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Author Topic: What were they doing with 50's music in the US?  (Read 11979 times)

Bubba#$%Kron

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Re: What were they doing with 50's music in the US?
« Reply #15 on: December 21, 2010, 02:38:34 pm »

Not to mention no birth control or prozac for the women!!!  Only god knows the horrors those men have seen!!!    Laughing



But seriously, its so true!! If you really think about it, there was a lot of cumulative skills from all those people which all makes a big difference.   From the pianos tuned by ear, to the hand carved ivory nuts/saddles, and the hand sculpted tortoise shell picks- there was so much more going on there than just the pretty boy upfront(who was amazingly talented in his own right)!!!!!  And most importantly, the vast majority of the people in the room did not have some ridiculous celebrity dream, their heads were actually in the game for the sake of the music and a hot meal!!!


You also have musicians who tuned by ear, probably practiced as much as we listen to music today- and knew/maintained thier own instruments.  All that human energy adds up to something REALLY nice!!!

The BLEED factor is so true too.  You rarely hear a single source picked up on both ribbons and condensers today(except drums). On most of those 50's tracks it seems like every source has to be hitting an RCA and the u47 in front of the singer at some point- it creates a nice haze IMO!!!!

Get that Langevin tube console running Mr. Silvertone- I would love to hear a cut off it!!!

Cheers, Bryan
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"When we make music we don't do it in order to reach a certain point, such as the end of the composition. If that were the purpose of music then obviously the fastest players would be the best. Also, when we are dancing we are not aiming to arrive at a particular place on the floor as in a journey. When we dance, the journey itself is the point, as when we play music the playing itself is the point."  -Alan Watts

jrmintz

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Re: What were they doing with 50's music in the US?
« Reply #16 on: December 21, 2010, 08:51:13 pm »

It's funny - they're so ubiquitous now it's hard to remember the time before guitar tuners. We used to have to tune to the piano. Which meant that you had to get the drummer not to play long enough so you could hear the piano. There were people who played great but never played completely in tune. Remarkably enough some of them worked all the time. The groove was just more important than perfect tuning.
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Borough Cat

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Re: What were they doing with 50's music in the US?
« Reply #17 on: December 21, 2010, 10:36:40 pm »

If the band can play i always suggest a live to 1 or 2 track recording. Thankfully once they hear the results there's no going back....ever.
As for tuners, a shared tuning fork usually does the trick.
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Mark Nelson

tom eaton

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Re: What were they doing with 50's music in the US?
« Reply #18 on: December 22, 2010, 12:06:15 am »

Let's not get TOO nostalgic... they used strobe tuners, and click tracks and all kinds of technological assistance back then, too.

Takes were edited, etc.  Section leaders may have worn headphones...

Take a modern DAW and throw it into that time and those records would STILL sound amazing, because the METHOD made the takes sound good: great players playing a great arrangement in a great room.

When that stuff came out of an AM radio in mono it sounded GOOD.  But let's not pretend it wasn't compressed or limited both as it went to vinyl and over the air...

t

Fletcher

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Re: What were they doing with 50's music in the US?
« Reply #19 on: December 22, 2010, 10:32:40 am »

In addition to what Tom pointed out - the fact of the matter is that the process was far less "democratic".  

There were far fewer studios producing far less music so only the "creme de la creme" got inside one.  Songs were chosen on merit [though many still sucked, there was far less suck than there is today]... players "earned" their way in, engineers "earned" their way in, producers "earned" their way in... and for the most part, the "independent" studios were built by guys who built most of the gear that went into those studios -- they knew their shit rather than what started to occur in the 70's, 80's and beyond where the larger studios were built by "trustafarians" or drug dealers who needed to launder some money [and the occasional "rawk stah" who needed to have one.

The time didn't have schools that turned out a few hundred more kids who could hit Grandma up for $35k to build their Pro-Tools rigs [because they couldn't get a real gig but wanted to "live the dream"] -- the studios were either built by the companies that released professional recordings [or as previously mentioned, had built their own gear].  "Room treatment" didn't come out of a box UPS could deliver, it was designed and built into a proper room which had high ceilings and a good amount of space.  

The "track count" wasn't in the stratosphere [as previously mentioned - much was done "direct to mono disk"] - and NOTHING was "grid accurate" or "tuned" -- it was played with feel [for the most part] and sung by actual singers [Bob Dylan didn't happen until the 50's were well over].
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CN Fletcher

mwagener wrote on Sat, 11 September 2004 14:33
We are selling emotions, there are no emotions in a grid


"Recording engineers are an arrogant bunch.  
If you've spent most of your life with a few thousand dollars worth of musicians in the studio, making a decision every second and a half... and you and  they are going to have to live with it for the rest of your lives, you'll get pretty arrogant too.  It takes a certain amount of balls to do that... something around three"
Malcolm Chisholm

jrmintz

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Re: What were they doing with 50's music in the US?
« Reply #20 on: December 22, 2010, 02:31:51 pm »

tom eaton wrote on Wed, 22 December 2010 00:06

 they used strobe tuners, and click tracks



I hated strobe tuners - it was much faster and easier to tune by ear. They were like tack pianos - every studio had one but I rarely saw any actually being used.

Click tracks, in NY at any rate, were used for what they were intended - to record music in sync to film. Every arranger had the big book that converted from frame rates to bpm. There were arrangers who made magic writing music that rescued pedestrian film. Click didn't really start getting used on records until the late seventies - early eighties, but it didn't much matter. The good musicians were (and still are) comfortable working with or without click.
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JDNelson

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Re: What were they doing with 50's music in the US?
« Reply #21 on: December 22, 2010, 02:50:02 pm »

I was spining the original vinyl release of the 'Muddy Waters Live at Newport' lp last night, on Chess Records.  IIRC it was recorded in 1960 or thereabouts, at the festival.  Good God the sound is unbelievably good, even by modern standards.  And it was a live recording.  Amazing.

Borough Cat

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Re: What were they doing with 50's music in the US?
« Reply #22 on: December 22, 2010, 03:03:33 pm »

Microphones employed at Newport (at least for jazz) were U47s and C12s as seen on the Jazz on a Summers Day film circa '59
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Mark Nelson

Dominick

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Re: What were they doing with 50's music in the US?
« Reply #23 on: December 22, 2010, 04:27:11 pm »

Fletcher wrote on Wed, 22 December 2010 10:32

....and sung by actual singers [Bob Dylan didn't happen until the 50's were well over].


A low blow. Props to my man Bobby. As fine a singer as they come. Tony Bennett could not have delivered those songs with that power. Tell 'em Muddy Waters sent you.
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Dominick Costanzo

Bubba#$%Kron

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Re: What were they doing with 50's music in the US?
« Reply #24 on: December 23, 2010, 01:51:26 am »

Yeah, but it was funny as hell!!!!!!


Dominick wrote on Wed, 22 December 2010 13:27

Fletcher wrote on Wed, 22 December 2010 10:32

....and sung by actual singers [Bob Dylan didn't happen until the 50's were well over].


A low blow. Props to my man Bobby. As fine a singer as they come. Tony Bennett could not have delivered those songs with that power. Tell 'em Muddy Waters sent you.

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"When we make music we don't do it in order to reach a certain point, such as the end of the composition. If that were the purpose of music then obviously the fastest players would be the best. Also, when we are dancing we are not aiming to arrive at a particular place on the floor as in a journey. When we dance, the journey itself is the point, as when we play music the playing itself is the point."  -Alan Watts

Nick Sevilla

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Re: What were they doing with 50's music in the US?
« Reply #25 on: December 23, 2010, 02:08:57 am »

jrmintz wrote on Tue, 21 December 2010 17:51

It's funny - they're so ubiquitous now it's hard to remember the time before guitar tuners. We used to have to tune to the piano. Which meant that you had to get the drummer not to play long enough so you could hear the piano. There were people who played great but never played completely in tune. Remarkably enough some of them worked all the time. The groove was just more important than perfect tuning.


On that tuning note...

I just heard a rough mix of an artist that is asking me to mix his record.

I asked the producer, to kindly send me an UNTUNED vocal version.

The untuned vocal sounded just great as is. Why they felt they had to tune it to heck and back, is another example of mediocrity, fear, and lack of talent of the "middlemen", who feel a need to perfect everything, while at the same time not listening to anything with any sort of common sense.

"Just because you can, does not mean you should"

Cheers, and Happy Holidays!
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mgod

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Re: What were they doing with 50's music in the US?
« Reply #26 on: December 23, 2010, 01:18:03 pm »

I'm a little puzzled by the tuner obsession. I thought the idea was always to be in tune with the piano, and the piano isn't tuned every hour to a guitar tuner.

I was doing a record last year and I asked the guitar player for a note. He said, "You don't use a tuner, do you? That's badass." Now this guy was a grown up and a genius actually, so I noted the moment, that somehow these little not-always reliable gizmos have really infested our musicality.

I mean, just gimme a note and I can tune my bass. Maybe not as well as Ali Akbar Khan could (did), but good enough for western equal-tempered music.
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tom eaton

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Re: What were they doing with 50's music in the US?
« Reply #27 on: December 23, 2010, 04:07:15 pm »

Well, you'll drive most string players NUTS if your track is one of those "tune to the guitar" tracks.  

Tuning to the acoustic piano is a wonderful concept when the piano is either the first thing to go down or is part of the original take.  

But in general I agree with the sentiment... a tuner is just another tool that can get in the way of listening.  Perhaps the very beginning of the "how does that note look" phenomenon?  

t

jrmintz

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Re: What were they doing with 50's music in the US?
« Reply #28 on: December 23, 2010, 05:04:48 pm »

tom eaton wrote on Thu, 23 December 2010 16:07

Well, you'll drive most string players NUTS...


It's a matter of driving them nuts before they drive you nuts...
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compasspnt

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Re: What were they doing with 50's music in the US?
« Reply #29 on: December 23, 2010, 05:12:31 pm »

Nothing like a room full of string players chattering away, right up to letter A.
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