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That "SWEET SOUL MUSIC" thread! Dynamic Microphones
Old 25th January 2018
  #1
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That "SWEET SOUL MUSIC" thread!

Calling out 'round the world to...

Folks like like Bob Ohlsson/Mike Tarsia/Bobby Eli/Bushman, et al, to chime on.

Also welcome are the "enthusiasts" (like me), who want more "cut in their strut, and slide in their glide".
Thought it might be cool to chat about the classic techniques and sounds of Classic Soul, whether it be Motown/Philly/Stax/Chicago/and all points between.
Including gear (of course) and maybe even getting into that Soul Train party line!
Thanks in advance, for any responses.

Chris
Old 25th January 2018
  #2
Gear Nut
 

came for the invite
stayoin for the downlow
james jamerson
bootsy
Old 25th January 2018
  #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by son of soulohio View Post
came for the invite
stayoin for the downlow
james jamerson
bootsy
I may have told this story on Gearslutz, not sure...

When I first worked at Crystal in Hollywood in 1974, James was an occasional session player. He had that classic little flip-top tube Ampeg amp and a well used Fender Precision bass. I started as the setup/desk/coffee/wannabe apprentice, so I set up sessions regularly. I don’t remember that Crystal had or used direct boxes at that time, so the amp was most often captured with a Neumann U47 fet.
As the 70s rolled on, we saw less of James. The last time I saw him was probably early or mid-80s, when he came in to try to get some help from our tech guy. His problem was that he had broken a string on the Precision.
That wouldn’t be a problem for most people. You get a new set of strings, break them in and move on. But James Jamerson said that he had NEVER changed the strings on that bass. He had played different basses with different types of strings, and he didn’t think any kind of new string was going to get him his signature sound, and replacing the one string (which I think he had tried) didn’t work because the new string didn’t sound right with the old strings.
I think he revealed the essential secret of the bass sound driving “Stop, In The Name Of Love”, “You Keep Me Hanging On” and a whole list of hits. It wasn’t a magic signal chain, it was mainly the “thump” with no sustain of really old strings. I think Bob O. has written that Motown did have a home built bass direct. We didn’t have that at Crystal, unless Jamerson brought it with him. The sound of that bass was not the same at Crystal as it was at other studios, but it was as similar as I would expect considering different boards, machines, engineers, etc.
Our tech had no solutions. I never saw James Jamerson after that, and never heard that anyone had booked him. There are other issues that were at play, but it is possible that simply breaking one string helped end the career that made the bass something to listen to and listen for in popular music.
Old 25th January 2018
  #4
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Lando Calrissian's Avatar
following!
Old 25th January 2018
  #5
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Old 26th January 2018
  #6
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Great story Bushman. Since Jamerson passed in '83, guessing it must have been in the early 80's then. I have a David Ruffin story (when I met him), but am getting up early for work, so will try to post it tomorrow.

Big fan of Marvin too!

Thanks, Chris
Old 26th January 2018
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chessparov2.0 View Post
Great story Bushman. Since Jamerson passed in '83, guessing it must have been in the early 80's then. I have a David Ruffin story (when I met him), but am getting up early for work, so will try to post it tomorrow.

Big fan of Marvin too!

Thanks, Chris
It could have been closer to 80. I went from Crystal to Kendun to Crystal to Kendun. I might mistakenly thought this happened my second term at Crystal, but from the date of his passing it must have been just before I left Crystal the first time.
Old 26th January 2018
  #8
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bgood's Avatar
I played with a drummer in LA in the 90s that I won't name because he was a hope to die crack addict then and has since -- I understand (and hope) -- got his sh1t together... anyhoo... he had real credits including Marvin Gaye and some other Motown acts... The stories this fool would tell us... my goodness.

If he dug your playing there did not exist a more enthusiastic cheerleader and he got me a lot of work which was no small feat with my giant cracker corn-fed behind... But if he didn't dig what a player was doing, holy hell, it was excruciating to watch and listen to him berate those poor souls... in the middle of the their solos... on the bandstand... in front of the poor dude's old lady... didn't matter... he'd stand up (never missing a beat on his kick) and just lay into people... If Miles Davis had an angry younger brother, this drummer would've made that man cry.

Contrast to Smokey Robinson who I ran into quite a few times and was, well, Smokey Robinson, and was always a gentleman and full of praise for even so real no playing nonsense.

I've been into writing retro stuff lately and been doing a lot of Motown-ish stuff and it just makes me happy
Old 26th January 2018
  #9
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Remind me when it’s not late... I have a Smokey story. Unfortunately I only have one and it really isn’t much of a music story. He could light up a room without ever seeming to try.
Old 26th January 2018
  #10
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bgood's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bushman View Post
Remind me when it’s not late... I have a Smokey story. Unfortunately I only have one and it really isn’t much of a music story. He could light up a room without ever seeming to try.
I'm sure the punchline to your story is basically "he's the classiest, nicest famous person, period"
Old 26th January 2018
  #11
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stevelindsay's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bushman View Post
......It wasn’t a magic signal chain, it was mainly the “thump” with no sustain of really old strings.....
As Jameson once said "The funk is in the gunk !"
Old 26th January 2018
  #12
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Met Smokey too, in the 80's. . He was one of the nicest individuals, I've ever met. Chris
Old 26th January 2018
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bgood View Post
I'm sure the punchline to your story is basically "he's the classiest, nicest famous person, period"
Of course...
Old 26th January 2018
  #14
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When you can sing like that while you lie down on a sofa, and have rhythm section grooving hard in slow tempo. you know you got the soul.
Old 26th January 2018
  #15
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Sigma's Avatar

Anthony jackson and my buddy {rip] billy paul
Old 26th January 2018
  #16
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Sigma's Avatar
back to cameo parkway jerry ross dave appel the geator jerry blavat bobby rydell..my dad billy jackson from the tymes hit.charlie gracie who the beatles loved.. not in order

Last edited by Sigma; 26th January 2018 at 06:59 PM..
Old 26th January 2018
  #17
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Sigma's Avatar

my buddy ronnie baker [awesome bass player] and larry "moose call" washington congas

ronnie told bowie's people to F off ..they wanted BHY the philly rhythm section to play on Young Americans..he wanted no part of it ..we got 10% of the top 100 chart man what we want with this..expletive..LOLZ i told him he'd regret it but he didn't care
Old 26th January 2018
  #18
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Sigma's Avatar

Gerald Levert, Eddie Levert my pop and me Father and Son Levert album..Philly studio A

lol our "custom" MTR 90 ..my dad hated that clients at our NYC studio wanted Studers when the Otari was 1/2 the price and specked BETTER so he had them custom paint them black and red and called them "sigma modified" LOLZ!!!

when we closed he said when a client dictates the gear i have to buy it's time to fold

that's the 52 in 1 of 3 neve 8078 kinda with 1107 modules..alan sides bought it [200k] for the channel strips..it replaced the sphere eclipse C..there was a hydraulic jack at the center section to compensate for the frame sag and i had my tech guy make a gusset to hold up the tt patch bay..the board was a hot mess but sounded awesome

i talked to rupert ..he was like..i made so many 1 offs i have no clue LOLZ

by that time my dad was dated [so much verb and too much mids] ..gerald wanted him to mix 1 tune at least so "father and son" had more meaning..i had to remix his song at the last minute so he wasn't on the credits

Last edited by Sigma; 26th January 2018 at 07:31 PM..
Old 26th January 2018
  #19
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Thanks Mike-Great stuff!

Gearwise, one of the microphones I'm particularly curious about is the Neumann
KM86. Guessing they probably go for $2K+ nowadays, for one in excellent condition.

I know they used it at Motown, starting around 1969, but I wonder how common it was at the other studios? IIRC its Bob O.'s desert island microphone-high praise indeed!

Chris
Old 26th January 2018
  #20
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Sigma's Avatar
my pop would switch from re 15's to km 84's on rack toms ..sometimes putting the re 15's pointing UP from underneath as there were no bottom heads on the rack toms

no km 86

drums always

rca bk 5 a [he liked that it rolled off at 50 rather than the b 30 roll off]

altec 633a or 57 top.. 57 bottom on snare

re 15's or km 84's on racks

re 20 floor

451's overs

for 30 plus years

me and another eng would use a akg d200e on kick time to time but that was the defacto set up from 1968 till we closed on label stuff of course we F'd around on non label stuff
Old 26th January 2018
  #21
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Sigma's Avatar
i bought all the old mics for drums but i have a bk 5b as i want extended bottom.. i'l roll it off when needed..but not the re's.. on ebay they all look beat to ****
Old 26th January 2018
  #22
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Yes, really beaten up. I bought a number of excellent condition/mint RE15 & RE16's on ebay, back when you could score them under $70-80 a pop. Not now!

Also EV 666's were quite a bit le$$, not that long ago. I had a mint one, and another one in pretty good cosmetic shape. I sold all my vintage EV's, when the market went way up on them. Just wasn't using them enough. They sure were used tons of times at Chess Records though.

Chris
Old 26th January 2018
  #23
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Sigma's Avatar
dude i got a mint 666 NOS in box for 180 on ebay about 8 years ago

that was used on the flip top ampeg b15 when we miked the bass
Old 26th January 2018
  #24
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Sigma's Avatar
i never knew the re 11's and 12's were basically b stock
Old 26th January 2018
  #25
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Yes, I found out about the RE 11/12's fairly recently too.

Man, a NOS 666 (in box yet) for $180-you really scored!

Mike, what dynamic microphones might have been used at Sigma Sound, (guessing occasionally vs. LDC's) for lead and/or background vocals?

Thanks, Chris
Old 26th January 2018
  #26
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Sigma's Avatar
most leads were 87's ..lou rawles was a fet 47 ..ojays were 2 87's back to back cardioid with eddie and walt singing

i used to put up a 87 a sliver face 414 and an re 20 when working on new singers to see which "voiced " the best ..later on it was a 87 414 and a sony 800

Last edited by Sigma; 26th January 2018 at 09:39 PM..
Old 26th January 2018
  #27
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Sigma's Avatar
bkg's were always 87's ..3 around the mic ..omni roll off in ..by the time i did gerald and we had machine lock..it was an 87 cardiod and 1 person doing quads of each note usually a root 3rd and fifth..then i'd bounce it to stereo always monitoring in the track for masking issues
Old 26th January 2018
  #28
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Sigma's Avatar
patti labelle my dad told me his eq but then i modified it and she won a grammy for R&B vox

his eq was plus 10 at 10k plus 5 at 5k minus 12 at 2.2 plus three at 250 and plus [3 100 on the neve] .. i modified it..that was great when she belted as when you scream you lose top and bottom and spew throat/mids ..but she was perfect flat on an 87 when singing soft..so i would take her mic out in a mix..mult it ..eq the screams and soft separate and do mute on offs .. it made a world of difference..patti was awesome ..the first time i worked with her i recut the vox on new attitude because she hated what they did in LA ..but the fawker who mixed it compressed the hell outta her ..at sigma vox were of utmost importance we rode the input to the LA4 and it's output ..the dude who mixed it ..if you listen squashed the crap outta it..a yell should never be lower than a whisper man

Last edited by Sigma; 26th January 2018 at 11:06 PM..
Old 26th January 2018
  #29
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andychamp's Avatar
My biggest step towards nailing a classic tone was when I recently filled a bass drum with newspaper strips and mic'd it with a ribbon outside.
"get it right at the source"... whodathunk?
Old 26th January 2018
  #30
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Lance Lawson's Avatar
 

It was my fate to have begun seriously listening to music when I was 7 and 1960 was still a couple of years away. If I were to name a song that represented to me everything that R&B/Soul encapsulated its the Drifters On Broadway. As a kid the sound of it made my hair stand on end and there is something almost spiritual in the sound and feel of that song. It's like the melded gospel, Blues and R&B into one unique piece. I tend to divide Soul/R&B into two distinct eras. The first is the On Broadway and the second is with things like Papa Was A Rolling Stone and in between was James Brown who it was possible to watch and hear him make the transition from Blues/Soul into his creating Funk. But James lost me after Papa's Got A Brand New Bag and I Feel Good. I loved that stuff. And I loved Wilson Picket's In The Midnight Hour. Real Detroit MoTown was great but MoTown lost me when it went to California. I liked the feel of the early stuff but the later funk based sounds and rhythms I never warmed up to in the same sort of way I never warmed up to Reggae. But yeah On Broadway still sends a chill and that perhaps was as good as it ever needs to be.
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