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Spectropop V#0378

  • From: The Spectropop Group
  • Date: 01/27/00

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       Volume #0378                        January 27, 2000   
           The get-with-it sound for everyone who cares       
    Subject:     it's all marketing?
    Received:    01/27/00 12:25 am
    From:        Nat Kone
    To:          Spectropop!
    Joseph Scott wrote:
    >As in every other decade, the way to market records 
    >to young people was to tell them what they wanted to hear.
    >Young people generally wanted to hear about something 
    >vaguely like a "counterculture" and all that good stuff. 
    >The funny thing is if you try to actually rationally apply
    >those "street cred etc." criteria retroactively to '60s 
    >acts, it just doesn't work. 
    > Why do many people consider Donovan more hip than Mel 
    >Torme? Because he's YOUNGER. That's IT. There's this 
    >perceived distinction between (1) the vocal groups who 
    >were marketed in the '60s to older people and (2) the 
    >vocal groups who were marketed in the '60s to younger 
    >people -- that's what it comes down to...
    In the last few years, my collecting has been almost 
    entirely focussed on all the stuff I ignored as a young 
    rock n roll fan. A lot of it has to do with just being 
    sick of hearing the original versions of lots of songs. So
    I'd rather hear the Hollyridge Strings do the Beatles than 
    hear the Beatles do themselves. But at the same time, I 
    can't ignore the fact that though I may be sick of a lot 
    of "classic rock", there were great tunes and that's why I
    can enjoy all these "versions" I'm now marinating in. 
    Somewhere in all this looking back, I have managed to 
    eliminate my "rock credibility" test and so now I can 
    listen to Andy Williams singing "God Only Knows" and love 
    it because he has a beautiful voice, it's a nice 
    arrangement and it's a great song. What's not to like? But
    that doesn't mean that "rock credibility" - or 
    "counterculture" - has no meaning or that it's all 
    marketing. I quite enjoy Mel Torme's interpretation of 
    "Sunshine Superman" (and "Happy Together" and even "Take a 
    Letter Maria") and there's no doubt he was a true hipster 
    but the first thing you have to say is that it is 
    Donovan's song. I'm not going to try and assign utter 
    "purity" to Donovan's intentions but when he wrote and 
    recorded "SS", he wasn't thinking the same thing Mel was 
    when he later covered it. No matter how cynical I can try 
    to be, it's still hard to argue against the idea that 
    there's more "authenticity" in Donovan's record (one of 
    the first LP's that never left my turntable btw) than in 
    Mel's cover version. And if as a teenager, I loved 
    Donovan's record and laughed at Mel's, it wasn't simply a 
    matter of falling for the marketing. Authenticity and 
    intentions do matter. And sometimes they're perceptible. I
    take your point and of course I agree that marketing 
    foisted a lot of inauthentic - and just plain "bad" - 
    stuff on me as a teenager. And that the "counterculture 
    test" had me ignoring a lot of great stuff. I take your 
    point, in spite of the fact that the Mel/Donovan example 
    is a bad one. Like I said, virtually ALL I listen to these
    days is stuff I ignored - or laughed at - as a teenager. 
    And though "irony" and "camp" play a role in my enjoyment 
    on occasion, that's not always the case. A lot of folks 
    made beautiful music in spite of suspect intentions. Which
    is how I think of a lot of the sunshine pop I'm finding. 
    But the difference between the Association and the 
    Lettermen is about way more than marketing or perceived 
    credibility. Sometimes a musician looks at the music he's 
    been playing, then looks at the music that seems to be 
    selling and in trying to create a hybrid, comes up with 
    The Byrds. Or the same process happens and you get the 
    Living Voices doing "Positively Fourth Street and other 
    message folk songs." 
    --------------------[ archived by Spectropop ]--------------------
    Subject:     Re:  unison versus harmony
    Received:    01/27/00 12:25 am
    From:        Ron Sauer
    To:          Spectropop!
    Nat Kone writes:
    >I don't know if the KS4 lasted into the sixties and made 
    >hippy records - I haven't seen any.
    The Kirby Stone 4 made a great duet record in the last 
    sixties with the Tokens. They listed thenselves as "The US
    Double Quartet" and the song was "Life is Groovy" on BT 
    Puppy records. Does anyone know if that one has made it to
    CD? My copy is very scratchy.
    --------------------[ archived by Spectropop ]--------------------
    Subject:     Very true
    Received:    01/27/00 12:25 am
    From:        Carol Kaye
    To:          Spectropop!
    >>>>>Young people always want to perceive their music 
    as very distinct from their parents'. (Whether it 
    really is or not is completely irrelevant to that.) 
    E.g. in the late '50s Elvis didn't put a sticker on his 
    records saying "Your parents will enjoy this too because 
    my pianist Dudley Brooks used to be Benny Goodman's 
    You should have seen the ages of the studio musicians who 
    played on all the rock and roll hit records we put out in 
    the 60s LA recording scene. And the fact that a great deal
    of them were fine jazz musicians, and the rest mostly 
    big-band musicians, hardly a rocker on those recordings.
    And around the younger newer bunch of producers (who we 
    quickly surmised didn't know much about producing actually
    but they had the confidence and the money to hire us), we 
    had to keep saying to each other in our group "shhhh....
    don't tell anyone we play jazz" spite of themselves,
    we got them hits anyway.
    But the business started out with very WISE EXPERIENCED 
    older producers like Bumps Blackwell (Sam Cooke recordings, 
    listen to the great hip background vocalists....all 
    bigband top great studio singers, never rockers or soul 
    groups), who is more or less unheralded...he is one of the
    biggest pioneers of the 60s recorded pop, rock and soul hit
    sounds...he was smart to use all-experience finest studio 
    musicians, and the rest followed suite.
    Some of the record co's in the mid 60s tried to record 
    with their own artists' road groups, thinking they could 
    save the studio musicians' fees (we were charging 
    double-scale to most of them by that time), and not have 
    to pay into our benefits, pension funds, etc. through our 
    Musicians' Union. They wanted to "save money".
    Well, that lasted a few short weeks, they humbly begged us
    to come back to work for them, after wasting not only 
    precious expensive studio time, but getting a terrible 
    product to boot. They didn't try that again until way 
    later in the 70s when the groups like Toto (I taught David
    Hungate btw, the bassist), some were able to play their own
    music well.
    It's got something to do with marketing alright. Do you 
    think the Beach Boys would have sold as well if the public
    knew (back then) who really played on their recordings? Or 
    all the cute-guy surf groups? Or Sonny & Cher who created 
    their own hippie images? You should have seen the 
    conventional clothing we all wore, the butch haircuts, and
    I looked like a prim school-teacher (and still do), etc.
    Or Motown for that matter either? The 40% that was cut out
    here in the 60s, from 1962 on (they had their 2 floors of 
    offices out here since then). Or the Monkees who bravely 
    held press conferences denying that "anyone was cutting 
    their hit tracks" while we were in the next-door studio at
    RCA cutting their tracks? 
    The younger generation would NOT have bought "their" 
    records if they knew that people as old as "their" parents
    were not only performing on "their" favorite records but 
    were coming up with the MUSICAL IDEAS for them too (except
    for Brian Wilson, he was the only one, outside of Frank 
    Zappa who had the great ideas, yet many of our guitarists,
    Hal Blaine on drums, others did contribute some ideas too 
    on Brian's stuff too).
    YES OF COURSE, it was a sham, a sham that worked...those 
    records were hot sellers. No-one wanted the public to know
    the "truth" including US!!!! We not only made fabulous 
    monies, but it was the respect, the golden era of 
    recording insuring us good-paying work, and we never had 
    to take the lower-paying jobs to go on the road and leave 
    our families either. 
    >>>As in every other decade, the way to market records to 
    young people was to tell them what they wanted to hear. 
    Young people generally wanted to hear about something 
    vaguely like a "counterculture" and all that good stuff. 
    (These things never change.) Magazines such as Rolling 
    Stone played into this. The rock groups played into this. 
    Basically everybody played into this. As a result, the big
    EXACTLY!! Milli-Vanilli was ONLY the tip of the iceberg 
    then, and even now I know many fine musicians who have to 
    sign contracts not to "tell" that they played on such and 
    such a recording, doing their studio work, it continues on.
    >>>>Who smoked more pot, Zappa or Simon? Gee, THAT can't 
    be what makes music good, can it, whether the artists have
    an ingenuous, serious commitment to drugs? :-) Who hung out
    with Coltrane, Thiele or Joplin? Oh wait, never mind. :-)<<
    They sure wouldn't have gotten far with our coffee-crowd, 
    it was coffee that cut the 60s hit records, we could cut 
    an album in 6 the 70s, with the cocaine/
    pot-musicians, it took months. 
    I worked a lot for Thiele for commercials (and a few 
    albums too), never saw him on drugs at all, but he sure 
    had his coffee too. Did a lot for the Association, some 
    for Simon and Garfunkle (some real boring dates I'll tell 
    you, you see my picture on the S&G album, bored up to my 
    eyebrows), they were "slow" but we would knock out hit 
    tracks in seconds it seemed. Why? NO DRUGS, we were not 
    interested in drugs, nor booze, you never get anything 
    done with that crap - however glamorous it looks to the 
    lay-public, most of whom used drugs because they "thought 
    their favorite hit-makers did"....boy did they get fooled - 
    it's a business guys! An image-making business, not a 
    The Byrds had their studio musicians too do their things 
    too, altho' evidently Roger did play some elec. 12-string 
    on his stuff, yet he had the very conventional Dennis 
    Budimer do some of that too.....Dennis always brought his 
    lunch to work, still is a stick-in-the-mud but a helluva 
    great great jazz guitarist too....he made more money than 
    Tommy Tedesco doing studo work.
    >>>>Why do many people consider Donovan more hip than Mel 
    Torme? Because he's YOUNGER. That's IT. (Note that Torme's
    cover of "Sunshine Superman," which is excellent, has been 
    marketed on CD as camp,<<<<
    Well, now you're talking about vocal style phrasings too...
    Mel is jazz, always has been no matter if he's singing 
    "Satisfaction" or "It Could Happen To You". 
    I played bass on his hot-selling commercial albums in the 
    60s, early 70s...we kidded about those when I did a 
    symphony show with him around 1986 in Denver...he told me 
    that his "Games People Play" I played bass on 
    (wall-to-wall notes too, I was trying to wake up a dragging
    sleepy drummer, we laughed about that too, he knew) was his
    biggest money-making recording of all time. It's just a 
    matter of styles between Donovon and Mel Torme, depending 
    upon the style of music you like here.
    Great post Joseph Scott! You got the essence of what the 
    60s era was all about. Now maybe in time, the public will 
    catch on, so I don't have to keep suing someone for 
    slander who can't believe I played on stuff (playing 
    "messiah games") for my credits. 
    Carol Kaye
    --------------------[ archived by Spectropop ]--------------------
    Subject:     Vocal Jazz and Siesta
    Received:    01/25/00 3:38 am
    From:        Keith D'Arcy
    To:          Spectropop!
    A quick response (I'm at work...)
    Siesta's comps often feature "studio" groups that don't 
    really exist per se. Mike Alway, who in the 80's ran the 
    absolutely fabulous, utterly excessive and gorgeous El 
    Records label through Cherry Red is a big fan of soft pop 
    as is his arranger/collaborator Louis Philippe, and the 
    two of them put together these wildly named, fictional pop
    groups. I love him for these sorts of ideas. El was 
    populated by the most exquisite non-groups. There is a 
    series of mock children's records on Siesta that's put out
    two fairly well done comps of soft pop covers (Love 
    Generation, Margo Guryan, Eternity's Children). The first 
    two volumes are: "Algebra Spaghetti" and "Instantaneous 
    Ice Cream." Goofy, fun and totally disposable, like the 
    best pop music.
    There's a brilliant vocal jazz/soft pop reissue out right 
    now by a Phillipino girl group (five sisters, aged 13 to 
    19) called the Third Wave. It's on Crippled Dick Hot Wax, 
    which usually reissues Italian and German cult film 
    soundtracks. Stunning covers of "Cantaloupe Island" and 
    "Eleanor Rigby" and some great Wendy & Bonnie-esque 
    --------------------[ archived by Spectropop ]--------------------
    Subject:     The Liquid Room 1/22/00
    Received:    01/25/00 3:38 am
    From:        Ponak, David
    The Liquid Room airs every Saturday Morning (Friday night)
    from 3-6 on 90.7 FM KPFK. (98.7 in Santa Barbara County).
    Also check out my show The Nice Age at 
    The time has changed. I'm now on Sunday afternoons from 
    3-6 PM, PST.
    The Liquid Room-1/22/99:
    1.The Committee-California My Way
    Happy Together-The Best Of White Whale Records (Varese Sarabande)
    2.Ryuichi Sakamato-Aishiteiru Aishiteinai
    Smoochy (Milan)
    3.Spanky & Our Gang-Without Rhyme Or Reason
    The Best Of (Mercury)
    4.The Beastie Boys (with Miho Hatori)-20 Questions
    The Sounds Of Science (Grand Royal/Capitol)
    5.The Jungle Bros.-Freakin' You
    V.I.P. (V2)
    6.Luke Vibert & BJ Cole-Fly Hawaii
    Stop The Panic (Astralwerks)
    7.Nelson Riddle-Lolita Ya Ya
    Lolita s/t (Rykodisc)
    The Mix (Elektra)
    9.The United States Of America-I Won't Leave My Wooden Wife For You, Sugar
    The United States Of America (Sony Special Products)
    10.Mellow-Instant Love (Andy Votel Remix)
    Single (East/West UK)
    11.Lee Hazlewood-Ten Or 11 Towns Ago
    13 (SLR) (GREAT LP! CD Reissue in stores 1/31)
    12.Space Ponch-Tati Suite
    The World Shopping With Space Ponch (Transonic/Flavour-Japan)
    13.Colourbox-Baby I Love You So
    Colourbox (4AD-UK)
    14.The Third Wave-Cantaloupe Island
    Here And Now (Crippled Dick-Germany)
    15.Jim O'Rourke-The Workplace
    Halfway To A Threeway (Drag City)
    16.Watermelon-Moon Shaker (Silver Apples Remix)
    Out Of Body Sessions (File-Japan)
    See It In Sound (BMG/7n)
    Cyclique (Emperor Norton)
    19.The Bee Gees-Every Christian Lion Hearted Man Will Tell You
    Bee Gees 1st (Polydor)
    20.The Thievery Corporation-Lebanese Blonde (French Version)
    single (4AD-Germany)
    21.Jack Jones-Blue Green Grey And Gone 
    Jack Jones Sings Michel Legrand (RCA)
    Enter The Draco (Slabco)
    23.Peter Yarrow & John Simon-The Wabe
    You Are What You Eat Soundtrack (Sony Special Products)
    24.Air-Bathroom Girl
    The Virgin Suicides Soundtrack (Astralwerks)
    25.Sagittarius-Song To The Magic Frog (Will YOu Ever Know)
    Present Tense (Sundazed)
    26.U-ziq-The Fear
    Royal Astronomy (Astralwerks)
    27.Prof. Takeo Yamashita-Theme From Giant Robot
    Mission 1 (Nippon Crown)
    28.Arling & Cameron-W.E.E.K.E.N.D.
    Music For Imaginary Films (Emperor Norton)
    29.Takako Minekawa-Tiger
    Fun9 (Emperor Norton)
    30.Piero Umiliani-Mah Na Mah Na (Karmexperience Mix)
    Mah Na Mah Na-The Complete Remix Project (Right Tempo)
    31.Group Of Gods-Moon Hotel
    Group Of Gods (File-Japan)
    32.The Mike Theordore Orchestra-High On Mad Mountain
    High On Mad Mountain (Westbound)
    33.Buffalo Daughter-Autoban
    Musique Non Stop-A Tribute To Kraftwerk (EMI-Japan)
    34.Depeche Mode-The Sun And The Rainfall
    A Broken Frame (Sire)
    35.Paul Williams-Morning I'll Be Moving On
    Someday Man (Reprise)
    --------------------[ archived by Spectropop ]--------------------

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