R/E/P > Terry Manning

Favorite Sessions?

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Geoff Ruby:

Thanks for taking your time to join us here.

There have have been  a lot of great questions about specific songs / sessions you've been involved in. Thank you for your informative and involved answers to those questions!

Could you tell us a bit about your favorite sessions over the years and what made them so special to you - be it the songwriting, musicianship, vibe in the studio, musical or technical innovation, and some, all or none of the above!

To put it somewhat differently, if you to look back at your career to date, what are the peaks, not necessarily in terms of sales (although there's no reason the top sellers can't also be career peaks), but just in terms of - damn, I'm glad I was part of/ contributed to the recording of X.

And, are there any artist out there that you haven't worked with that you would really, really like to (lets say current and those that aren't around any more but were during your career)work with?

And, my apologies if I posted a similar question twice. I think my first try didn't work.


Geoff Ruby

Geoff Ruby wrote on Sun, 06 February 2005 01:09

Could you tell us a bit about your favorite sessions over the years and what made them so special to you - be it the songwriting, musicianship, vibe in the studio, musical or technical innovation, and some, all or none of the above!

Hello Geoff,

Thanks for your post.

There have been so many sessions, albums, clients, friends, and so much work, I really hesitate to try to take just a few favourites.  And I don't want to post a long list, lest it be boring.

So I guess I'll try to pick a few sessions or musical rememberances out of the hat to comment upon; some of these were perhaps amongst the most enjoyable, but others were remarkable for other reasons, including negative ones at times.  Of course,  the sessions mentioned in the other threads were fun and exciting (LZep, ZZ, Kravitz, Isaac Hayes, etc.), but some of these aren't as well known, perhaps...

•Billy Eckstine session:  Great to work with such an all time great, and to have full orchestra and great songs.  Mr. E appeared worried when he arrived, that such a kid was engineering his album, but it was so good to see his smile when the mixes were done...and receive his thanks for a job well done.

•Recording the horn overdubs on Ike & Tina Turner's "Proud Mary (Rollin' On The River)."  At first I feared they might have ruined a great CCR song, but by the end I had grown to like it!

•Mixing the early great songs by Al Green.  What a lesson to be mixing for, and sitting next to, producer Willie Mitchell, who taught me so much about getting the "groove" into the mix.

•Incredible sadness as I mixed with Steve Cropper on Otis Redding's "Dock Of The Bay," immediately after his tragic death.  Atlantic had rejected a first mix, and Steve had brought it to me to help, as he was so upset that his friend and partner was gone.  A very hard day!

•Another bad day with Joe Cocker.  We had a great band tracking, and Joe's guide vocals were so good, I thought we were in excellent shape.  But just as the first track went down, a phone call came that Joe's mother had died in England.  He had to go, took a very long weekend to deal with everything, and by the time he came back, so tired and depressed, it took months to get the vocals recorded.

•George Thorogood session.  GT really wanted to record in a very old, funky studio where there was no equipment newer than early 60's (this was in about 1984).  I like vintage gear, but this stuff wasn't maintained.  So I "sneaked" Randy Ezratty and his mobile, portable gear into the control room (Stephens 24 track), and we did a "live, location" recording in a studio!  GT didn't figure it out until the third day.

•Recording blues great Furry Lewis in his apartment on Beale Street in the 60's.  Furry played and sang while sitting up in his bed!  He even had taken off his wooden leg.  I used two Sony C-37's and a Crown 2 track 1/4".  Pretty authentic blues!

•Listening to the playbacks of the mix of the first Big Star album in Ardent's A control room, very late one night, with Carl Wilson, Alex Chilton, and Chris Bell.  Carl liked it so much he called brother Brian, who listened in on a speaker phone!  Interesting playback.

•Recording the vocal for Tracy Nelson on her amazing "Down So Low."  Completely floored me!  Still can't believe that track.

•Watching Stevie Ray Vaughan drive off into the night after he let me out of his car at my hotel in Dallas after a late night session.  I got a funny feeling about seeing him wave and go off down the street.  Never saw him again.

•Standing in the middle of the 105,000 people inside LA's Coliseum football stadium, at the Wattstax concert, which was being filmed by David Wolper.  I was in the Heider truck, overseeing the live audio recording.  All the Stax artists on one stage, Jesse Jackson and Al Bell announcing.

•Saying goodbye to Eddie Floyd and Al Jackson, Jr. (MG's drummer) after a closed circuit viewing of a Muhammed Ali fight we had gone to.  We were looking forward to a session the next couple of days...Al was shot later that night, and died after that.

•Just the other day, recording James Earl Jones' V/O performance as Darth Vader for the upcoming Star Wars movie.  George Lucas couldn't travel to this session (at Compass Point) so we hooked up a real time video conference using Apple's iChat AV; JEJ had a Powerbook with George's face on it, and GL had the same with James's.  We also Internet broadcast the live voice on one channel, and SMPTE on another, over Netcaster, which synced GL's Protools session in SF to ours, and he directed just like he was in the room...I guess he was.  Pretty cool, and a first.

•Any day at Abbey Road...I was there for over a year, and never could quite get over it.

•Lots, lots more...but it's late now...another session tomorrow morning...

More later...

Geoff Ruby:
Thanks Terry!

This whole thing has been an absolute delight. And, definitely not boring!! Thanks for stopping by and enlightening us about some of the fantastic music you've had a hand in bringing to all of us.

And, also, for engaging us by also initiating topics! You've made this a two way street by asking questions yourself which is pretty unique I think in these forums - very cool IMO that a person with your pedigree and expertise will go and ask the opinion of folks hanging around the ole internet water cooler.

So thanks again for your time. I know I appreciate it, and I'm sure others around here do too.

Cheers, and I hope the vocal comping goes well1

Geoff Ruby


About an urban legend, Joe Cocker, and "You Are So Beautiful To Me".  The legend goes as follows:

Joe does the song, but his voice cracks on the last two notes. The producer and Joe wanna redo the last two notes, but the engineer says, "Are you crazy?  That was perfect."  The producer asks to hear the ending again, then hits the talkback and says, "You're done, Joe!".

Obviously, the conversation is exaggerated, but the basic idea is that Joe screws up the last two notes, but somebody at the session recognized that his voice breaking was perfect for the mood of the song.  Any insights?

Hey Harvey,

Great point.  Sometimes the unexpected little anomolies are the best parts of a recording!  What would that track be without the "emotional" ending, whether intended or not?

Whoever that engineer was certainly did the artist and producer an extra service!

I have heard that Herb Alpert used to save an empty track as a "clam track" on his instrumental sessions, because he believed that, as great as the musicians were, there should often be a "clam," or slight "mistake" so that it was all more human and believable...don't know if this is true or not, though.



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