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Author Topic: Walk On By  (Read 4073 times)

Radd 47

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Walk On By
« on: February 02, 2005, 05:31:06 pm »

Terry, were you involved in that wonderful track by Mr. Hayes?
I sure was blown away whe I first heard it.
One of the first extended jams.

Semi Floydian.

Thanks!
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compasspnt

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Re: Walk On By
« Reply #1 on: February 04, 2005, 12:49:18 am »

Hi Radd,

Yes, I was very involved in the Isaac Hayes recordings, starting with the "Hot Buttered Soul" album on which "Walk On By" first appeared.

Before this album, Isaac was not even really considered an artist within the Stax family!  He was first and foremost a writer, and closely second a producer, and closely third a pianist, and closely fourth an organist.  He had released one album previously, I think called "Presenting Isaac Hayes," but it was not yet in the style he later developed, didn't really sell at all; it was looked on within the organisation as more of a collection of demos of his songs.  But his production and writing skills were already legendary from such artists as Sam & Dave, and his association with his partner David Porter.

So when Ike called and booked time at Ardent Studios (the older one on National Street), where I was then chief engineer, there was not necessarily any "extra" excitement; it was going to be just another session.  There was no foreshadowing of the musical event to come,

The players were Stax's "second unit" (excellent, seasoned players, but anyone would be second to the MG's, that is, Cropper, Duck Dunn & Al Jackson, Jr!), The Bar-Kays.  This was the second generation Bar-Kays, as the original members, save two, were the band tragically killed in the Otis Redding crash.  The bass player was James Alexander (James wasn't on the Otis plane); guitarist was Michael Toles, a young guy who was a new member; and the drums were by Willie Hall (Willie can be seen often as the drummer for The Blues Brothers in the movie!)  Isaac played the keyboards, of course, especially the organ.  This was a little different already, as in the Stax main rhythm section, Booker T. Jones was the customary organist, while Isaac played piano.

Al Bell was the producer (as in Staple Singers also), and I was the engineer, and also lent Al the customary production help when requested (our basic working arrangement).  Marvel Thomas (Rufus' son, and an excellent keyboardist himself) was a co-producer, if I  remember correctly.

Isaac and Al informed me that this was going to be a departure from the norm, and that there were very few songs to actually be recorded.  I didn't realise that they might be as long as 18 minutes!  Good thing the machines would run at 15 ips...I was already using 30 for most things (you could actually buy tape back then).

Isaac had rehearsed the band a bit already, so there wasn't much more pre-pro necessary.  This "new" style was basically something Isaac had started doing at a local club, and he had gotten a great reaction from the audience, especially the women.

As for technical, I mic'd the organ in our typical "don't have a lot of tracks to spare" mode, which would have been minimal  mic'ing...one for the top of the leslie, and one for the bottom (today, I, as most probably do, use two mic's for the high horn, split L & R to at least some degree...I have taken to calling this on track charts "Leslie East" and "Leslie West," rather than Left-Right).  I probably mixed the high and low mic's together to fit them on one track, but don't remember for sure.  Mic's would probably have been 87's or 67's for both.  On the guitar, there would have been just one mic on the small Fender amp, probably either an 87 type, or perhaps an EV dynamic...we had a lot of those, then.  The mic would have been fairly close to the speaker.  The bass was certainly run direct, through a simple transformer-based passive DI, and I probably mic'd the amp as well.  The amp would have been a Fender Bassman Black 2 piece.  The drums would have been very simply mic'd...Bass Drum, snare and one or two "kit" mics...not really overheads, as I didn't get the mics very far away then.  The hi-hat and cymbals were just supposed to bleed into the kit naturally.  If they were too loud, just move the mic until it's best.  This was probably an 87 for kit, and EV's for snare & BD.

I was surprised when Ike started playing, as the band just had to follow his lead...they knew the basics, but not the full length arrangement.  Isaac, in a way, made some of it up as he went along, feeling his way through the emotions of the moment.  I really couldn't believe how long it took "Phoenix"  to 'get started;' the pent-up emotion was almost unbearable.

One thing I tried here, for one of my first times on a real, to-be-released recording, was something I had been experimenting with, but had never yet found the place for.  This was to delay the send to the EMT reverb by running the reverb aux out through a tape machine, thereby analogically delaying the signal by the time difference between the record and play heads.  I could change the speed, of course, to get the timing I wanted, and also vari-speed if 7.5, 15 or 30 weren't quite right.  Isaac and Al had never before heard this effect, and were quite taken by it.    Of course, this became quite common, and today is so easy, it's built into every digital unit ("Pre-delay"  time).  But, believe it or not, it seemed quite exotic then!  (I am NOT claiming this effect, I'm sure many others had done this before...this was just my first time.)

Another interesting thing (at least to me) about the guitar on this, and subsequent Isaac sessions (such as 'Shaft') was that Michael used a Fender Telecaster which he had bought from me...I had a red mid-60's one which had a Gibson humbucking pickup installed in it.  I didn't like playing Gibson's (I thought), but wanted the sound of one.  Michael had heard it, and really wanted it, so we did a deal.

Anyway, this album, when released, became a sensation, and ended up re-defining R&B at the time, as well as spawning a whole new sub genre for artists such as Barry White.

Thanks for your interest!

TM
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Radd 47

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Re: Walk On By
« Reply #2 on: February 07, 2005, 08:55:15 pm »

Thank you Terry for the incredible answer to that!
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jdsowa

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Re: Walk On By
« Reply #3 on: March 03, 2005, 01:51:56 pm »

compasspnt wrote on Fri, 04 February 2005 05:49

Hi Radd,

fairly close to the speaker.  The bass was certainly run direct, through a simple transformer-based passive DI, and I probably mic'd the amp as well.  The amp would have been a Fender Bassman Black 2 piece.  The drums would have been very simply mic'd...Bass Drum, snare and one or two "kit" mics...not really overheads, as I didn't get the mics very far away then.  The hi-hat and cymbals were just supposed to bleed into the kit naturally.  If they were too loud, just move the mic until it's best.  This was probably an 87 for kit, and EV's for snare & BD.


Thanks for your interest!

TM


I'm guessing RE15 for the snare, and RE20 on the kick.  Would this have likely been on the outside of a kick (heavily dampened) w/ no front head?

One day I was recording drums and was running Isaac Hayes "Joy" up on another channel to compare.  I never really thought of those drums as being huge but, man, the kick sound on that song totally blew whatever I was doing out the water.  Incredibly fat sound when you turned it up in the headphones.  Hrmph.

Jesse
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Gordon Rice

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Re: Walk On By
« Reply #4 on: March 03, 2005, 04:05:40 pm »

compasspnt wrote on Fri, 04 February 2005 00:49

 

One thing I tried here, for one of my first times on a real, to-be-released recording, was something I had been experimenting with, but had never yet found the place for.  This was to delay the send to the EMT reverb by running the reverb aux out through a tape machine, thereby analogically delaying the signal by the time difference between the record and play heads.  I could change the speed, of course, to get the timing I wanted, and also vari-speed if 7.5, 15 or 30 weren't quite right.  Isaac and Al had never before heard this effect, and were quite taken by it.    Of course, this became quite common, and today is so easy, it's built into every digital unit ("Pre-delay"  time).  But, believe it or not, it seemed quite exotic then!  (I am NOT claiming this effect, I'm sure many others had done this before...this was just my first time.)




Hey there--

I'm not claiming the invention for him, but Joe Tarsia was doing that at Sigma by 1972 at the latest--I wasn't here then, but I've heard stories of assistants losing their jobs for the simple infraction of letting that tape run out while a mix was being printed!

When I got here, there were two console sends dedicated to the EMT--one direct, and one through a Marshall Tape Eliminator.  There was a homebrew summing amp in the equipment island to combine them before sending them on to the plate.
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compasspnt

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Re: Walk On By
« Reply #5 on: March 06, 2005, 07:03:30 pm »

jdsowa wrote on Thu, 03 March 2005 13:51



I'm guessing RE15 for the snare, and RE20 on the kick.  Would this have likely been on the outside of a kick (heavily dampened) w/ no front head?

One day I was recording drums and was running Isaac Hayes "Joy" up on another channel to compare.  I never really thought of those drums as being huge but, man, the kick sound on that song totally blew whatever I was doing out the water.  Incredibly fat sound when you turned it up in the headphones.  Hrmph.

Jesse


Hi Jesse,

I think you are about right, as well as I can remember.  I always say that I barely remember what I did yesterday, much less that long ago!  There are so many setups on so many sessions for so long, that it's hard to remember all of them exactly.  And naturally, I've rarely taken any notes...that seems like cheating, in a way.  I like to just make everything up at the time relative to the situational requirements.

But I often used the 20 for bass drum then, but sometimes an 87 or even a 15.  I've always loved the 15; often had it on snare back then, but sometimes an 84 a little farther back.  In fact, just because of this forum, I got out some of my old 15's and started using them again this month...still great!

Thanks for the question!

Terry
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