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Carl Dixon

'hustle' And Instrumental Version Research

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Hi everybody -

In my musical quest and song writing I highly regard instrumentals as well as the vocal versions of songs. Indeed, I used to flip records over to the instrumental B side and cassette join together to get that longer groove. I often do not like the notion of messing around with an already established song in some cases (which never had an instrumental back in the day), but on certain recordings I think it enhances our user experience as fans and listeners. I like to hear the arrangement and those instruments low in the mix, that make up overall sound etc. With the technology as it is, and philosophy that a new song can exploit different versions, do any of you expect an instrumental version on new releases? For example I am creating 5 east coast style retro 1970's recordings right now and want to give alternative mixes to potential purchasers. This would help with expenses, say, if they bought extra mixes, rather than just the radio edit. I must say that anybody creating music has to think of different models to survive. If you think of the quality of song writing and production back in the 1960's and 70's I think we were spoilt. Today, I feel a songs appeal can be so varied and those who like to club, may indeed prefer the longer mixes, but those like me would be happy with a 1970's package of stereo, no more than 3mins long with a fade out during the singalong at the end!

Anyway, have a listen to this. This is the tail end and outro of a track I am doing now, which will be possibly included as an extra mix etc:

http://soundcloud.com/55motown/a-little-of-the-big

I would appreciate any comments, because I feel strongly that extra mixes benefit the artist too for example as their contract could include royalties from sales etc......so any diverse income supports the enterprise for the label, producers and artists.

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I LOVE instrumentals! I have no idea why they died out to be honest. If you got a great vocal/inst record back in the day it represented great value 'cos you could often play both sides over the course of a night if the record was good enough. Some sterling examples being The Steve Karmen Big Band/Jimmy Radcliffe, Duke Browner, Luther Ingram, Connie Clark, Ann Perry and much of the vintage Detroit stuff.

You're right. We were definitely spoilt back in the day!

Ian D :D

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Should have mentioned that in when I post this style of groove on Youtube, the Americans seem to call it 'Hustle' music, so with that in mind, it's another way of tagging the music to others who may rigidly use 'Hustle' on their searches rather than 'soul' or 'disco' etc.

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Thanks Ian, I am pleased you replied because I value your angle on this. There is a suggestion that an instrumental is a cop out,because the writer/producers could not match the A side, so cheated with just one song ha ha! I see the point, because often the B side effort can be as good or better etc. But what is it for you that makes the instrumental attractive? Is it just because you can spin it over and play again in a different form?

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Thanks Ian, I am pleased you replied because I value your angle on this. There is a suggestion that an instrumental is a cop out,because the writer/producers could not match the A side, so cheated with just one song ha ha! I see the point, because often the B side effort can be as good or better etc. But what is it for you that makes the instrumental attractive? Is it just because you can spin it over and play again in a different form?

I think listening to the instrumental provides a completely different listening experience to listening to the vocal. When you listen to a vocal you have an obvious tendency to concentrate on the attractiveness and delivery of the vocalist and study the lyrics of the song, which, by and large, is the most popular appeal to most listeners.

However, the instrumental allows you to focus more on the structure, arrangement and general foundation of the song without the distraction of a vocalist singing lyrics.

It's a completely different listening experience. It's one of the things that really attracted me to the scene in the first place. One of the first records I ever bought was "Nothing But Love" by the Kadoo Strings because I loved the idea that a local Detroit record would even CONSIDER using a full string section and they were proud enough to release it as an instrumental. Good on them. It's a record of supreme beauty and no vocal yet has surpassed the instrumental. "Let's Have A Love-In" by the Wingate Love-In Strings, "Festival Time" by the San Remo Golden Strings and "The Gallop" by Milton Wright & The Terra Shirma Strings are all great examples of instrumentals that were just way beyond any attempts to sing over.

Instrumentals have always been a major part of the scene and have always supplied another angle. Both the vocal and instrumental sides on records like "Psychedlic Soul" by Saxie Russell and "Exus Trek" by Luther Ingram are equally compelling. Why would you want to short-change yourself?

Ian D :unsure:

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Thanks Ian - that's more like it. I agree. I hear the instruments being the voice and words, expressing their unique language throughout the song. Like classical music I guess. Listen to 'The Wasps' by Vaughn Williams or Danse Macabre' by Saint Saens. no vocals in site but just as powerful. Some songs do not need vocal interaction, just the melody dancing throughout the song with different instruments chirping in, plus of course, the valuable punctuation of fills, stops and starts etc. I personally think that many full orchestra recordings of our style of music borders on classical and in the right place, could well compete with the past and present classics. Very valuable contribution Ian. The next level is to find out what percentage of releases/hits were instrumental. Thinking of things like Tequila, Telstar etc. This will do nicely:

http://forgottenhits...its_1955_-_1979

or even this:

http://bsnpubs.websitetoolbox.com/post?id=4863296

Edited by Carl Dixon

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Nice one Carl.

This thread got me thinking just before I started putting this Sunday's radio show together. As a direct result, I've decided to programme the following tracks in this order this Sunday @ 3.00pm LIVE:-

Exus Trek - The Luther Ingram Orchestra

If It's All The Same To You Babe - Luther Ingram

Psychedelic Soul Pt 2 - Saxie Russell

Psychedelic Soul Pt 1 - Saxie Russell

RnB Time - E. Rodney Jones

Wait 'Til I Get To Know You - Bobby Treetop

Essentially 3 incredible instrumentals followed by 3 incredible vocal versions of the same song. These are all boss records in their own right and each of 'em formed their popularity based on BOTH versions.

However, I've been thinking about this and I've come to the conclusion that people hear music in different ways, which is one of the things that makes it so hard to predict. I've got a sneaking feeling that the majority of the population really want well produced and quick to digest great songs and probably aren't too bothered in analysing too far beyond that.

So you, as an entrepreneural producer/financiar/musician/record company guy etc, etc, will be digging deeper than most.

I'm exactly the same. I'm fascinated by great records.

I tend to dissect great records and figure out how they came up with 'em. It's fascinating stuff. Richard Wylie & Tony Hestor (the best Northern Soul producers bar none in my opinion) always got serious instrumental jams going and then dropped the vocals once they'd got the basics right. Whether it was "Exus Trek", "Get It Baby", "Going To A Happening"", "Sister Lee", "Cool Off" or "Yes, I Love You Baby", they consistantly hit the nail in the head which is why they've always been my favorites.

I likewise rate Miles Grayson in L.A. and Charlie Callello in New York for similar reasons.Charlie Callello is actually my favorite Produder/Arranger of all time. Anyone who can boast "Ski-ing In The Snow" - The Invitations, "I'm Gonna Change" - The Four Seasons, "I Can't Help Loving You" - Paul Anka and "Native New Yorker" - Oddysey on their resume is gonna be pretty hard to beat ay?

Phew. Maybe I analyse too much LOL....

Great thread Carl.

It's kinda weird that a scene that was very much built on instrumentals for some reason seems to be fading them out. I can remember the biggest record in the country being "Scrub Board" by the Trammps in the early 70's. An anthem and pure instrumental.

Several years later, the vocal version got released and "Hold Back The Night" has since become a perennial classic. It was even a UK pop hit LOL. That happened 100% because the Northern Soul scene already knew the instrumental, so when the BRILLIANT vocal eventually got released it was an instant hit.

Instrumentals have always been a key part of the scene - "Cigarette Ashes", "6 By 6" or "Thumb A Ride" anyone?

Miss them at your peril.

Ian D :thumbsup:

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In that case Ian, we must be on a similar wavelength. All I did and still do when I hear a song that ticks my boxes, is analyse, probably too much to the detriment of colleagues with me. I think there are certain notes, key changes, phrases or mechanics of just a couple of instruments playing that capture me, and I am hooked. That's what I have been doing since I was about 13. The vocal and background vocals are often the icing on the cake, but sometimes not necessary on some songs as the strings, horns or whatever captivate the melody and weave it around the groove.

The reason I ask on this thread, is simple. In production terms there are opportunities to be creative and make at least 4 different versions both vocal and instrumental (maybe totalling 6 or even 8 versions altogether) and that is simply to sell, and recoup some of the expenditure necessary to produce the material in the first place. Knowing my music for example, is a modern throwback to decades past, there just maybe a few that will acknowledge that creativity and be prepared to support the releases and purchase more than one version and hopefully enjoy the notion. I have been saddened at my poor PR over the last few years and have really been experimenting with one thing and another as you know, to try and understand the pathetic way the music business is drastically changing. I did not realise, for example at the beginning of this quest that information, pressers, the release, the video all must be in place in case of any decent airplay, which will ensure potential customers will easily find the product. Also I have learnt that sadly, even before you have made a penny, certain fans will take the vocal and lengthen with other segments from the instrumental and post it, free of charge on social networking sites, which is a nice gesture as it sometimes may stimulate the market etc, but please give it a chance to go through traditional methods first to claim royalties, sales and respect for the featured artists and producers etc. Or do I exploit that scenario and let them do it, to raise the songs profile? I used to do the same thing with cassettes in my teens, but I did not copy and distribute worldwide under the noses of the producers and those who took a risk in being creative in the studio etc.

So for me, an instrumental is another way of endorsing the melody with clever instrumentation and creating a valued additional version that can be played at different times to the vocal. Bubble music, backing tracks,fade outs of programmes for example. And I agree with you Ian, people hear different things from a recording and it is those people who I feel would be appreciative of alternative versions being available. I have said in recent years, if this technology was around in the early 1970's I am convinced the likes of Norman Whitfield would have used it.

Yes, I remember 'scrub board' too. That certainly ticked all the boxes at the time and the famous stop in it. The a 'cappella in 'Hold back the night' was everything I would want to 'surprise and delight' me on the dance floor. Reminds me of 'Both ends against the middle' somehow, another great seventies song and production. The clip I posted at the top is something I am working on right now. This is the bit after a 70's song would have faded out and the rhythm section just continued for another 2 or 3 minutes, but I decided to keep the groove, but change the attack of the horns and strings to stretch things in a different direction. Whether I keep it on, I don't know, but the technology today allows experimentation to an unprecedented level. The music business is fighting, and I feel if a good melody, groove and production can't get some decent respect, we all might as well pack it in and listen to the fabulous songs and recordings from the 50's, 60' and 70's. Just listen to 'Be thankful for what you've got' and that was cut with no sheet music there and then in the studio! It takes me like 3 months to come up with anything! It proves what they did back then deserves to be on a pedestal, but has also given us all a great yardstick to aspire to.

Edited by Carl Dixon

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Hello,

I agree with you two young lads, as much as I love soul music I also appreciate instrumentals and I'm often surprised at the relative simplicity of some of them.

You can learn more about basic structure and arrangements from listening to instrumental tracks, as you can when you mix a track and can analyse the isolated instruments on a multi-track.

The soul is in the vocals, certainly, but there's an important mood and spirit in the music - as well as suspense, tension, release etc.

I think we had a thread about instrumentals on soulsource before and we discussed a few favourites. One that always comes quickly to my mind is 'Ooh Pretty Lady' by Al Kent, it seems so simple but it's so infectious.

I also like reggae and dub versions and I've often thought it has similarities to some of the soul instrumentals, especially things from Detroit, having a prominent drums and bass platform with just a few instruments on top in various sections. The more simple the better in most cases.

As an example of a soul instrumental which I feel has obvious dub similarities I'd suggest 'Don't Leave Me' by Holland & Dozier, a simple but hypnotic track with a definate dub "attitude" in the recording and in the mixdown (using similar effects such as heavy reverb on the guitar stabs etc).

Was it a coincidence or was it an influence?

Great topic, let's think of some more examples.

Paul

Edited by Paul Mooney

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Blimey Paul - you made me shiver mentioning 'Ooh! Pretty Lady' this was one of the songs I analysed in about 1992 when I first realised the notion of me writing some songs one day. I had just bought a Yamaha V50, 8 track, 32 note polyphonic sequencer and 'Love is like an itching in my heart' and 'Ooh! Pretty lady' were the two original recordings I mimicked into the sequencer to 'investigate'. I still have the files but the floppy is broken, so need to get my head around changing that one day. I remember about the Al Kent track that the drums (probably Uriel Jones) and congas had a syncopation that padded the rhythm slightly differently to other 4/4 songs and the guitar (probably Dennis Coffey) would sing out in front of everything else in the recording. The bass (probably Bob Babbit) was not complicated but sat nicely with everything else going on etc. Then that break at the end where I believe the organ level is slightly raised. Excellent production. Plus vibes of course and back beats ( I think they were Eddie Willis). The perfect instrumental, and still makes me shiver from top to bottom. I agree about the reverb and other electronics needed to give dimension. I think there was a style developing with effects as studios tried to mimic each other. If you remember a track called 'We shall overcome' by The Magic Tones on MAH's I think. The tambourine is very loud in the mix and played by Ken Sands, the sound engineer where that song was recorded. I met him in 2003 in Plymouth where he lives and he told me he rolled to record, walked into the studio and played the tambourine along side the other musicians. He also was the engineer on 'Disco Lady' by Johnny Taylor. He told me they had cut the track, without a title and he came up with that name in the studio after the session.

Strangely over the years I have met Ed Wolfrum who probably engineered 'Ooh! Pretty Lady' at Ric Tic, Eddie, Dennis of course, Bob Babbit and Uriel. If you ever bought Dennis Coffey's book there are Ed's photo's of sessions at Ric Tic for some of those iconic recordings. Al Kent is stood in the studio etc, and Don Davis sat with Dennis with a guitar on his lap. Priceless....

I agree about the Holland Dozier track - loud, punctuated, good high and low frequencies captured onto tape, without, by the sound of it, too many dubs and mixdowns. I think that was the likes of Ray Monette, Dennis Coffey on guitar and Babbit on bass again. Not sure who the drummer was, could have been Uriel or maybe even Spyder Webb.... If you have ever heard 'Glory Fleeting' I posted on Youtube as a demo, this track I was trying to emulate a Ric Tic instrumental....

This track actually features George Katsakis of The Royaltones (where Bob and Dennis used to be members) who offered to help out with my quest in the early days. I tried very hard to get the back beats on the guitar right, but that is an usual skill and quite painful for a really non guitarist as me! There are like 3 separate tracks of sax, and real guitar overdubs that I have done. I also did a real bass line on it.....

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In 1975 I purchased They'll be coming by Sam Ambrose, 35 years later I put the wrong side on at home.

It stopped me in my tracks, so it did....a bloody vocal of They'll be coming... :hatsoff2:

Funny ole game en it Greavsie.

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In 1975 I purchased They'll be coming by Sam Ambrose, 35 years later I put the wrong side on at home.

It stopped me in my tracks, so it did....a bloody vocal of They'll be coming... :thumbsup:

Funny ole game en it Greavsie.

Which I actually love by the way! We couldn't have played it 'cos it's a bit too twee but I can remember the vocals clear as daylight. and the lyrics were...."Ram ram, here I am, ohhhhh sugar daddy" or something along those lines weren't they? Great pop record.

Wonder if there were ever vocals to "Hold On Help Is On The Way" or "Elijah Rockin' With Soul"........?

As an aside I remember paying a lot of money at the time for The Subway Rider's "After The Session" long after Frankie & The Classicals and Laura Green were huge. The instrumental became a big record in it's own right..........

Ian D :lol:

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Actually I've had a bit of an idea that's been brewing over the last few years which I fancy discussing in a bit more depth, if you're up for it Carl and Paul. It'll basically be all about creating a whole new genre of music with it's roots in the Northern scene. I've got the game-plan but it needs shoring up from both the studio/musicians end and the publishing split/clearances end which sounds like it's right up both of your streets. It's a long-term plan though and as per usual would need finance and backing to make it work so if you know of any rich investors...........

We should have a natter........

Ian D :thumbsup:

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Torch 72....Scrub Board

Mecca 75 -- Hold back the night (was this a doormant vocal that was discovered and released or did a certian Mecca resident have anything to do with it.

Bts Frantic Escape-The Innocent Bystanders, until the day I die I will maintain there is a vocal out there..

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Hi Carl

I really enjoyed listening to your composition and reading this thread. I love instrumentals and one of my favourites has to Ashford and Simpson's Bourgie Bourgie. Instrumental heaven!

Well done Carl :thumbsup:

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Thanks Imogen. I am hopeful these tracks will evolve and be available sometime this year. All will be revealed.

Ian/Paul , we should talk at some stage. The music business needs passion as well as money. Passion is always around, but the money not so much. Traditional instrumentation is important, but.......as I have learnt, even having some of The Funk Brothers on my recordings has not necessarily created enough buzz to make things viable. For me to go in a studio again, I really need to see the grander scheme - like I mentioned earlier, different mixes, or another vocalist on the same bed, or even a different vocalist with different lyrics etc. It's the only way....Maybe over summer we can meet up etc, or evan at a gig Ian/Paul? That way we could chin wag and support a local venue etc?

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we must be on a similar wavelength :thumbsup:

I think it's an affliction Carl.:lol::yes: :yes:

When I'm out dancing I sometimes have 'the imaginary instrument' with me-it used to be the horns in the early days, mainly saxaphone and trumpet. It occassionaly changes into the drum patterns at the moment its the guitar (rhythm or base),

.

when I hear a song that ticks my boxes, is analyse, I think there are certain notes, key changes, phrases or mechanics of just a couple of instruments playing that capture me, and I am hooked. That's what I have been doing since I was about 13.:)

I think I wrote my first essay on an instrumental track 'I Hear A Symphony' Carmel Strings when I was 16. In my Diary-I wish I'd kept all that stuffyes.gif .

I agree about the Holland Dozier track - loud, punctuated, good high and low frequencies captured onto tape, without, by the sound of it, too many dubs and mixdowns. I think that was the likes of Ray Monette, Dennis Coffey on guitar and Babbit on bass again. Not sure who the drummer was, could have been Uriel or maybe even Spyder Webb.... If you have ever heard 'Glory Fleeting' I posted on Youtube as a demo, this track I was trying to emulate a Ric Tic instrumental....

This track actually features George Katsakis of The Royaltones (where Bob and Dennis used to be members) who offered to help out with my quest in the early days. I tried very hard to get the back beats on the guitar right, but that is an usual skill and quite painful for a really non guitarist as me! There are like 3 separate tracks of sax, and real guitar overdubs that I have done. I also did a real bass line on it.....

A few weeks ago I found myself with a spare few hours and decided to pull out some tunes I hadn't heard for a while. I was half way through re-reading Dennis Coffey's book and it reminded me of The Holidays-Making Up Time-Golden World'. I sat on my sofa with an air guitar and tried to emulate the guitar- punch back beat!

I was there for quite a while but could I get it? Not a chance. The guitar back beat is like The metronome from heaven. Totally on the Mark. I thought it would be easy.

I obviously need a lot more years of practice.............and a guitar.

Great thread Carl......Keep up the good work.

Best

Kev

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Kev - I think you are right. It's an affliction. Clearly you have the bug too.

Never heard 'Makin' up time'/The Holidays - have now though. Written by Don Davis I notice. Very passionate drumming with that ghost note during the first few bars. Very unusual. Nice 'shotgun modulation' at 1' 53" ha ha! Well, that's what they called it in the studio inDetroit when the key changes so I'm sticking with it ha ha....

Talking of future sessions, I know for sure there are musicians all over the place and available for the right deal. And singers etc. What I would really like to do is quite complicated but in a nutshell:

Take more songs to Detroit and get some of the kids on board as musicians and singers on the session and get some of the old school boys to mentor them eg Spyder Webb on drums 1, and youngster on drums 2, maybe Dennis on guitar 1, Ray on 2, youngster on 3, same with the horns, Edward Gooch (Ric Tic) on bone 1, youngster on 2 etc

Give them an introduction to the business by ensuring they know about the musicians union and what it can do for them in the future, copyright, song construction and collaboration and most of all - respect for those helping them.

And the next complicated thing I really want to do, is cut a rhythm section with my contacts here and Stateside, but overdub strings, horns, vibes, harp, harpsichord etc in Hull, my home town. The Albermarle Centre houses the youth orchestra of the city and I would very much like to give the kids a chance to go in a studio and perform for a commercial venture,where they too can learn about performance fees, royalties, copyright etc. They are the musicians of tomorrow and need encouragement. Their parents have invested in them, so why can't I from a different angle. Of course my aim is for a full orchestra sounding like MFSB/Barry White and I do not see why something like that could not be achieved in the UK. Hull would be perfect and my way of saying thank you to the DJ's who played the music back in my youth, that made me climb a mountain to find out how it was done! It could be a very worthwhile project.

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Talking of the grander scheme Paul and Ian -

I just found this version of 'Soul Recession' by Double Exposure - a song myself and Bobby Eli paid to record and co wrote in his teriffic studio in Philly in 2008. Bobby put countless hours into the production and we put out 8 versions of the song.......to find this version only 7 days after its release floating about the internet free of charge with no royalties sent to us, or indeed any permission given to do this. Here is the link to the excellent remix Mr Pied Piper has done (without permission). Remember all, if you listen to it and enjoy.... fine. If you listen to it twice and enjoy, fine. If you download it (free of charge) and play it again and like it, even better, is that fine (without buying the original - remember, it's all about the original so I am told)? If you play it at home and burn it onto another device to play in the car, home stereo etc, great, but that now means you are part of the music paradox we have right now, where the executive producer and producer of the song do not get residuals to pay the artists royalties, or save up and do another session! But what if you then purchase one of the original incarnations out of guilt? Well that's another story......

http://soundcloud.com/piedpiper/double-exposure-soul-rece-ion

Personally, I think he has done a very nice job and must have took him ages. But, posting this for the world to download free of charge, without permission....tut tut...........

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As a matter of interest please tell me if you download for personal use. Statistically this is the type of research I am doing now to ensure my next releases have variety, punch and protection etc. It's very important to get your feedback.. I must admit, I've played it 3 times already this evening! It has 64 listens and 34 downloads as at 1930hrs BST 5th June 2011! The track was removed from his website after an investigation regarding another Salsoul remix that was illegally being shared, and action by those responsible for the Digital Millennium act apparently. And of course this is not an endorsement of the copyright infringement here and the recording of 'Soul Recession' remains the property of Soultronics Records, Copyright 2008. And of course, the Salsoul label it boasts is untrue, but nevertheless a compliment?

Edited by Carl Dixon

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