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Technical Information on 'Berries Sessions??

Billy K.

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Many of us have read the books on Beatles recording sessions....and there's a book on Stones gear too. Plus more information out there via other sources, so I got a pretty good handle how these two did their sessions(as well as Led Zeppelin and the Beach Boys).

But not much has been said about Raspberries recording sessions, and just curious about certain things.

1. Type of recorders--- 8, 16 or 24-track?

2. Mike setup on Jim's drums........a lot of mikes? Or a zone-type thing? What about padding?.......Ringo's set often used "tea towels" on the snare. Other drummers put pillows inside the kick drum.

3. Other instruments by the band.......yes, there were session musicians that did strings and horns. And we all know about the main instruments used(6 and 12 string electric guitars/acoustic guitar/bass/drums/piano)......but were there any "subtle" parts dubbed in, which are not "forward" in the mix? (As in harmonica, congas, tambourine, organ, etc.)

4. Vocals. Yes, the backing vocals were overdubbed. But were any of the lead vocals done live, when doing the basic track?

5. On the first album, Eric did piano and bass....but what was actually done first? There are some when the piano would obviously be on the basic track recording ("I Can Remember")......but in the case of "Rock and Roll Mama", it certainly could have gone either way.

But just a few questions to get started.....

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A great bunch of questions- I would bet that Eric could answer them all.  I don't have the exact quote of Eric's, but, one time he mentioned that when Raspberries recorded an album, he felt like they had the Crayola box with 12 crayons, while other artists of the day got the jumbo 64 count box of crayolas.  That's pretty telling... 

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I think there are more photos of their rehearsals, showing microphones over Jim's drumset There might be books about what Capitol Records used, in their era. Or, pick another artist with them then. Or go the bookstore to find out.

Order of recording-

Usually drums, then bass first. Maybe all during that era. (Now, bands can do partial recording, and add on more easliy with digital recording).  Or, record everyone on separate soundtracks, listen and go back over to see if everyone played their part correctly and on same beat And re-re-record over mistakes.

This also gives the band and producer to talk about add-ins, and more instruments.(Sometimes, or usually, the producer hears songs the first time in the recording studio). 

Eric and The Raspberries practiced alot. So they were ready to record.

Whoever produced their albums knows how their albums were recorded, too. But, I think they might have brought their own amplifiers hooking them up to guitars and bass guitar. Then to the sound-mixing console.

When I saw Jim's drums live at The Reunion Concert in LA( The one produced for Dvd release)., I think it was a pillow or cushion and a towel,  in the bass drum.

One way to tell about microphones over the drum set, is to listen to different albums. If there were several microphones, (like. at the bass, over a few cymbals and tom toms),  the best sound is heard. Less microphones, less clear.

Eric mentioned Vox amplifiers as well as Marshall's, if I remember in live concerts. (For studio as well )?

Voice microphones might have progessed and changed, after each album. The studio probably had its favorite.

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Acoustic guitar, horns or strings etc.later, to avoid sound overlaps- (If everyone recorded in the same room at the same time).

Maybe if there is another book about The Raspberries and solo efforts by Eric, Wally and Dave, it could be mentioned. I think Jim played drums for other bands, without a solo album.

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They could also have done a "scratch" vocal, on the basic track, but isolated......even though the vocal take was not perfect, it was there to get the feel of the track. Then overdub the lead vocal over.

But sometimes, that "scratch" or "reference" vocal ends up being the "keeper". Van Halen's "Dance the Night Away" is a good example.

Likewise, there could also be a "reference" guitar track to hold things together. Then add the different "textures" and "colors".  "Stairway to Heaven" is a good example, of Jimmy Page doing this, then overdubbing different tonal qualities. (Was "Last Dance" done that way, per chance?)

Can't nail what they exactly did on the intro to "Drivin' Around". It would be difficult to go from a-capella, and then go right into the drums. A number of things they could have done.......had just one voice to hold it together live(then dub the rest later)? Or have the vocal intro recorded separately, then segue between the two tapes??

And lack of isolation also worked on certain Beatles tunes. George Martin was able to work the "bleed through" to his advantage. Especially with Lennon's vs. Harrison's guitars.

It's pretty much a "given" that the horns and strings were overdubbed later.....it was like that then, and it's like that now.......

As far as more mikes on drums, yes, you can get more control on the sound.....but there is always the possibility of "phase cancellation" if they are not angled correctly.

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