On Road Apples we had the benefit of working with Don Smith and Bruce Barris again. We still had plenty to learn about studios and it made sense to team up with these guys, we really enjoyed working with them last time and there was one less unknown [a new producer] in the recording equation. We booked five weeks at Daniel Lanois's Kingsway Studio in the French Quarter of New Orleans. This studio atmosphere was way more relaxed and informal when compared with other he'd used. The studio is in an old mansion with 14-foot ceilings. The rooms have a terrific natural sound. Most of the time we all played in the same enormous room where Don and Bruce and the consoles were. When we needed a break the pool table and kitchen were close by.
New Orleans is a lively town and we're sure the whole vibe down there is on this record. We were really working hard and totally inspired by this sinking city. Road Apples is probably a grittier more urgent sounding recording than Up To Here. We were attempting to capture the sound of our live shows. During the first week of pre-production we had pruned the potential songs down to a manageable number. The only song that was born down in New Orleans that made the record was Little Bones inspired in part by a rather verbose taxi driver who drove us to Tipitinas one night.
At the time we thought long and hard about calling this record "Saskadelphia." It reflected, we thought aspects of our life on the road - the "where the hell are we now feeling" you can get near the end of a long tour. For different reasons no one else we told about this title was partial to it. In the end we opted for Road Apples and its' various meanings literally it means horse shit but there is also a reference to playing road hockey in the street. In the old days some kids would use frozen horse shit as their puck in a game of road hockey. So in a way we called the record horse shit a little jab at the folks that didn't like Saskadelphia as a title.
Released February, 1991
Produced by Don Smith
Recorded by Bruce Barris in New Orleans. Sept. 1990
Mixed by Don Smith and Bruce Barris
Assistant Engineer: Scott Campell
Mastered by Ted Jensen at Sterling Sound New York, NY
Phil Jones- Tambourine, Benmont Tench - Piano, Malcolm Burn - Accordian