One of my first jobs was to record a CD of songs that were inspired by Tolkiens Lord of the Rings. The artist had tried to use the songs that Tolkien wrote and put her music to it but was not allowed to use them. She used 'inspired by' to write a more lyrical and less clunky version of the songs.

Anyway, one of the tracks was to include a motif played on the pipes. The only pipe player that was going to do the job was a fantastic find. I dont know where Marion found him, but he was a treasure!

He had lost his hearing during WW2 on a battleship, but was fitted accordingly with hearing aids. Of course,this made fitting the headphones an interesting prospect, and we were frequently entertained by feedback whistles and mumbled apologies while fiddling with them. Once we got that sorted, we had to get him to play in time with the track. Remember, this guy is well into his 80's, deaf, and TOTALLY out of his comfort zone.

We managed to use a click for him to play by, and despite our best efforts in counting him in, he would always come in 2 beats late. He'd play the entire part correctly, but 2 beats late. Easy fix, we just moved him up into the zone when he'd gone.

The track came out beautifully, I used a long reverb and some delay to give a big sound to it - the track is about the Elves leaving Middle Earth from Grey Havens. It was very stirring. The best bit was that when trawling through all the takes, with the delay and reverb running, we came across a lovely little figure that he had played, very Celtic, very emotive. After 20 seconds of heavenly pipe playing, he'd let the bag collapse, with the attendant cacophony of pipes out of tune and deflating, followed by a feedback whistle and a mumbled 'sorry, sorry'. We fell about laughing at it, it was great. I saved it as a seperate file that got dragged out every time the going got a bit heavy. Thanks Mick!