Monday, 29 May 2023

The story of 'Walk Away The Winner' 2009 to 2013

The Story of

'Walk Away The Winner' 

The mystery of the unknown disco track on an Italian 1975 mix tape by respected Bologna DJ Miki from CIAK - REVEALED

Written by: Carl Dixon (PRS/MCPS) © 2009 (registered 2011)
Official Releases ℗ BANDTRAXS/Carl Dixon (PPL) ℗ 2013
ISRC: GBXNE1300009/GBXNE1300010

Performed by

BANDTRAXS (CDO 2009 demos)

Synopsis: One of my songs (a 2009 demo) has appeared on an Italian 1975 mix tape allegedly made by the respected DJ Miki from Bologna's 'CIAK' disco. It is suggested by a number of Italians it originates from 1975 and was an unreleased gem and that I had stolen it. They are hunting for the 'original' from 1975. I should be flattered, but am a little cheesed off with it.

I only started writing it in 2009 after my Philly trip in 2008 suitably inspired, so it has to be a fake tape, or somebody lied to DJ Miki or somebody else has included 'Walk Away The Winner' by doctoring it, unless DJ Miki  genuinely thought it was some dusty never released recording from that period. Recently I have had some rather acrimonious comments said to me privately and on line regarding this which is shocking from fellow Philly music fans. 

WARNING: There maybe slight discrepancies with dates and things. I'm not perfect. In the first instance, when I first heard the 1975 mix tape because of the quality I thought it was my 2013 released version. I had forgotten I did so many demos of it between 2009 and its release date etc. There are Windows demos from 2009 and 2011 MAC demos.

Listen here to the official 2013 release of 'Walk away the winner'

And, they don't give up. They are looking for the original of this too, another one of my demos from years ago. It is called ''What we (gonna do'' and it is currently private on YouTube and has been for years

'Walk Away The Winner' is one of five songs conceived, written, produced, recorded, mixed and mastered in London between July 2009 and it's officially release date 1st March 2013. Five new songs were written in a mid 70s Philly/Disco style and each one had two versions for the release, a full mix and an alternate version. There were numerous recordings of the songs made between 2009 onwards, in effect demos, until released. The albums concept was because I had recently been to Philadelphia in September 2008 and written/produced/recorded some songs with Philly guitarist (MFSB/Salsoul Orchestra), song writer, producer Bobby Eli. Our relationship developed because of the forum where we first communicated around 2002/3 with subsequent visits to the States where I met him face to face at his home. He had kindly invited me to attend the second week recording the Detroit leg of 'The Soulful Tale of Two Cities' album tracks in 2006 which was a real thrill. I had also been to Detroit in March 2008 where four of my songs were recorded by ex Motown session musicians and others. That period of 2008/9 I was extremely busy trying to learn the business of releasing these recordings in addition to the legalities of song registration with the PRS/MCPS and PPL in the United Kingdom territory. 

Writing the songs
As usual I only wanted to write and produce, so on my shift days off from Sky TV in London, I started creating the 'Make Five' songs, coming up with titles and laying down some chords and melody ideas over time as well as the other music admin I had to do. I simply named the new Logic files as Phillygroove plus a number at first like Phillygroove 2 as I had no song titles at that stage. For example 'Double Up' was started in February 2009 and simply titled 'Phillygroove' in my (DAW) Logic Audio until I came up with a proper title. WATW was different if I remember. I was watching a TV programme with my wife called 'Master Chef' and one of the judges said something like '..and let's see who walks away the winner'. There, the song title was born. This song does not appear to have been one of the 'Phillygroove' ones though as I think I may have started it with a proper title. If I find an earlier version I will update this.

How I started these songs circa 2009 in the first instance was to import some Salsoul drum samples which I had as a result of a 2001 competition I entered by Future Music magazine (UK) and Salsoul Records who were looking for the next 'Spiller'. In 1999 Spiller had used a Salsoul sample from 'Love is you'/Carol Williams in their release 'If this ain't love' and had a hit with it. 

Incidentally, my entry to that competition was called 'Stretchin' Out' and originally the working title being simply 'Salsoul' as I didn't have an immediate name. It morphed in to 'Stretchin' Out To Play' at one stage, but I reverted back to 'Stretchin' Out'. I heard nothing back from the competition. I finally released the instrumental version of that song 20 years later in 2021.

I used my trusted Yamaha V50 32 note 8 track sequencer as my keyboard to address midi sounds on the Windows computer/sound modules via Logic Audio. From memory the instrument sounds are more than likely from my Yamaha SW60XG internal sound card and/or Sampletank plug ins plus Logic sounds like ES1 bass which is on WATW (need to check that), and maybe Proteus 2000 external sound module instruments which I was experimenting with around that time. One of the issues with the SW60XG it was only 32 note polyphonic, so for strings, pianos, electric pianos, vibraphones etc, it used up the capacity quite quickly. At one stage I was having to record WAV files of some instruments on some songs to release the notes for other instruments, if that makes sense. I think once I updated the Windows PC and Logic I had access to other plug in solutions for instruments and didn't need to do that.

PC/MAC migration
So during the period 2009/2011 this was critical. I was writing the songs and migrating from a Windows PC to a MAC whilst using Logic Audio. This caused all sorts of problems like loosing my Windows Yamaha SW60XG card sounds for example and it instrumentation set up whilst migrating files to the MAC. My 2009 demo recordings had the Windows set up and sounds. I have all the original Logic files and can see the early versions of the song used the Yamaha SW60XG card sounds and other sources. On the 17th September 2009, the last WATW Logic Audio featuring the Salsoul drum samples was saved and from then on they were no more, as I adapted the track to get real drums on board by manually inputting snares, crashes, fills, kick etc whether from 'The Drummers of Motown' CD or other sources. I needed to be more specific for the drummer than just a looped sample. I uploaded the 2009 early demos to YouTube/Soundcloud before migrating to a MAC. From memory I worried about using the samples so made those videos private and indeed by the look of it deleted WATW off YouTube/SoundCloud.The first MAC Logic Audio file was the 6th May 2011.

Sourcing a drummer and bass player

So it crossed my mind circa 2010 that my good friend Simon Moss, drummer of 'The Clouds' a 90s Manchester band, may be interested in playing the drums on the five songs and he said yes. He had a new midi drum set he could play like real drums, but neither of us had a clue how to export the midi files that I could use in my DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) and select different drum kits, so we just used the audio record facility in mono. And that is a big part of the drumming on all he tracks on the 'Make Five' 2013 album. I added crashes (the crashes were a little low so I added many 'over the top', toms, other drumming elements to try and replicate what Earl Young may have played in a Philly studio environment. As for the bass, I had come across JamersonHook on YouTube and contacted him. He, in my opinion is prolific and puts his heart and soul into his work. Ironically, Gavin Morris was also from Manchester just like Simon. 

The 'original' version - CDO/REACH

One of the issues I suspect with the mix tape is that I uploaded to YouTube maybe a couple of 2009 versions which sound different to the released version(s). I have two urls for those uploads, but I deleted them off YouTube a long time ago. Understandably, I now realise that anybody familiar with these may suspect the official 2013 release versions are not the same. The slate/label below was created in 2009 in Powerpoint and was probably used with a 2009 demo (22) which I still have and I suspect is the one on the mix tape (or part of it). When I first heard the mix tape version, because of the quality I felt it was the released version and had been tinkered with, maybe speeded up and my real bass electronically removed and replaced. However, looking back over the files, it is one of my 2009 demo bass/Salsoul drums versions before I commissioned the bass player and the drummer for the track.

Notice I didn't use the Bandtraxs name for demos back then, instead 'Reach' as a label. I had only just come up with the Bandtraxs name and had used 'CDO' on a test release of a funky track called 'Don't tell your mama' as I didn't know how to sell or distribute audio on the Internet at that time. There are no prizes for guessing what the artist name CDO stands for. I used Cool Edit/Audition to make the audio mixes to import into Adobe Premier to make the YouTube upload files back in those days. I probably also uploaded to SoundCloud too and deleted because I was always running out of space so economised by getting rid of things nobody commented on or listened to.

Soul Source forum post 2009 - WATW demo version 30
Here is a post I did the end of 2009. I have not been a member of this forum for quite a long time now. Click the image to go to the web site and read for real. Playing this version back, it has the new manually sequenced drums on and the Salsoul samples removed/muted to be my vision to how the drums should sound on the released version for the drummer to practice. 

Carl Dixon blog August 2009
My original pitch for the song on my blog published 20th August 2009. I do not use the Carl Dixon blog so much now, just the one.

Lyrics for 'Walk Away The Winner' 2009
My intention for all the 'Make Five' songs was to eventually write lyrics for them and release sometime in the future. I did just that with 'A Little Of The Big Stuff', which I released with The Formellas in 2017. Here are a snippet of lyrics for WATW. Note these will be sung with the that melody organ/string figure prevalent in the song.

Another Disclaimer: this was a long time ago. There will be recollection issues, so will update any discrepancies.

Inspiration for the song
In the first instance I would say 'what would the Philly writers come up with for an MFSB instrumental'? It was their 'Universal Love' album that influenced me in the early 70s, then the Philly Whispers releases like 'A mother for my children', 'Once more with feeling' and then The Salsoul Orchestra and any other Philly derived releases whether New York City, Three Degrees, Harold Melvin etc. Also the Barry White version of Satin Soul was important as it showcased the many guitar parts in the song.

For WATW I needed something different for the beginning...a fanfare of drums maybe and a dramatic slow start, and then to the groove. I halved the intro as it was taking too long early on. Something extremely significant happened with the drums on the released version of this track and that story for another day. I also had Van McCoy and Mozart 40th in my head with the string figure I came up with. The earlier versions do not have the hi hat figure which came off the 'Drummers of Motown' sample CD I bought in New York in 1999. All demos I uploaded to YouTube/Soundcloud had that sample I believe as well as the 2013 released versions proving it is definitely not a 1975 recording as the CD was only released in 1999.

There were at least four other contenders for the 'Make Five' album and all done in the same way as 'Walk Away The Winner'. They too were all started in 2009, but never made it. There are a few here included in this 2002/2009 montage (click the graphic) I just created specifically for this project. These are incomplete at this stage and may well be resurrected. Notice the last track' Walk Away The Winner', this is another earlier alternate version and has the double intro scenario which I thought was too long so shortened it. The last but one track called 'What we (gonna do)' was once part of a song called 'Salsoul/Stretchin' Out/Stretchin' out to play' and became and entity on its own, but never released. However, I renamed it 'Soul Recession and it went to Philly in 2008 as an idea for the 'Soul Recession' which was re written and recorded with Double Exposure.

An email comment from an established Philly vocal performer 12th August 2009

 "just this minute had the chance to listen to, Walk Away the Winner and I must say that I liked it very much.  I think you have truly captured the sound of the, Salsoul Orchestra, as well as "MFSB & TSOP.  It is a winner, (smile), in the fact of it being right in the pocket of the (70's) Disco music style.
Here's hoping that it becomes a smash for you!! " 

An email comment from an established Philly musician/producer/song writer 13th December 2009

I feel as though Ive been whisked away in my time machine to 1973.
I love it. You are really getting good at it.

WATW YouTube comments from 2009 to 2011:
Best version so far. This great tune doesn't need any lyrics...
JKHeights 1 year ago

Updated version or not: this sounds great! Keep up the good work...
JKHeights 2 years ago

Good capturing of the Philly Sound, just not quite the THOM BELL Philly Sound...
Thom would never have used the syncopated snare between beat 4 and 1...

hollidayevery 2 years ago

Simply fantastic !! Imagine this with vocals and we'd have an instant Philly winner !!!!
soulie61 2 years ago

Previous comments on earlier versions of this demo:
maruga2326 (4 days ago)
Exelent !!!! exelent !!! much better sound,you are my idol !

JKHeights (4 days ago)
The Philly Sound is alive and kicking! Great tune. Expressive and suggestive sound.

Well arranged, well played!

Hear the original version and all the 'Make Five' releases from 2013 here


I will protect my copyright in the song writing and recordings. Whilst I appreciate it's mission impossible for me to sound anything like TSOP, here we have a scenario where individuals cannot accept what has happened because it brings into question why my song writing and production with 'Walk away the winner' is included on a 1975 mix tape following a Barry White track. 

Being accused of lying and stealing this song publicly is defamation and libellous. The comments written on line and privately to me regarding this are shameful. If this respected DJ took a gamble that my production/song was from 1975, with all his expertise, I would have liked to have spoken with him and explained my passion for creating such songs and why he was wrong. Sadly he is no longer with us, but he or somebody else have generated great intrigue about this. I believe the 2009 demo in question was potentially added to this mix tape in 2020 or thereabouts, which begs the question why was it not mentioned in the past earlier? I do have communication going back to September 2020 with enquiries via Facebook which suggests this is the first time Italians heard this track! 

When I first heard the mix tape even I was confused. I honestly thought the track had been doctored, but as I investigated deeper, it seemed to be an early 2009 demo I uploaded to YouTube and maybe speeded up a tad. I still have that file and the interesting thing is that those searching for that version rather than the 2013 official released version will not find it anywhere. It cannot be released in that form either. 

What these individuals do not understand is the process in writing and creating a recording. It took many many hours to create all the 'Make Five' album tracks. 'Walk away the winner' at first didn't quite work and I thought it was too long. I tried to extend it with extra excitement with the arrangement and decided that I should fade it early and crack on with the release instead. I was exceptionally busy during that period juggling releases, writing/producing new material, and working full time often overnight shifts at Sky TV. I fitted in the music stuff when I could. And, like all of my songs, I forget interesting trivia as the years go on. The released song has a million stories before and after and going back 5 years is bad enough never mind 10/15 years trying to remember things.

Wednesday, 1 February 2023

'He's Always Mad About Something' by The Formellas

(official release date 2nd April 2023)
‘He’s Always Mad About Something’
Written/published by: Carl Dixon (PRS/MCPS) © 2014  
Bandtraxs (PPL) ℗ 2023

Performed by

Official release date 2nd April 2023 and can be purchased from Amazon, iTunes etc and streamed via all leading digital services

Bandtraxs are delighted to release 'He's always mad about something' performed this time by The Formellas. This is a throwback to a mid 1970s east coast disco style production which may have emanated from the likes of Philly & New York. The recording process is over, the mix/masters are complete for an official release on the 2nd April 2023. The original version was by The Delgonives released in 2017.  

The drums were recorded in Detroit, the guitars, bass and horns all recorded in Nashville. Thank you to Drew, Sam, Gary, Mark, Roy and Mike as usual. The track listing looks like this:

  1. He’s always mad about something (Vocal Radio Mix)                   GBXNE2200001  3:31
  2. He’s always mad about something (Instrumental Radio Mix)        GBXNE2200002  3:30
  3. He’s always mad about something (Extended Vocal Mix)             GBXNE2200003  4:34
  4. He’s always mad about something (Extended Instrumental Mix)  GBXNE2200004  4:32
  5. He’s always mad about something (Trombone Vocal Mix)            GBXNE2200005  3:31
  6. He’s always mad about something (Mono Vocal Mix)                   GBXNE2200006  3:31
  7. He’s always mad about something (Sounds Like 70s Vinyl Mix)   GBXNE2200007  3:31
  8. He's always mad about something (Vocal Deluxe Mix)                 GBXNE2200008  3:31
A number of mixes exist which may appeal to Music Supervisors for their programming/production needs and those who may just like instrumentals or alternative versions. This release includes a first 'Vocal Deluxe' version and features an octave difference on some of the strings, a male background vocal in addition to the female ones and a glockenspiel punctuating the strings in places. The 'Trombone' mix changes the last chorus by removing the lead vocal and only using the solo ad lib which is on all the other vocal versions with the chorus. In addition there is extra trombone in that same segment which makes it uniquely different compared to the other vocal versions. I have had some positive feedback regarding previous 'Sounds like vinyl' mixes which has encouraged me to make available on this release too. Dust, warp, hum, noise can be added digitally and here with a view to replicate a mid 70s stereo 45 rpm vinyl record. 

Title: He's always mad about something
Writer: Carl Dixon
Published by: Carl Dixon (PRS/MCPS)
Artist: The Formellas
Label: Bandtraxs (PPL)
ISRC number: GBXNE2200001 to GBXNE2200008
UPC: 198004307048
This release: 2nd April 2023
Recording location: London/Nashville/Detroit/Salford

Drums: Drew Shultz
Baritone, alto & tenor sax: Sam Levine
Trombone: Roy Agee
Trumpet: Mike Haynes
Guitar: Mark Baldwin
Bass guitar: Gary Lunn
Keyboards/tambourine: Carl Dixon

Drew Schulz

Sam Levine

Gary Lunn

Mark Baldwin

Mike Haynes

Roy Agee

      Produced, mixed and mastered by Carl Dixon for Bandtraxs Productions 
      © 2014 the song (PRS/MCPS) & ℗ 2023 the recording Carl Dixon (PPL)

For more information about Bandtraxs releases please visit

© Carl Dixon 2023  All Rights Reserved

Sunday, 1 January 2023

'A little of the big stuff' by The Formellas


'A Little of the Big Stuff'

Performed by
Written by: Carl Dixon
Published by: Carl Dixon (PRS) © 2011 (℗2017

The official release date is the 1st June 2017 and can be purchased from, Amazon, iTunes and all leading streaming services.

If you enjoy retro sounding mid 1970s soul, this new album release features no less than fourteen mixes to capture the spirit of disco music prevalent around that time. These productions have been carefully crafted with respect to a period that gave us the likes of Love Unlimited, The Three Degrees, The Sound of Philadelphia, The Salsoul Orchestra and MFSB. The instrumentation remains faithful to a more traditional style of arrangement from the days when sequencing and midi did not exist. Although using modern techniques to record these tracks, the essence of the music here still sounds organic and collaborative. The main influences for this music are the 1970s and particularly the Philly Sound. Nobody will ever recreate that music successfully without the musicians who made it and arrangers that so eloquently added their input to the songs in the first place. The likes of Bobby Eli, Earl Young, Vince Montana, T G Conway, Jimmie Williams, Phil Hurtt, Tony Bell, Larry Washington, Ronnie Baker, Norman Harris, Thom Bell, Richard Rome and Bobby Martin are a few names that come to mind, but there are so many other individuals responsible for that sound too numerous to mention. The writers, producers, musicians, arrangers and artists are greatly appreciated and are celebrated here with efforts to write and produce similarly.

This song was originally an instrumental released on the Bandtraxs album named 'Make five' and was merely a notion that one day lyrics would be written and vocals added. These are the fruits of that idea with studio recorded drums, horns, guitars and bass guitar. Studio pro’s in LA provided the horn and the female vocal tracks with LaTisha on lead and b/v's, whilst Bobby Eli recorded Jeff Leonard on drums in his ‘The Grooveyard’ studio in Philly on the main tracks of this album. From a trivia point of view, the Loft mixes are specifically with early looped drums I was experimenting with before I commissioned Philly studio drums. These are real drums professionally recorded for producers to use with their productions whether demos or commercial releases, but I wanted a real Philly groove on this hence Jeff Leonard's contribution. The Moss mixes are the original London drums by Simon Moss from the instrumental version of ALOTBS off the 'Make Five' album released previously, except this time accompanied by vocals and other instruments not recorded previously. Simon was the drummer with Manchester 80s group 'The Clouds'. The bass guitar by Gavin Morris is on all versions, also from Manchester.


Title: A little of the big stuff
Writers: Carl Dixon (PRS)
Artist: The Formellas
Label: Bandtraxs
Production: Carl Dixon for Bandtraxs Productions
ISRC number: GBXNE1700031 to GBXNE1700044
This album version release: 1st April 2017
Recording location: Philadelphia, LA, Nashville and London
Original song incarnation 2011 and released on the album ‘Make five’ by Bandtraxs

For more information about the track please visit or contact

Artists and session musicians on ‘A little of the big stuff’:

Lead Vocals:
LaTisha (Studio Pros, Los Angeles)

Backing vocals
LaTisha (Studio Pros, Los Angeles)
Carl Dixon (London)

Drums 1: Jeff Leonard, The Grooveyard, Philadelphia. Thanks to Bobby Eli.
Drums 2: Loopmaster
Drums 3: Simon Moss, London
Guitar 1: Mark Baldwin, Nashville
Guitar 2: Carl Dixon, London
Bass guitar: Gavin Morris, Manchester
Horns: Studio Pros, Los Angeles
Keys/percussion: Carl Dixon

Produced, mixed and mastered by
Carl Dixon for Bandtraxs Productions

© Carl Dixon 2013, (P) 2017

Tuesday, 26 July 2022

'Blame' by The Delgonives

11th MARCH 2022

Written by: Carl Dixon, Sean O’ Connell, Steve McCarthy-Hunt (PRS/MCPS/PPL) © 2014 
℗ 2022

Performed by

Bandtraxs are delighted to release 'Blame' performed by 'The Delgonives' written during a song writing retreat in 2014 at the Monnow Valley recording studio, Monmouth, Wales. This is the fruit of that labour after the three of us, myself, Steve McCarthy-Hunt and Sean O' Connell walked into the studio control room with just a guitar, pen & paper and an iPad with GarageBand, plus we had never met or collaborated together previously. The remit was simple: write a song together, so we did. 

Title: Blame
Written by: Carl Dixon, Sean O’ Connell, Steve McCarthy-Hunt
Artist: The Delgonives
Label: Bandtraxs
ISRC numbers: GBXNE2000031 to GBXNE2000037
Sleeve art: Michelle Dixon
This release: 11th March 2022  
Recording location: London/Salford/Nashville/Detroit
Drums/Percussion: Drew Schultz (Detroit)
Baritone and tenor sax: Sam Levine (Nashville)
Trombone: Roy Agee (Nashville)
Trumpet: Mike Haynes (Nashville)
Guitar: Mark Baldwin (Nashville)
Bass guitar: Gary Lunn (Nashville)
Keyboards: Carl Dixon (London)
Harmonica: Alan Jones (The Piccadilly Rats -Salford)
That tinkly piano idea: Simon Moss (The Clouds - Manchester)

Listen to 'Blame'👇

Thanks to all the musicians Stateside mentioned above.

Big thanks for Sean and Steve for making it easy to come up with something from scratch like this. It's a great story and maybe one day we'll be able to it tell together somewhere.

Thanks to Rita Campbell of BASCA (at that time) who organised the song writing retreat in 2014 at Monnow Valley and sent us in to the control room to collaborate. 

Thanks to Simon Moss who has always been one of the best sounding boards for anything musically I create. His attention to detail and knowledge is unrivalled especially as being the drummer from the 90s Manchester band 'The Clouds'.

Thanks also to Alan Jones of 'The Piccadilly Rats' for listening to the recording demos in its early days of production in MediaCityUK/Salford. It took a while to realise that some harmonica on the track would be special, which he kindly did.

Big thanks to Michelle Dixon for the excellent sleeve art completed well before I needed it. The photo is of the River Humber facing south from North Ferriby, East Yorkshire, England. Photo © Carl Dixon

 1) Blame - vocal radio mix
   2) Blame - instrumental mix
  3) Blame - vocal guitar mix
       4) Blame - vocal hornless mix 
        5) Blame - saxophone inst mix
  6) Blame - Mono vocal mix
                      7) Blame - Sounds like 60s mono vinyl 

Monnow Valley Residential Recording Studio & Rehearsal Facility

Drew Schulz

Sam Levine

Gary Lunn

Mark Baldwin

Mike Haynes

Carl Dixon at Monnow Valley  -  Photo © Carl Dixon 2014

Please also listen to 'Coming Home' by The Delgonives (Carl Dixon/Rikki James) which was also written at that same 2014 song writing retreat.

Produced, mixed and mastered by Carl Dixon for Bandtraxs Productions

For more information about Bandtraxs releases please visit

© Carl Dixon 2022