The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
 Search This Thread  Search This Forum  Search Reviews  Search Gear Database  Search Gear for sale  Search Gearslutz Go Advanced
The Motown Process, could it work today?
Old 21st October 2008
  #31
Gear Addict
 
kittyboy's Avatar
 

While we're all here, Bob especially, what are considered to be the best-sounding motown cd versions (of the detroit stuff in particular)?

I have "Hitsville USA" and find the masters bright and hard sounding.

I'd love to hear some nicer masters, box set or individual cds...

Thanks!
Old 21st October 2008
  #32
Lives for gear
 
BudgetMC's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Makinithappen View Post
Great Thread! thumbsupthumbsup
+1 on that.thumbsupthumbsupthumbsup
Old 21st October 2008
  #33
Gear Maniac
 
johnbohn's Avatar
 

I didn't read much of the other replies so I'm not sure if this has been said, but this really reminds me of how it's done in Nashville. Honestly, the Nashville 'process' bugs me a little, but hey, it pays the bills.
Old 21st October 2008
  #34
Lives for gear
 
goldenlotus's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jlsgear View Post
I wonder if we left the biz and economics out of the equation ...

Would this model ever work today strictly from an artistic point of view ? In other words, if they could collect a group of talented producers, writers, and musicians together ... could they as least theoretically succeed ? (money and lawyers aside)

jls
Of course it works. Just look at all the hit factories/production teams out there today. The Underdogs, The Runners, Dr. Dre, etc...

Strength comes from numbers and all the successful teams know this.
Old 21st October 2008
  #35
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by TYY View Post
I know I'm naive on this issue, but how could this be? Were there any other motown writers as consistently successful? When I think "motown", I think "H-D-H". Those tunes are hardwired into my temporal lobes at this point.
He probably wasn't as consistently successful, but I personally prefer Norman Whitfield's psychedelic soul Motown productions to HDH.
Old 21st October 2008
  #36
Lives for gear
 
allencollins's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by johnbohn View Post
I didn't read much of the other replies so I'm not sure if this has been said, but this really reminds me of how it's done in Nashville. Honestly, the Nashville 'process' bugs me a little, but hey, it pays the bills.
You could say that but Nashville is totally unoriginal that is the difference. Motown was unique in almost all aspects. The only thing motown was typical like other labels was they totally f**k*d their artists out of money.
But Motown had some great original artists that were very influential.

Nashville Country music is just total cheeze ball. It has been for 25 almost 30 years. I mean lets face it you could take any Country 'artist' and what they're doing has been done 100 times before. Production wise they are just rehashing the 80's hair metal ballad/rocker formula with some dude with a cowboy hat yodeling like a complete moron.

Lyrically, Nashville Country music is just a joke. They have been rewriting the same formulated immature lyrics for 30 years. It's funny I hear country songs lately that almost have a subtle Seattle grunge influence. Wow took them guys almost 20 years for that sound/style to brush off? And I thought Seether and Nickel back were 'B' bands.

There are those who make the wave ride the wave and miss the wave. Miss the wave in Nashville? Can't happen. Slap on the cowboy hat, tight levis and sing with a twang. Copy Motley Crue lyrics and Bon Jovi 3 chord rock formula and ride that wave like a steer. We don't miss the wave we just ignore it . We don't need no stinking surf Board!!! there is no such thing as cliche' and formula in Country music!!! The cool thing about Nashville and country music is you hear a guy like Rascall Flatts and no matter how much talent you don't have there is always hope for you too.
Old 29th January 2014
  #37
Here for the gear
 

I know this is an old thread but has been a fascinating read. Found it whilst googling for compression techniques :-)
Old 29th January 2014
  #38
Motown legend
 
Bob Olhsson's Avatar
 

It was nice seeing this again.

At the time I left Detroit and Motown in 1972, I'd also heard all the talk about how Motown ripped off all the artists. Around ten years later I got involved with somebody signed to Capitol and read their contract. I was stunned to see how many expenses were being deducted from their royalties and suddenly realized that the infamous Motown contracts actually paid artists better!

A few months later on a visit to Detroit I ran into Berry Gordy's sister at the Motown Museum. I told her about this discovery and she laughed. She told me not only was nothing deducted other than AF of M session pay, nothing was ever deducted for artists' management! She said they had patterned the contracts after how Chess handled royalties because it was by far the easiest contract to understand and fairest they had encountered prior to starting Motown.

There's one heckofa big difference between gross points and net payments to an artist!
Old 29th January 2014
  #39
Lives for gear
 

Which Motown period are we talking about? One of the best docos I've seen and if you love music and love Motown, stop what you are doing and go get "standing in the shadows of Motown"
So which band had more number one hits than the Beatles, the stones, Elvis, beach boys combined? The funk brothers - motowns original house band.
I won't ruin the doco - as music lovers you'll be smiling very second.
But the methodology was roughly a couple of songs per day started by the funk brothers and then given to arrangers who then passed it back to the brothers - but it also sounded more organic than that too. And they called that space the snake pit - dirt floor.
Please watch it
Old 29th January 2014
  #40
Motown legend
 
Bob Olhsson's Avatar
 

I was engineering there from 1965 to 1972. Like all union recording sessions we were expected to record four songs in three hours and we averaged two such sessions a day, five days a week. Several of those every week were six hour double session so we're talking about between eight and twelve rhythm section tracks a day!

A lot of stuff in the movie was inaccurate but we were thrilled to see the guys finally get the attention they deserved. Unfortunately, according to Babbitt, the guys ended up getting ripped off by the producers.
Old 29th January 2014
  #41
Lives for gear
 

It seems to me like the biggest difference between the Motown process and modern pop production is this idea of a producer making a completed background instrumental track and then a topliner adding the melody and lyrics after the fact. I guess I can understand the reasons for working that way, but it means that unlike Motown, the arrangement doesn't follow the song. I wonder if mainstream pop production will ever go back to doing things that way.
Old 29th January 2014
  #42
Lives for gear
 

There was spirit and culture involved too.
Old 29th January 2014
  #43
Motown legend
 
Bob Olhsson's Avatar
 

As far as I know most songs already had lyrics at the time the tracks were cut. Sometimes they got changed, even dramatically but writers needed to turn in a basic demo before putting a song on a session would be approved.
Old 30th January 2014
  #44
Lives for gear
 
Funny Cat's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Olhsson View Post
It was nice seeing this again.

At the time I left Detroit and Motown in 1972, I'd also heard all the talk about how Motown ripped off all the artists. Around ten years later I got involved with somebody signed to Capitol and read their contract. I was stunned to see how many expenses were being deducted from their royalties and suddenly realized that the infamous Motown contracts actually paid artists better!

A few months later on a visit to Detroit I ran into Berry Gordy's sister at the Motown Museum. I told her about this discovery and she laughed. She told me not only was nothing deducted other than AF of M session pay, nothing was ever deducted for artists' management! She said they had patterned the contracts after how Chess handled royalties because it was by far the easiest contract to understand and fairest they had encountered prior to starting Motown.

There's one heckofa big difference between gross points and net payments to an artist!


This post needs to be read twice. thumbsup.
Old 30th January 2014
  #45
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Olhsson View Post
As far as I know most songs already had lyrics at the time the tracks were cut. Sometimes they got changed, even dramatically but writers needed to turn in a basic demo before putting a song on a session would be approved.
Yeah sorry, my post was confusing. It seems like now it's common in pop music for producers to make "beats" or finished backing tracks and then shop them around to various singers and songwriters who will write a melody and lyrics on top of the finished instrumental. Whereas in the Motown process they would write a song, put together an arrangement that suits that song, then record it.
Old 30th January 2014
  #46
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by dogma View Post
So which band had more number one hits than the Beatles, the stones, Elvis, beach boys combined? The funk brothers - motowns original house band.
Not to take anything away from The Funk Brothers, but that's sort of a misleading "fact".

There was a huge supply of "Funk Brothers" backing a huge supply of artists.

Whereas The Beatles were just the same four guys writing and backing themselves.

I think for it to be apples to apples, you'd have to count up all the number 1 hits from say, EMI/Capitol, call all the musicians that played on all those hits "The Session Dudes", or something like that, and then see what the score is.

That documentary is great though.
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearslutz Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and Reverb.com listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.


 
 
Slide to join now Processing…
Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Similar Threads
Thread
Thread Starter / Forum
Replies
CDP / So Much Gear, So Little Time
110
DrummerGuy09 / Work In Progress / Advice Requested / Show and Tell / Artist Showcase / Mix-Offs
20
tapeslut / Low End Theory
25
Ann Denton / So Much Gear, So Little Time
46
lowswing / High End
0

Forum Jump
Forum Jump