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DCC Archive Anyone heard the Sam Cooke "Man Who Invented Soul" box set?

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by jligon, Nov 11, 2001.

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  1. jligon

    jligon Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Peoria, IL
    I was wondering if anyone has heard the Sam Cooke "Man who Invented Soul" box set and, if so, what the sound is like.
    Thanks,
    -Jon
     
  2. Matt

    Matt New Member

    Location:
    Illinois
    It's been awhile since I heard it (I tried it out at a used CD store), but it was definitely better than the out-of-print "Man and His Music." A lot of the stereo mixes made for Sam Cooke's music sound a bit strange, but not so much on the box set.

    Steve once said that the best way to hear Sam Cooke was through the original mono records; much of his music was recorded straight to mono.
     
  3. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Mastering Engineer Your Host

    RCA-Victor had a weird policy for recording pop records back in the late 1950's. They would record a session live to mono, with echo/compression/EQ direct to the tape. There would be a three-track machine going as well, also with echo/compression/EQ printed directly on the tape.

    Well, the mono take that was to be used for release would be cut out of the session reel and marked master. This was used for cutting.

    The three-track would be put on a shelf until (if the song was a hit) it was needed.

    Here is where it gets funky:

    If the song (let's say "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" by The Tokens) was a hit (which it was), it was time to make an LP. The single mono master was then spliced into an LP with the other newly recorded songs.

    Now it was time for a stereo version. Well, EVEN THOUGH THE THREE-TRACK TAPE ALREADY HAD ECHO/COMPRESSION AND EQ ON IT, IT WAS MIXED DOWN TO TWO-TRACK WITH AN EXTRA HEAVY AMOUNT OF NEW ECHO/COMPRESSION AND EQ ADDED. In other words, it went through the car wash TWICE. Uggh!

    Just compare the stereo sound vs. the mono sound on most RCA NY or LA hits of that era: Cupid/Chain Gang/I Will Follow Him/The Lion Sleeps Tonight/Oh, Carol, etc. The monos always kill the stereo versions in every way.

    Part of history I guess, but this would be one of the few times it would be OK to bypass the original stereo mixes and head for the multi-track work parts for a careful redo.

    Please note that RCA/Nashville was unique, and that Bill Porter mixed live to two-track and three-track at the same time, so both versions sound the same. The mono version was made from the two track tape with the channels combined. That's why the Elvis and Orbison recordings actually sound more balanced in mono. The vocals are not quite loud enough in stereo, but the L+R mono's reduce the left/right music by several db.
     
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