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Spectropop - Digest Number 49

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______________        S  P  E  C  T  R  O  P  O  P        ______________
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    Devoting time and research to the development of sound recording

There are 5 messages in this issue #49.

Topics in this digest:

      1. Re: Jackie DeShannon
           From: Carol Kaye 
      2. Re: Margo Guryan
           From: Jeff Cohen 
      3. Re: Kim Fowley, Phil Spector
           From: Carol Kaye 
      4. Wall Of Sound experiences.
           From: Carol Kaye 
      5. "The Wilson Project" Book Available Again Soon
           From: "Ron Weekes" 


Message: 1
   Date: Mon, 16 Oct 2000 09:26:02 -0700
   From: Carol Kaye 
Subject: Re: Jackie DeShannon

Don't know if anyone here knows it.  Jackie DeShannon's
new CD is entitled "You Know Me" and is out on the
Varese-Sarabande label.  I was invited to the listening
party at the former United Studio B (now "Ocean Way") and
heard a lot of it.  She's written a lot of new tunes, and
they all sound great - good recording just out.

Varese-Sarabande has long been a movie score record label
but has branched out to include oldies and now is going
into commercial recordings, a good label with huge

She's singing better than ever, looks the same (I'm
jealous, she didn't gain weight - looks just fabulous),
and is appearing at the Whiskey-A-Go-Go on the Sunset
Strip here in W Hollywood on Oct. 28th at 9PM, going to
be a biggie.  There's a huge sign about her album near
Tower Records where she signed autographs for a crowd of
people on Oct. 6th.  See you there.  

Carol Kaye

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Message: 2
   Date: Mon, 16 Oct 2000 04:58:38 EDT
   From: Jeff Cohen 
Subject: Re: Margo Guryan

Hey guys...

Sorry for the brief intrusion but I thought this would
be of interest to this list.

Margo Guryan's 1968 album "Take a Picture" is being
reissued this Tuesday, October 17th on Franklin Castle
Recordings (in conjunction with Oglio Records).  Margo's
songs have been recorded by classic artists such as
Claudine Longet, Astrud Gilberto, Mama Cass and Bobby
Sherman as well as current artists including St. Etienne
and Linus of Hollywood.  

The CD is a completely remastered version of the original
album with 3 previously unreleased bonus tracks.  It also
includes lyrics, bio, and liner notes by Darian Sahanaja
(Wondermints, Brian Wilson), Linus of Hollywood, David
Bash and more.  

You can listen to sound clips now at  

The CD will be available in stores on Tuesday, or you can
order from Franklin Castle (,
Oglio Records ( or Amazon (
to name a few.

Hope you enjoy it!

Jeff Cohen
Franklin Castle Recordings

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Message: 3
   Date: Mon, 16 Oct 2000 09:03:03 -0700
   From: Carol Kaye 
Subject: Re: Kim Fowley, Phil Spector

Yes, Michael thank-you, sorry I should have corrected
that - Kim Fowley, correct.  So many names to keep
track of, and I mis-spelled quite a few at first in my
log too - you're so busy recording in the early 60s, it
grew by leaps and bounds from one month to the next,
and you're working for so many people, it was difficult
to spell everyone's name just right.  I didn't spell
Jack Nitzsche's name right until the about the 80s.

Victor, I'll send you an attachment of information
about Phil Spector's ways of recording, what I saw when
I worked for Phil back in the Gold Star days.  

Carol Kaye

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Message: 4
   Date: Mon, 16 Oct 2000 09:47:50 -0700
   From: Carol Kaye 
Subject: Wall Of Sound experiences.

At first, when we recorded for Phil, we didn't wear
earphones, which was the style of the day.  And there
were very few baffles set up too (temporary padded walls
to isolate sounds), and of course we kept the volumes
down low on our amps.

The problem back then was the leakage of the drums, so
naturally, there were always baffles around the drummer,
and he muted his drums too (putting masking tape also
across the cymbals, blankets inside the bass drum,
handkerchiefs rolled up and taped on tom-toms, usually
their wallet -- no they weren't 'fat' then -- on the
snare drums, this was all for *sound*, not for real
quieting of drums, the set of drums recorded better that

Percussionists were usually next to the drums off to one

But Phil *always* played back his takes on first, little
tiny speakers, the size of car-speakers.  He wanted to
make sure his records played well on the radio for
people in their cars, and then he'd BLAST the booth with
his playbacks as loud as he could with volume and
echo.....we'd all have ringing ears from listening to
his takes in the booth, whew.

Then as we recorded for Phil more and more, he got the
idea to have us all wear earphones, as he started to put
more and more baffles up to isolate the guitars and
keyboards as well.  Mac Rabbenec would sometimes play
the organ kind of loud (he'd get his own baffle), and
the acoustic keyboards wouldn't stand a chance then, so
they were isolated as well as the percussionists and
drums even more.  And the individual guitar players as
well, as you see in pictures on my website.

Hal Blaine and Earl Palmer, the drummers Phil
alternately used, graduated to making their own
paddings to put on their drums, and the bass drum all of
a sudden shrunk, and they had special paddings for those
heads too, and they still taped their cymbals.

And we were using earphones then, and yes, there were
many problems.  At first, they couldn't be individually
adjusted ("I can't hear myself", "I can't hear the
guitars" "can't hear the bass" etc.), there was no echo
put on at first.  Then when the individual adjustments
on earphones came in within a week or so, Phil was quick
to put some echo in the earphones.

There was so much echo in the earphones on the "You've
Lost That Lovin' Feeling" date, that no-one was playing
well together.  Hence my story of bearing down on the
acoustic Epiphone Emperor guitar (Phil loved that box),
and grinding away with rhythmic 8th-notes trying to
congeal the rhythm together....

It seemed to work, and Phil heard me playing hard, and
put a double-time echo on me only, which made my rhythm
come out to 16th notes, very subtle but it's there and
we sort of settled in for a nice groove (think Ray
Pohlman the bassist and Earl Palmer the drummer both
asked Phil for "less echo" too, so they could play
better together) and then the real take happened for the
Righteous Bros., who were there singing but probably
were added on later for the real vocal -- it cost 2x the
am't to track in those days and Phil also watched the
money meter.

Anyway, that date I do remember, because I remember the
problems of the rhythm section, and we all knew this
song was going to be a biggie hit, the tune was
tremendously good, and the Righteous Bros. were knocking
our blocks off with the way they were singing.....we
never heard white singers sing like that before.

So by that year, yes, Phil was using echo in our
earphones practically all the time, but to varying
degrees as to how much we would complain about it...if
there's too much echo in our phones, the beat is not
well-defined, and we couldn't groove then, plus it would
throw us off a little bit.

So he kept the echo volume down quite a bit in our
earphones upon request, depended upon could we stand it
or not.  But you sure heard it in the booth.  Phil loved
echo which we understood, it was his trademark sound.

> Also (and this was discussed about six months ago but
> I've lost that digest), how *loud* were these sessions,
> particularly with Spector? Obviously, his music sounds
> the best if you crank your stereo up to 11, and what you
> get is an enormous, almost angry, wall of noise. Were
> his sessions louder (decibel-wise) than other producers'?

YOU BET!  He was the loudest!  No-one even came close. 
Brian Wilson yes, sometimes he would add echo when we'd
record, but usually not - he'd put it on later.  But at
least Brian kept the play-back levels decently "normal",
never really loud and he never did what Phil did:

play it back on a "car-speaker" at all, that was a
criteria of Phil's, that his hits sounded great on
car-speaker-sized speakers on the radio.

With Brian, usually no, he didn't have us work recording
"with echo" and as to the amount of Phil's recordings
actually "recorded with echo", common sense said he
didn't too much (you'd have to ask Larry Levine, he'd
have the correct answers on this) always add echo
*later*, that was the custom.

It's a bear to record with echo, as you can't take it
off later, so I'm assuming he played everything back
"with echo", but kept adding it on and/or taking it off
temporarily in the booth.

Phil loved the sound of the Gold Star echo, which I
understand speaking to other recording engineers was
sort of a "dirty-sounding echo", I don't know, just
repeating what they said...

I have the utmost respect and admiration for the genius
of Dave Gold who masterminded the system there at Gold
Star, everyone in Hollywood did and does also...he's a
great guy btw, so is Stan Ross, his partner and first
engineer for Phil for awhile.

The Gold Star echo ran right through the women's rest
room -- if I took a break and they were playing it back,
they'd ask me not to flush the toilet....

Producers were sort of "alone" in the booth, trying all
sorts of things, especially Phil and Brian.  We'd hear
all kinds of wild things in our earphones as they'd try
this or that to the music.  Really had nothing to do
with us, but we usually heard all the experimentation.

Sometimes the studio musicians would sit and wait 10-20
min. at a time and instead of listening to all what they
were doing in the booth, we'd take our earphones off and
kibbitz in the room during that time, always waiting for
them to get done with experimenting and we'd go on then.

Your time is not your own, but sometimes there was time
to take a quick hike to the bathroom, but usually you
waited right there in the studio throughout any
experimentation with sounds Phil would do.

So to answer your question, yes, Phil would normally
record with echo in our phones, but the am't varied with
how much we'd complain.  And I suspect it wasn't the
same echo, maybe it was, but I doubt it - he probably
added it on again later when mastering.

Or maybe cut with some slight echo and add more on later,
that makes sense too.  Phil loved echo, no doubt about

Brian worked a different way.  Phil was a showman, he'd
always love to have an audience in the booth -- he'd get
off on everyone being awed at his producing, including
us studio musicians....we had a great admiration for him
and he knew it, he respected us too, altho' he'd
sometimes playfully pick on someone, sometimes a little
too hard.

Brian would sometimes have his wife and sister-in-law in
the booth, but that's it.  He loved to work alone with
Chuck Britz at his side to assist if he needed it,
sometimes, but he loved to toy around with everything

There were a few moments of that, then we'd go for a
take, then change the music, then he'd toy around with
sounds, or come out in the studio and play a different
feel he wanted us to try, things like that.

Phil had some music charts (arrangements or chord charts
are called "charts"), and this got more complex as the
years rolled by, written arrangements.

We'd add to these charts mainly our ideas and he'd yea
or nay them, or a few times would give us his ideas of
how the parts should be interpreted.

Brian wanted only his ideas, but sometimes would listen
to others, especially Hal Blaine who got to play what he
wanted to play.  Sometimes the guitar players too, but
Brian was more in charge speaking as a composer/arranger
there.  Phil depended upon arranger Jack Nitzsche and
input from the musicians a lot more altho' he had some
definite good musical ideas sometimes too.

As did Sonny Bono a little later, altho' Sonny got some
great arrangements from Harold Batiste, whose ideas were
revolutionary.....he's totally an underrated arranger,
his ideas saved many a plain tune that Sonny and Cher
wanted to do.  But we still "donated" our lines and
licks within the parameters of Harold's terrific

I don't remember Sonny recording with echo however.  And
FYI, I've always thought that Sonny was a totally
underrated producer too, he was great in the booth,
almost as great as Phil and Brian.  Hope this answers
your questions.

Carol Kaye   

PS. I do explain all this about Phil's use of echo on
one of the video segments showing each week at this
Experience Music website - now archived in the EMP
museum in Seattle which also features bass sounds they
had me record for them.


PS.  About the differences in sounds between today and
the 60s when it comes to the Phil Spector "wall of sound" can successfully duplicate the specter
of all the LEAKAGE of sounds too (the closest I ever
heard anyone do it was the Matthew Sweet CD of "In
Reverse" which we cut at the old Western Studio 2, and my
amp was miked, it was all analog and of course there was
plenty of leakage too there -- Matthew was really trying
hard to duplicate the Spector sound and that's the only
sounds I heard that came very very close -- his CD is
well-liked out there, sold very well in the last year)
--- we all played pretty loud in the room there at Gold
Star Studios, and in spite of the baffles and all, we
leaked everywhere into each others' mikes.

I think that's the real "Wall Of Sound" you're hearing -
leakage. Somehow Phil managed to get us all on the
record somewhere there, even my acoustic guitar track is
there on "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'", altho'
buried until you hear the montuno part of the bridge
where you hear me play the bassline with Ray
Pohlman.....trying to keep the beat from "sinking" which
it almost wanted to do - the tune was slow.
It was a good balance between everyone's idea of where
the groove lay.


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Message: 5
   Date: Mon, 16 Oct 2000 17:27:46 -0600
   From: "Ron Weekes" 
Subject: "The Wilson Project" Book Available Again Soon

I know many of you have had a difficult time finding
copies of Stephen McParland's "The Wilson Project" and
"Tape 10" books.  One lister told me he saw a copy of
TWP go for $90 at eBay.  Ouch!!!  For those of you
willing to wait, Stephen will be reprinting both books
in one volume.  They'll be available sometime early next
year.  Posted below is a notice I got from Stephen that
provides more information on the book.

I'll keep ya'll posted!
Landlocked in Idaho!
Ron Weekes 




This 232 page book brings together the acclaimed 1993
book, THE WILSON PROJECT, telling the story of the
struggle encountered by Gary Usher in his attempt to
provide a creative musical atmosphere for his old friend,
Brian Wilson, then encumbered by the shadow of Dr. Eugene
E. Landy, and BRIAN WILSON TAPE #10, the briefly
available and limited issue that brought the story to its
end, complete with reproductions of various documents,
court depositions, memorabilia and handwritten lyrics.
Now as the one book, THE WILSON PROJECT TAPES 1-10 is an
insightful look at the dealings that prevailed during the
mid to late '80s that eventually led to the release of
BRIAN WILSON, the Beach Boy leader's first solo LP issued
by Sire Records in July 1988.

THE WILSON PROJECT TAPES 1-10 is based on a 10 audio
cassette diary maintained by Gary Usher during the
"ordeal" and captures the day by day interaction, the
creative out-pourrings and the problems faced by Usher
and Brian Wilson as they struggled to produce a
foundation upon which Wilson could be re-introduced to
contemporary music.

THE WILSON PROJECT TAPES 1-10 exposes the total control
exercised by "the good doctor" over his patient. It also
concerns the battles that ensued for Brian's well-being
and musical soul. It is a story that proves beyond a
shadow of doubt that FACT is STRANGER than fiction. THE
WILSON PROJECT TAPES 1-10, besides the main story,
includes full recording particulars and a total of five
appendices to expose the full INSIDE story; a sad
melancholy tale with humour, drama and all the
machinations of a Shakespearean play.


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