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40th anniversary of "Music, Music, Music"

GDB2LV

Well-Known Member
...and doing what he does best. Perfecting the sound. That bass player was very patient while being instructed on how to play his part on the medley. Great video. Thanks Stephen.
 
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Chris Mills

That was funny....like the dark vomited up
During this lip-sync fest, there's a lovely moment, and I do mean moment, at 48:54.


 

Chris May

Resident 'Carpenterologist'
Staff member
Moderator
I honestly never knew that the 1976 medley was live. I thought it was another mimed studio recording because that was their thing, and she just used the mic’s as props.
...and doing what he does best. Perfecting the sound. That bass player was very patient while being instructed on how to play his part on the medley. Great video. Thanks Stephen.
Let me help break this down so it's a little easier to understand.

A majority of the recording was cut at ABC Studios. You'll notice in the video that Stephen posted of Richard and their long-time studio bassist Joe Osborn (replacing some of Danny Woodham's original bass lines), Karen's lead is missing from the mix. Joe was brought in to clean up and give his signature touch, and he requested that the Karen's lead be be left out so he could play to the rhythm. This was possible because the medley was clearly multi-tracked, giving them the capability of mixing down the song in post-production vs. a live to tape recording of everything at one time, separating out the various tracks on tape.

You'll also notice (if you own a copy of As Time Goes By) that the piano on "Goodbye To Love", bass (obviously because Joe is in the studio re-recording it in the video clip in '99) were all replaced later on.
Additionally, when you listen to the complete mix including Karen's lead on As Time Goes By, it's evident that she's singing in an open sound stage with leakage in her mic. This simply indicates that she was singing this in a live setting -- at the TV studio sometime during the taping. The quality isn't nearly what you would hear when she sang 2 inches away from a Neumann U87 at A&M like she typically did. In fact it's much like what you hear in the "Como" and "Ella" medleys, where both Perry and Ella sang their parts live on the sound stage and Karen was pre-recorded. There's a striking difference in microphone and over sonic quality, where the track was being played back and leaking into their live mic while they would deliver the lead. That's what got recorded onto their vocal track and you couldn't get rid of it.

It's also likely there were re-takes of certain shots where Karen would have been lipping to a take that was already recorded.
 

A&M Retro

Well-Known Member
One thing I noticed immediately upon listening to the ‘Hits Medley’ on ATGB is the difference in the overall ‘presence’ of Karen’s lead vocal. Listen to the first few lines of ‘Sing’ on the 1976 ABC special followed by the version on ATGB. You’ll notice right away that Karen’s lead on the actual special is much louder and clearer (at least to my ears).
 

Chris May

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me too. amazing.
I think it's better to call it a "hybrid."

Simply meaning, they utilized their road band for the performance aspect, while Karen and Richard overdubbed all of their own backing vocals with Karen singing a live lead during the taping.

Make sense?
 

A&M Retro

Well-Known Member
I think it's better to call it a "hybrid."

Simply meaning, they utilized their road band for the performance aspect, while Karen and Richard overdubbed all of their own backing vocals with Karen singing a live lead during the taping.

Make sense?
Hey Chris: Did you notice the difference in Karen's vocal volume between those two videos?
 

Chris May

Resident 'Carpenterologist'
Staff member
Moderator
Hey Chris: Did you notice the difference in Karen's vocal volume between those two videos?
Definitely! In fact, Karen is much more present in the broadcast mix vs. the mix Richard did in '99. I'll have to ask him about this, but sounds almost like there was a loss in fidelity somewhere along the way, because her lead on the remix sounds a little noisy and distant -- at least to me anyway. I know those tapes were all transferred over to 1" digital for the album project. But as to their condition prior to the transfer, Richard would know.

I'm gonna see him next week so if I think about it I'll ask him.

Great ears Bob... but then again, when haven't they been?? :uhhuh:
 
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A&M Retro

Well-Known Member
Thanks, man! : ) That's a big compliment coming from you. Glad I wasn't the only one hearing things. LOL>> Looking forward to what Richard has to say. : )
 

John Adam

Well-Known Member
I think it's better to call it a "hybrid."

Simply meaning, they utilized their road band for the performance aspect, while Karen and Richard overdubbed all of their own backing vocals with Karen singing a live lead during the taping.

Make sense?
Would this "hybrid" method also be the case when Karen appeared on Bruce Forsyth TV show in late 1978?
 

Chris May

Resident 'Carpenterologist'
Staff member
Moderator
Would this "hybrid" method also be the case when Karen appeared on Bruce Forsyth TV show in late 1978?
That's absolutely correct. In fact after I'd posted earlier, I thought about it and almost posted a reference to the Forsyth show.

You'll see below an example of this with "Postman," where the tracks were pre-recorded, with Karen singing the leads "live" on stage.

KC - Postman ENGLAND '78.jpgKC - Postman ENGLAND '78 - 2.jpg
 

John Adam

Well-Known Member
I've been thinking about that a lot ever since I first heard these tracks, and now I can relate the '76 Medley to this.
Thank you so much for the above and answering my question Chris. :)
Now it all makes sense to me!
 

Chris May

Resident 'Carpenterologist'
Staff member
Moderator
I've been thinking about that a lot ever since I first heard these tracks, and now I can relate the '76 Medley to this.
Thank you so much for the above and answering my question Chris. :)
Now it all makes sense to me!
And precisely why the lead vocal audio tracks from television shows often sound different when remixed later on when they get recorded after the fact, often on a live sound stage vs. pre-recorded with lip sync.
 

motownboy

Well-Known Member
Think of her vocal on Your Baby Doesn’t Love You Anymore. Great song, but not her best recorded sound. A bit nasal in tone. Maybe she was fighting a cold during recording. Only Richard would know. That’s pretty much how she sounded in concert on most songs. Anyway they just performed their absolute best in the studio. Think of the medley at the end of Music Music Music. There was no technology to duplicate the over the top goose bump inducing performance at that time live, only in the studio. They created magic there. Richard always striving for perfection.
I don’t think she had a cold. I think she was acting as if she were the best friend of the person in the song and was displaying that disappointment and disgust over whatever her friend’s boyfriend/girlfriend did to end the relationship.
I think that Karen was just not in good physical condition when she recorded YBDLYA. On the choruses when she sings the word "More" and holds the note, you can hear some unsteadiness and wobbliness. Her voice just wasn't strong enough. A few years earlier, she would have nailed it.

Another curious vocal is the song "The Uninvited Guest." When Richard mixed it for the "Lovelines" album, he used so much reverb that some of the words get really smothered. I wonder if the reason for so much reverb was that this would smooth out any vocal rough spots. I still love that song, anyway.

As far as how she sounded on the concert recordings, that may be a function of the microphone used. A hand-held stage microphone is not in the same league as an expensive studio mike. Technology back then was not what it is today to deal with these things. Also, as Karen got older, that glorious low register that was part of her initial appeal seemed to subside. These issues might give the impression of her sounding nasal when compared to the studio recordings.
 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
Also, as Karen got older, that glorious low register that was part of her initial appeal seemed to subside. These issues might give the impression of her sounding nasal when compared to the studio recordings.
Spot on! I've always thought this. The low register was still there by the time she recorded for Made In America, but compared to her vocals aged 21, somehow it was no longer as glorious.
 

Jarred

Well-Known Member
Spot on! I've always thought this. The low register was still there by the time she recorded for Made In America, but compared to her vocals aged 21, somehow it was no longer as glorious.
I think by 1980/81 we hear damage done to her vocal chords when we detect them not having the scope of richness they once did. I think it was the purging and also maybe she just didn’t have the physical strength to plunge down with her voice anymore. Someone noted on her unreleased solo songs that lack of strength, that you can hear her spirit beginning to flicker out. Compare these trying vocal times to all of the incredibly rich 1978 recordings and there’s a world of difference.
 

Chris Mills

That was funny....like the dark vomited up
During this lip-sync fest, there's a lovely moment, and I do mean moment, at 48:54.


The lovely moment I referred to, was when Karen goes off camera , has some banter with the crew, and then starts singing for just a few seconds, no lip syncing, sounds great as well.
 
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