Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by cut to the chase, Jul 15, 2018.
Going back to Tragedy for a bit, here's a vocals only version of the song:
As I mentioned up thread, I'm not a fan of Barbara Streisand's music. However, "A Woman In Love" just clicks with me for some reason. First of all, it's one of Barry Gibb's best songs not written for the Bee Gees. Second, the production is fantastic. Finally, Babs turns in a stellar vocal performance where she tones down the vocal histrionics utilizing them only at key parts of the the song.
I am happy that does not happen in this thread,I have expressed some against the grain opinions and nothing but some friendly teasing at the worse.
Yes indeed. As I wrote earlier, we are a peaceful corner of cyberspace. My own thread about Cliff is the same. Thankfully.
And if we allow what others might say to us to influence what we write. the point of this forum is lost. I don’t always agree with your frequent posts, but I respect them and that’s how we learn. You just have to ignore the over the top responses. We generally know who has a genuine passion, coupled with a reasonable amount of knowledge, and who doesn’t and is just spewing garbage, if you spend enough time here. Keep writing and put the disrespectful on ignore.
Again, exactly. Over at the Cliff thread, there was an early reader who wrote a post stating that she was one of those who would consider it a blessing if Cliff stopped having hits and called it a day. I just answered that I respected her views, which I did, and that we probably looked for different things in music - and that that was totally hot... Eh... Totally OK. What could have turned into a verbal fight ended very amicably with both of us respectfully agreeing to disagree.
I mean - what´s the point? Music is - thankfully! - a subjective thing, and I am more concerned with finding music I can love than putting down others for having different taste in music. I love discussing music, as long as we don´t expect others to agree with our choices and passions.
I suspect I may be in the minority on the next song here and eventually the next actual Bee Gees single but in due time.
Bring it on!
"I Can't Help It":
This is where Andy Gibb lost me. I just never got into this song; I would merely tolerate it when I heard it on American Top 40. I can't say I hated it; that's too strong. To use a more modern word, it's meh.
I obviously liked Andy Gibb, and this was the period when Olivia Newton-John was doing her best stuff. "A Little More Love" is, in my book, one of the top singles of the 1970s and deserved to peak even higher than #3 in Billboard and Radio & Records and #4 in Cash Box and Record World. And her songs from the forthcoming Xanadu were pretty darned good, too, even if the movie was bizarre.
Who could have known that Andy Gibb had only three more singles -- and no more albums of new material -- in him after this? I knew his hit streak would have to cool eventually, but he fell so far so fast... I used to watch him on Solid Gold (OK, I used to watch the Solid Gold Dancers, with pretty much everything else as background noise), and he was a versatile singer, as he sometimes sang hits of the day that weren't his and acquitted himself well. If only his personal demons hadn't conquered him.
Cash Box had its review of "I Can't Help It" in its Feature Picks for March 29, 1980, listing it second on the left under "Breakdown Dead Ahead" by Boz Scaggs: "Olivia Newton-John manages to match the youngest Gibb quiver for shivering vocal quiver on this fully-orchestrated duet from the 'After Dark' LP. Written by Bee Gee Barry Gibb, this wispy ballad seems destined for out-of-the-box Top 40 airplay, with its romantic lyrical theme and glossy instrumental. Also fine for A/C play." Billboard led its Top Single Reviews column in the March 29, 1980 issue with "I Can't Help It": "This dreamy ballad pairs two masters of soft MOR pop. Newton-John handily outshines her young partner in terms of emotiveness [sic] and expressiveness, though Gibb's name may mean more in pushing it up the charts: it looks to be his seventh consecutive top 10 single."
Well, Billboard was off by a couple places. It failed to make the top 10 in any of the four trade papers, as it peaked at #12 in BB, #13 in Cash Box, and #17 in Record World and Radio & Records.
"I Can't Help It" did better in softer formats. It peaked at #7 on the Record World A/C Chart and the Radio & Records Pop/Adult chart, and #8 on the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart.
"I Can't Help It" backed with the Andy Gibb solo song "Someone I Ain't" was released in March 1980 with the catalog number RSO RS 1026. The A-side time is 4:07 and the B-side is 3:08; both sides are the LP versions. As usual, it was not issued with a picture sleeve in the U.S.
With no incentive to press a boatload of 45s now that records no longer could "ship gold," RSO sharply curtailed the number of pressing plants it used for singles. Six plants handled the production for this single:
CBS Santa Maria (25)
PRC Compton (26)
CBS Pitman (56)
PRC Richmond (72)
CBS Terre Haute (73)
White-label promos of "I Can't Help It" are mono/stereo. The mono side is edited to 3:33 plus a :13 intro for a total of 3:46. The stereo side is listed as 3:54 plus the :13 intro for a total of 4:07, the same as stock copies. All the copies I've seen were pressed at CBS Terre Haute (73).
Yes, it does seem like a lost art, even though (thanks to ProTools) mixing is more accessible than ever. Of course, maybe that's why it's a lost art - when a tool allows any idiot to do something, any idiot does...
Nobody here shut you down. I just found using the term "syrupy" to describe "Woman In Love" surprising, since that's the last term I'd use to describe the track. There are a lot of negative attributes I could tag it with - indeed, I listed several in my post about the cut - but "syrupy" isn't one of them. It's such an unusual description I thought maybe you had a brain fart and were getting it confused with "What Kind Of Fool". Which I do find a bit syrupy, although I like it too.
(I often get hits from the same act from the same period mixed up, leading to brain fart situations where someone mentions, say, "What Kind Of Fool" and I start thinking about the intro to "Guilty" or something. Happens.
Happens more as you get older... )
I didn’t care for it either, and I am probably going to be in the minority but I think Barry’s, oops, I mean Andy’s After Dark album is by far his best, though it doesn’t contain his best singles. I think Desire is quite good, but in general his earlier singles are much better. But I think his other albums are choppy (of course, that makes perfect sense as the hits were written with the brothers and a lot of the others just by him). I almost never play his albums except for his compilation on vinyl (I do love Time Is Time...the chorus is killer with Barry beefing up that section) and a nice Japanese vinyl import of After Dark. I like of love all the songs on there except the duets. Agree with your entire post!
I really like the first 4 songs on After Dark. Dreamin’ On is great too. Other than that, it’s a bit mediocre. I do love the album despite this, though Flowing Rivers and Shadow Dancing are superior.
Another mixed bag as you’re right, though I really wish digital had never happened from a purely selfish standpoint. But, if it’s simply about the art and accesibility (and objectively it should be) I think it’s great that the tools are there now for anyone to produce a competent sounding album, or video for that matter. So, that over rides my feeling that for the most part, I just don’t think Protools can give most artists the lush, gorgeous sound a 24 track mixed on a Neve or equivalent mixing board with all those beautiful outboard magic boxes like the Lexicon reverb units can do. You listen to Woman In Love, early Celine Dion tracks from the Falling Into You album (finally released on vinyl last year and beautiful sounding) or any of the other acts where full blown studio technics were used, and it just puts Protools to shame strictly in the SQ realm...not convenience.
I have a theory. I don’t think there was anything wrong with those studio tools, though they were often over used in the 80’s. The Bee Gees didn’t over use them imo....the falsetto of course didn’t have nuch to do with studio technology. When it became possible to use a computer to record in your own living room, that was great in theory, but early on the effects weren’t great at all, it was the convenience and low cost that made it popular, certainly not the sound. So, I think lower quality sound and stripped down production became vogue out of necessity. I hate early digital recordings from major artists and it’s disappointing it was even used. My theory is we got a lot of pretty stripped down sound and minimal production value, it even became the “in” sound, because of the lack of decent assets like reverb, etc, in the digiral realm when recording all digital. I remember hating top 40 in general for quite a while because I preferred the big analogue production I was used to hearing until the late 80’s. I have noticed in the last few years that some of it has come back. And I agree it was over used a lot in the 80’s, especially on drum sounds, so I am speaking more in general terms. I think L Buckingham has shown on his recent album with McVie that you can do digital right with a minimum of production, but as you said, it allowed a lot of people to put stuff out on their own that really didn’t have the right technical experience or assets. But, at the end of the day it didn’t matter because most just don’t care about sq in general. There were a ton of top ten songs that sounded pretty awful, but at least those songs did get out there and people enjoyed them. I just wasn’t one of them for the most part.
I think most agree with your consensus and I really don’t know why I prefer it to his other albums but I simply do. And Dreamin’On is a really great song. I love the outro tremendously. The singing on that track is good, but it must be said his vocal performance on most of the other tracks is barely competent, for reasons we now know, but like anything if the songs are good you can usually overlook things like that. And Barry did a superb job filling in the rough spots.
If tracks from Guilty Pleasures are going to be discussed, we don’t need to talk about this at all right now. If not, I don’t think I have really ever read what anyone here thought about it. I loved Come Tomorrow, and liked a lot of the others, but there were some turkeys too and nothing other than perhaps Come Tomorrow was even close to the Guilty album. Any short quick comments or will we discuss it later?
I think there was only one single from that project, but I suggest we keep this chrono and discuss later.
You do not know what I am talking about. I'm talking about something that happened on another thread. It's alright.
I'm not so sure about that. Have you listened to her most recent album? It's very full and lush. Digital has come a looong way.
But, that was the 80s. It was out of vogue...from a musical standpoint. New wave and punk was the think in the late 70s and early 80s, and it was stripped-down music. On top of that, the recording/record industry had its first recession, and record labels cut budgets back bigtime, especially for R&B artists. It became necessary to cut back if you wanted to make any kind of profit. But, remember also: at the time, the only people able to record digitally back then were the big names like Fleetwood Mac, Stevie Wonder, and the people we're discussing now. Some jazz labels also recorded digitally, like the GRP label. In my opinion, the sparse and clean production qualities were perfect for jazz music. What I didn't like about the use of digital was further into the 80s when blues artists started using it. Most recordings of that nature had that steely, bright, cold sound. To me, the digital recordings of the late 80s had something missing, that warmth, that natural compression that you got with tape. That said, there are some mid-80s digital recordings I really love, like "Word Up" by Cameo, "Like A Virgin" by Madonna, "Body And Soul" by Joe Jackson, "When The Boys Meet The Girls" by Sister Sledge, and "Nothing Like The Sun" by Sting. A late 80s digital recording (DAD, because I recall reading that Susanna Hoff's voice worked better when mixed to tape) thAt I love is "Everything" by the Bangles. But, you know, for a pure SQ enjoyment, I go back to "Different Light", which was analog.
Even though Stevie Wonder's "Hotter Than July" sounds strange, the hi-rez of it sounds quite smooth, and it contains lush recordings.
Perhaps your complaint is more about general 80s production values rather than digital, specifically. Blame Hugh Padgham for that damn gated drum sound! What I hated was that "arena rock" sound, where everything sounds like it was a fake live recording. I'm looking at you, Bruce Springsteen and your "Born In The USA"!
I'm fairly certain "Mirage" is a digital recording from 1992.
It wasn't the recording, it was everything in the mix prior to that. Christopher Cross and Donald Fagen's The Nightfly were two of the earliest digital pop recordings, and they sound incredible - smooth and lush and . . . if not warm . . . certainly not harsh or sterile. Both feature impressively deep and transparent mixes, almost holographic. Precise, but never brittle.
What you don't like are all of the production choices that came into vogue in the '80s. This included a much harsher EQ, more compression, harsher and unnatural reverb, and scads of digital processing (including digital reverb) and sampled instruments (often layers of them, and from low-sample rate and bit-depth samples).
Any one of those factors probably wouldn't grate, but when you layer them one on top of another on top of another? Migraine territory.
Exactly. These were stylistic choices that the technology of the times enabled. And not digital recording technology per-se, either - analog recordings from the same period sound almost identical if not even worse.
By the early '90s those stylistic choices had shifted, EQ had changed, the use of reverb changed again, any other digital equipment in the chain got upgraded and became more transparent and the sound of records improved dramatically prior to the loudness wars. Compare the smooth, deep, rich sound of Annie Lennox's Diva - a digital recording done largely at her home - to the far more harsh and brittle sound of Revenge by Eurythmics from just 6 or so years before (an analog recording mostly crafted in a professional studio).
That "'80s sound" was a conscious choice. It had nothing to do with digital recording.
Pretty sure it's analog, from 1982. Tusk from 1979 was partially digital - one of the first pop albums recorded digitally.
"Hold On to My Love":
(This is the correct title; it does not have parentheses in it.)
"What Becomes of the Brokenhearted" is one of the great lost-love songs not sung by a country singer, and it's one of Motown's best singles of its 1960s golden era. That it was not by one of the label's major artists -- Jimmy Ruffin had only two Top 20 singles in his Motown years -- makes it all the more amazing. Billboard's original Top 100 Singles chart of 1966, published in the December 24 issue that year, had "What Becomes of the Brokenhearted" as the #2 single of the year, even though it got no higher than #7 in the Hot 100, because it was one of the few hit singles that year not to rocket up the charts and plunge just as fast. It spent 17 weeks in the Hot 100 and 14 weeks in the top 40, which were an eternity in 1966. (For example, none of the year's #1, #2, or #3 hits spent more than 15 weeks in the Hot 100.) At some point, Billboard itself re-did its 1966 Top 100 to give songs bonus points for weeks at #1, which caused Ruffin's hit to drop in the final ranking. I have no idea when this was done, only that it was done at some point.
By 1979, Ruffin, the older brother of former Temptation David Ruffin, was all but forgotten in the U.S. He was somewhat better remembered in the UK, where "Brokenhearted" was re-released in 1974 and became a hit all over again. He also had a couple of dance hits for the Chess and Epic labels, but those were one-offs. Sometime in the 1970s, Ruffin met Robin Gibb, probably when both were in London. Robin loved Jimmy's voice, but plans to work together were delayed by the Bee Gees' hyper-success of the late 1970s. Robin settled in Long Island in 1979, and he and Blue Weaver got together with Ruffin and produced Sunrise, which came out in 1980.
I am almost certain that the first time I heard "Hold On to My Love" was on American Top 40. If memory serves, it did eventually get added by South Bend's Top 40 stations, but I think I still heard it as often on AT40 or my own turntable as elsewhere.
I re-listened to it for this post, and I'd forgotten how much the production was influenced not so much by his older brother Barry's style as by that of Phil Spector. It's actually a pretty good song; I definitely liked it in 1980 and still like it today. And it is utterly forgotten today.
I would have thought that David Ruffin was more likely to make this kind of comeback; that would have to wait a few more years, with help from Daryl Hall and John Oates.
The first of the trades to review "Hold On to My Love" was Record World in its February 23, 1980 issue. The song was listed in the "B.O.S./Pop" section; the magazine wrote, "Ruffin collaborates with Robin Gibb here and the result is a moving finger snapper that's great for BOS [Black Oriented Singles] formats with strong pop & club potential. Joyous music on or off the dance floor."
In its March 1, 1980 issue, Billboard listed "Hold On to My Love" as a Recommended single and merely mentioned it. Cash Box gave it more credence with a review in its Feature Picks for March 1: "David Ruffin’s younger brother [sic] Jimmy should
receive massive B/C [Black Contemporary] and pop attention with this track co-written and produced by Bee Gee Robin Gibb and Blue Weaver. Ruffin gives the glistening melody a tough vocal workout and Gibb adds one of his patented high vocal swoops just for good measure. Already grabbing numerous adds."
Despite how little attention "Hold On to My Love" got in Billboard, that was where it reached its highest peak, #10. In Record World, it peaked at #13, and it topped out at #14 in both Cash Box and Radio & Records. It was the second biggest hit of Jimmy Ruffin's career.
On the R&B charts, it peaked at #29 on the Billboard Hot Soul Singles, #40 on the Cash Box Black Contemporary Top 100, and #43 on the Record World Black Oriented Singles chart.
On the adult contemporary surveys, "Hold On to My Love" got to #32 in Billboard and #34 in Record World. It may have charted in Radio & Records, but I don't have access to the actual pop/adult charts of this era.
The song didn't make the disco charts, mostly because RSO never serviced a 12-inch single to clubs. But thanks to the work of one lone DJ, "Hold On to My Love" became a belated dance-floor classic, and I'll write more about that story in a bit.
"Hold On to My Love" was released in mid-February 1980, based on the review dates in the trades. It had the catalog number of RSO RS 1021 and had a listed time of 3:36. Unusually for its era, though this would become more common as the 1980s went on, the B-side was an instrumental version of the A-side. Its listed time was 3:35.
I have seen stock copies of this 45s from these pressing plants:
PRC Compton (26)
CBS Pitman (56)
PRC Richmond (72)
CBS Terre Haute (73)
I've never seen a stock copy from CBS Santa Maria (25).
At least three different variations exist from Bestway, all of which have the number "19" on the label:
-- small type on title and artist with all the production credits at the bottom of the label; "Engineered by Glen Kolotkin" is next to the composer credit between the title and artist
-- larger type on title and artist, again with production credits at the bottom; "Engineered by Glen Kolotkin" is under all the other credits
-- a different typeface at the bottom, still with smallish print; "Engineered by Glen Kolotkin" is at the right instead of at the bottom
Promo copies have the vocal version on both sides, mono/stereo. The time on both is listed as 2:58 with an intro of :17 for a total time of 3:15. It has an early fade. These were pressed by CBS Santa Maria (25) and CBS Terre Haute (73).
"Hold On to My Love" is very rare on CD, especially in the United States. Evidently, there are some complicated rights issues that make it all but impossible to license for compilations.
The story of "Hold On to My Love" doesn't end there.
By 1980, disco club DJs generally used 12-inch records exclusively, whether in single or album format. They didn't like seven-inch 45s for two reasons: the songs were too short, and the big hole in the middle required an adapter. Because RSO never pressed a 12-inch single, by the time the full LP came out, "Hold On to My Love" was dead.
But New York DJ Robbie Leslie heard something there. He had been a regular in the booth at the notorious Studio 54, but by 1980 he was working at, among other places, a club called 12 West. In his head, he envisioned a remix that combined elements of the A-side vocal and B-side instrumental versions. He thought it would be easy to create at home, but because of the way the song was produced, he found it impossible to make the mix he heard in his head. So, during his off hours, he used the mixer at 12 West to create a seven-minute version that, after he put it on tape, he transfered to a 12-inch acetate.
Leslie's remix started to fill dance floors wherever he played it. Naturally, word got around, which led to an offer from Mike Wilkinson, who was the head of the famous Disconet subscription dance music service. Leslie, with help from Wilkinson and Raul Rodriguez (creator of the ABBA "Lay All Your Love on Me" Disconet remix earlier in 1981), came up with an eight-plus-minute version that he thought was even better than his more crude remix.
This remix of "Hold On to My Love" was issued on Side 2 of Disconet Volume 4, Program 4 (MWDN 404) with an official publication date of August 1981, though it was out earlier than that. Yes, this was issued a year and a half after the original version!
Disconet included program notes with its monthly releases, and here's what it wrote about this belated remix:
Leslie's remix became a dance-floor staple. Over the years, Disconet reissued it twice -- on Volume 7, Program 1 in 1984 and on the compilation Disconet Dance Classics Volume 3 in 1989. It was frequently bootlegged and counterfeited. Jimmy Ruffin himself sang the song at the 1983 season opening of The Saint, a New York members-only gay nightclub located at the former site of the Fillmore East. On the night The Saint closed for good, in 1988, Leslie was the final DJ, and the last dance was "Hold On to My Love," which had become especially poignant by then as AIDS had ravaged the gay community.
I haven’t heard her recent album but I did comment that things are looking up in the last few years as far as better production (well, that’s totally subjective of course, but more lush and produced, which previously was harder for Protools to do but I’m sure it’s much better now). A good example, perhaps, of what I didn’t like about early digital recording was the Bee Gees One album. It is very, very cold sounding. But, it gets the job done and it allowed a lot of people to put out albums that otherwise could not. I had DAT in my studio towards the end, as a mix down tool. Ouch. Like CD’s at first, it was easy to get caught up in the excitement of “new” and not give as much weight to what it really sounded like.
And I couldn’t agree more about some of the producers who really overused this stuff in the 80’s and 90’s, like the producers you cited! But some of it is admittedly great, even awesome. I cannot believe how good Madonna’s early stuff still sounds today. Just makes you want to absolutely crank it up on vinyl, and you can! Whether one likes the production or not, there is no denying it sounds good! And I used to love gated drum sounds...I cringe now!
Well, Mirage does sound fantastic. I think, like analogue recording desks, it depended on what platform you were on. I don’t know, Mirage sounds analgue to me (I know you hedged your comment just a bit by saying you think rather than stating it as fact) but maybe it is. I should check...and I have the original MFSL on vinyl which are very hard to find. It does sound really good so it would be an early example of a fine digital recording. It could be done, but technology was certainly limiting what could be done in the early days. I know sometimes they would record digitally, and mix analogue which I’m sure helped smooth over the rough edges.
Donald Fagen's "The Nightfly" is also a digital recording that I really love.
Separate names with a comma.