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The Dressing-up Box

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Jan 17 2015 - Remixed. I was always kinda disappointed with what the original mix sounded like. Listening to it the other day I realised what it is - I’d mixed the vocals too loud. This reduced the “stereo” and killed off a lot of the life of the track.
LOADS happier with it now…
Vocals slightly lower, and some bottom rolled off the band - thanks Stoman :)


A new one from me. I wrote it in April and it’s been a bit of a mill-stone round my neck ever since. I have been busy with other stuff, but it’s still taken FIVE months to finish what started life as a little acoustic ditty!

It now has a multitude of guitars, piano, strings, drums and several massed choirs (doing things you can’t really hear). It seems to have turned into a bit of a ponderous dinosaur of a song… but I’m still rather fond of it.

There’s some more detail below, wot inspired it and so on, after the lyrics.


The Dressing-up Box - A A J Russe

You should spare a thought for the woman behind
Stands and waits
Seems not to mind
She found her own way here
Were her choices ever that clear?

In her waking dream
A dream awake
On someone else’s dream she waits
We flatter to deceive
But she’s the one whom you might believe

There’s only one thing sure
Concerns the woman we adore
The Mistress of the Wardrobe
The dressing-up box conceals it all

If only she could be
The very thing she’s meant to be
At last and truly free
The dressing-up box would only hold
Her clothes

Now spare a thought after so many years
A woman stands
Seems to hear
Flattered not deceived
All the words she has received

But this waking dream
Is a dream so late
And someone else’s dreams await
She found her own way here
In her dreams we feel her near

There’s only one thing sure
Concerns this woman we adore
New mistress of the robe
Her dressing-up box holds it all

It pleases us to see
The very things we used to be
At last and truly free
Her dressing-up box reveals it all

If ever you want more
Than your flattery can ill afford
Her dressing-up box offers things to say

And if she offers more
If she ever offers more
Her dressing-up box carries you away

Copyright (C) 2014 A A J Russe. All Rights Reserved.


The Dressing-up Box was inspired by a book called Courtiers by Dr Lucy Worsley, Chief Curator of Historic Royal Palaces in the UK.

This magical book deals with the courts of George I and George II. Hiding inside is a lady called Henrietta Howard. She’d already had quite a hard time when she showed up in Hannover looking for a job with the soon-to-become English royal family. She managed to impress and obtained a position as one of Princess Caroline’s ladies in waiting. Later, she rose to become Mistress of the Wardrobe (I understand that she was quite good at clothes) and… well, Caroline also sorted her out with a job as her husband George’s (later King George II) mistress. So her working life was a little difficult and constrained.

Henrietta was valued by many of her contempories including lots of folks we still know of today. Some of them were quite worried about her. They feared that if she carried on being a courtier for too long, she would become the thing they all had to pretend to be. Eventually, she managed to escape and, one hopes, had some peace.

Among her admirers was a Mr Alexander Pope, although he later went off her when she wasn’t as friendly/supportive as he felt she should be (arty-types, eh? hehe). There’s a poem he wrote called “On a Certain Lady at Court” - you can find it on the interweb, if you want.

I don’t know whether Henrietta Howard liked dressing up - I do suspect that she did - but the Chief Curator of Historic Royal Palaces, the lady who spends a lot of time wandering round the places where this all happened, certainly does…

So this is my “On a Certain Lady at Court” :-)

Latest Comments

Radio Roswell's avatar
Radio Roswell said

Really nice production and playing. It has a wonderful 70's feel to it.The vocal matches perfectly to the style.

Guest said

I feel like I just got back from Narnia! Seriously though, the bass guitar is so cool and perfect in this song. I would want to turn this up loud on a wardrobe sized speaker!

Colleen Dillon's avatar
Colleen Dillon said

Hi Andrews! Pleased to meet you here on this wonderful site, and thanks for the kind words on my tracks earlier this week. I really like this song! A great story, and so richly delivered. I look forward to listening to more of your music!

stoman's avatar
stoman said

Oh, yes, the new version sounds even better. The bass still sticks out a little on some notes, but overall it sounds great.

Andrew Russe's avatar
Andrew Russe said

Just posted a remix of this one - I was never happy with the old one and couldn't figure out why... I finally did yesterday - the vocals were mixed too loud! So I lowered the vox and took some bottom end off the band (thanx Stoman - You were right!)

James Michael Taylor's avatar
James Michael Taylor said

The more I listen to this the more I like it.

Guest said

Great stuff Angus love it!

stoman's avatar
stoman said

The part up to the chorus sounds like the early Cat Stevens, before you morph into David Essex again. :D Great stuff, Andy! I'm not sure if the clicks come from the internet connection (or did you want to create a vintage vinyl impression?). But I'll download the track anyway, so I'll soon know. :) The mix is a little bass heavy, but the song is still great.

jip's avatar
jip said

excellent blending of instruments, voice and sounds/textures. Good drums too.

James Michael Taylor's avatar
James Michael Taylor said

Love this. So much drama. Great contrasts.

jimgoodinmusic's avatar
jimgoodinmusic said

Theatrical and remniscent of Meat Loaf and late Freddie Mercury at times in delivery, feel. Thanks very much as well Andrew for the nice words on some my trax.

Johnny Stone's avatar
Johnny Stone said

Great keys mate nice track and thanks for your comment

James Michael Taylor's avatar
James Michael Taylor said

Very interesting story. Your music catches the mystery of it.

H R Music's avatar
H R Music said

As usual your work shines. Keep on keepin' on.

kirklynch's avatar
kirklynch said

Damn! That is one fine piece of work! Love all the different layers that are going on

jip's avatar
jip said

Nice one - great sounds here.

Greg Connor's avatar
Greg Connor said

Wow . . . this one raised the standard. Nice job Andrew.

Jason Earls's avatar
Jason Earls said

Wow, truly EPIC! amazing vocals! I like the summary of what inspired it too.

FDR's avatar
FDR said

Progtastic!!!

Justin Otter Guy's avatar
Justin Otter Guy said

A fantastic, brilliant, colorful, delicious, epic composition! This is one of those one-in-a-million exceptional bit of songwriting. I'm impressed. A lot of mojo happening here. Take a bow, cause I'm standing and applauding this one -- FABULOUS! 5 STARS!

Raimondi Custom Guitars's avatar
Raimondi Custom Guitars said

EPIC!!!!!!!!!! Haaa!!!! Great Work all the way around!!!!

captgene's avatar
captgene said

Ya nailed it. Awesome mix.

Stan Gadziola AKA (gadzooks)'s avatar
Stan Gadziola AKA (gadzooks) said

beautifully composed ... love the bass and piano at the start ... great when it kicks in ...like the nuances like the strings and electric guitar bits ... a well produced and mixed piece that takes you on a few dynamic journeys ...the ending rocks ... strong vocals.

Guest said

Wow... I see why it took 5 months. A wonderous construction indeed. As I'm no longer an Alonetoner... I'm Mac McIntyre

thetworegs's avatar
thetworegs said

another beauty from the house of Russe ......

Saved!