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The Shangri-Las Versus the modern world..

#1 User is online   ScenesFromPalacio Icon

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Posted 04 April 2012 - 12:35 PM

I've just become obsessed with 60s girl group music and particularly The Shangri-Las...Woh is that music seriously great !

The cinematic drama n musical daring of Remember (Walking In The Sand )... The haunting strangeness of I'll Never Learn...The playful charm of Give Him A Great Big Kiss....The elegiac sweet sadness of Out In The Streets

Its incredibly humbling for me listening to songs that affecting,urgent n brilliantly written...So elegant,beautiful n utterly seamless..You can think you're pretty good as a songwriter -but those kinda songs are on another creative level entirely -something to be inspired by n aspire toward.Maybe you never get there-but they're like beacons of hope for the journey..

Listening to their music has put me on such a creative high and made me feel so good n inspired -it made me reflect on the intrinsic qualities they have that modern music hasn't..Or dosn't care for now -or isn't able to create any more..


I was talking to my mate (and great songwriter ) Harper Stephens at the pub about the recent discussions on other threads i've been involved in about modern country music for instance.He was saying different people with different natures n backgrounds want very very different things from music to me - and i just wasn't appreciating that...

So wheras some people might be primarily lyric focussed in what they love -or others might just want a great rythm to dance to-or want something thats cosy n reasurringly familiar -or just want an ideology or lifestyle they believe in reflected n celebrated - or even just a great 'personality' or pretty face they can idolise lol - i want something with a genuinelly transcendent -or strange, romantic otherworldly timeless quality...I'm always looking for that to feed me..Something suprising that musically tells a story

Within 'pop' music (in the broadest sense of the word ) that quality has been seriously lost as far as i can see/hear now..Which is why i listen to so much 60s music like this -'cos it has that spirit n energy in spades..

Its weird that all that incredibly haunting early 60s girl group music was created primarily for teenagers (what were the adults supposed to be listening to then -Perry Como ? )

Altho alot of it -like now -was being produced by talented writers primarily for money,there was a sublime artfulness and an incredible love of beauty in what the best people were creating then thats just undeniable..
It was like a whole new frontier opening up - as the amazing possibilities of what pop music could be were being invented n explored..


Something truly magical n liberating happened with music in the early 60s by great writers -as the passionate intensity n urgency of the blues,RnB and Rock'n'roll suddenly opened up n fused with Latin,classical and art school sensibilities. It became more sophisticated,fluid ,transcendent and free-and (for me ) is the true renaissance of the 20th Century....It also explains the creative explosion of the Girl Groups,Tamla Motown,The Beatles and all the British invasion bands etc..

It formed the basic blueprint of the magical spirit of pop music -that -as well as never being bettered imho- burned on a creative level n affecting intensity absoloutly not matched at all by the music of today..

That music represents a strange,richly imaginative analogue,lovingly hand crafted world of freedom ..A world that lives n breathes and opens up your inner life..A hopeful ,more innocent,fluid one before the digital,corporate mind came in and quantised n calcified the music into neatly predictable, homogenised marketable slices...

For all the democratic level-playing-field freedom-for-the-masses that computers n computer recording have given us,they've stolen at least as much on the other hand by quantizing our imaginations into rigid 4/4 bars n beats,numbingly predictable changes n auto-tuned digital 'perfection'...
We can't help but become a little bit like them as we learn to play by their rules..

You've as much chance of writing a song as timeless n affecting as the ones above thru manipulating beats or endlessly grinding out the axis-of-awesome chord changes to a click track tho as you have of flying to the moon ..

#2 User is offline   Neal K Icon

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Posted 04 April 2012 - 06:26 PM

While I agree with you 100% I'm going to play Devil's advocate here.

In the latest issue of Rolling Stones is an interview with Paul McCartney and he talks about his new release (Kisses on the Bottom - which has to be the worst title ever) which contains many pre-rock standards. Macca comments that when he and Lennon were in their formative years, Rock and Roll had just started. It was the pre-rock standars that influenced their writing, and showed up in their early set lists (Till there was You from The Music Man is an example).

Anyway, the Macca comments on the irony about being influenced by those songs when he and Lennon almost single-handley usherd out that era or songwriting.

The point is, of course, that we're looking back to the 60s as the golden era of songwriting while adults at the time were looking back to the likes of Jules Styne, Sammy Cahn, Johnny Mercer, etc...

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#3 User is online   ScenesFromPalacio Icon

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Posted 05 April 2012 - 07:21 AM

Quote

Rock and Roll had just started. It was the pre-rock standars that influenced their writing, and showed up in their early set lists (Till there was You from The Music Man is an example)


Yeh Neal-but they injected them with a vibrant rock'n'roll spirit not done before..All those great early girl group brill building songwriters like Goffin/king n Mann/Weill too were hugely influenced by great old showtunes and classical too ( 'cos they're so beautifully written with great melodies/changes). It was the rock'n'roll n RnB passion which they intensely loved which elevated them n connected with a mass audience -gave them a transcendence n new spirit -which is 'the 60s'..
There's a huge exhuberant joyful gospel influence in those brilliant Spector ones too- like The Ronettes n The Crystals,but given an added intensity n urgency by the added chromaticism and great chord changes thats absoloutly irresistable to me..



Quote

The point is, of course, that we're looking back to the 60s as the golden era of songwriting while adults at the time were looking back to the likes of Jules Styne, Sammy Cahn, Johnny Mercer, etc...


I don't think its like that at all..All that early balladeering lacks the physical sexual energy (and the transcendence ) of the best 60s ..Someone like Adele today (and loads n loads of other people too ) still use the basic 60s motown vibe as a template -but altho the passionate intensity n urgency of the vocal performance is still there which sells it -the songwriting musically is just nowhere near as good..So it can never be as magical n transcendent or timeless imo

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Posted 05 April 2012 - 08:57 AM

There soooo much dramA behind that group, Its amazing some sort of big movie hadn't been made.

You are right steve, lots of great orchestration. From a producers view, Shadow Morton was the guy behind that sound. The reason why I rememebr this guy so well is because he was definately the underdog in the time of the Brill Building and got challanged at every turn.

The song you mention, "Rememebr" is a great production for the time. That is the free spirit of songwriting.


You make me want to break out my recordings again, may even have to itunes some stuff...lol

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#5 User is online   ScenesFromPalacio Icon

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Posted 05 April 2012 - 10:59 AM

Quote

There soooo much dramA behind that group, Its amazing some sort of big movie hadn't been made.

You are right steve, lots of great orchestration. From a producers view, Shadow Morton was the guy behind that sound. The reason why I rememebr this guy so well is because he was definately the underdog in the time of the Brill Building and got challanged at every turn.

The song you mention, "Rememebr" is a great production for the time. That is the free spirit of songwriting.


Yeh Charlie its incredible reading about him.He came from absoloutly nowhere and wrote 'Remember' on a bet/challenge with Jeff Barry..Unbelivable
Then followed it up with 4 or 5 more classics for the Shangri-Las
Its an amazing production for any time imo -and undeniably a brilliant song

Quote

You make me want to break out my recordings again, may even have to itunes some stuff...lol


Thats great if thats the case and i'm happy if its given you a new signpost..I think if you continually listen to the most magical pop music thats ever been done , some of that inspiration can't help but eventually rub off on your own songs..At least thats the theory i'm working with ;)

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Posted 05 April 2012 - 09:15 PM

Hi Steve

Yeah, those girl groups especially the Phil Spector era girl groups where cool. As far as the 60s, I remember my mom having lots of Everly Brother records and one or two that stand out are from the lesser known Warner Brother years, that being the 1965 album releases which featured writers Boudleaux and Felice Bryant for the album,"Gone Gone Gone"(being my favorite) and "Beat and Soul" which did some really neat cover versions of songs as well as their owned penned "Man With Money".

But back to "GONE GONE GONE", now this was quite the neat album. The song "Gone Gone Gone" was not only penned by the Everlys but would be played often on "Late Night With David Lettermans" house band leading into commercial breaks. Funny years later the song would be covered by Robert Plant and Alison Krause.

The song that really is my favorite on that album was "The Ferris Wheel". I could also hear David Byrne of the Talking Heads singing "Honolulu" and wonder if he ever heard that song and was influenced by it in their earlier works. There's just something about the arranging back in that era that was sooooo cool and creative. Just wasn't industry standard homogenized stuff you hear today in popular music. Being born in 1962, I was lucky to hear all of that british invasion stuff on the radio as well as my older brothers and sisters buying records from what was then the real top 40 that changed monthly. Not the same 20 songs being jammed down the public's throat for 6 months at a time it seems.

I too feel more inspired after listening to these older recordings. What a time it must have been in the record industry to have such a dearth of great music to listen to that was always changing and stretching the boundaries of pop music. As Mary Hopkins would regale, "Those were the days my friend"

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Posted 05 April 2012 - 10:19 PM

View PostScenesFromPalacio, on 04 April 2012 - 01:35 PM, said:

I've just become obsessed with 60s girl group music .................................

Is is something in the air these days? :blink:
Yesterday I got a request from my stepson who lives in London to order him
"The Marvelettes Forever Vol I" CD set.
It appears to be half the price over here in the States.

I have to admit that the 60s was my time for music and I loved all of the different flavors being offered at the time.
But I never obsessed with any of the girl groups.
If I did have a musical obsession at the time it would have been for the music of Blood, Sweat & Tears, Jimmy Webb, The Beatles, Herbie Hancock or Richard "Groove" Holmes.

But I admit that those Spector productions did sound good on my friends Corvair convertible radio. :P
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Posted 06 April 2012 - 01:33 AM

1. Will You Love Me Tomorrow - Shirelles (1960)
2. Be My Baby - Ronettes (1963)
3. Chapel Of Love - Dixie Cups (1964)
4. Maybe - Chantels (1957)
5. He's So Fine - Chiffons (1962)
6. Jimmy Mack - Martha & the Vandellas (1967)
7. Please Mr. Postman - Marvelettes (1961)
8. Da Doo Ron Ron - Crystals (1963)
9. Leader Of The Pack - Shangri-Las (1964)
10. Stop! In The Name Of Love - Supremes (1965)
11. My Boyfriend's Back - Angels (1963)
12. Walking In The Rain - Ronettes (1964)
13. I Wanna Love Him So Bad - Jelly Beans (1964)
14. Come See About Me - Supremes (1964)
15. Tonight's The Night - Shirelles (1960)
16. Remember (Walkin' In The Sand) - Shangri-Las (1964)
17. Dedicated To The One I Love - Shirelles (1959)
18. One Fine Day - Chiffons (1963)
19. Chains - Cookies (1962)
20. Then He Kissed Me - Crystals (1963)
21. Uptown - Crystals (1962)
22. Beechwood 4-5789 - Marvelettes (1962)
23. I Have a Boyfriend - Chiffons (1963)
24. Soldier Boy - Shirelles (1962)
25. He's A Rebel - Crystals (1962)
26. Baby Love - Supremes (1964)
27. A Lover's Concerto - Toys (1965)
28. Born Too Late - Poni-Tails (1958)
29. There's No Other - Crystals (1961)
30. Whenever A Teenager Cries - Reparata & The Delrons (1964)
31. Tell Him - Exciters (1962)
32. (Love Is Like A) Heat Wave - Martha & the Vandellas (1963)
33. The Kind Of Boy You Can't Forget - Raindrops (1963)
34. Baby I Love You - Ronettes (1963)
35. Don't Say Nothing Bad (About My Baby) - Cookies (1963)
36. He's Sure The Boy I Love - Crystals (1962)
37. Back In My Arms Again - Supremes (1965)
38. Mama Said - Shirelles (1961)
39. I Sold My Heart To The Junkman - Blue-Belles (1962)
40. What A Guy - Raindrops (1963)
41. Sally, Go 'Round The Roses - Jaynetts (1963)
42. Dancing In The Street - Martha & the Vandellas (1964)
43. I Met Him On A Sunday - Shirelles (1958)
44. Look In My Eyes - Chantels (1961)
45. Cry, Baby, Cry - Angels (1962)
46. (The Best Part Of) Breakin' Up - Ronettes (1964)
47. Nowhere To Run - Martha & the Vandellas (1965)
48. Baby It's You - Shirelles (1961)
49. Playboy - Marvelettes (1962)
50. Come And Get These Memories - Martha & the Vandellas (1963)
51. The Wah Watusi - Orlons (1962)
52. Mr. Lee - Bobbettes (1957)
53. Don't Hang Up - Orlons (1962)
54. Down The Aisle (Wedding Song) - Patti LaBelle & the Bluebelles (1963)
55. Don't Mess With Bill - Marvelettes (1965)
56. Sweet Talkin' Guy - Chiffons (1966)
57. Quicksand - Martha & the Vandellas (1963)
58. Too Many Fish In The Sea - Marvelettes (1964)
59. I Hear A Symphony - Supremes (1965)
60. The 81 - Candy & The Kisses (1964)
61. Lollipop - Chordettes (1958)
62. Foolish Little Girl - Shirelles (1963)
63. Baby Toys - Toys (1966)
64. South Street - Orlons (1963)
65. 'Til - Angels (1961)
66. I Love You So - Chantels (1958)
67. When The Lovelight Starts Shining Through His Eyes - Supremes (1963)
68. Boys - Shirelles (1960)
69. He's Gone - Chantels (1957)
70. My World Is Empty Without You - Supremes (1965)
71. Iko Iko - Dixie Cups (1965)
72. My One And Only Jimmy Boy - Girlfriends (1963)
73. The Plea - Chantels (1957)
74. People Say - Dixie Cups (1964)
75. Popsicles And Icicles - Murmaids (1963)
76. Give Him A Great Big Kiss - Shangri-Las (1965)
77. Do I Love You? - Ronettes (1964)
78. Goodnight, Baby - Butterflys (1964)
79. I Can Never Go Home Anymore - Shangri-Las (1965)
80. He's Got The Power - Exciters (1963)
81. Needle In A Haystack - Velvelettes (1964)
82. Where Did Our Love Go - Supremes (1964)
83. The Hunter Gets Captured by the Game - Marvelettes (1967)
84. He Was Really Sayin' Somethin' - Velvelettes (1965)
85. Down The Aisle Of Love - Quintones (1958)
86. Oop Shoop - Shirley Gunter & The Queens (1954)
87. I Never Dreamed - Cookies (1964)
88. Cry Baby - Bonnie Sisters (1955)
89. One Wonderful Night - Honey Bees (1964)
90. Baby, Baby I Still Love You - Cinderellas (1964)
91. Please Don't Wake Me - Cinderellas (1964)
92. Disappointed Bride - Hearts (1956)
93. Lonely Nights - Hearts (1955)
94. In Paradise - Cookies (1956)
95. It's Gonna Take A Miracle - Royalettes (1965)
96. Society Girl - Rag Dolls (1964)
97. You Keep Me Hangin' On - Supremes (1966)
98. Alone - Shepherd Sisters (1957)
99. Lullaby Of The Bells - Deltairs (1957)
100. Garden Of Eden - Hamilton Sisters (1954)



The scary part is, I can just about remember the hook on every song listed.
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#9 User is offline   Alistair S Icon

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Posted 06 April 2012 - 04:49 AM

There were a lot of fun songs in the sixties and seventies, for sure. However, there were also a lot of fun songs in the 50s. Here's a few examples ..

Mack The Knife
Blueberry Hill
I Walk The Line
Johnny B Goode
That'll Be The Day
Yakety Yak
La Bamba

Or even the 40s .. La Vie en Rose, These Foolish Things, Route 66, Stormy Weather, Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy ...

So, what happened later? I still think that some vital and intereseting stuff came through. David Byrne would be an example, in my opinion.

However, I do wonder whether something else changed as things progressed, and one thing that is vastly different these days is technology.

These days, it is perfectly possible (and not unusual) for the full instrumentation of a song to be done by one person. I could be wrong, but I suspect that the use of session musicians is probably less these days than it was. Also, when session musicians are used, how often are they used as part of the creative process?

There was a time when session musicians came in who had been raised in jazz and had an ability to work out their parts (and knew what would fit better than a so-called "producer". Songs that may otherwise not have been that great can be saved by, for example, a great bass line.

Are we missing the collaboration of people who really knew their instruments? I don't know, but thought I'd throw up the hypothesis.

Take Carol Kaye, for example.. she (and many others) played on so many of the hits from that era ..

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#10 User is offline   R-N-R Jim Icon

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Posted 06 April 2012 - 08:13 AM

View PostAlistair S, on 06 April 2012 - 04:49 AM, said:

There were a lot of fun songs in the sixties and seventies, for sure. However, there were also a lot of fun songs in the 50s. Here's a few examples ..

Mack The Knife
Blueberry Hill
I Walk The Line
Johnny B Goode
That'll Be The Day
Yakety Yak
La Bamba

Or even the 40s .. La Vie en Rose, These Foolish Things, Route 66, Stormy Weather, Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy ...

So, what happened later? I still think that some vital and intereseting stuff came through. David Byrne would be an example, in my opinion.

However, I do wonder whether something else changed as things progressed, and one thing that is vastly different these days is technology.

These days, it is perfectly possible (and not unusual) for the full instrumentation of a song to be done by one person.Maybe for radio jingles, unless their are vocals involved. I could be wrong, but I suspect that the use of session musicians is probably less these days than it was. Also, when session musicians are used, how often are they used as part of the creative process?That would depend on whether they are given the song in advance to work on(which I think they would have at least a rough demo). I think a bass player would have more creative input on his parts in a dance song as far as being creative, but for other types of music other than jazz, not so much.

There was a time when session musicians came in who had been raised in jazz and had an ability to work out their parts (and knew what would fit better than a so-called "producer"I think producers are alittle more sophisticated these days as far as picking out ideal candidates for sessions. Of course that too depends on whether or not the singer or artist has a true direction for their sound.. Songs that may otherwise not have been that great can be saved by, for example, a great bass line. That can be very true, but the question comes about, does the producer have the time and money to let the bass player study the song and come up with something artistic....is the studio over booked and they have limited time...the bass player has another session to go to across town or state or country.....variables that perhaps can short change the creative process.

Are we missing the collaboration of people who really knew their instruments? I think Roger or MABBO could better answer that question, but session people are used in many different ways, be it commercial jingles or say a major artist that doesn't normally have a set band for recording and touring. There are some session musicians that are happy just to record on the project, but aren't big on going on the road. So there are perhaps two types of session musicians out there. Plus with studios also moonlighting as demo production outfits for songwriters, there's plenty of opportunities to be a session musician. And this isn't just happening in Nashville. I don't know, but thought I'd throw up the hypothesis.

Take Carol Kaye, for example.. she (and many others) played on so many of the hits from that ere ..


just my two cents worth
R-N-R Jim
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#11 User is offline   Alistair S Icon

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Posted 06 April 2012 - 08:51 AM

View PostR-N-R Jim, on 06 April 2012 - 02:13 PM, said:

I think a bass player would have more creative input on his parts in a dance song as far as being creative ..

But dance music is mostly electronic, so not sure how that works.

I guess that in many ways you are making my point - these old guys/women could work it out on the fly. What is the "producer" producing? Is it better than the "old stuff"? Sonically, maybe - but creatively? Why would a "producer" be better at creating great music than real musicians with real instruments? It depends on the producer, of course, but many aren't as good, in my opinion.

Things have changed economically and technologically and some of this improves the "product". However, sometimes things get lost, too.
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Posted 06 April 2012 - 09:01 AM

Well Bruce ... I am saddened that out of all the titles you showed, I only remember about 5 of them from the title alone. I was raised up with my older brothers listening to "Grand Funk Railroad" and "Iron Butterfly" records while my parents listened to records of "Dean Martin", "Frank Sanatra", and "Perry Como". We never listened to the radio much growing up and we were always too busy to watch TV so as a child, I never developed the habit of listening to music in those days. It wasn't until the early 80's that I even listened to music (and only did it to have some background during dates ... I had an 8-track in the car). Songs that have left an impression on me from my childhood came from the "Dr Demento" show one of my brothers found on AM radio and turned on every Sunday night.

I'm not a fan of pop music from any era ... but I do have this image of Lita Ford burned into my brain as I walked through a friends house to get some more martial arts equipment and had to stop to watch my first music video (God she was hot!) ... and I think I love her to this day. Because of the musical influences I have had while developing, I have to say that humorus songs, political and social satire, songs with material that crosses every conceivable line of current moral and social decency, and songs that make a person say out loud "OMG" are what I am drawn to.

But if I was going to go to a live show ... I want to see technical proficiency, a good sense of timing, interaction between the performers with the audience (so a small audience is better), and I want to laugh and be able to talk comfortably over the music. Pop songs that have performers with no band, shows that only have a bunch of dancers and no-one playing an instrument, or shows where the music is so loud you have to be inside someone's ear canal to scream something to them don't give me any of those things. But shows where things are more personnal, the bands know people in the audience by name, the band members talk to the audience patrons during breaks, and you can interact with the band during a song or set ... now that is much better for my tastes then listening to a recording ... of any group ... from any age.

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Posted 06 April 2012 - 09:48 AM

View PostAlistair S, on 06 April 2012 - 08:51 AM, said:

View PostR-N-R Jim, on 06 April 2012 - 02:13 PM, said:

I think a bass player would have more creative input on his parts in a dance song as far as being creative ..

But dance music is mostly electronic, so not sure how that works. I was perhaps talking more about funk and reggae as far as bass player input. I know, I keep forgetting that dance music isnt what it was in my day..lol

I guess that in many ways you are making my point - these old guys/women could work it out on the fly. What is the "producer" producing?That may be half true. The producer is trying to help formulate a sound much like George Martin did with the Beatles. They dont call George the 5th Beatle for nothing and the Beatles themselves acknowledged that during and well after the break up of the band.
You'll find some musician/songwriters that take on the roll of producer for themselves as well as other bands, for example, Randy Jackson, one of the judges of American Idol was a bass player for Journey in the 1980s(classic rock outfit from the late 70s) and was a bass player first
and then went on to produce other artists. Producer Butch Vig who produced the break out album for Nirvana had his own band "Garbage" that had some success. Todd Rundgren would probably be the pioneer of this artist/producer angle where he was not only a respected artist, but producer as well. Is it better than the "old stuff"? Sonically, maybe - but creatively? Why would a "producer" be better at creating great music than real musicians with real instruments? It depends on the producer, of course, but many aren't as good, in my opinion.Again, that depends on the motive of the producer. Is he an artist friendly producer that is trying to bring out the art of the group to record? Or is he a producer that is trying to copy the latest greatest thing with a performer and a cookie cutter attitude. Im sure there are producers scouring the Nashville gin joints for the next Taylor Swift as we speak just to take advantage of the type of pop/country she has a huge market on right now.

Things have changed economically and technologically and some of this improves the "product". However, sometimes things get lost, too. Going by the top 20, that happens alot.


just my two cents worth
R-N-R Jim
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Posted 06 April 2012 - 01:33 PM

Alistair S said:

So, what happened later?

The synthesizer = thin+end+wedge.

Alistair S said:

Also, when session musicians are used, how often are they used as part of the creative process?

They ARE the creative process.

OK, maybe a little of an overstatement there – but creative process is exactly what they are hired for. No need to worry about time and money for anyone to ‘study’ the song in advance. They are professionals. It’s what they do for a living. That’s why they get the call. And what you want from them is specifically their ability to apply their expertise, experience and artistry to an interpretation of someone else’s intentions. Players with a strong jazz background are the most highly adept at this. They have big ears, huge vocabularies to draw upon, and can be as stylistically authentic as you want.

Alistair S said:

Are we missing the collaboration of people who really knew their instruments?

Not me – happily – I am surrounded by people who really know their instruments. As a lyricist, I am very conscious of the profound benefits of being part of such a milieu and collaborating with high-level musicianship, so I naturally and automatically tend to think that it could be equally good for others too. But generally, yeah, for the most part, when I listen to what people are doing, there are definitely qualities that I miss.

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Posted 06 April 2012 - 01:56 PM

I think the producer/musician aspect is still alive and kicking, though not as prevalante as it used to be, David Foster, Mutt Lange, Bob Ezrin, Daneil Lanois and good friend Bob rock come to mind.

Still, I think no one did it better in the '60s then the "Funk Brothers" Holland - Dozier - Holland and the Motown sound.

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#16 User is offline   Alistair S Icon

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Posted 06 April 2012 - 04:30 PM

OT, but the pedant in me really wants to fix the "verses" in the thread title to "versus". I'm having to restrain myself! :(
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#17 User is offline   R-N-R Jim Icon

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Posted 06 April 2012 - 07:25 PM

Hi

How could I have forgotten as the artist/producer of our time after George Martin, the one and only Brian Eno...from the band Roxy Music to having such an eclectic solo career along with producing albums for Devo, Talking Heads, U2 just to name a few as well as his collabs with David Bowie in the 70s that were very ground breaking.

So...a producer can enhance as well as hinder a band or artist's direction or final product. But what can be certainly be agreed upon is that the songs were catchier and far more well written in that early era than they are today. Its no accident that this early era of music is still being played on the radio today.
My niece as well as her boyfriend like the Beatles too. Its funny how some good things never fade, but continue to be discovered over and over again and still have an impact on the listener.

just an observation.
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Posted 06 April 2012 - 07:35 PM

I always liked Brian Eno. He has always been interesting and has had far more influence that the other members of Roxy (Phil Manzanera and Andy Murray, for example). I bought some of his early albums (Here Come The Warm Jets had some great songs!).

Bowie did some great work on Lou Reed's Transformer album, too.

Not too many "producers" around with the talent and intelligence of those guys, though.

George Martin was exceptional, of course.
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Posted 06 April 2012 - 09:02 PM

One of my closest, dearest friends is Fred Foster, who owned Monument Records and produced Roy Orbison, Kris Kristofferson, and many others. Over the years we've had a lot of conversations about producing, and he has a pretty interesting take on it. He said that truly exceptional producers recognize talent, and then simply (his word) get that talent pointed in the right direction. He once pointed at a painting hanging on his wall and said "If that painting was a singer, the frame would be the producer." The producers' role is to accent the work of the art, not to attempt to be the art itself. One of the problems I believe we have in Nashville currently is that too many CDs sound like a "Bob Smith Production" as opposed to letting the artist be what he or she truly is. In the days when Fred was actively producing, it was a lot easier to get new music/artists played on the radio and thus sell records, which allowed producers and record labels to be much more flexible on the type of artists they signed and more daring with the type of songs they recorded. Budgets were also much, much lower and a label had to sell far fewer units to make money on an artist. Those were also the days when every radio station had its own program director, not the big corporate giants of today like Clear Channel.
In short, I think the music of that era (and the 70s) is arguably better because it was just a simpler time and a more streamlined business.

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Posted 07 April 2012 - 12:32 PM

Quote

The song that really is my favorite on that album was "The Ferris Wheel". I could also hear David Byrne of the Talking Heads singing "Honolulu" and wonder if he ever heard that song and was influenced by it in their earlier works. There's just something about the arranging back in that era that was sooooo cool and creative. Just wasn't industry standard homogenized stuff you hear today in popular music


I'd never heard Ferris Wheel before..Its a cool song with that kinda moody reverby minor vibe that really reminds me of something else from the early 60s -but i can't quite place it..Great lift in the mid 8 too..


Quote

But I admit that those Spector productions did sound good on my friends Corvair convertible radio


I read one of the reasons River Deep Mountain High wasn't a big hit was 'cos the production was so gigantic n overblown that it just sounded like a distorted mess when just played on an old am radio

Quote

The scary part is, I can just about remember the hook on every song listed.


The scary part is after googling the very same list a few days ago i youtubed n listened to every single song off it that i didn't recognise...
I am obsessed with this music at the moment lol

Quote

There were a lot of fun songs in the sixties and seventies, for sure. However, there were also a lot of fun songs in the 50s. Here's a few examples ..

Mack The Knife
Blueberry Hill
I Walk The Line
Johnny B Goode
That'll Be The Day
Yakety Yak
La Bamba

Or even the 40s .. La Vie en Rose, These Foolish Things, Route 66, Stormy Weather, Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy ...


I love alot of the songs you mention Alistair -but i wouldn't describe the Shangri-Las songs i posted as merely 'fun' (well other than great big Kiss)..
They're all haunting ,dramatic peans to loss - at their core they're deeply sad songs -and in that sense seem closer in spirit to someone like Roy Orbison to me..


Quote

Take Carol Kaye, for example.. she (and many others) played on so many of the hits from that era


That video was fantastic -I never knew about her before..


Quote

Still, I think no one did it better in the '60s then the "Funk Brothers" Holland - Dozier - Holland and the Motown sound.


That video was brilliant..Thanx so much for posting B)


Quote

One of the problems I believe we have in Nashville currently is that too many CDs sound like a "Bob Smith Production" as opposed to letting the artist be what he or she truly is


I think thats sadly the way in all styles of modern music Roger..
Its weird -even if i hear just a guy recorded with an acoustic n vocal now compared to a guy recorded with the same in the 60s n 70s - i can instantly hear the difference - and the 60s n 70s ones sound far more inviting,alive warm and atmospheric..

As well as the plethora of brilliant session musicians (as mentioned) playing together live on great songs back then -If you were lucky enough to have your songs recorded, you also had access to an engineer,producer and (say) an orchestral arranger - all of whoom were specialised and artistically excelled at what they did..

Just because of those things its gonna be virtually impossible to make your songs sound as rich,atmospheric n creatively expressive as you could then if you're trying to cover all bases yourself..

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Posted 07 April 2012 - 01:43 PM

Thanks for the compilation Mr. Nelson. Unlike Duane, I know almost all of them, intimately, and can appreciate them even more now than I did back when they first came out. Surprising, uplifting melodies with smooth jazz and R&B rhythms to back them up. They were unforgettable and as it turns out, timeless as well. I don't think we realized just what we had back then. It's only in comparing them to what we have now, that the realization becomes evident.

I don't hear popular songs with surprising and delightful melodies much anymore or rhythms that work their way into my bones and fire up my nerve endings. Songs that are simple enough to enjoy from the very first listen yet nuanced enough to find something that was hiding in plain sight, after a dozen or more listens.

I look at a song like Remember and can't imagine it passing the cookie cutter muster today. Musically and melodically, it reaches beyond the acceptable boundaries. No surprise I find today's popular music technically amazing but boring and samey, for all it's bells and whistles.
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Posted 07 April 2012 - 04:19 PM

Quote

I don't hear popular songs with surprising and delightful melodies much anymore or rhythms that work their way into my bones and fire up my nerve endings. Songs
that are simple enough to enjoy from the very first listen yet nuanced enough to find something that was hiding in plain sight, after a dozen or more listens.


Priceless:

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Posted 07 April 2012 - 06:10 PM

Not one of their better moments but at least it inspired the equally priceless sequel.


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Posted 09 April 2012 - 08:26 AM

Quote

I look at a song like Remember and can't imagine it passing the cookie cutter muster today. Musically and melodically, it reaches beyond the acceptable boundaries. No surprise I find today's popular music technically amazing but boring and samey, for all it's bells and whistles.


It wouldn't stand a chance being a hit today - yet here we are paying homage to a 2 n half minute song that feels as fresh today as it did almost 50 years ago when it was made..
I wonder how many of todays songs'll have that power...?

The timeless just obliterates and transcends fashion - and modern homogenised music just isn't able to reach that high

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 06:59 PM

I've got to tell you Steve, you've got me dredging through my musical past. Came up with these 2 that stand out not only because I still enjoy listening to them but because of their connection to each other in the person of Big Al Anderson. The Wildweeds were a local Connecticut band but they put out one the greatest songs in my long memory in "No Good to Cry". Was a regional hit but never made it national - only Big Al Anderson survived musically to join NRBQ as songwriter/guitarist/vocalist. Their"Ridin' in my Car" is an example of the kind of music I think of when I go back and remember how pop music is supposed to sound.

"No Good to Cry" (The Wildweeds -1967)




"Ridin' in My Car" (NRBQ - 1st released -1977)


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Posted 13 April 2012 - 09:19 AM

Realy enjoyed both songs Jonie..The Wildweeds one in particular is great..A real gem.. Has a passionate urgency -and the more i think about it - a genuine sense of heart thats lacking in modern music..
Was talking to my mate about why i love The Shangri-Las so much (and 60s music ) because -as well as the imaginative space - there's such a feeling that touches your heart coming from that music..
If there's any true definition of 'soul' in music -thats as good as any for me..

Such a weird irony then that nearly everyone working in corporate modern music from RnB to pop to country to acoustic fancies themselves as a 'soul' singer now ..Bending the notes up n down n squeezing out the emotion in the modern american idol / X factor way..

How many have anything like the transcendent heartfelt feeling on the chorus of this song tho ?

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Posted 22 April 2012 - 11:18 PM

View PostScenesFromPalacio, on 13 April 2012 - 10:19 AM, said:

How many have anything like the transcendent heartfelt feeling on the chorus of this song tho ?


That chorus is absolute majesty. However, by 1968, this music sounded dated - the times, and music zoomed past it. From 1956 to 1968 rock morphed from Peggy Sue to Purple Haze.

Today's pop stars are largely armed with good looks, tremendous, athletic vocal ability, a team of songwriters who write damn fine melodies, and producers who have tools that enable them to make what they feel are "perfect" creations. The result is more about marketing, rather than music, though the public seems to eat it up. With rare exception (Adele and who else?) modern pop stars have to have a marketable look. Of course, looks have always played a part in marketing rock music, but at this point, it's probably more important than ever.

Still, The Shangri-Las seem to be currently winning the battle when it comes to indie-rock. Their sound lives on in the music of a number of really good groups. Not just the "wall of sound" production values, or the vocals clearly influenced by the Shangri-Las and their ilk. But also the heart-wrenching lyrical content and mood of great early 60s pop tunes, somewhat modernized. And that's a good thing in my book.

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Posted 24 April 2012 - 12:42 PM

Schrodingers..Thanx so much for the links..I enjoyed them all but absoloutly loved Our Deal..Listened to a few more by Best Coast and '"When I'm With You" is equally as good..Yeh great pop music is timeless

Quote

That chorus is absolute majesty. However, by 1968, this music sounded dated - the times, and music zoomed past it. From 1956 to 1968 rock morphed from Peggy Sue to Purple Haze.


Their sales showed that their music was no longer really wanted by the general public by 1966 sadly-tho -like The Ronettes n Phil Spector continued to release great emotionally expressive vibrant pop music..
I always think of 'dated' as meaning things which were generally pretty worthless originally anyway..Bad merseybeat beatles copyist bands with mediocre songs would be one example from the 60s..Heavy rock 'power ballads' from the 80s..
In my universe supa-cool songs are always relevant whether they're The Shangri-Las,Bowie,Alicia Keys Empire State Of Mind -or those 2 Best Coast songs....

Beautiful songs will always transcend fashion..

Quote

Today's pop stars are largely armed with good looks, tremendous, athletic vocal ability, a team of songwriters who write damn fine melodies, and producers who have tools that enable them to make what they feel are "perfect" creations. The result is more about marketing, rather than music, though the public seems to eat it up. With rare exception (Adele and who else?) modern pop stars have to have a marketable look. Of course, looks have always played a part in marketing rock music, but at this point, it's probably more important than ever.


Love that ' athletic vocal ability' lol..Was watching abit of 'the voice' and thinking singings become more like a competitive sport- where your 'soul' is measured by how high n low you can get,how loud you can screech n how many supa fast off-melody widdlin' trills you can fit in with your voice
I'd dispute that those songwriters write 'damn fine' melodies..Cunningly n skillfully crafted modern pop -yes.There's a difference to me..
They can't write songs as affecting n magical-and with the heart of the best 60s pop tho -
The marketplace dosn't demand they do anyways..

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Posted 25 April 2012 - 11:33 AM

Quote

Love that ' athletic vocal ability' lol..Was watching abit of 'the voice' and thinking singings become more like a competitive sport- where your 'soul' is measured by how high n low you can get,how loud you can screech n how many supa fast off-melody widdlin' trills you can fit in with your voice
I'd dispute that those songwriters write 'damn fine' melodies..Cunningly n skillfully crafted modern pop -yes.There's a difference to me..
They can't write songs as affecting n magical-and with the heart of the best 60s pop tho -
The marketplace dosn't demand they do anyways..


Hate that music is a competitive sport these days... That's not what music is about...

Really love that motown sound and back when I was a bass player (I guess I still am but not exclusively) I went though a James Jamerson phase. He was uncredited but took part in most Motown hits across the 60's and 70's as part of the Funk Brothers and was just brilliant and in my mind revolutionized the way bass is played these days. Here's his wiki if you like...

James Jamerson Wiki

I think it is hard to get a feel for his true discography because he was hardly ever listed but here's a list of hit songs the Funk Brothers are known to have played on. Pretty impressive...

List of hit songs on which The Funk Brothers played

"Please Mr. Postman" - The Marvelettes
"Fingertips Pt. 2" - Stevie Wonder
"My Guy" - Mary Wells
"Where Did Our Love Go" - The Supremes
"Baby Love" - The Supremes
"Come See About Me" - The Supremes
"My Girl" The Temptations
"Stop! In the Name of Love" The Supremes
"Back in My Arms Again" The Supremes
"I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch)" - The Four Tops
"I Hear a Symphony" - The Supremes
"You Can't Hurry Love" - The Supremes
"Reach Out I'll Be There" - The Four Tops
"You Keep Me Hangin' On" - The Supremes
"The Happening" - The Supremes
"Love Child" - Diana Ross and the Supremes
"I Heard It Through the Grapevine" - Marvin Gaye
"I Can't Get Next to You" - The Temptations
"Someday We'll Be Together" - Diana Ross and the Supremes
"Ain't No Mountain High Enough" - Diana Ross
"The Tears of a Clown" - Smokey Robinson and the Miracles
"Just My Imagination (Running Away with Me)" - The Temptations
"Papa Was a Rollin' Stone" - The Temptations
"Let's Get It On" - Marvin Gaye
"Midnight Train to Georgia" - Gladys Knight and the Pips
"Just a Little Misunderstanding" - The Contours
"Shop Around" - The Miracles
"Shotgun" - Junior Walker & the All Stars
"How Sweet it Is (To Be Loved by You)" - Marvin Gaye
"The One Who Really Loves You" - Mary Wells
"The Way You Do The Things You Do" - The Temptations
"Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing" - Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell
"(I'm A) Road Runner" - Junior Walker & the All Stars
"Ain't too Proud to Beg" - The Temptations
"I Wish It Would Rain" - The Temptations
"Reflections" - Diana Ross & The Supremes
"(Love Is Like A) Heat Wave" - Martha & the Vandellas
"Hitch Hike" - Marvin Gaye
"What's So Good About Goodbye" - The Miracles
"I Was Made To Love Her" - Stevie Wonder
"It's The Same Old Song" - The Four Tops
"You've Really Got A Hold on Me" - The Miracles
"Standing In The Shadows Of Love" - The Four Tops
"If I Were Your Woman" - Gladys Knight and the Pips
"Going To A Go-Go" - The Miracles
"Heaven Must Have Sent You" - The Elgins
"Dancing In The Street" - Martha & The Vandellas
"Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)" - Marvin Gaye
"Cloud Nine" - The Temptations
"What's Goin' On" - Marvin Gaye
"Do You Love Me" - The Contours
"Get Ready" - The Temptations
"Function At The Junction" - Shorty Long
"My World Is Empty Without You" - The Supremes
"The Tracks Of My Tears" - The Miracles
"Can I Get A Witness" - Marvin Gaye
"Nowhere To Run" - Martha & the Vandellas
"Here Comes The Judge" - Shorty Long
"Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I'm Yours)" - Stevie Wonder
"Beachwood 4-5789" - The Marvelettes
"Bernadette" - The Four Tops
"Two Lovers" - Mary Wells
"What Becomes Of The Brokenhearted" - Jimmy Ruffin
"My Cherie Amour" - Stevie Wonder
"I Second That Emotion" - Smokey Robinson & the Miracles
"(I Know) I'm Losing You" - The Temptations
"First I Look At The Purse" - The Contours
"Ooo Baby Baby" - The Miracles
"25 Miles" - Edwin Starr
"I'll Be Doggone" - Marvin Gaye
"Pride and Joy" - Marvin Gaye
"Ball Of Confusion (That's What the World Is Today)" - The Temptations
"It Takes Two" - Marvin Gaye & Kim Weston
"This Old Heart Of Mine (Is Weak For You)" - The Isley Brothers
"Uptight" - Stevie Wonder
"Devil With A Blue Dress On" - Shorty Long
"Jimmy Mack" - Martha & the Vandellas
"Since I Lost My Baby" - The Temptations
"War" - Edwin Starr
"Stubborn Kind Of Fellow" - Marvin Gaye
"Don't Mess With Bill" - The Marvelettes
"You Beat Me To The Punch" Mary Wells
"Shake Me, Wake Me (When It's Over)" - The Four Tops
"Mickey's Monkey" - The Miracles
"Ain't That Peculiar" - Marvin Gaye
"Shoo-Be-Doo-Be-Doo-Da-Day" - Stevie Wonder


OK, now I want to go write a 60's Motown tribute song... something about good music makes me want to be a part of it...

#30 User is online   ScenesFromPalacio Icon

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Posted 25 April 2012 - 05:55 PM

I'm really aware of James Jamerson Scotto..Arguably the greatest pop bassist ever -and i know McCartney was hugely influenced by him..
His lines are so fluid,groovin',expressive,inventive n free -and seem almost impossible to emulate n impersonate (at least for an instrumental hack like me lol)
I absoloutly love Motown n Northern soul (which is basically Motown influenced music released on other labels -coined 'northern soul' in the UK) and have a playlist of about 150 songs on youtube -and thats just from cherry picking the best ones i've found !
The well seems incredibly deep with magical forgotten 60s gems -and i'm always hungry to discover more..

One thing i've noticed recently in my own writing from listening n absorbing so much great 60s soul music is how much more fluid n expressive my vocal lines are getting from it..
There's so much heart in that music too

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OK, now I want to go write a 60's Motown tribute song... something about good music makes me want to be a part of it...


Same with me man...Thats what great music does for you B)

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