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I think I heard the Bob Lee boat when she moaned - Charlie Patton, Hammer Blues

Author Topic: Scotty Moore's recordings (of Bluesmen)  (Read 1885 times)

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Offline JohnLeePimp

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Scotty Moore's recordings (of Bluesmen)
« on: March 17, 2013, 10:52:01 AM »
I really like the sound on Introducing Memphis Willie B album, high fidelity and echo really improve an already great performance. I found out it was engineered by Scotty Moore who's the guitarist that played on Elvis' Hound Dog

I was wondering if there's other blues recordings he engineered, or also any that have similar sound quality (like Herman E. Johnson's)



« Last Edit: March 17, 2013, 10:53:19 AM by JohnLeePimp »
...so blue I shade a part of this town.

Offline frankie

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Re: Scotty Moore's recordings (of Bluesmen)
« Reply #1 on: March 17, 2013, 11:39:53 AM »
the furry lewis prestige/bluesville recordings were engineered by scotty moore, I think. Very deep reverb on those... it's like listening to the voice of the oracle at delphi.

Rev Davis's P/B recordings aren't nearly as 'reverb-a-licious' as these, but use heavier reverb than we typically associate with recordings of this music.

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Scotty Moore's recordings (of Bluesmen)
« Reply #2 on: March 17, 2013, 12:26:58 PM »
There's some discussion (for and against) of Scotty Moore and the Delphic reverb in the Furry positions and keys thread: http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=3029.0

Offline Mr.OMuck

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Re: Scotty Moore's recordings (of Bluesmen)
« Reply #3 on: March 17, 2013, 06:01:11 PM »
I'd like to put forth the idea that a record is not necessarily an actual "record" of a performance but is its own creation if you will, and is not necessarily bound to absolute faithfulness to the thing being recorded. I think the reverb employed by Scotty Moore creates a dramatic supercharged atmosphere without detracting one iota from the actual music. It helps to make a more mysterious and exotic experience out of listening to Furry Lewis or Memphis Willie B. and I think he was right on in making the choice to do that.
Obviously a different decision would have needed to be made when recording an orchestra or other types of ensembles but for a single performer, these ones in particular what he did works superbly. Contrast "Introducing Memphis Willie B.", with his next P/B record sans reverb "Hard Workin' Man" and see which you find more appealing.
My loathings are simple: stupidity, oppression, crime, cruelty, soft music.
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Offline JohnLeePimp

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Re: Scotty Moore's recordings (of Bluesmen)
« Reply #4 on: March 23, 2013, 02:54:05 PM »
Yeah, it's not to everyone's tastes, it took me a few listens to get into the Furry Lewis album... although I wouldn't say I'm an ultra-fan of his

I think the reason the Willie B album works so well is that he's -probably- very conscious of the effect and uses it to his advantage - in the same vein as amplifying a guitar or singing in a microphone
...it's not like the tacked on reverb you get on those ragtimedorianhenry uploads which distort the sound to try to make it cool or something
...so blue I shade a part of this town.

Offline Rivers

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Re: Scotty Moore's recordings (of Bluesmen)
« Reply #5 on: March 23, 2013, 05:39:02 PM »
I remember reading somewhere they had just built a tank reverb in the studio. In my opinion neither Furrey nor Memphis Willie B deserved or needed to be over-produced in this way but it was the early days of a new era. I hope someday the session tapes sans FX emerge and get redone.

The Herman E Johnson youtube above is a completely different deal obviously. That's amp reverb upstream from the mic, in contrast to studio tank reverb situated downstream from the mic in the signal chain. There is no reverb on the vocal other than the room sound. I much prefer it, and it kind of accidentally reflects how the use of reverb evolved in the age of multitracking, different instruments and vocals getting different levels of effect and processing. Contrast that with the all-enveloping 'sonic blanket' impression created by shoving all the audio through one giant effect situated between the board output and the tape heads.
« Last Edit: March 23, 2013, 06:07:36 PM by Rivers »

Offline dj

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Re: Scotty Moore's recordings (of Bluesmen)
« Reply #6 on: March 24, 2013, 06:25:04 AM »
Quote
I think the reason the Willie B album works so well is that he's -probably- very conscious of the effect and uses it to his advantage - in the same vein as amplifying a guitar or singing in a microphone.   ...it's not like the tacked on reverb

It's tacked on.  All the songs from Introducing Memphis Willie B. and Hard Workin' Man Blues were recorded on the same day, August 12 1961.  The sonic differences are all in the post-recording production. 

Offline Mr.OMuck

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Re: Scotty Moore's recordings (of Bluesmen)
« Reply #7 on: March 24, 2013, 09:20:57 AM »
I think its important to point out that the reverb "effect" isn't just some sort of random sound, it actually contributes sound as MUSIC to the picture, like another instrument would. Thus when MWB hits his one string opening in "The Stuff's right here" we hear an added extension of a tone, a note or a sound that is a different thing than what the at one string pop sounded like without it. You either like it or you don't but its important to see it for what it is, another voice.
My loathings are simple: stupidity, oppression, crime, cruelty, soft music.
Vladimir Nabokov (1899 - 1977)

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Offline Rivers

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Re: Scotty Moore's recordings (of Bluesmen)
« Reply #8 on: March 24, 2013, 06:19:19 PM »
The producer's voice though, right? Not the artist. I daresay the producer if they stayed active in music would cringe if he heard it today, you just don't do that to acoustic music anymore. We all know a touch of reverb can be great during mastering when things are a bit dry and unnatural, adding reverb will, somewhat ironically, make it sound more lifelike. But pumping the mix through a giant tank reverb? Not real sophisticated!

As I mentioned, clearly it was early days and I'm not blaming anybody for experimenting, I'm just voicing my opinion the experiment was a failure. Which is probably why thankfully we don't have to suffer through, for example, Mississippi John Hurt recordings dripping with reverb, how bizarre that would be.

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Scotty Moore's recordings (of Bluesmen)
« Reply #9 on: March 24, 2013, 08:54:12 PM »
Dunno what tank reverb is, but as I noted in the Furry Lewis keys and positions thread, Sam Charters described the studio setup and the source of the reverb:

"According to Charters, there was an echo chamber built into the studio in the form of a closet with a cheap microphone picking up sound from a speaker in the ceiling."

Offline Rivers

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Re: Scotty Moore's recordings (of Bluesmen)
« Reply #10 on: March 24, 2013, 09:07:47 PM »
I'm no expert but I believe it originated with Duane Eddy's outfit using aircraft fuel tanks with the speaker -> mic setup you describe, the audio was piped in, echoed around the tank and picked up by the mic. Some level of that wet signal was then mixed back into the dry. Pretty much like reverb is used today but created using analog methods instead of digital electronics. Later Fender built boxes called tank reverbs, I don't know how they worked.

Offline Johnm

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Re: Scotty Moore's recordings (of Bluesmen)
« Reply #11 on: March 25, 2013, 08:02:38 AM »
I always think of that kind of reverb as the "Baby Jessica" reverb, recorded at the bottom of a well, like some of the Stanley Bros. stuff from the '50s.  A little bit goes a long way for me.
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Johnm

Offline Mr.OMuck

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Re: Scotty Moore's recordings (of Bluesmen)
« Reply #12 on: March 25, 2013, 08:55:57 AM »
Well now that you mention MJH Vanguard or Pat Sky or both managed to EQ the bass on the album "Today" with so much prominence that it overwhelms and distorts at almost every note.
I highly recommend that anyone of the purist recording school frame of mind (I was once such as ye)  dig up an LP copy of Glenn Gould's Sibelius sonatas and read his approach to recording that record in the liner notes. It changed my outlook and also produced superb sound. No more insistence on "Absolute Stereophile" single position miking with natural ambient sound for me afterwards. Though I generally do prefer that approach for classical music.
My loathings are simple: stupidity, oppression, crime, cruelty, soft music.
Vladimir Nabokov (1899 - 1977)

http://www.youtube.com/user/MuckOVision

Offline Rivers

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Re: Scotty Moore's recordings (of Bluesmen)
« Reply #13 on: March 26, 2013, 07:26:15 PM »
It's not about purism Phil, it's about realism and aesthetics. I don't know much about art but I know what I like, sort of thing.

Early rockabilly band + a touch of tank reverb = excellent. Solo acoustic country blues + totally saturated tank reverb = "do you still have the session tapes so I can make it sound less like a giant bathroom?". They were rockers searching for a commercial sound from early equipment and got one. It's not a sound I happen to like, and it didn't sell either.

Offline JohnLeePimp

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Re: Scotty Moore's recordings (of Bluesmen)
« Reply #14 on: March 29, 2013, 09:30:31 AM »
Sonny Boy Holmes' TNT woman blues

...so blue I shade a part of this town.

 


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