Over the last few years the eclectic duo YOUNG GUN SILVER FOX (Mamas Gun front man Andy Platts, the “young gun” and performer/writer/producer Shawn Lee, the “silver fox”) have built up a devoted  coterie of fans beguiled by their sweet and lovely take on blue-eyed soul and west coast harmony pop. The fan base grew more with their acclaimed  ‘Ticket To Shangri La’  album from last year and now those YGSF fans have more to enjoy with a new single, ‘Moonshine’, a cut that wasn’t on the album.

It’s a gentle, midtempo, roller built from all the ingredients that have made YGSF so popular with connoisseurs of quality music. Interestingly, the song credits reveal that ‘Moonshine’ was co-written by a certain Rod Temperton (pictured). The reasons behind that are best explained by Andy Platts himself: “In spring 2005, aged 26, I signed my first worldwide publishing deal. Keen to develop my writing style, I made a small list of people with whom I wanted to write. The list included Rod Temperton – shy kids don’t get sweets right? I had my publisher send him a four track demo and a few months later to my complete surprise he replied saying that he was up for trying something. So on a hot July day later that Summer nestled somewhere deep in Topanga Canyon, California, I found myself at Rod’s hillside home. We talked about music, my background and how, apart from the sun, he missed the UK and was shortly due to return there for good. He told me he thought I had written some strong songs. He also told me I’d “written some shit songs” – ouch! To be honest, I was more than happy to eat humble pie sat in the presence of a bonafide songwriting legend. We talked more, smoked a shit load of cigarettes, and headed into his studio – a sparsely kitted out place, clearly all about songwriting as opposed to producing records. He told me a lot about working with MJ, and played me some sketches of songs and demos MJ had recorded back in the day. You could see how proud he was of what he had done in his life. Rod had a song idea that he thought would be good for my voice. He’d already written the music and had created a rough melody. We tweaked the melody and then wrote the lyrics together sat outside in the sunshine chain-smoking cigarettes. Everything fell into place pretty quickly and we spent the day completing a very simple demo. I recorded my lead vocal and some rhythm guitar after writing the lyrics but the one thing I remember most clearly about the session was when we were discussing the section between the 2nd chorus and bridge. We sat in silence for a couple of minutes pondering our options before he announced “I’ve got it – you’re going to play a guitar solo”. My heart sank. The guy who had worked with George Benson at the peak of his powers was going to watch me record a guitar solo. I’m okay on guitar but no great improviser. So I did three takes of a solo. I completely stacked the first take (my god it was bad), played an okay second take but then I just about redeemed myself on the third take. For reasons unknown to me to this day, I decided to scat along with the third take (yes George Benson style). Rod said he was happy with it and that it “had something”. Whatever you say Rod ha-ha.”

So, eventually Andy and Shawn decided to make ‘Moonshine available – and why not… it’s a Temperton song, after all! So the duo began tweaking what they had. Shawn adds a tasteful acoustic guitar solo and all sorts of harmonic BV were mixed in. The result is a lovely piece of work, the credit for which Andy is quick to put down to Rod. “Rod’s songs are amazing feats of musical engineering, without a trace of fat anywhere. All killer no filler, as finely tuned as a Swiss timepiece. One of the last things Rod said to me just before I got in a cab to head back to Hollywood was “Good luck, I think you’ve got what it takes”.

We all  know now that Mr Platts does have what it takes – both with YGSF and Mamas Gun he’s crafted some superb  music and now we can add ‘Moonshine’ to his growing list of successes!  Out now!

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