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Rod Stewart's "Maggie May"
Old 19th July 2005
  #1
Gear Nut
 
vikingdude's Avatar
 

Rod Stewart's "Maggie May"

I heard Rod Stewart singing "Maggie May" on the radio while driving the other day. I've always loved the sound of the vocal on that song (and other Rod Stewart songs for that matter). I realize most of this can be contributed to his great voice but does anybody know the recording chain on that song (Mic, Pre, Tape Machine etc.). Sounds like it's recorded in a very dry room.

Please, indicate if you know for sure or if you're guessing.
Old 19th July 2005
  #2
One with big hooves
 
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
Which version? The popular solo version, there's a live one kickin' around and a couple more that he did with the Faces. I think there's two or three versions alone on the Faces boxset.
Old 19th July 2005
  #3
Gear Nut
 
vikingdude's Avatar
 

You got me there, I'm not sure, but it's definately not live. I don't have the song myself but here's what I remember on top of my head. The vocal is very dry sounding, can't hear any reverb on it at all. It's got some sort of high strung layered acoustic guitar playing a riff (almost sounds like a mandolin), bass and drums as far as I remember.

Sounds like a very old 70's recording. Heard it on a classic rock station.
Old 19th July 2005
  #4
Gear Addict
 

The version I am most familar with and it sounds like the one you describe actually starts with a classical nylon string opening. It never gets played on the radio with the intro.

Another interesting thing is that version has the loudest edit or glitch I've ever heard in a pop song. It's right after the first guitar solo about 3 or four verses in. I don't know if it's a splice or what but it's louder than anything else in the mix and kind of sounds like a wood block. Not sure why it there but it's right in the downbeat.

Doesn't help your vocal question but it is a great cut.

wm.
Old 19th July 2005
  #5
ROD STEWART.
LP ‘Every Picture Tells A Story’ (Mercury 6338063). Producer: Rod Stewart.
Sound engineer: Mike Bobak. Recorded at Morgan Sound Studios, Willesden,
London in April 1971 (except 'I’m Losing You', which was cut at Olympic Sound
Studios, London). Incl.
- Every Picture Tells A Story (RW/Rod Stewart) -Maggie Bell and
John Baldry on backing vocals
- Seems Like A Long Time (Ted Anderson) -Madeline Bell and friends on
backing vocals.
- That’s Alright (Arthur Crudup)
- Tomorrow Is Such A Long Time (Bob Dylan) -Dick Powell on violin
- Maggie May (Rod Stewart/Martin Quittenton) -Ray Jackson on mandolin,
Ian McLagan on organ.
- Mandolin Wind (Rod Stewart) -Ray Jackson on mandolin, Sam Mitchell
on guitar
- I’m Losing You (Norman Whitfield/Eddie Holland/Cornelius Grant) -genuine
Faces-line-up.
Line-up: RW (gtr, bass, pedal steel)/Rod Stewart (voc, gtr)/Martin Quittenton
(gtr)/Andy Pyle and Danny Thompson (bass)/Micky Waller (dr)/
Pete Sears (p)

About Morgan studio - "The console in the studio was custom made by Advision. The speakers were custom made as well, but from JBL components. They actually weren't that good in reproducing the low end and so that had to be taken in to account as we mixed."

But I also I found a listing that said Maggie may was done at De Lane Lea studio... wich may have hahd a Neve console at that time...
Old 19th July 2005
  #6
The thing that I noticed most about that song after coming back to it 20 years later was that the drums sound like they were all recorded with one mic. On the hihat.
Old 19th July 2005
  #7
Old 19th July 2005
  #8
Gear Maniac
 

Anyone else notice the big thump during the mandolin solo/bridge of this tune? I noticed it when I was in highschool riding home in our Escort, leadfoot brother at the wheel, classic rock on the radio...ahh memories.....every time I hear that song, I'm transported back to that spring day when I hear that thump....
Old 19th July 2005
  #9
Lives for gear
Morgan at one point had all Cadac desks... where was that quote about a custom desk from?

ps. i don't KNOW, but I'd bet that the vocal was on a U-87 or U-67
Old 19th July 2005
  #10
Quote:
Originally Posted by wwittman
Morgan at one point had all Cadac desks... where was that quote about a custom desk from?

ps. i don't KNOW, but I'd bet that the vocal was on a U-87 or U-67
A member of Yes said that about the custom desk....
Old 19th July 2005
  #11
One with big hooves
 
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by wwittman
ps. i don't KNOW, but I'd bet that the vocal was on a U-87 or U-67
When was the U87 introduced? I thought mid-70's so it's probably a U67 or maybe a C12 or something of that ilk.
Old 19th July 2005
  #12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay Kahrs
When was the U87 introduced? I thought mid-70's so it's probably a U67 or maybe a C12 or something of that ilk.
There's an easy way to remember that. The U87 was introduced in....

(drum roll)

1967.

(Right when you thought the U67 should have been introduced.)
Old 19th July 2005
  #13
WAKE UP!!!!!!!!!!










































































Maggie there is something that I have to saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay to yooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo


heh
Old 20th July 2005
  #14
Lives for gear
 
dave-G's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jules
WAKE UP!!!!!!!!!!

Maggie there is something that I have to saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay to yooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo


heh
Note to self... Get Jules drunk and get him singing in a karaoke bar...
Point, laugh and repeat.

(sub-note to self: getting him drunk may not even be necessary)

heh

-dave
Old 20th July 2005
  #15
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by wwittman
Morgan at one point had all Cadac desks... where was that quote about a custom desk from?

ps. i don't KNOW, but I'd bet that the vocal was on a U-87 or U-67
I'm betting with you on that one...
U67's are REALLY great vocal mics.
The bass on this track has so many mistakes.
Sounds like a first take to me, it also sounds like a guitar player playing bass.
Old 20th July 2005
  #16
Gear Addict
 
dillweed's Avatar
not sure where i heard this or if it is correct but did'nt they use 2 mics on the vox on maggie may?
one very close(sm-7??) and a (u47???) about a foot away. ...very unique and present vocal sound.

one of my very favorite rock recordings. phil chen on bass.....awesome
Old 20th July 2005
  #17
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jjblair's Avatar
I almost always agree with William, but ... I don't think it's a U67. Listening to it, it is so sibilant that I suspect it might be a C12. Some serious ess-ing going on. A U67 would have been the mic I would have chosen to make the essing go away, not bring it out. It seems even to sibilant for a U87 of that vintage.
Old 20th July 2005
  #18
Gear Nut
 
vikingdude's Avatar
 

Ok I just bought the cd. I'm now officially obsessed with that song. Holy crap what an awesome voice! It's funny when you hear the intro, everything sounds really amateurish. Then the vocal comes in and it's instant rock 'n' roll.
Old 20th July 2005
  #19
Gear Nut
 
vikingdude's Avatar
 

Ha Ha, the whole drum kit is panned to the right....genius! Love it!

So Lynn, you think it's just one mic on the hihat?
Old 20th July 2005
  #20
Quote:
Originally Posted by vikingdude
So Lynn, you think it's just one mic on the hihat?
Oh, I don't know. I listened to it in about 1989 after a 15 year break, on big studio monitors. I was shocked at how forgiving the musical brain can be. Listen to the tuning on the guitar. Oh my gosh. It sounds like a drunk amateur tuned it.

But what a vibe.

I think we're focused on all the wrong things today, when a song like that with all its imperfections can still move us.
Old 20th July 2005
  #21
Lives for gear
 

Winey, that is too funny.

I love those bass lines but they absolutely sound like a guitar player!

Who was the "bass player"?

Do I remember that it was one of the Stones or something like that?
Old 20th July 2005
  #22
Gear Nut
 
vikingdude's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lynn Fuston
I think we're focused on all the wrong things today, when a song like that with all its imperfections can still move us.
Couldn't agree more!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Football
Who was the "bass player"?
There are 3 different bass players mentioned on the cd I just bought. Ron Wood, Danny Thompson and Andy pyle.

dillweed, I think you may have a point. The vocal is sort of present and a little distant at the same time. Really cool.
Old 20th July 2005
  #23
Lives for gear
 

Yup, I think it was Ron Wood on that track.
Old 20th July 2005
  #24
One with big hooves
 
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by vikingdude
Ok I just bought the cd. I'm now officially obsessed with that song. Holy crap what an awesome voice! It's funny when you hear the intro, everything sounds really amateurish. Then the vocal comes in and it's instant rock 'n' roll.
If you dig that do yourself a favor and find some material from the Faces.

After hearing that and his recent sleazy listening stuff , you'll never look at Rod the same way again.

Old 20th July 2005
  #25
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timtoonz's Avatar
Two things I'd never noticed before...

First, the drums all on one side and the bass on the other... Gotta try that.

Second, I never realized how busy that bass part is. Constant noodling, and it even sounds in some spots like the downbeat has been left out as if he wasn't sure what the chord was and had to hear everyone else hit it first. Even sounds like a couple flubs in there too, but who cares? It's got character galore and it's hugely melodic. Classic tune.

The hats are 'ever present', but I'm always struck how the treble on old stuff is so much less abrasive than now in the perfect days of digital. It's as if the drums have nothing above 4k going on... maybe I should try that too.

oh, and the last cool thing is the way the celeste (I think) comes in on the 3rd verse. Nice touch.

Been doing lots of 'sound alikes' lately for a comedy gig, and it's always amazing what you learn when you deconstruct an old classic you 'thought' you knew. Always makes me want to go back and remix everything I ever did.... Thank God I don't have that kind of time.
Old 20th July 2005
  #26
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jjblair's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lynn Fuston
Listen to the tuning on the guitar. Oh my gosh. It sounds like a drunk amateur tuned it.
Lynn, don't you know what they say about 12 string players? They spend half their time tuning and the other half playing out of tune.

As far as the imperfections, I think a lot of people forget how imperfect rock has always been until people started getting Mutt Lange syndrome. As a rebellion towards everything being so goddamned perfect, if there's a flam one some things these days, I'll leave it on purpose and not correct it. Constant tweaking is killing rock.
Old 21st July 2005
  #27
Gear Nut
 
vikingdude's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay Kahrs
If you dig that do yourself a favor and find some material from the Faces.
Oh I'm digging it! Any Rod Stewart/Faces album recommendations?

I'm listening to the whole "Every Picture Tells A Story" album now, some really cool stuff on there.
Old 21st July 2005
  #28
Gear Nut
 
vikingdude's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by timtoonz
Two things I'd never noticed before...

First, the drums all on one side and the bass on the other... Gotta try that.
yeah, they are on the left aren't they and not to the right as I said earlier. I just realized my computer monitors are hook up wrong....genius if I may say so myself.

But I'm a rebel so I'm gonna leave it like that!
Old 21st July 2005
  #29
Lives for gear
 
jjblair's Avatar
I recommend the Faces' First Step and A Nod's As Good As a Wink To a Blind Horse. Those are my two favs. When Rod was here, I used to keep a copy of First Step lying around to remind him what a hack he has become. Jeff Beck Truth and Beck-Ola have Rod on vox and Ronnie on bass. Great albums, both.
Old 21st July 2005
  #30
One with big hooves
 
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by timtoonz
The hats are 'ever present', but I'm always struck how the treble on old stuff is so much less abrasive than now in the perfect days of digital. It's as if the drums have nothing above 4k going on... maybe I should try that too.
It's not that it's dull or has nothing above 4kHz going on...engineers then just didn't push the top end like in today’s recordings, mostly because you couldn't. The physical limitations of a vinyl record won't allow it.

Maybe some of the cats who were turning knobs in the 60's and 70's can confirm this but it seems like overall there wasn't a trend to add ridiculous amounts of high end to everything in tracking. Then boosting it again in mixing and mastering. It's compounded by using poor mics with crazy rises in the high end which compound the screechy-ness and grainy top end.

Plus...all that brickwall limiting sure doesn't help things either.
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