unauthorized biographies had surfaced in the preceding few months. She had become a ubiquitous presence in the media, who were following her every move and high profile TV appearances like Oprah and The Tonight Show had become commonplace. It was during all of this activity that Jewel wrote "Do You," which came about while she and her producer, Patrick Leonard, were preparing for the Spirit album sessions. As Jewel tells it:
I was at Patrick's house recording, doing pre-production, laying basics down and really just deciding on songs and arrangements. I seem to remember i needed a song with a certain feel, to fill a gap sonically. Or maybe I was just tired of rehashing old songs - most likely- and I took a break and went into his living room and started playing the guitar riff. The lyrics just began pouring out and I wrote it in real time. Patrick stuck a tape recorder in front of me and I could tell he was digging the song. It was one of those that came out and was written in about 30 minutes. This song has lots of Dylan influence. These are easy for me to write when I get in the right mindset. They write themselves and have a stream of consciousness that taps into everything I see and feel - all before I even know I'm feeling it...
Despite being written so quickly and recorded with no significant revisions from that initial writing demo, "Do You" had depth and was interesting on a number of levels, both musically and lyrically. Musically, it was adventurous and difficult to categorize, as it began with a country charm and ended on a jazzy piano-fueled coda. Lyrically, it was chock full of social commentary, much of it questioning the hypocrisy of a modern society, where we often choose between staying true to our own beliefs or rationalizing why we stray from our own convictions. It also seemed to vacillate between modern imagery on the verses and a vintage swashbuckling lingo on the choruses, which was quite unusual. Jewel explains some of these aspects in better detail:
I had been reading a vintage book on rodeo- I forget the name. Maybe "On Down The Road," but not sure. A stylist had given it to me during a fitting for some award show. I had also been watching a lot of rodeo on TV, so it was in my brain, and then the rest just went from there. It all centered around this idea of an outdated sport like rodeo in a modern world, an idea that had been interesting me. Outdated manners, customs and politeness in today's busy impolite world. How backwards things are. How we love to look back at 'the good old days' while moving ever forward into a world with little morals or standards. The old time chorus was me harkening back to the traditional folk songs I grew up hearing, from England and Ireland- working class songs- swashbuckling swagger... But instead of saying tomorrow we will surely die, I tried to convey a fatalistic attitude of turning the tables - with the modern, more optimistic sentiment of we will blow the men down...
Jewel only performed "Do You" about a dozen times ever. It was most often performed on the 1999 Spirit tour with her band, who were just getting the hang of it by the time that tour ended. She attempted to revive it a couple of times with her This Way band in 2002, but it never really jelled and was abandoned forever after that. She also performed it solo acoustic for a BBC radio session when the Spirit album first came out and once during the 1999 tour. Other than that, she attempted performing it alone on only two rare occasions. Both times occurred during solo acoustic concerts in 2000, the better of which is featured today. Since very few have ever heard "Do You" without full band accompaniment, this month's free download is an invitation to to do just that.
Because the better of these two solo recordings had sonic flaws at the very beginning of "Do You," this download is actually a composite of both. Jewel's pre-song stage banter and the first couple of seconds of the song are sourced from her November 18, 2000 concert at the Luther Burbank Center in Santa Rosa, California, while the bulk of the song is from her September 28, 2000 performance a few weeks earlier at the Convention Center in Visalia, California. This composite recording is seamless so it sounds like a single performance and essentially it is, as all but the first few seconds of the actual song is sourced from the better of the two performances in Visalia. For those who care about these things, the Visalia master had brief dropouts during the first few seconds. Rather than present the inferior Santa Rosa performance (where she forgot lyrics and had to stop mid-song to ask for them) or present it with the annoying dropouts at the beginning, it wasn't difficult to repair the better Visalia performance in this manner. In addition to this solo acoustic recording of "Do You," a pdf file of Jewel’s handwritten lyrics are also included for you.
If you are already a registered member of jeweljk.com, simply log in to the community area and help yourself to the files here. If you are not yet registered, please register first here. Its free and easy. If you experience any technical difficulty, don't hesitate to ask for help at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you’ve missed any of our previous Club EDA downloads, all of them are still available, so you can help yourself to those files as well. For details on the previous downloads, you can access my previous blogs about them by clicking “Alan." In regards to our free downloads, we respectfully request that rather than share the free files elsewhere, that you do Jewel the favor of instead sharing the link to join her free Club EDA community, so that others can download the free files themselves. Please spread the word rather than the files and help Jewel build her online community. You can read her thoughts on this here.
Primarily recorded at the Convention Center Theater in Visalia, California on September 28, 2000, enjoy this solo acoustic performance of "Do You" as this month's free Club EDA download. Alan