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Good Friends Are For Keeps (Ma Bell Campaign)

Discussion in 'A Song For You: The Carpenters Forum' started by Rick-An Ordinary Fool, May 3, 2018.

  1. Rick-An Ordinary Fool

    Rick-An Ordinary Fool Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    I can't tell if these are the exact same recording or is the Ma Bell Campaign with voice over a different lead vocal? The commercial with the voice over sounds a little slowed down compared to the 1990 Remix that appears on From The Top and later appeared on The Essential Collection. There is obviously much more reverb added to the remix.

    What do you think?

  2. David A

    David A Well-Known Member

    Interesting. It sounds to me like two separate vocals. At the very end when Karen sings "good friends are for keeps" it sounds like a vocal pause exists in the 1st (top) one that isn't in the 2nd one.
  3. The second one (the actual commercial) sounds slowed-down to me compared to the Essential Collection version.
  4. Rick-An Ordinary Fool

    Rick-An Ordinary Fool Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Yeah I agree it sounds slow down and we don't know how this was captured did someone capture this on a tape recorder from the radio or TV if so that's understandable how it sounds slow down. However, is the vocal really any different? David above mentions hearing a pause, could that have been part of the remix done in 1990?

    The commercial one makes Karen's vocal sound deeper but it's also a poor quality recording as I hear static or some audible feedback/vibration.
  5. Chris May

    Chris May Resident 'Carpenterologist' Moderator

    It's slower and Karen's vocal is pushed way out in front of the mix with very little reverb - same vocal take, albeit different mix :)
  6. tomswift2002

    tomswift2002 Well-Known Member

    The first one is saying that it’s not available, but the second one is either a different take or the tape was stretching, although everything else sound fine. But I though I heard a different piano chord just as Karen sing “ever get you down”.
  7. Mark-T

    Mark-T Well-Known Member

    At the time, I worked for Ma Bell, but never heard the commercial.
  8. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Seems to me--reading the Liner Notes--that "remixed in 1990" could mean almost anything.
    What is nice here is Karen on drums, Richard "produced and arranged."
    I've always enjoyed the great vocals and background.

    Anyone know when in 1975 this was recorded,
    presumably recorded after tracking Solitaire ?
    (If song sequence of From The Top is strictly chronological).
  9. Rick-An Ordinary Fool

    Rick-An Ordinary Fool Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    I actually like the sound of the slower version as it almost makes Karen sound like she's in a lower key and reminds me of a demo recording. If this is the same vocal I'm really surprised at how polished and perfect sounding the remix sounds. What's odd about the slowed down sound is that when the voice over comes on he sounds like his voice is at the correct speed although I don't recognize his voice so it's hard to say. Is it possible that Richard speeded up the remix?

    I wonder if it's possible to run both in audacity and increase the speed slightly on the voice over to see if it matches up perfectly to the vocals and instruments of the remix. I'm not sure how to do that though.
  10. Mark-T

    Mark-T Well-Known Member

    This was 1975? Way before ma and Ma Bell got together. I stand corrected.
  11. Rick-An Ordinary Fool

    Rick-An Ordinary Fool Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Richard says other artists were doing this back then what other artists is he referring to? Has anyone ever seen or heard any other artist do a Ma Bell commercial?
  12. Chris May

    Chris May Resident 'Carpenterologist' Moderator

    Well for one, the commercial is playing back in the key of A-flat, whereas the remix off of the original master is keyed in A-natural. It's obvious that the commercial is a little slower, which would naturally drop it down (in this case) a semitone.

    The other notable difference is the first piano riff heard in the commercial. Richard simply left it out on the remix. Those sum up the majority of the differences in what you're hearing, along with the other things I mentioned in my previous post. :)
    Rick-An Ordinary Fool likes this.
  13. Rick-An Ordinary Fool

    Rick-An Ordinary Fool Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    ^^ I'm so glad we are not nit picking this :sigh: :laugh:
    Last edited: May 4, 2018
    newvillefan and Chris May like this.
  14. Chris May

    Chris May Resident 'Carpenterologist' Moderator

    Oh no...NEVER hahaha
    newvillefan likes this.
  15. Harry

    Harry Charter A&M Corner Member Moderator

    At the risk of making anyone sad, I took a little time today to attempt to analyze the two recordings. The first problem I encountered was that after the big Windows 10 Update this past week, some of my audio settings were changed, so I had to go round those all up so I could record the commercial version into Audacity.

    As Chris pointed out, right at the start there's a difference with the bass notes. The CD version is a tad longer there. Also, the commercial version with the announcer has that section shortened a bit.

    A couple of reasons for this are likely:
    Remember, we're dealing with commercial time as it was in the 1970s. I can claim that I'm a professional expert in this area as I worked with radio commercials my whole career, including the 70s. It was a general rule of thumb that most commercials sent to the station for use on air be no more than EXACTLY 60 seconds, and most ad-agency recordings would clock in at around 58:30.

    On rare occasions, with an account that could pressure the station in one way or another (think cancellation of ad dollars!), we'd extend the acceptable length to 62 seconds, but that was actually pretty rare.

    Also, this kind of ad is called a "donut". It's a recording with a "hole" in the middle somewhere for an announcer to speak some kind of ad copy. This one in particular was an already filled donut, done at the agency level at the client's behest. There could have been multiple versions of this commercial that might have been run in rotation with each other with slightly different ad copy. Or, as we hear in the CD version, it could have been possible to send it to a local station and have one of their announcers read some ad copy in the little instrumental part.

    I believe that in most cases for on-air use, the tune would have been edited down to be just under a minute. Richard and Karen probably recorded a little more just so it COULD be edited down for various purposes. Remember too that just because this is a 60 second commercial, doesn't mean that there weren't 30 second versions too.
    Bobberman likes this.
  16. Bobberman

    Bobberman Well-Known Member

    As a Fellow Radio Guy I can relate Even though we only play PSA s rather than regular commercials where I work the big rule of thumb is always " Pay attention to the clock"! in radio Its all revolves around the Time .
  17. Mark-T

    Mark-T Well-Known Member

    Fascinating stuff- thanks!

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