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'Berries Backing Vocals

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i notice in the reunion video of 'go all the way' on raspberriesonline.com that the rest of the raspberries sing very little in the background vocals dep't; instead they're handled by 'the overdubs' bg singers. w/out putting anyone on the spot, was it just too hard for them to hit all those high harmonies these days, being out of practice, having aged, etc? i'd also wonder if eric was intimidated by the same factor, given his incredible range & snarl back in the day. i have to tell you (country music fan or not), i saw ray price here this weekend in texas, & amazingly, at 81 years old, the man still has his pipes & was hitting all the big notes in all his songs! (ray can also probably relate to some of eric's challenges over the years re: "pop" music's bad rap at times - he was summarily run out of nashville back in the '60's for adding string sections, orchestration, & pop overtones to country music - & now of course he is a legend for having done so!)

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JohnO   

Hmmm....those of us who saw shows where the original four came out and did the Beatles medley encore just by themselves, can testify how great they sounded!

I think the point of the Overdubs was to give them the ability to create the sound on the original Raspberries recordings, which, in a lot of cases, included doubled guitars and backing vocals, as well as added keyboards...hence, their use on a lot of backing vocals. Also, I saw 4 shows, and it seemed like Wally sang a lot of backing vocals, as did Eric on Wally's and Dave's songs.

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I'm sure that others might chime in as well, including Eric, but I was able to see 2 of the reunion shows, and all 4 Raspberries sounded fantastic! Jim doesn't sing lead at all, but Eric, Wally, and Dave were terrific on their respective songs. As to background vocals - To my ears, all of the harmonies were there and they all sang with strength and confidence. The Overdubs certainly added to the overall live sound though with their voices and instruments!

Just wait until you see and hear them live!!!! :)

Tim

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glad to hear the other guys were singing more the rest of the set than they appeared to be in 'go all the way' - thanks for the feedback, can't wait to see & hear them doing so on the cd/dvd (or preferably live...)

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I think throughout the tour, they were tinkering with who sang what backup vocal...Finding a balance between hitting the notes on your instrument and/or/while hitting the notes on the background vocal after 30 years can be a touchy subject, but they seem to have worked it out...of course, with Eric's final seal of perfectionist approval. ;)

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wow, how is it some of you guys seem to know inside scoops on some of the band's perspective/experiences? i suspect some are friends of bandmembers, maybe some have worked w/ the band in some capacity over the years, etc. or maybe some folks even pass off some speculation as knowledge or fact? i dunno... anyway, thanks for the feedback, i was hoping the guys were still in good shape vocally

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Here's your answer. When we decided to play that first show at the Cleveland HOB, we had not been on stage together for 32 years. I had no idea how much actual playing and singing everyone had done during that little "break", so, as a kind of insurance policy, I thought it would be a good idea to bring the "overdubs" onboard, primarily to allow each bandmember the luxury of just having to learn to PLAY the thirty or so songs, rather than having to learn how to play AND sing them all at once. Jim had told me he didn't really WANT to sing if he didn't have to, even though he could and did 32 years ago. He wanted to focus on his drumming and I had no problem with that request. I had previously worked with Paul, Billy and jennifer when I recruited them for the solo show I played at the Rock Hall back in 2000. They had a great blend and were very quick learners. Dave was in Arizona and wasn't going to be able to join the rehearsals until about three weeks before the HOB show. I didn't think there would be enough time to learn all the songs AND learn all the harmonies, and to execute them as if we'd been playing them for the last 30 years.

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The understanding was, initially, we'd focus on playing and singing lead, and then as each member became comfortable with that, we would start to add the additional background parts back in. The overdubs did a great job and that allowed a level of freedom onstage that we'd never really had before. ec

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thanks for the reply & insight, eric, sounds like a very proactive, constructive, & effective approach was taken, & it makes me respect even more what you guys used to pull off between the 4 of you when i listen to the original recordings & see old video footage of shows

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...not only on vocals. I could see the Overdubs picking up the slack on the guitar too at that first show. Wally appeared to be having trouble a few times (with his guitar) and Paul really "picked him up"!

Adding them was a brillant move and without them, the show (s) could have been a dud!!!

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JohnO   

Not sure if their shows would have been duds with just the original four, but they clearly would have had to significantly change the setlists and/or lots of arrangements of tunes.

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Do you want to know what I was really thinking? When we were first offered the show by the Cleveland HOB, I sat back and tried to visualize the stage. And I thought to myself, if the Beatles got back together thirty years later, how would their stage look. Would it be just the four of them, or would they use other musicians to enable them to reproduce things like "All You Need Is Love" in the show? After thinking about it, I came to the conclusion that they would most certainly have at least a few extra players to create the strings, horns and synths they used on all their later records. It would be very hard to pull off the end of Abbey Road with just the four of them ( although, Cyrus Erie did a pretty good job of it ). I thought about Springsteen and the Eagles and all the musiciians on their stages and I thought adding a few extra players would simply give us the opportunity to put the strings on "I Can Remember" and "If You Change Your Mind" and the Wurlitzer electric piano on "Tonight." Besides, there was only one more person on that stage than we had when we played Carnegie Hall back in '73 with the two mellotrons. ec

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eric - by all accounts, it sounded fantastic & beyond (& the 'go all the way' video sounds *so rockin'* on the new website)- so do it again, numerous times, in 2007!... & do it in austin, texas, while you're at it ;)

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I went to my first show at BB King's on a lark, not knowing what to expect, after a 25 mile Beach ride, sunburned to a crisp, and was blown away. I was so surprised and gratified. Back in the day I was entirely distracted and narrowly focused, first, by the Beatles and then the individual Beatles, and also by the rigors of college 1971-75, which at places like Smith and Dartmouth, didn't allow for much extracurricular musical exploration. And aside from the first hit, I never heard Raspberries songs on the radio in the Connecticut valley and nobody played them in the dorm. So, I've been playing catchup, and in '93 I saw the Moody Blues on their PBS special Live at Red Rocks, with new eyes and became / still am a major fan. And last year seeing the Raspberries in NY and Atlantic City was a huge revelation. After buying the Best Of CD on the way out, I soon got the rest, and they are faves now. While on Moodies tour in the UK last month, I was blasting Raspberries on the car CD player. If there were more Raspberries shows, I'd go to them, and I do talk the band up on my Moodies boards. I did bring my camera to both shows, and got shots of the first - similar caliber to my other shotst... I've got so much more to say, but this should be more than enough for a first post.. Rock on!

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and.. speaking of mellotrons, that gave me the opening to show Moodies fans on the Lost Chords list the Fantastic video, I Can Remember, on this site, where it's mentioned that Mellotron is featured. It sure is, but who is playing it?

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LC   
Eric Carmen said:

...I thought about Springsteen and the Eagles and all the musicians on their stages and I thought adding a few extra players would simply give us the opportunity to put the strings on "I Can Remember" and "If You Change Your Mind" and the Wurlitzer electric piano on "Tonight." Besides, there was only one more person on that stage than we had when we played Carnegie Hall back in '73 with the two mellotrons. ec

Just catching up with this thread....

Hey, adding any number of backup musicians makes it worthwhile, if for no other reason than to hear "I Can Remember" and "If You Change Your Mind" the way Eric envisioned 'em. To me, the question of adding backup musicians is totally a non-issue... the artists' prerogative.

Besides, the Overdubs are awesome. And to have Paul and Billy active on this board is great! Hearing their comments and recollections is a kick. (And maybe we'll lure Jennifer in here sometime....)

--Larry

PS: A slightly belated welcome to the board, MaggieClarke!

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Thanks guys, for the welcomes. Sorry I was rather delayed in responding. I juggle way too many boards now, but want it all! And meeting Paul last week is excuse enough, yes? I wrote up this experience on a couple of other threads (I think Cruisin' Music)...

I'd prepared something long to post a week ago, but the site went down (maybe for weekly maintenance?) and I thought I'd saved it somewhere, but can't find it now.

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