[the sea of waking dreams]

McLachlan drops into album suit

VANCOUVER (CP) -- Singer Sarah McLachlan turned up unexpectedly in B.C. Supreme Court on Thursday to listen to the testimony of two musicians who played on her 1988 debut album Touch.

She said outside court she decided to drop in on the civil trial, in which Darryl Neudorf suing her and her record company Nettwerk, after returning from Miami, where she was mixing a new album, Mirror Ball.

She laughed at a suggestion made earlier by a lawyer that her next album should be called Unplugged and Under Oath.

It was a reference to her playing guitar, keyboards and singing in court earlier in her five days of testimony at the trial, which began last November.

Neudorf, 34, a Vancouver record producer, is suing McLachlan, 30, for copyright infringement and is seeking royalties for co-producing and co-writing the music of four songs on Touch: Vox, Steaming, Sad Clown and Strange World.

McLachlan and her managers, Terry McBride and Mark Jowett, maintain Neudorf was hired to do pre-production work on the album and didn't write any songs.

The liner notes for the Touch CD credit Neudorf with "pre-production co-ordination and production assistance." He also received a one-per-cent royalty point on the album.

Ross Hales, who played drums on Touch, testified Thursday his impression was that Neudorf and keyboard player Darren Phillips assisted McLachlan in writing the music.

Hales said he took direction from Greg Reely, the producer of the album, on how to play drum parts, but he didn't take direction from Neudorf, a former drummer with the Vancouver band 54-40 who co-wrote the song, I Go Blind, which became a hit for Hootie & the Blowfish.

"Everyone was throwing in ideas at the start of the record," said musician Dave Kershaw, who played bass on Touch and McLachlan's later album, Fumbling Toward Ecstacy. Kershaw was to continue his testimony today.

McLachlan's debut album has sold more than 625,000 copies and Neudorf was paid $3,385 for his services.

He testified earlier he was brought into the Sarah Project, as it was first called, to help McLachlan develop songs before going into the recording studio in March 1988.

Neudorf recalled he was even helping finish off songs in the back of the Limited Vision studio with McLachlan, who at the time was working in a Vancouver coffee shop by day and recording her debut album at night.

McLachlan was 19 when she was signed to a five-record recording deal in October 1987. At the time, she had just moved to Vancouver from her native Halifax and had never written a complete song before.

Neudorf testified he extracted parts of songs from "meandering ideas" McLachlan played on piano and guitar.

He also said he wrote sections of music to make improve the songs but conceded McLachlan wrote all the lyrics.

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