DMB Song Evolution: Recently
February 24th, 2008
“People stare and we just ignore…”
“Recently”, another fan favorite has had a lot of history through Dave Matthews Band’s career. “Recently” is one of many songs that Dave Matthews wrote very early on, long before they had a recording contract and even before they had the whole band together.
The first known studio recording of “Recently” came as early as 1990-91 on a couple demo tapes.
“Recently” was first released on the album “Remember Two Things”, which consists of a collection of live performances from various shows. This was their first album released independently on their label, Bama Rags Records. The recording of “Recently” featured on this album was taken from their performance on August 10th, 1993.
While “Recently” was never recorded and released on any of their studio albums, it was released as a promotional EP in 1994 on the Bama Rags label with two different covers and track listings. One cover had a man holding a pumpkin (bama 002) and the other without (bama 003). The “Recently” EP was then re-released in 1997 by DMB’s current label RCA.
The Bama Rags 002 release of “Recently” contains only 4 songs, which were all radio edits and different artwork than the re-release by RCA and the secondary Bama release. This cover features a man holding a pumpkin. This makes this promotional copy of “Recently” probably one of the rarest releases in DMB history and the most wanted by fans. This release came around April-May 1994, just months before their first studio album, and only limited amount were made and mostly distributed to radio stations. While some other promotional releases are very hard to find, this particular release holds a lot of value and has occasionally been found auctioned on Ebay for hundreds of dollars.
The Bama Rags 003 release of “Recently” features only the radio edit of “Recently” and 4 additional live songs from various shows. In addition, the cover art is without the pumpkin. This release is still quite rare, but not nearly as rare as Bama 002.
In 1997, RCA wanted to re-release the “Recently” EP and did so using the Bama 003 version, which can be easily found in any retail store.
The lyrics to “Recently” have been pretty straight forward through the years. “Recently” commonly features the Some Do/Some Don’t Intro during live performances, which at times has improved lyrics, but the core lyrics have generally remained the same.
It has never been officially confirmed who Dave was writing about in this song, but it is clearly about a relationship that may make some people uneasy and may even be one of his past relationships.
There is an old rumor that Dave wrote it about his 8th grade girlfriend who is black.
Dave has commented that this version is his favorite interpretation of the song, but has not been confirmed it to be true.
Before playing “Recently” on December 16th, 1994, Dave briefly mentioned that he was seeing a girl who liked to kiss in public and this made him uncomfortable.
Download an audio clip of Dave explaining Recently.
In the book "Step Into The Light", there is a brief explanation of the song, but still does not confirm who the song is about.
"'Recently' is another upbeat song about lovers and courtship that Matthews has said was written about good times in South Africa."
All of these things pretty much sum up what the song was written about, but the woman he refers to in the song is still unknown.
“Recently” has been played live since 1991 and was featured heavily in setlist rotation through 2000. Since 2000, it has only been played a total of 34 times. In 2007, “Recently” did not get played at all. This was the first time that it was not played at least once during the tour or any other shows during the year.
As the Dave Matthews Band song catalog grows, it has become more common in recent years to see songs like “Recently” and others remain dormant for a while and/or not get played as often. There is no clear reason why it did not get played during 2007, but this song will likely be played again.
Since the first performance of “Recently” the lyrics have not changed much. Musically the evolution of “Recently” has been quite diverse. The riff has pretty much stayed the same, but “Recently” has had its share of musical variations through the years. There have been some really great jams, intros, outros, interpolations, a segue and the occasional guest or two.
The first time “Recently” was played live may have come from the show on top of the Pink Warehouse on May 11th, 1991. The earliest known recording available at this time comes from October 22nd, 1991 at Trax, where DMB began playing on a weekly basis from that time on.
“Recently” has been played Dave Solo a handful of times through the years. The first performance was played on May 2nd, 1992.
Dave & Tim
Dave Matthews & Tim Reynolds first performance of “Recently” came on April 22nd, 1992. Many performances of this song were during their tours in 1996 and 1997. The last time Dave & Tim have performed this song together was on March 30th, 2003.
Many of the Dave & Tim performances contain various intro and outros much like the full band versions. Norwegian Wood, Pretty Pretty Girl, On Broadway and Some Do/Some Don’t are some that have been played with Tim Reynolds. They have even reprised the song in a few performances as well.
Intros and Interpolations
This interpolation was one of the first to be played with-in “Recently”. The first time the Norwegian Wood was played, Boyd would play this very famously known song by the Beatles into the jam of the song. Since then, this interpolation can be found as an intro or outro, with Dave singing the line:
“I once had a girl or should I say, she once had me. She showed me her room, isn’t it good Norwegian Wood”
Some Do/Some Don’t
The Some Do/Some Don’t Intro is probably the most played intros to the song. There are many versions that do not have this intro, but it has remained a very common intro, especially through the 90’s. Some performances contain lyrics were Dave slightly alters or improvs, but still held the same theme before playing “Recently”.
Here is an example of some Some Do/Some Don't Lyrics
Prelude/Dave Solo Intro
The prelude to “Recently” includes an improv jam from the band before going into the main riff of the song. Sometimes this prelude would be done only by Dave Matthews. The riff that Dave Matthews plays during the prelude was the same either way.
Pretty Pretty Girl
“Pretty Pretty Girl” has been both and intro and outro to “Recently”. It is one of the more common outros to the song and consists of Dave repeating these lyrics:
“Pretty, Pretty Girl. Lovely, Lovely, Girl. Spin My World Around. Got My World Turning...”
“On Broadway” has also been known to be an intro and outro. Dave generally sings:
"They say the neon light are bright on Broadway"
"On Broadway" is a song written by Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil in collaboration with the team of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller.
The song was a hit for The Drifters in 1963, reaching number 9 on the Billboard Hot 100, and has been covered by many artists.
Take Me To the River
Take me to the River is another lyrical interpolation, usually played during the outro of the song, with Dave singing:
Take me to the river, the river. Drop me in the water, the water...
All off these intros/outros have been played more so as a lyrical addition to the songs and not so much as musical interpolation, like heard on other songs.
For example, the music from the original songs like, “On Broadway” is not played, but contain lyrics from the song that Dave sings over the “Recently” jam. This is a bit different from interpolations where music of the actual song get played.
Other less common interpolations include: "Dancing in the Streets", "Mary Had a little Lamb", "Sunshine on my Shoulders", "Drive My Car" and "Tennessee".
“Recently” has featured many guests over the years. The first guest ever on “Recently” was technically Boyd Tinsley, since he really was not an official member of the band at the time. The first non-DMB guest was Miguel Valdez. He filled in for Carter Beauford while his injured hand was healing. Another fill-in was Doug Wannamaker who played keys. At the time he was filling in for Peter Griesar, who later left the band in 1993.
Other guests include, Trey Anasasio, John Popper, Tim Reynolds, Bela Fleck, Greg Howard, who are all very common names on the DMB guest list. Among a few of the rare guests include the Richmond Symphony Orchestra.
The Water/Wine Jam is a segue that debuted on December 10th, 1994. This jam was played frequently through 1995 and hasn’t been played again since October 24th, 1996. The Water/Wine Jam has had various lyrics and has always followed “Recently”. Water/Wine serves as an outro to “Recently” that segues into the next song.
Water/Wine has segued into #36 on some occasions, but has also followed other songs like Lie in Our Graves. When Water/Wine was first played it was played almost as a transition from “Recently”, but then reprised back into "Recently, rather than into another song.
It could almost be confused as part of a “Recently” jam, but with its own lyrics, it clearly stands alone as a segue.
The “Recently” reprise was played for the first time after the Water/Wine Jam. This reprise has also popped up from time to time after multiple songs were played.
An example of this is on February 10th, 1995. DMB opens the show with Recently and then into Water/Wine Jam - #36 – Best of What’s Around, then into a reprise of Recently.
The reprise disappeared around the same time as the Water/Wine Jam. These two aspects to the song added a very cool dynamic. There is no way to know why DMB stopped playing the reprise and Water/Wine. It is not likely that either of these things will be played again, however not many people believed that #34 would ever be played again. If you can wait 12 years, maybe they will. If DMB history has taught us anything…never say never.
“Recently”, yet less common than other song, can be found on a number of official DMB releases.
08.10.93 - used for "Remember Two Things" album release
08.15.95 – Included on live release "Live at Red Rocks 8.15.95" released on October 28, 1997.
07.13.99 – Selected for “Warehouse 5: Volume 3”
08.27.00 – Included on "Live Trax: Volume 3", released on March 17, 2005.
07.11.01 – Included on live release "Live at Folsom Field" released November 5, 2002.
07.13.04 – Selected for "Limited Edition Companion to Stand Up"
09.12.05 - Selected for "The Complete Weekend On the Rocks" official live release and selected for "Weekend on the Rocks" DVD.
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