3/28/2007

New Recording Alert: "An Easy Winter" by Bobby Lightfoot

Yeah, chaval- that's Helsinki right there.

City of my birth, in fact. Born as the endless night of a Finnish winter descended. The friddget winter of '64-'65. While The Beatles posed in Central Park, man.

I know a thing or two about winter.

I wrote and recorded a version of this song a year ago February. I really dug "An Easy Winter" and wanted to hear it so I demoed it up pretty quick, using a cut 'n' paste of drums from other sessions and guitars through boxes.

I never stopped wanting to hear "An Easy Winter" in Cinemascope and decamped to the studios of gentleman farmer Greg Aldritch in Amherst MA a couple of weeks ago to record basics using lots of real, one-performance drums and some nice, big, ringing Marshall amps. I wrung myself out getting a solid, Moonish drum track and lots of tube-soaked, chubby bass and guitar tracks.

When I brought the rhythm track back to my studio I spent a good week recording the labyrinthine cascade of vocals and separate four-part call and answer passages. The earlier recording of this had been sort of clogged with admittedly pretty harmonies and I really wanted to still incorporate them so I worked long and hard to get everything to fit without getting insanely busy.

I used some interesting processing on the vocals in this mix. I wanted to have the lead vocal really jump out which is a challenge because it's competing with all these doubled three-and four part harmonies. Instead of doubling it all over the place and just filling more space I did a couple of odd things. First, I looped out the lead vocal into reverb and a stereo delay but compressed the send really hard. This results in the reverb and especially the delay "growing out" from the lead vocal on the verses giving an impression of hugeness without gumming up the vocal. It's like a predelayed reverb that fades up.

I also did an old Motown trick of tracking the lead vocal to another track and accentuating the upper midrange and sending this through a frequency-specific compressor so the enunciation, especially of consonants, would be hyped. Then I mixed this back in with the lead vocal. In the chorus I did double track several key phrases so the lead vocal wouldn't collapse against all the supports.

Everything else in the recording and mixing was pretty basic, the nature of the song being what it is. It was an obvious candidate for the energy-over-gadgetry approach.

"An Easy Winter"

12 Comments:

Blogger The Viscount LaCarte said...

Goddamn!!!!!!!!!

I had to play it on my portable speakers. I can't wait to hear it on my Polk's.

Hyperbolic superlatives all around.




ketchovd!

6:59 AM  
Blogger Employee of the Month said...

The rocket has been launched.

The horses are out of the gate.

The bride has dropped her veil.


Go, cat, go!

Ditto TVL.


hrdzezbq!

9:52 AM  
Blogger DogsMoms said...

Wow! I always get to hear bits and pieces while you're working on a new song. As usual, I got to hear this one but ... I'm blown away!

A new favorite of mine. Sal likes it too.

DogsMoms

5:55 PM  
Blogger Dr. Corndog said...

Sweet-Bullwinkle's-Cock-on-a-stick, that's one beautiful song, Bobby! I think that flushing/crashing sound in the background is all the record companies realizing that the ankles have been grabbed and the lubrication is nowhere in sight, because when people figure out that Bobby Lightfoot is giving away better music than anything they could pay for, short of a re-issue of the long-lost-and-out-of-print 2nd Rubinoos album, they will no longer go to Tower or iTunes or even Plan 9 to drop hard-earned cash on Gwen Stefani's yodeling death gurgle. All those greedy, tone-deaf bastards are hosed!

Meanwhile, thank you. The more I hear of your stuff, the only musician I can think of that I admire as much is Prince. We gotta get you 2 together; screw Blind Faith or Damn Yankees or even rpjdwht, that would be a supergroup.

9:21 PM  
Blogger Bobby Lightfoot said...

Dawg!!! I think of you every time I do "Knock On Wood". Thanks, man. Thanks th' lot of you.

Heh. Ace McClintock from from Soulfinger has a buddy in NYC who's a big session dude, toured with Ray Charles and all these big acts.

So he's got a little vanity label with acts of various degrees of promise that he's wanted me on. And Warners is talking about buying and distributing this label so I'm to get my bio and webpage and all that shit going.

I'm sure they're realizing, as I write, just how glaringly lacking their roster is in bitter, balding, 42-year old quasi-genius revisionists.

I told Ace he should just get Soulfinger better gigs.

All of these guys, you've gotta love it. Still with that paradigm that a major label is something to be in. Most of th' guys I know from the old days have recorded at least one record for a major and it's always, always been the same.

And what the majors do now is just buy you up for chump change and if on the weird chance you ever do anything they own 97 percent of it.

They're like venture suckitalists.

9:43 PM  
Blogger Bobby Lightfoot said...

love th' Prince thing. It'd be great to be on stage with him because I'd look huge.

9:45 PM  
Anonymous Simon said...

Nice to be back and see you're still delivering the goods. And since we're currently heading into Winter on my side of the globe, i think it's going to stay on high rotation in my little mp3 player for some time to come.

Dammit. Wish i could write one even remotely like that.

7:15 AM  
Blogger The Viscount LaCarte said...

Welcome back Simon!

12:40 PM  
Blogger Larry Jones said...

Bitchin' track, Bobby, and the vocals are exhilarating. But really: "...tracking the lead vocal to another track and accentuating the upper midrange and sending this through a frequency-specific compressor so the enunciation, especially of consonants, would be hyped." Jeez, it'd be four in the morning and near the end of an 8-ball before I'd have thought to try anything like that.

1:15 AM  
Anonymous Simon said...

"...tracking the lead vocal to another track and accentuating the upper midrange and sending this through a frequency-specific compressor so the enunciation, especially of consonants, would be hyped."

I actually learnt this trick myself when doing mashups to give filtered vocals more body. Of course, it wasn't as well handled as you've done here.

6:03 AM  
Blogger Kevin Wolf said...

One of my all-time favorite sounds in music is the ringing of crystal clear guitars. Add a great tune with layered vocals and I'm in pop heaven.

Fucking great record, Bobby.

10:31 AM  
Blogger bobby lightfoot said...

thanx all.

Hey simon- I knew a good enough song would bring you back.

4:28 PM  

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