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Your Song of the Day

Discussion in 'OFF TOPIC' started by Prime Time, Feb 16, 2014.

  1. PhxRam

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  3. Selassie I

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    Most women are perfectly safe if left alone in a room with me. However,,, I'm not gonna say for sure that Erykah Badu would leave said room unsoiled. :whistle:

    This is from a Bob Marley All Star Tribute concert in JA. Just an incredible concert from start to finish... lots of well known artists sing Bob's songs.

    Here's my girl Erykah ...


     
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    Crosby, Stills & Nash - 'Suite Judy Blue Eyes'



    Crosby, Stills & Nash ‘Suite: Judy Blue Eyes’ | Classic Tracks

    Producers: David Crosby, Stephen Stills, Graham Nash • Engineer: Bill Halverson

    As the ’60s drew to a close, David Crosby, Stephen Stills and Graham Nash came together to form a new group, the unique sound of which was perfectly demonstrated by their first recording, ‘Suite: Judy Blue Eyes’.

    It was 1968, and at a time when loud blues-based rock was all the rage, along came Crosby, Stills & Nash to help redraw the musical landscape with their characteristically seamless blend of folk, country, jazz, blues and rock, featuring high, sublimely intricate three-part harmonies.
    While the prominent folk-rock sensibilities of ex-Byrd David Crosby were supplemented by his compositional talent for atmospheric tunes and socio-political lyrics, country-oriented former Buffalo Springfield frontman Stephen Stills was a remarkable multi-instrumentalist with the ability to make seemingly disparate musical elements coalesce.

    Add to this the melodic pop skills that Graham Nash had refined with the Hollies and the result was a timely, all-encompassing fusion of great commercial, critical and artistic appeal. In essence, CS&N brought singer-songwriters firmly into vogue and paved the way for acts like the Eagles by helping to define the new, freewheeling ‘California Sound’ of the early ’70s.

    [​IMG]
    Engineer Bill Halverson in the Studio 3 control room, February 1969. Behind him you can see a rack of silver-face Universal Audio 1176s.

    Halverson first met Wally Heider back in 1960, when the former was playing bass trombone in an all-star jazz band at LA’s Dominguez Hills Junior College. At that time, Heider was a second engineer at Bill Putnam’s studio, United Recording, and when he was invited to record one of the band’s rehearsal sessions, he reciprocated by telling the musicians they were welcome to attend a proper tracking session at United. That summer, shortly before performing with the band at the Third Monterey Jazz Festival, Halverson took Heider up on his offer, and while spending the next four years touring with the jazz outfits of Allen Ferguson and Tex Beneke, he struck up a friendship with Heider. Indeed, Halverson even assisted Heider on some of his remote recordings around LA and Las Vegas.

    By the time that Halverson quit Tex Beneke’s band in November 1964, Heider had also left United Recording to launch his own LA studio near the intersection of Selma Avenue and Cahuenga Boulevard. The very next month, Halverson was working there as an assistant engineer, and although he initially considered this to be a temporary job, it turned into something far more permanent. The facility’s first console was one designed by Bill Putnam, and this would even be used in the mobile truck — such was the case when Halverson watched the Capitol Records engineers use it to capture the Beatles’ 1965 concert at the Hollywood Bowl. Back at the studio, he also gained invaluable experience watching Heider behind the board, while observing how an independent Nashville engineer named Jimmy Lockhart interacted with Brian Wilson on some Beach Boys sessions.

    “I remember it so clearly,” says Halverson, who went freelance in 1970, 15 years before relocating to Nashville, where he is currently working on his memoirs. “When Brian tried to tell Jimmy something, Jimmy would respond, ‘Well, show me. Use this knob right here.’ Brian would say, ‘Can I touch it?’ and Jimmy would say, ‘Yeah, just show me how you want it.’ So, Brian would try the level, and even if it wasn’t quite right, it would give Jimmy an idea of what he wanted. At that point, Jimmy would take over and go, ‘You mean like this?’ and Brian would say, ‘Yeah, yeah, that’s what I want.’ Watching that kind of interaction certainly helped me later with people like Stephen Stills.”

    [​IMG]
    Studio 3’s 16-track Frank DiMedio custom-designed valve console and the remote control for the 3M tape machine.

    When space became available adjacent to Wally Heider’s studio, Heider considered acquiring it to replicate what was then the busiest facility in town: Studio 3 at Bill Putnam’s United Western Recorders.

    “Wally and his carpenter, a guy named Hal Halverson — no relation to me — booked an hour of studio time at United Western 3, measured it and figured out it would fit into the space that was available,” Bill Halverson recalls. “So, that’s how Heider came to build his own Studio 3. He never did have a Studio 2; he actually had the balls to name it Studio 3. Then, in an effort to get Bones Howe — who had engineered so many hit records at United Western 3 — to move some of his business over to Heider Studio 3, Wally asked him, ‘What do I need to get you?’ Maybe that was a flip remark, but Bones said, ‘Well, I want 16 of those Universal Audio equalisers and 16 of those Universal Audio filters in the rack so I can run everything that way.’
    “That’s what Heider did.

    He went out and bought Pultecs and Universal Audio with the 175B and 1176 limiters, doing whatever Bones wanted in order to get him over there. Then there was a 16-track Frank DiMedio-designed valve console comprised largely of Universal Audio components, together with an Ampex 300 two-inch tape machine that DiMedio had jury-rigged with Ampex 350 electronics. This was before we got the API board and 3M 16-track machines. The Ampex was 15ips, and I was one of the few guys who never went to 30ips because the bottom end at 15 was so fat that I became addicted to it.

    “Although that studio was a little longer and a little narrower than Studio 3 at United Western, it was basically the same and it was a brilliant room. I didn’t actually know how good that room was until I left Heider’s and started recording in other rooms that weren’t nearly as forgiving.

    “We’d usually put the drums and bass on the right side of the room and the guitars on the other side, and I did a live Tom Jones vocal in there and got away with it. I also cut [Cream’s] ‘Badge’ live in there with Felix Pappalardi’s piano, and again we got away with it, even with Marshall amps going full blast. It was just a very forgiving room.”

    [​IMG]
    Left: Graham Nash playing acoustic guitar.

    Having helped Wally Heider record 1967’s Monterey Pop Festival, Bill Halverson was already familiar with David Crosby. He had also met Stephen Stills, having helped Jim Messina track a Stills overdub on Buffalo Springfield’s album Last Time Around in Studio 1. However, it wasn’t until he engineered a demo session in late 1968 that Halverson really got to witness Stills’ remarkable talent.

    “He came in and played some acoustic guitar and did some vocals and played some bass,” Halverson recalls, “and then he rented some drums from Studio Instrument Rentals — which was the big rental company out there at that time — and played those, too. The song was ‘49 Reasons’, before it became ‘49 Bye-Byes’ — it was an eight-track demo, and when he wanted to turn the tape over I had no idea what he was doing. Track two became track seven, and he did this backwards guitar thing where he could hear the changes backwards and play this part. He only did it one time, turned it over and the guitar part just blew me away.”

    After Halverson recorded a demo in Studio 3, featuring a folk singer named Judy Mayan who was being produced by David Crosby and the Monkees’ Peter Tork, he began managing Wally Heider’s while the owner was building some new facilities in San Francisco. That was when he received a call from Atlantic requesting time to be blocked for an unknown group that wanted to use Studio 3 in early 1969. Cue the Crosby, Stills & Nash project, which was the first time Halverson engineered an entire album. (Contrary to subsequently published credits, he does not claim to have co-produced.)

    [​IMG]
    Stephen Stills tracking bass in Studio 3’s live room.

    “On the first day, when they walked in, I had no idea what we were going to do,” says Halverson, whose other credits include Jimi Hendrix, Joe Cocker, Chuck Berry, the Beach Boys, Eric Clapton, Kraftwerk, Emmylou Harris, Stephen Stills and, of course, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. “I had kept asking Atlantic for a setup — was there going to be a drummer, a bass player and an entire band? — and all I heard back was ‘We don’t know. They’ve booked the time and they’ll be there, so you’ll just have to wait and see.’ Then, when they did arrive, it was just the three of them in David’s VW van with a couple of guitars and a bass. So, we loaded the stuff in and hung out for a bit. Graham had never been in the studio. Finally, I said, ‘So, what are we gonna do?’ and was told, ‘Stephen’s going to play a little acoustic guitar.’ That’s how it started. I had no idea they’d already been rehearsing, I had no idea what kind of music it was going to be.

    “I went and got a really nice acoustic guitar mic, a tube Neumann U67, and I set it up, got Stephen some headphones so he could hear what he was doing, and after I’d turned the lights out according to his request, he started playing. At this point, having watched Wally Heider record Wes Montgomery and other jazz musicians, and even though I’d done rock & roll with some electric stuff, I was pretty much a purist. So, when the old Martin D28 that Stephen played sounded really dull to me, I started adding top end and using those equalisers that we’d got for Bones Howe, while also putting a limiter on it and taking all the bottom-end off. I just kept trying to brighten it up and get it a little more present, and once I had it sounding pretty good I thought I’d record a little, let him take a listen, and then see if he liked it and how we could change it. I was really trying to please.

    “So, with David and Graham sitting next to me, I started to roll tape on the 16-track and David signalled this to Stephen by making a circular motion with his hand above his head. Until then, Stephen had just been goofing around on his guitar, but suddenly he zeroed in on the microphone and started flailing away, and the sound was so bright that the compressor was way over-compressed — instead of bouncing around like compressors do, it just laid down and sat there. There was also no bottom end. However, from my training with Heider I knew that I couldn’t stop the take; I had to just let it go and then explain the problem and try to fix it later.

    “Sitting there, I was already thinking about the things I could do to fix it, because I had totally overdone the sound, but Stephen was totally into what he was playing, and just when it looked like he was going to stop, he started another section and played some more. By now, my whole life was flashing in front of me, and certain that my career was over, I began to sweat. Meanwhile, Crosby and Nash were standing next to me, dancing — they were having a good time — and it wasn’t until seven and a half minutes into the recording that the whole thing ended. Stephen had just played the basic track to ‘Suite: Judy Blue Eyes’...

    “It still gives me goose bumps when I listen to that recording, aware that he blew through seven-and-a-half minutes with all the time changes, all the pauses, all the everything in just one take,” Halverson says. “No edits, no nothing. Anyway, when Stephen was done and I could hear him taking off his headphones, I figured he was going to come in and just blast me for the horrible recording, so I was ready with my excuses. David and Graham met him at the double doors, and while they were all high-fiving each other Stephen turned to me and said something to the effect of, ‘Oh, that’s the sound I’ve been looking for! I love it!’ and I went, ‘Thanks.’ I was just dumbfounded. For the next 20 years, I didn’t tell him it was an incredibly happy accident, and that if I had known what I was doing he wouldn’t have got what he wanted.”

    [​IMG]
    Above: David Crosby listening to playback.

    “After Stephen had recorded his acoustic guitar part, he, David and Graham were ready to sing, and for that I was ready. We had done all kinds of jingles in the little room at Heider’s, from the Anita Kerr singers to Jan and Dean, and so I just took the Neuman U67, opened it all the way around [ie. put it into omni mode], gave them three sets of headphones and went, ‘Sing!’ Singing into the one mic, they moved around a bit. They didn’t need any music; they were rehearsed, they knew the lyrics, and while harmonising with each other they were also in the process of amazing each other.

    “What I’d also learned to do by then was save what I thought was the good stuff, and with 16 tracks that was easy to do. So, through the course of that whole album I never played them what they had done; I only played them what they were doing. They were out there for a couple of hours, and when they finally came in to listen I had three tracks of ‘Suite: Judy Blue Eyes’ just about completely recorded. I thought, ‘What the heck, I’ll play it all for them,’ so I turned up the guitar, spread out the three tracks and pushed ‘Play’, and they had no idea what was coming. They had three passes of the three of them and it was brilliant. They were so tight and so rehearsed.

    “Once in a while, if a part was out of sync we’d go back and fix it. But for the most part they’d all just get around one mic and sing. That having been said, where Stephen’s singing by himself on ‘Suite: Judy Blue Eyes’ you can hear the double, and that’s to avoid phasing. They were so perfect that, if you brought the three vocal tracks up at the same level, the meters would phase and it would be difficult to master. That’s why, when we mixed it, there was this dance that I would do with the three levels of the three tracks so that they were never always completely equal, and the result is that it doesn’t sound like three tracks all the way through all of the time — one track is usually slightly ahead of the others, and it is those tiny bits of movement in a track that keep it from phasing.

    “In one part of the song there’s the line ‘Friday evening, Sunday in the afternoon,’ and then Stephen goes, ‘Oh, oh, oh.’ That’s him singing the ‘oh’ on three different tracks in three different spots, and they thought that was cool because it was kind of syncopated, so we left it. Next, Stephen laid down a bass part — recorded DI or with a Shure 546, the forerunner of the SM57 — and again this was at 15ips for a big, fat sound while going through one of the UA limiters. That evening, we also cut ‘You Don’t Have To Cry’ in the same way. So, on the first night, we recorded two songs with acoustic guitar and vocals.”

    While Stills added some percussion, including a conga-type sound at the end of the song that was attained by beating the back of his Martin guitar, he was also responsible for the various sonic textures that he created with the electrified instruments.

    “When it comes to all the electric guitar parts on the early stuff, I’d love to take credit for being the brilliant engineer with Stephen,” Halverson remarks. “However, the reverse is true. All of those different guitar sounds were basically achieved by me sticking a Shure 546 in front of an old brown Fender amp, and the different sounds of the different amps were down to Stephen. Since we hardly had any effects back then aside from the really wonderful stereo echo chamber in Wally Heider’s Studio I, he might go, ‘I need it to be bigger,’ and we would end up with an RCA 44 at the other end of the room and then mix that and the Shure together. Or we would take a direct and mix it with the amp — we’d keep trying different things to get what he was hearing in his head.”

    [​IMG]
    Bill Halverson today.

    A true band effort, unlike the subsequent CSN&Y album Déjà Vu that would see the participants contributing most of their parts separately, Crosby, Stills & Nash even saw the three principals with their fingers on the faders when assisting Bill Halverson with the mix.
    “There were parts that I mixed with maybe Stephen helping me, but a lot of it was a gang mix,” he confirms. “David, Stephen, Graham and I would be standing behind the console, each with our moves to make, and we’d make them and move them to two-track. If one of us screwed up, we’d back up the tape and pick it up again, and then I’d edit the two-track.”
    A case of Halverson directing the mix and telling each man what he wanted him to do?
    “I’d say it was the other way around. Still, did I try to keep us out of trouble technically and did I have a lot of input? Yes. They had a rule that whoever wrote the song would have the final say, and they really stuck to that. It’s a wonderful rule.”

    The opening track on the Crosby, Stills & Nash album, ‘Suite: Judy Blue Eyes’ turned out to be Stephen Stills’ emotional outpouring about his crumbling relationship with folk singer-songwriter Judy Collins, written over the course of several heart-wrenching months. Issued as the second single following the release of ‘Marrakesh Express’ — which climbed to number 28 on the Billboard Hot 100 in August 1969 — this classic love song, backed with ‘Long Time Gone’, peaked at number 21 in October of that same year, while the ground-breaking album that spawned it reached number six on the Billboard 200.

    “It’s still a wonderful record,” Bill Halverson says, “and the warmth and fatness of the 15ips analogue make it hold up today, but I didn’t have any preconceived ideas as to how it should sound. There were other guys they’d done demos with who really wanted to work on that project, but I ended up being CS&N’s choice because they thought I’d have less influence on what they wanted to do. And in retrospect, I think they’re right.” 0

    Bill Halverson On Recording Cream
    In March and October 1968, Bill Halverson part-engineered the final two albums of another supergroup, Cream’s Wheels Of Fire and Goodbye.

    “On Goodbye, I really learned a lot about production working with Felix [Pappalardi]. The band members weren’t really talking to each other, they’d already broken up, but they’d been persuaded to record one last album, and so Felix spent a lot of time going to the Beverly Hills Hotel and dragging them one by one back to the studio. On one of the first days, Eric [Clapton] was in there, fooling around by himself, and SIR provided a prototype Leslie foot pedal for him to try out. It was basically a little box with a button on it, and you could plug a guitar into the back as well as a cable that went to a Leslie speaker, and then power up both the box and the speaker. The button made the Leslie go slow-speed or fast-speed, so you could go back and forth.

    “After the roadies hooked it up, Eric just sat there for hours, playing his guitar through that Leslie — I wish I recorded that. He was having a ball with it, and then, after the other two guys showed up, [Beatles roadie] Mal Evans suddenly walked in with George Harrison. So, then Eric and George were out there, playing through the Leslie for hours, and after Felix also had me set up the piano in the back of the room, little by little ‘Badge’ started to come out of that. I still have a rough mix of the bass, drums and piano, as well as George’s rhythm guitar and Eric’s [flanged bridge figure on] guitar through the Leslie, without the vocals or lead guitar.”

    These were recorded sometime in late November or early December by Damon Lyon-Shaw at IBC in London, where Clapton and Harrison wrote the lyrics, with the “swans that live in the park” line being contributed by, according to Harrison’s later recollection, an “absolutely plastered” Ringo Starr. (Harrison himself was credited on the record as “L’Angelo Misterioso”.)
    “That was the first time I had ever heard a guitar through a Leslie,” Bill Halverson continues with regard to the Wally Heider session, “so I was sitting there, unable to believe what I was hearing.

    “By the evening, we had this track, but the kicker to the story is that, after everybody had left and I was packing up, I noticed the pedal was gone. The next day, when the roadies came in, I asked where it was, saying that SIR wanted it back. Nobody knew where it had gone, and so I then had to call SIR and explain what had happened. Now fast-forward to a year later, when I was in England helping [Stephen] Stills to produce his first solo record, and who should walk through the door but Mal Evans and Ringo, who was going to play some drums. That night, we recorded a few songs, everybody had a good time, and after Ringo left, Mal drove me in his hot rod around London. While we were doing that, I said, ‘Mal, back during the ‘Badge’ session, do you have any idea what might have happened to the pedal?’ and he said, ‘Yeah, George wanted it, so I put it under my jacket and took it back to England.’ That may be how all of that Leslie guitar ended up on George’s solo records. I don’t know that for sure, but it seems too coincidental not to be the way it went down.”

    Dubbed Drums?
    Drummer Dallas Taylor arrived in the studio about a week after the nucleus of ‘Suite: Judy Blue Eyes’ had been recorded, and convinced that the timing was out near the beginning, he wanted to re-cut the entire track with drums. That didn’t happen.

    “We ended up overdubbing his drums in the middle of the song,” recalls Bill Halverson, “and then Dallas finally talked Stephen into re-cutting the front part with drums. So, we did that, put more vocals on there and edited it together, and I hated it. Eventually, we came to our senses, undid the edit and restored the song to its original place. However, the Dallas version did appear on the 1991 CS&N boxed set... and I still don’t like it.”




     
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  5. Selassie I

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    I'm a tell ya right now... the ladies love them some Gyptian.

     
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  6. rocknram29

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  7. Prime Time

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  8. Selassie I

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    Here's another one of Bob's sons who I haven't posted yet. Ky Mani Marley. He's got some good songs, but he's probably better known in JA because he has stared in some Jamaican movies... he's not just a singer, he's a movie star.

    I'm gonna make this one a 2-fer. The first song is basically a letter Ky Mani is reading to his Dad,,, after his Dad's death. The second song is one of my favorites of his.





     
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  9. Mojo Ram

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    Quality bootleg
    Wish i could have seen Floyd way back. I saw them twice in '88 and again in '94 i think
     
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  10. rocknram29

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  11. Prime Time

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    Was(Not Was) - 'Spy In The House Of Love' - Wiki

     
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    The bend riffs from 8:00 to 8:15.....
    [​IMG]
     
  13. HX76

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    Echo and the Bunnymen - The Killing Moon

     
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  14. HX76

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    The Stone Roses - I am the resurrection is my song of today.

    *Mod's note: To post a video from You Tube - copy the link and paste it into your post. It's as simple as that. Thanks.*

     
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  15. Mojo Ram

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    Free - 'Fire And Water'

     
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    Sorry Primetime but I was at work and youtube is blocked. Thanks for adding the vid.
     
  18. Prime Time

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    Understood. Thanks for your contributions. Keep 'em coming. :)
     
  19. Prime Time

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    Paul Rodgers: A Soul Singer in Rock Star’s Clothing! (with Perry Margouleff)

    This interview first appeared in Goldmine Magazine in 2014.
    The interview was conducted by Classic Rock Revisited’s Jeb Wright.
    For more great interviews like this one be sure to subscribe to Goldmine Magazine!

    http://www.goldminemag.com

    [​IMG]

    Paul Rodgers is an iconic figure in the world of rock ‘n’ roll. It’s his pipes providing the vocals on some of the most classic songs in the history of the genre. Whether it is the band Free and “All Right Now,” Bad Company’s “Feel Like Makin’ Love,” The Firm’s “Satisfaction Guaranteed” or any of Rodger’s solo efforts, you know you’re listening to Paul Rodgers from the first note. Many have imitated Mr. Rodgers, but no one else has earned the nickname ‘The Voice.’ (And I don’t wanna hear about Sinatra or Tom Jones…)

    While Paul found fame and fortune with much more than his vocal cords, he is a talented songwriter and multi-instrumentalist in his own right; he owes it all to the music that inspired him as a young man.

    Blues and Soul music are Rodgers building blocks; he has penned and performed dozens of classic tunes over the last 40 plus years. Rodgers ‘brings it all home’ with his latest release on 429 Records titled The Royal Sessions, an album very dear to his musical heart and soul.

    The music, as well as the venue chosen and the other participating musicians, make this a very special album release. Recorded in Memphis, Tennessee at the legendary Memphis Royal Studios, Rodgers recorded with the a classic rhythm section that included Reverend Charles Hodges (Hammond B3), Michael Tolls (guitar), LeRoy Hodges Jr. (bass), Hubby Archie Turner (Wurlitzer), Steve Potts and James Robertson Sr. (drums) and The Royal Horns plus the Royal Singers. Together, they recorded ten classic tunes from the Stax/Volt/Goldwax and Hi Records era. The track listing drips with classic wax and includes "I Thank You" (Isaac Hayes / David Porter), "Down Don’t Bother Me" (Albert King), “I Can’t Stand The Rain" (Don Bryant / Bernard Miller / Ann Peebles), "I’ve Been Loving You Too Long (To Stop Now)" (Jerry Butler / Otis Redding), "That’s How Strong My Love Is" (Roosevelt Jamison), "Walk On By" (Burt Bacharach / Hal David), "Any Ole Way" (Steve Cropper / Otis Redding), "It’s Growing" (Warren Moore / Smokey Robinson), "Born Under A Bad Sign" (William Bell / Booker T. Jones) and "I’ve Got Dreams To Remember" (Otis Redding). The album is released on CD as well as vinyl. The album was recorded using old school analog sound, giving the album that warm fuzzy feeling this music deserves.

    The sessions were produced by Perry Margouleff, who, along with Rodgers sat down with Goldmine to discuss how this once in a lifetime opportunity sprung forth from Margouleff crashing an event at the Stax Museum and meeting Willie Mitchell’s son, Boo, who invited him to record an album. Perry immediately called Paul Rodgers…

    Jeb: I love the new project. You stayed true to the musical intent, clear down to how it was recorded.

    Paul: We did it in analog. We did digital during the last stage where we put it on CD. We also are making the vinyl available, which is analog all…the…way.

    Jeb: I miss the warm sound that comes from analog recording. How did this come to be recorded in analog?

    Perry Margouleff: Is the only way I record. I have never gone to the digital world. I have an analog recording studio in New York. When digital come out, I rejected it as I didn’t feel it was any good. We maintained the knowledge and the equipment and now it is coming back again. I never left it. I have been making records in the analog format my entire life.


    Jeb: Paul, how did Perry get involved in this project?

    Paul: Perry and I have written some songs together in the past. We have done some things in the studio, too. We’ve been working towards doing an album for a number of years, actually. We released a song titled “With Our Love” which was a song we did and we sent the proceeds of that to the Seraphim 12 Foundation, which is a horse sanctuary in New York. We rescued some horses in England, which was nice to be able to do with music. I am always saying that my influences, which are soul and blues… and Perry knows that very well; he was in Memphis to visit Stax Records.

    Perry: I went down to Memphis for Scotty Moore’s 80th birthday party and I had a day to do the tourist thing, so I went to the Stax Museum. When I got there it was closed for a thing they did for the legendary Stax musician named J. Blackfoot. I asked if I could just kindly come in and see the museum quietly in the background.

    At the end of the tour I ran into the director of the museum, Lisa Allen, and she asked me how I liked the tour. I told her that I loved the tour. I told her I was a musician and engineer and that it was hard to look at the stuff through the velvet rope; I would have rather been using it. I told her it was a shame that I hadn’t come to Memphis years before and recorded there. She told me that I could still go to Royal Studios and record and that it was just up the street. She said, “Oh, there’s Boo Mitchell right there.” She called him over and introduced us and that is how it all began.

    Paul: Perry called me from the studio and he said, “Guess where I am?” I said, “No idea, you could be anywhere.” He said, “I am in Memphis at the Royal Studios and the place has an unbelievable vibe. It’s still up and running and it’s all analog. I’ve been speaking to the man who runs the place, Boo Mitchell, who is Willie Mitchell’s son and he said that he can get a fantastic band in here to play some soul music. How about coming down and doing a couple days of sessions and see how it sounds?” I came down and we did three days and it was so productive, and it had such a good vibe, that I decided to come back and make a full album.

    Jeb: Tell me that what I hear is due to the way you recorded this album.

    Paul: What you’re hearing, I have seen this analyzed…I’ve got nothing against digital, it’s the future. The thing about sound is that digital goes in steps and the steps are sharp. Analog goes in waves and the waves are smooth and velvety. The ear knows this. I have recently rediscovered vinyl once again and I have bought a deck and I am collecting vinyl and I am getting into it. The sound is just incredible. It is vastly different. It is the difference between McDonalds and a really first class steak.

    Perry: Anything recorded digitally is like watching a ballet under a strobe light. You are only seeing the ballerina when the lights are on. Whatever the sample rate, there is still information that you’re not getting because the lights go on and off. With analog it is continuous. You get all of the information. Humans are very sensitive to this even though they don’t know it. It is like eating at a good restaurant and then you want to go back and visit it again. When you listen to a good record in the vinyl world something happens to you and it imprints on you and you can’t wait to hear it again. It becomes part of your repertoire and you keep coming back to it.

    Paul: One of the dangers with over digitization is in the recording process. You can do things with ProTools that maybe you should not do. You can get the harmonies right on the first chorus and go, “Okay guys, you can go home now because we are going to shift them and put them all the way through the song.” That is fine and dandy but it is not the same as a performance done in the moment because each chorus is going to be slightly different.

    As the song builds, so do the harmonies and they do different things. You get a naturalness, which you can lose if you’re not careful with digital. Compression is another issue that one has. You compress the crap out of it and then it goes to radio and it is compressed again and it all becomes very flat and you end up missing a lot of subtleties.


    Jeb: Paul, these songs are very special to you and you are very passionate about this music.

    Paul: I do have passion for this music. This music really turned me on to becoming a singer; this and blues. I listened to this when I was 13 or 14 and it has always been there in my singing and songwriting. It has been a part of the musical content of all of the bands that I have formed. To come back to it has been really refreshing to me…it’s been like coming home.

    Jeb: “How Strong My Love Is”, which was famously done by Otis Redding, I heard you did that track in one take.

    Paul: It was one take. Actually, none of them were a lot of takes, to be honest with you. I approached that one with some trepidation. It is a very big song by Otis and it is deeply passionate, and it depends on a real connection between everybody playing it. We talked about it and we discussed it, and we settled on a key. Michael Toles kicks it off and we just launched into it and it just built and built into this fantastic climax and then we got a signal from the Reverend Charles Hodges on the Hammond, he’s the MD [Musical Director], and it went WHOP down to a whisper and then we built it back up again. All of that was done in the moment, on the fly.

    When we finished we went, “Wow, let’s go check that out.” We went back into Perry’s neck of the woods, the control room, and there were a lot of smiles in that control room. We listened and we were pleased with it and we knew we were not doing that again. It was a one take thing.

    Perry: It was great to do this because all of these musicians are on records that I have loved for years. I love Paul’s work as well. To be able to put all of those people together and to orchestrate a recording session for them is a dream come true for me.

    You never know how the chemistry is going to work. I told Paul when we first went down there, “Let’s not have any big expectations. Maybe these guys are older and they don’t play as well as they used to, or maybe we won’t get along with them…who knows.” When we went down there and everybody was nice and they played so good…a lot of tension was relieved right off the bat. I knew we were not going to have to worry much. Right from the first couple of notes when they started recording there was an amazing vibe and we were smiling the whole time. The theme of the whole thing was that everyone had such good energy.

    I set the situation up, but I didn’t tell them who was coming in to sing. I didn’t want anyone to be anticipating, or expecting, or have any preconceived ideas about anything. I said, “Let’s just do this.” Once they played together with each other in the room the mutual respect was there. They were like a bunch of kids in a candy store; they were having fun. Like Paul puts it, it was a musical conversation and they were all sharing their thoughts together.

    Jeb: We know what Paul is like with Free, Bad Company, The Firm and as a solo artist. What is he like in this situation to work with?

    Perry: For me, I can see where one might think someone is stepping outside of their comfort zone doing something that they are not designed to do, but because they have technical chops they can pull it off. But that is not true in this case. I say that Paul Rodgers is a soul and blues singer who sang rock music for many years. He stepped into this so naturally. There was not any inkling where he was trying to do something; he just naturally did it. They all instantaneously communicated with each other on a high level and there is no way that you can fake that.

    Paul: It felt good.


    Jeb: What did guys like Leroy and Charles Hodges, and the rest of the men and women, bring to the table?

    Paul: These guys are so laid back. There was so much room and space. There was no high pressure and there was no need to prove oneself, or to strive forward powerfully, as we do in rock. There is a lot of real deep subtleties. I am still hearing things when I listen back that I didn’t hear when we did them and I didn’t hear weeks after I listened to them. I go,”Wow, listen to that Hammond organ part…I never noticed that.” I have listened to the record a million times and I am still discovering things.

    Jeb: Did the music fan in you come out?

    Paul: Without a shadow of a doubt. It felt cool, but it also felt a little bit intimidating. I approach these songs with a lot of reverence. They mean a lot to me. I didn’t want to just do the lyric and just go through the motions. I wanted to be authentic because I know who these guys are.

    I hoped to match the kind of authenticity they have, so that I would believe myself, as a music fan they were authentic. I had to step up my game, in a way, to really feel it. You had to be very much in the moment. You had to be there. If I sang the line, “If you see me walking down the street” then I had to be walking down the street and I was walking down the street. You have to be there. I was there and so were the guys. We were all walking down the street, or whatever song we were doing, we were very much there, in the moment.

    Jeb: Did they know about your past?

    Paul: About the jail time you mean? [Laughter]

    Jeb: We all know about that!

    Paul: Just kidding. No, they didn’t. They only knew that I was a singer and a songwriter. They were like, “I wonder who this guy is?” When I came in there was a moment where I had to prove myself. We did “That’s How Strong My Love Is” and after the first few notes everyone relaxed and realized that is was going to be a purely joyful occupation.

    Jeb: You did ten songs on the album.

    Paul: The idea of putting ten on there was so that we can make vinyl that reflected the CD. It is the same on the CD and the album. You get ten tracks on both. I did the track list so that when you turn it over it makes sense. Back when we did vinyl you would have Side A and then Side B and Side B needed to kick off with something and it needed to be a unique story unto itself. Side B opens with “Walk On By” and you are off into another story. It has impact. The ten songs were really done with vinyl in mind. I didn’t want any bonus tracks on the CD…I wanted the experience of both to be the same songs.

    Jeb: How did you choose these ten?

    Paul: These ten tracks flowed well together, that we could put together time-wise. You are limited when it comes to vinyl. I don’t think you want twenty songs on an album quite frankly. I think you want ten gems that work together as a complete, cohesive listening experience. Whew…did I just say that?

    Perry: Wow, that was good.

    Paul: [laughter] We did it that way just for that reason.

    Jeb: There has been some buzz that there will be a live gig.

    Paul: What I want to do…I am touring in April, May and June. I do about twenty or thirty shows a year. I will include some of the songs in my current set. We are talking about putting together a live show in Memphis in a club with the guys and playing this material. We could video it and make a DVD, the idea being to capture visually, what we captured on record.

    Jeb: Did you video record the session in the studio?

    Perry: We did do some filming.

    Paul: We did, but Perry was concerned that having cameras in our faces during the actual recording might detract from the performance. We had these beautiful things called GoPro’s. They are a small camera that you forget is there. There is some part of you when there is a camera in your face, you know that and you don’t totally relax. You can completely forget about it with these tiny little cameras and you really get some very natural footage.

    Perry: The video to “Thank You” was shot with GoPro cameras in the studio during the recording session.

    Paul: Looking at that video, it is not spiffed up. We didn’t spend a million dollars making it look great. It is just what it is. It is us in the studio with our sleeves up, getting down with the music. It’s kind of nice. We were not self-conscious because the cameras are so small. You really get natural footage.

    Jeb: The proceeds from this record are being donated to a Memphis music program.

    Paul: Every day we would get in the car and we would drive from our very swish hotel and we would drive into this area which was economically challenged. There was a lot of derelict buildings and trash piled up. Right in the middle of all this is a beautiful studio where Boo Mitchell is keeping the flag flying. We talked about how this music has given us so much and in some ways just by doing this, in a way, we are still taking from it.

    Perry said to me that we should give any profit that we make from this and give it back to Memphis. We shook on it and since we financed this we could do that. The next question was how we would do that. We looked around and it turns out that the Stax Museum has a school for music and we decided to direct any funds we make to there. If felt good to do that because then we could just really enjoy the process and we could really revel in this great music, made by these great musicians, made in this fantastic studio.

    Jeb: I am a rock guy, so I have a couple of questions on some of the songs. Two became well known rock songs. I first heard the song “Thank You” by ZZ Top and then discovered Sam and Dave.

    Paul: Sam and Dave’s version is the only one I have ever heard. As you mention, ZZ Top did a version, which is a band I love. I love Sam Moore. He’s still around and he comes up and plays with me and drops in for shows.

    I had a pool of about twenty-odd songs from which I would be choosing to play. The guys were very giving and very easy to work with, so anything suggested they would do. I suggested doing “I Thank You” and we just rocked into it. I was very pleased with the result and the feel is so good. At the end of the solo I am supposed to come back in singing straight away, but I was so enjoying the groove I didn’t come back in. I just let it flow for a minute.

    Perry: All of these songs were like that. These guys have been playing together so long there was not one song that we called out that they didn’t say, “We know that.” The horns knew the arrangements by heart. The only thing we spent any consideration on at all was choosing a key and that was it. Otherwise, they would just whip it out and play. The sense of dynamics between the musicians was phenomenal. Mixing it was so easy, as you just, basically, put all the faders at zero and all of the dynamics were built into the parts that they were playing. Nobody stepped on each other’s toes, anywhere. They have played together so long together they were telepathically connected.

    Paul: Exactly, there was a lot of telepathy. I felt part of that too, instantly, which is a very groovy thing. Can we still say groovy?

    Jeb: No, but I will let it slide [laughter]. Tell me about doing “Born Under a Bad Sign.”

    Paul: I had played that before. I used to play it in the very early days with Free when Paul Kossoff and I got together. We would listen to Albert King. We made a big thing of “The Hunter” back then. We would play “Born Under a Bad Sign” as well. I also revisited that song on my tribute to Muddy Waters. I was a little hesitant to do it again on this album but, as Perry said, this is an opportunity to play it with the authentic real deal. I love the version we did. It is very smoky and very dark. It came out great. Perry actually plays guitar on that song. Tell him how you played guitar on it, Perry.

    Perry: It was good fun. We cut the track. I can tell you the real story…we got down to Memphis and we set up in the studio and we met all the guys and we recorded “That’s How Strong My Love Is” and we found out that we needed to take a break from the studio, because the one person who was not on our session, Skip Pitts, had passed away.

    Everybody in the band had to go to the funeral. We stopped the session and went to the funeral. Because the connection was so good when we recorded the first song, they said we had to go to the funeral with them. After we were at the funeral for about twenty minutes they said, “Pitts wouldn’t want us to waste a whole day, we’ve got to go back to the studio and record, which felt even more cosmic.

    Paul: We said, “No, you guys don’t have to do that,” but they insisted.

    Perry: We went back to the studio and they said, “What is the next song you want to record?” Paul said, “Born Under a Bad Sign.” It was kind of heavy. I was in the booth getting it all together. We didn’t have the solo guitar part and we cut the song and afterwards Paul said, “Why don’t you cut the solo?” Suddenly, I felt that pressure that Paul talked about. I had to step up to the plate and play up to the level of these types of characters. I was very happy when Paul and everyone else were very accepting of what I did.

    Paul: Perry did a really great job.

    Jeb: I would have never thought it was a studio rat from what I heard.

    Perry: Well, I am not a studio guy. I am more of a rock and roll guy.

    Paul: Perry is a wizard and he’s from another planet.

    Perry: I am not telling you which one [laughter].

    Jeb: Tell me about the final song on the album “Dreams to Remember.”

    Paul: That is an Otis Redding song. I think I am correct in saying that he wrote that with his wife. It is one of the few songs that Otis used backing vocals on the original and they are superb, and they really matched his voice.

    We knew we better have some great voices, which we did have. We had a beautiful blend from two sisters. They are called The Royal Singers. Sharisse Norman, Cherish Norman and Stefanie Bolton are their names. It was lovely to sing with them. It was great to intermingle my voice with their beautiful blend. It was another one where we built the song up and I am thinking we were heading to the end of the song and then all of a sudden it would go down to a whisper and it was time to testify. It was awesome.

    Perry: That song is, to me, maybe the smokiest and deepest one of the lot. The way the singers tied into what Paul was doing… in the middle bit where it drops down, if you really listen you can kind of hear the horn guys kind of chitter-chatter about where they are going to come back in. We left the whole thing in and it kind of reminds me a little bit of the second side of Jimi Hendrix’s Electric Ladyland on “Moon, Turn the Tides…Gently Gently Away” where you can hear people playing and then stop and then come in. Everybody is so in their own zone they are not worried about anything.

    Paul: Those guys talking were part of the atmosphere. It was like hearing the audience during a live take.

    Jeb: Last one: Did this project in any way, light a fire to inspire you to write some music and maybe we can get a new album from you?

    Paul: It could be. We are writing new material all the time. It is a question of getting focused. This caught us by surprise. Although we have been working on this for two years it seems like a short time that we did this and put this all together. Basically, the answer is yes.

    Videos at the link

    http://paulrodgers.com/
    http://www.429records.com/sites/429records/429details/d_paulrodgers.asp
    http://www.goldminemag.com
     
  20. Mojo Ram

    Horns for life
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