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Carl Dixon 60s soul project


Carl Dixon
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Hello everybody. I have just joined the forum after stumbling across it last week by accident. I began to read a number of posts and two hours later I realised I had to visit again. Over the last few days I have been reading different threads and took the plunge today by posting my first.

I am from Hull originally and now reside in London working for a leading satellite broadcaster. I work on television satellite downlinks and feeds for broadcast on our and third party networks around the world.

I am a soul fan from the early seventies who was not aware of the all nighter phenomenon and indeed the term 'Northern Soul' until I arrived back in the UK after living abroad in Holland for a year in 1977. I did not attend any all nighters back in the day.

In my spare time I write songs with a view to them being exploited by singers here or in the States. Ultimately I would like to produce my own material with the experts in Detroit or Philadelphia using the talent from the day and any hopefuls like me that enjoy the soul sound of that era. I felt it appropriate to join in on this thread first as the question is very relevant to me as a composer trying to create a 'soul' sound for my demos.

Indeed the first few answers on this thread summed up my thoughts regarding the question asked. They wanted hit records, tried with what finances and resources they had, created some masterpieces that were shelved for many years, which resulted in some classic soul that was rescued by the Northern Soul aficionados who took it under their wing. Getting credibility is the most difficult thing, but prior to that getting people to listen to the ideas or indeed the demos of new material, is almost impossible. In fact in my case many people think it is a joke and cannot understand why anybody would want to write a song, never mind go in a studio and cut it in a style 40 years old. I do and I will! I can understand the process of how a track created in Detroit say in 1966 with a pedigree as good as Motown, but unknown etc, turns up and becomes popular in the clubs in the UK, and yet those responsible for the cut oblivious to its cult status. With my efforts in recent years I can also see why those in Detroit, for example, gave up and took day jobs. It can be soul destroying to be creative and not allowed to express yourself, whether in music, art, the written word or anything. I guess for me I either assign my songs to a music publisher over here that will tout them to artists or I take them to the States and do it myself. I refuse to give up as I made a pact to do this when I was 19. It is a matter of finance and who the target audience is, if I wished to exploit them commercially.

If anyone is remotley interested in hearing soul songs purposely orchestrated to sound retro in style feel free:

https://www.melkman.com/carlsmusic/TSOP/webmixdown2.mp3

Please remember these are rough demos of the songs created in a style I prefer. The last but one track is a deliberate acknowledgment of the Golden World phenomenon and in particular Al Kent/Ric Tic style I adore. I do not pretend to be a good musician, but I have to start somewhere with my songs. I feel some of them could be danceable if recorded in a studio etc.

Cheers

Carl Dixon

Edited by Carl Dixon
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Can't wait to listen to this when I get home :wave:

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Thanks Mike. I did not expect such a fanfare thread with my name on! However, it is appreciated.

I responed to the thread called Formula Northern Soul, so if I seem to deviate in my first post, that is why.

Edited by Carl Dixon
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Brilliant stuff Carl, there's some crackers on there, a couple of the instrumentals would really make the grade and the crossover track in the middle will please a lot of people. The one near the end with the chime bars was horrible but the rest...well done! Would liked to have heard more of track 1 as it cut off just as it was about to get going.

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Thanks for your comments Pete. The first track, 'Dear Tammi' was written years ago now and even has a 'Philly' version too. There are full lyrics which some have been published in the BankHouse books publication from last year called 'The Real Tammi Terrell', by Ludie Montgomery and Vickie Wright. In fact it seems the chapter the lyrics appear in, is named after the song, which was a nice gesture by Ludie. Here is the full instrumental version of it. It may sound warped and scratched and that is intentional, as when I pitch the songs to agencies, I do not want them to hear the clinical sounds of a wide bandwidth recording, if that makes sense:

www.melkman.com/carlsmusic/detroit/deartammi.mp3

The chime bells (Sorry Baby, Christmas) is an effort to sound a little like Spector/Motown around 1963, with a girlie group vocal. I have tried to get The Flirtations to sing on it, but it is a struggle!

Edited by Carl Dixon
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Thanks for your comments Pete. The first track, 'Dear Tammie' was written years ago now and even has a 'Philly' version too. There are full lyrics which some have been published in the BankHouse books publication from last year called 'The Real Tammi Terrell', by Ludie Montgomery and Vickie Wright. In fact it seems the chapter the lyrics appear in, is named after the song, which was a nice gesture by Ludie. Here is the full instrumental version of it. It may sound warped and scratched and that is intentional, as when I pitch the songs to agencies, I do not want them to hear the clinical sounds of a wide bandwidth recording, if that makes sense:

www/carlsmusic/Detroit/DearTammi.mp3

The chime bells (Sorry Baby, Christmas) is an effort to sound a little like Spector/Motown around 1963, with a girlie group vocal. I have tried to get The Flirtations to sing on it, but it is a struggle!

Link not working Carl...

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Try now!

Worked fine now, thanks. It's that track that actually sounds like an old Ric Tic instrumental, can't remember which one right this second, but it does! Great stuff, thanks.

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Hi Carl so you did it mate -- and joined, a very big welcome. your music is brill, ive just had a thought, has you know iam off to detroit in october and hopefully going to re-form a detroit group from the 60s if i can get them back in a studio are you intrested in writing some stuff for them. i will email you more details about this idea.

theres no more new news yet about viscounts fourtops i will keep you informed.

Edited by hitsville chalky
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Hi Chalky, thanks for the welcome. Yes, I decided that the wealth of talent on here can help educate me. I love the snippets and trivia of who did what when, as you know.

I would be honoured to submit a song, whether music, lyrics or both, for your personal venture in Detroit. Seems you are a little ahead of me. Let me know! Do you have studio and production contacts there? If not, I have. Also, do not forget to get the Detroit press interested in your venture. I know they will lap it up. Also, I have contacts in Fox TV -Detroit. They covered the Darrell Banks memorial project after I spoke to them, and the story broke on the US wires and was in loads of publications. Remember they are fascinated at the Brits for doing all this with their music and I would be hopeful there would be some media coverage for any venture. That's what I plan anyway for my visit whenever.

As for Viscount, I see their flyers changing and their wording being adapted to accomodate the pressure going down from you and the fans. Did Fred Bridges ever contact you? I know he is a very busy man, but a diamond.

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Did you do the vocals too Carl? :wave:

If you would like the full tracks hosted on my website, feel free to email them to me :wave:

Edited by ♫ Soulgirl ♫
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Did you do the vocals too Carl? :rolleyes:

If you would like the full tracks hosted on my website, feel free to email them to me :lol:

shouldn't you be asking him for the pleasure?

pah! some people! wink.gif

Shane

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I was offering free hosting on another soul type site that's all.

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Hi Soulgirl. Yes, I did the crap vocals on one of the tracks when I had bronchitis can you believe. I am not a singer, but have to in order to see how the words fit and when to take a breath etc, for when I eventually do get somebody to do it for me. I even did the backing vocals (4 male/3 female - imagine how I had to do that!!!!). I will email you.

Dave - Thank you for your encouragement. It is not an easy task but fun as you know.

Pete -S - it was not intentional to sound like a Ric Tic in that instance. In fact out the two versions, each track does sound similar to two completely different songs, without me knowing at the time. The heavy brass idea is direct from the Glenn Miller sound, which was in my mind at the time.

Edited by Carl Dixon
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Cool... I've PM'd you my email address :thumbsup:

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Keep at it Carl...as always you have my admiration and 100% support.

You coming up for the Velvelettes gig in Peterborough? email me..

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Hi Paul and thank you. I am hopeful to get time off work, but struggling. There is a remote chance I can get the Saturday off and can attend that performance. Seems I am in demand at work. They know my passion and are trying to work around something. If I am lucky to get both days off, I may try and attend both, as I know the ladies personally from my March visit to Detroit. It would be nice to support you and them, if that makes any sense.

Talking of The Velvelettes, feel free to look at my Flickr account:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/motown

Edited by Carl Dixon
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  • 1 month later...

Hi everybody.

I am nearly ready to take out a bank loan and finance my musical quest to record my songs in the States. One thing that occurred to me is if I make a 'master' recording how am I going to exploit it here in the UK or US? If nobody is interested in buying or leasing the masters, should I go ahead and do it myself and sell via the internet and hand deliver the records/CD's to radio stations etc? Another question is should I consider pressing 45rpm records (which I could do here by all accounts) to maintain a certain respectability for the style of music I wish to create? I know there are many that swear by the format as it gives credence to their record collections and by all accounts vinyl production is on the increase too. Some may find it a little audacious of me to press a limited run of a single for example, but I feel it is important to assure the public that even though a new recording may exist, it is not just because of nostalgia that a 45rpm record has been created. I am certain many 45's are spun at clubs, radio stations and peoples homes, so I feel it worthwhile to consider.

I would appreciate any comments, particularly if you would rather play a 45 if available in preference to CD's and should a new recording become available, would it be considered of interest to your collection if the right criteria are met with the genre of music?

Edited by Carl Dixon
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Guest smigger

Hi everybody.

I am nearly ready to take out a bank loan and finance my musical quest to record my songs in the States. One thing that occurred to me is if I make a 'master' recording how am I going to exploit it here in the UK or US? If nobody is interested in buying or leasing the masters, should I go ahead and do it myself and sell via the internet and hand deliver the records/CD's to radio stations etc? Another question is should I consider pressing 45rpm records (which I could do here by all accounts) to maintain a certain respectability for the style of music I wish to create? I know there are many that swear by the format as it gives credence to their record collections and by all accounts vinyl production is on the increase too. Some may find it a little audacious of me to press a limited run of a single for example, but I feel it is important to assure the public that even though a new recording may exist, it is not just because of nostalgia that a 45rpm record has been created. I am certain many 45's are spun at clubs, radio stations and peoples homes, so I feel it worthwhile to consider.

I would appreciate any comments, particularly if you would rather play a 45 if available in preference to CD's and should a new recording become available, would it be considered of interest to your collection if the right criteria are met with the genre of music?

Put it this way, if you want the DJs to give your tunes a spin and spread the word, then a 45 is paramount. Can't see (m)any DJs playing the tunes out if they are CD only.

Anyway, good luck to you.

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Hi everybody.

I am nearly ready to take out a bank loan and finance my musical quest to record my songs in the States. One thing that occurred to me is if I make a 'master' recording how am I going to exploit it here in the UK or US? If nobody is interested in buying or leasing the masters, should I go ahead and do it myself and sell via the internet and hand deliver the records/CD's to radio stations etc? Another question is should I consider pressing 45rpm records (which I could do here by all accounts) to maintain a certain respectability for the style of music I wish to create? I know there are many that swear by the format as it gives credence to their record collections and by all accounts vinyl production is on the increase too. Some may find it a little audacious of me to press a limited run of a single for example, but I feel it is important to assure the public that even though a new recording may exist, it is not just because of nostalgia that a 45rpm record has been created. I am certain many 45's are spun at clubs, radio stations and peoples homes, so I feel it worthwhile to consider.

I would appreciate any comments, particularly if you would rather play a 45 if available in preference to CD's and should a new recording become available, would it be considered of interest to your collection if the right criteria are met with the genre of music?

IMHO you should do both; a CD with all the tracks and also 45's.

BTW I just listed to the mix from your first post and thought the tracks were great, looking forward to the finished articles. All the best.

Paul

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Thanks for the replies on the thread Pete S, Smigger and Paultp and indeed some of the personal messages too. It is encouraging to know that there is a place for new songs in a genre of music that has thousands of great productions and compositions already. I often ask myself why bother to write new material and why not just celebrate what is available now, but I think I know the answer. It is about personal goals and achievements in life. I wish to be creative and it is the only thing I enjoy doing. The music is everything (well almost, I love wine too!).

From what I can gather I would be prudent to press some singles with either 2 songs on or a song and instrumental on the flip side. The CD could have alternative mixes etc and other items of interest. To me, the most important person in the next step of the equation is the DJ. He or she would take the risk of their credibility by playing a new sound and endorsing it. It does not matter who sang on it, or how much it cost to produce, if it does not get heard through the right channels in the clubs or radio stations it does not stand a chance. Not that I wish to be a pop mogul, but it looks as though to exploit my songs, I have to do it myself and face the challenges as waiting for the knock on the door could be forever. I am not looking for chart activity, just that little recognition like others that makes us all feel a little significant in life.

In view of all this I recognise a paradox. How can something created in 2007 still on the drawing board in 2006, be evocative of those glory soul years yet still have interest and curiosity for fans young and old? I will have to wait and see. In the meantime this is a track I wrote with The Velvelettes in mind. It is a slightly different version to the original as I wished to exploit 'the bit after the record fades off', if you see what I mean:

www.melkman.com/carlsmusic/detroit/suddenlytheresyoudianamix.mp3

It sounds a little flat because there are no vocals on it yet plus the bass line needs re doing on the verses. It is poor and needs more notes in the passage leading up to the chorus but the fundamentals are there. This is the type of material I propose to record.

Edited by Carl Dixon
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I have to say Carl, you've got a real feel for the 60's sound, I like all the stuff you've been posting and it does actually sound authentic as opposed to most of the things that Ian L was doing because of the instruments used. Ian's were riddled with 80's and 90's technology, yours sound more back to basics with real instruments.

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Pete

You are right. Unfortunately technology is the tail wagging the dog. How on earth can a synthesized drum machine take the place of Uriel Jones or Spider Webb? Or how could Cher even consider a vocoder for that 'Do you believe' song she did years ago. The human voice has its flaws, but using correcting software that changes the pitch annoys me tremendously. I would rather have slightly flat passages than be trying to correct it electronically. I do not want electronic sounding anything or long openers. Maybe an instrumental 'groove' at the end showcasing an organ, piano or sax.If I can afford it, the recording would be studio based with minimal or no jiggery pokery.

My concept is I want humans playing the instruments, with minimal technology in the way. I work for a leading satellite broadcaster in London and we use state of the art everything. I work on high and standard definition incoming and outgoing circuits etc and am proud to work for this company. Without that technology we would not be enjoying the multitude of channels and interactive services. Indeed the internet, mobile phones, DVD recorders etc all use the same technology that is in the TV station and recording studio. But analogue instruments at the beginning of the chain are what I am interested in. As long there is a human banging, plucking or scraping I am happy. Even I was horrified when I saw Isaac Hayes perform in London a few years ago and the brass section was a synth! Thank god the wah wah was authentic.

Edited by Carl Dixon
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  • 2 months later...

Just tarted up my website;

https://www.carlsmusic.co.uk/

In addition done a new vamp bass line on 'Suddenly there's you', which can be accessed via a link on the home page. Also a new Hammondish organ style on the melody. Verse 1, a jamm style sound and verse 2 the true melody!

Edited by Carl Dixon
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  • 3 months later...

Hi everybody.

For those remotley interested, my current project called 'Glory Fleeting', has just had some more Detroit saxophone added last night. I have not quite mixed it onto the track yet, but if anybody wants to hear a recent version, with saxophone go here:

Glory Fleeting

I have been trying to get a veteran Detroit singer interested in providing male lead for the song, but with no response yet. The lyrics are just about complete and I envisage male lead/male and female call & respone backing. It should be nice - I hope. True to form, I am trying to ensure my creations have the analogue feel necessary to sound authentic and soulful. There are a number of things I need to address with the track before I move to the next stage which would be to make a commercial effort and release the song on a 45rpm and CD. However, I am no expert in that field. That's quite a while away.

Here is my latest blog:

https://www.carlsmusic.blogspot.com/

Edited by Carl Dixon
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I have to say Carl, you've got a real feel for the 60's sound, I like all the stuff you've been posting and it does actually sound authentic as opposed to most of the things that Ian L was doing because of the instruments used. Ian's were riddled with 80's and 90's technology, yours sound more back to basics with real instruments.

This sums up very nicely what I was going to say. These tunes are certainly much more authentically 60s than Ian's output. The vibe they create is really,really nice.

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Hi everybody.

For those remotley interested, my current project called 'Glory Fleeting', has just had some more Detroit saxophone added last night. I have not quite mixed it onto the track yet, but if anybody wants to hear a recent version, with saxophone go here:

Glory Fleeting

Lovely. Sort of like Sweet and Easy - Van McCoy

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Thank you Billy, your comments are very much appreciated. I am now up to version 6 of the song now, so there are improvements coming along nicely.

I can accept new trends in music, as long as there is a good beat and its 'danceable', even synths, but not on a track reminiscent of 1960's soul music. I find it an insult to a city like Detroit, where there is so much talent. And that is what I am hoping...an opportunity to employ the best over there on my efforts. I have had to use all my listening skills to make these demo's with a view to eventually recording them on a real session in the city. The dollar rate is good and hopefully that may entice me to take the risk!

Edited by Carl Dixon
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  • 2 months later...

Project Update.

Hi everybody.

I just thought I would post an update of my project plan to visit the States to record some of my songs. Some are aware I intend to produce a number of compositions (with alternative versions hopefully) in Detroit and Philadelphia as soon as I can afford it.

The latest news is that the budget is coming along nicely, along with the studio spec where I hope to do the work. I also have a number of veteran and new musicians interested in my project, even though in its early stages was a personal venture and not for profit. Now I recognise that if I exploit the songs, I may make some contribution to the expenses I incur along the way.

One important factor that has materialised during my negotiations is the enormous respect for the Northern soul and soul fans in the UK and around the world who bought the records, books memorabilia over the years. For some they know with conviction how the phenomena started and others know a little about it. But, whilst speaking to my colleagues in the States it has become apparent that the producers, musicians and artists were only doing their best or what was expected of them at the time, with the limited technology of the day for recording the tracks. It seems like the vibe has never left Detroit and there are still many professional musicians and most importantly young singers eager to record in a studio environment. It was suggested that the sound of Detroit is not an era from the 1950's or 60's, it is a sound that can be captured at any time as long as traditional instrumentation is used. I guess this would equate to me loving 1930/40's big band music and not giving an equivalent band today any credence because the songs they cover are old, and the musicians and performers young!

With this in mind I am determined to get the best of Detroit's (and Philadelphia's) talent on my songs if I can afford it. My journey so far, since 1974, is a little more focused and I can see the joy of the finished product in site. I have even contacted a few record outlets and they seem quite interested in the project and will consider selling the records for me if I can get some pressed. If I can maybe muster up a record deal, which would help me finance this, even better. I intend to distribute the recordings to a few radio stations in the UK and indeed the cities where the songs are to be recorded.

One of the songs I will cut more than likely is 'Glory Fleeting'. This is demo version 6, so far:

https://www.melkman.com/carlsmusic/detroit/gloryfleetingversion624kb.mp3

The interesting thing is since I have been in the public domain discussing this; I have had a few nice emails supporting the project from forum members and professionals I know are in the music business. What I do know there is genuine interest, and not just for making money. The fun angle and achieving the dream far outweighs any profit I seek, however, if I was lucky enough to have a return on this investment, I would go back to the States and do more of the same! I do hope my visa enquiry comes back from the US Embassy positive, otherwise.... I am stuffed!

Edited by Carl Dixon
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Guest Karen Heath

Project Update.

Hi everybody.

I just thought I would post an update of my project plan to visit the States to record some of my songs. Some are aware I intend to produce a number of compositions (with alternative versions hopefully) in Detroit and Philadelphia as soon as I can afford it.

The latest news is that the budget is coming along nicely, along with the studio spec where I hope to do the work. I also have a number of veteran and new musicians interested in my project, even though in its early stages was a personal venture and not for profit. Now I recognise that if I exploit the songs, I may make some contribution to the expenses I incur along the way.

One important factor that has materialised during my negotiations is the enormous respect for the Northern soul and soul fans in the UK and around the world who bought the records, books memorabilia over the years. For some they know with conviction how the phenomena started and others know a little about it. But, whilst speaking to my colleagues in the States it has become apparent that the producers, musicians and artists were only doing their best or what was expected of them at the time, with the limited technology of the day for recording the tracks. It seems like the vibe has never left Detroit and there are still many professional musicians and most importantly young singers eager to record in a studio environment. It was suggested that the sound of Detroit is not an era from the 1950's or 60's, it is a sound that can be captured at any time as long as traditional instrumentation is used. I guess this would equate to me loving 1930/40's big band music and not giving an equivalent band today any credence because the songs they cover are old, and the musicians and performers young!

With this in mind I am determined to get the best of Detroit's (and Philadelphia's) talent on my songs if I can afford it. My journey so far, since 1974, is a little more focused and I can see the joy of the finished product in site. I have even contacted a few record outlets and they seem quite interested in the project and will consider selling the records for me if I can get some pressed. If I can maybe muster up a record deal, which would help me finance this, even better. I intend to distribute the recordings to a few radio stations in the UK and indeed the cities where the songs are to be recorded.

One of the songs I will cut more than likely is 'Glory Fleeting'. This is demo version 6, so far:

https://www.melkman.com/carlsmusic/detroit/gloryfleetingversion624kb.mp3

The interesting thing is since I have been in the public domain discussing this; I have had a few nice emails supporting the project from forum members and professionals I know are in the music business. What I do know there is genuine interest, and not just for making money. The fun angle and achieving the dream far outweighs any profit I seek, however, if I was lucky enough to have a return on this investment, I would go back to the States and do more of the same! I do hope my visa enquiry comes back from the US Embassy positive, otherwise.... I am stuffed!

Good luck with your ventures and adventures Carl.

Hope to bump into you again sometime!

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Thanks Karen! Likewise. I was at Ronnie Scotts last Thursday to see Jimmy Scott. Amazingly I assisted him and sixtiesdetroit's member 'Soul Sister', who is his wife, into the venue and dressing room. Mr Scott needs a wheel chair and I took him straight through past all the tables. What an honour. Real classy soul from the veteran performer!

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Guest Karen Heath

I have a soft spot for Jimmy Smith-he was one of my dads favourites and we had his music at my dads funeral which was cool!

Didn't you play him any of your tunes?

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Hi Karen. No, I hardly had time to talk to them. We exchanged niceties, but I could see the stress flying in the day before and jet lag on their faces. I helped out and stepped back to the bar and sat and enjoyed the show. The English apple juice they serve there is fantastic.

You mentioned Jimmy Smith (the organist?) Does that mean you are familiar with both Jimmy's because of your dad?

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Guest Karen Heath

Hi Karen. No, I hardly had time to talk to them. We exchanged niceties, but I could see the stress flying in the day before and jet lag on their faces. I helped out and stepped back to the bar and sat and enjoyed the show. The English apple juice they serve there is fantastic.

You mentioned Jimmy Smith (the organist?) Does that mean you are familiar with both Jimmy's because of your dad?

Whooooops-I've just realised half my most went missing, (my own fault,) which rendered it nonsensical- it was late and I must have deleted the wrong part!

I originally meant to say that my dad was a big jazz fan especially lots of jazzy Jimmy's! This meant I heard a lot of jazz around including at my dads funeral...something like that. I also meant to point out that I think Jimmy Scott appeared in the cult classic Twin Peaks.

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Yes, he was in Twin Peaks and loads more things Karen:

https://www.jimmyscottofficialwebsite.org/homepage.htm

He is a legend - his voice unique.

I never knew much about him until recently after I was invited to the show. I bought two double CD's and am still playing them in the car. It is a real pleasant change to have a change of direction now and then.

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  • 2 months later...

Hello everybody. I need some constructive criticism for and against something that may well be a defining moment in my composing career, which predominantly has been for fun. As you may have read above or know, I write songs with a feel for the past, rather than futuristic songs that exploit the technology of the day (recording excluded, as I feel I must move with the times as indeed I have with the Internet, mobile phones. mp3's and the 42" HD Toshiba TV we got last year etc). I have recently posted some of my songs on 'YouTube' of all places:

https://uk.youtube.com/profile?user=55Motown

and have had some feedback from a number of people both in the public and private domain. I was lucky enough to have been around in the 1960's and remember fondly the songs which have influenced my style, and in addition some records that came to fruition over in the UK because of the Northern Soul phenomena from the early seventies onwards. My dilemma is that as much as I like to write retro sounding songs, am I wrong to call them 'soul' or 'Northern Soul', knowing the essence of song is in the melody and not when and where it was recorded, if that makes any sense? The encouragement has been positive yet I feel there may be an underlying issue with what style I should call my songs bearing in mind they are demos at this stage, mainly recorded here in London and recorded between 1999/2007.

I guess my question boils down to, should my songs/style have a different name other than 'Soul' or 'Northern Soul' and if so, what? I certainly do not wish to offend followers of either by maintaining something that is not strictly true. I think they are 'soulful' songs and qualify for something and if lucky enough to exploit them in future for example after I have been to Detroit, how would I market them and to whom?

I know very strong emotions and politics run through the evolution of soul is this country and as a writer cannot please all the people, as pointed out by one of the comments to my songs being something associated to a toilet and being chart fodder.

Edited by Carl Dixon
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Thanks to those who kindly responded by private message on this. Now reading the Frank Popp/Ian Levine threads, (which I find very interesting) I realise that the term Northern Soul is even more confusing to me. I will therefore write my songs with a soulful flavour rather than naming them anything bespoke.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Hi everybody -

If anybody is interested I have uploaded some new material onto my You Tube account:

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=55motown

'Let me be the one (who's sorry', 'Boo!' and a demo I made a few years ago. These tracks are in preparation for my trip to Detroit next year and my profile in general. The comments on the songs are invaluable, even though some are over critical and others very encouraging. It is these comments from people that listen to the songs that will help me decide which tracks to cut Stateside. I have a good idea which I will record already because of the number of hits each one has had. Most importantly I have to decide whether I drop the 'Northern Soul' title I have been using on some of the tracks heading. I feel it is unfair I use the term because to me, a song has to go through rigorous quality control by the fans before being accepted into this domain, a bit like an Appellation Control or DOC in wine terms. In other words it cannot be called something, until it is officially recorded and accepted on the floor so to speak. My intentions are to write danceable songs, with a 60's/70's soulful feel. It is presumptuous of me to expect anything more at this stage.

By the look of things, 'Glory Fleeting' is the main contender:

and also 'Suddenly there's You':

One of the best comments I had was the following:

"My dad whistling in the loo is more like Northern. You are clueless. Stick to chart fodder, You'll be happier there."

Little does this person know that these comments have been duly noted! Any other insults greatly appreciated....

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Great stuff Carl I really enjoyed listening. If you haven't done so already have a chat with Paul Mooney - Millbrand on SS - he might be able to give you a few pointers that will help.

Stick with it!

Mike B

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  • 1 month later...

Thanks Mike B!

For those interested I have just uploaded on to YouTube a Salsoul/Philly 1976 style track I wrote called 'Stretching Out':

also a derivative of the same song here:

In addition, if you know of Marcus Belgrave, Frank Bryant (Just Brothers), here is a piece I shot in Ann Arbour/Detroit a few years ago. Tonya Hood is on vocals, Joe Huner on Piano, but you cannot see him! The great Uriel Jones is on drums:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jafJ7iyHB1A

If you like funky style early seventies exploitation stuff, try this:

Remember these are demos and may sound a little synthetic!

My project is coming along fine. Early next year, I head for Detroit to cut 3 tracks. I may be lucky in acquiring a couple of Motown originals on the gig too, fingers crossed. I received a surprise phone call from the city last week from such a person, which was a wonderful surprise. I am hoping he will help with some of the arrangments of the songs. More news whenever.........

Edited by Carl Dixon
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  • 2 months later...

DETROIT Session Update....

For those remotely interested, my Detroit session plans are coming along nicely. The plan is to cut three of my songs 'Detroit' style with some wonderful musicians and artists at a studio in the city early next year. Savings are coming along, and the budget plans are being worked on too. I have this notion of a string section and am working on the possibility of having them on all the songs selected to sweeten up the rhythm tracks for extra mixes etc. Singers are the next thing to consider as indeed, finalising my lyrics and how I perceive the song to ultimately sound.

I am also in the process of deciding which songs to take to Philadelphia next year too. The plan for Philly is to have one song recorded with that 1965 era Philly sound, which would have featured the likes of the Chamber brothers on guitar and drums, Vince Montana on vibes and arrangement by Richard Rome and more than likely recorded at 309 (Cameo Parkway) studios (where 'At the top of the Stairs' was recorded I believe!). One track I have sounds similar to a Len Barry production, which may qualify. The other two tracks will be either MFSB/Salsoul in sound (hopefully) or one of them a 'non PIR' sound Philly track if that makes sense. I am a big fan of Eli/Barrett productions of the early seventies like' The Sons of Robin Stone' for example. I have no lyrics yet for the Philly stuff and indeed no song titles as such, but I am getting there. 'First Choice' were great and I love that 'Philly Groove' production from the early 1970's.

By the end of next year I want to have six songs with vocals and various mixes. Then, if they sound good enough, I will decide whether to press up some 45rpm records (as I have always wanted to go through that process) and CD's. If this works out and anybody is interested they will be able to hear short, low bandwidth versions on my web site for scrutinising and consideration. I spoke to a record shop in London who were very encouraging and said they would possibly stock the product if it was their genre of music. They said it was unusual to have the writer of a song walk into the shop and ask before anything was recorded!

Don't forget you can hear the three selected Detroit tacks on my YouTube account. They are currently:

Suddenly there's You

Dear Tammi

Glory Fleeting

More news in the new year.....

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  • 1 month later...

Hello everybody.

I need to do some research into the marketing of my songs/masters that I hope to record in Detroit next month. I will have a product for a niche market who may be interested in hearing and then possibly supporting the project by purchasing a CD or 45. This will help towards the cost of the session and payment to those who are working on the production with me. It is costing me a 5 figure sum made up of savings, cancelled pensions and the selling of some shares that are making nothing at the moment.

My interests and concerns are with intellectual property rights and respect for the copyright holders of the songs and recordings along with exploitation of the music in the digital world. For example, for those of us brought up with records we are used to a physical 2 sided affair sometimes with different songs or an instrumental on the 'B' side, and albums of course. Yet, we enjoy the notion of MP3's as a means to audition material never heard before and often use it as an archive if unable to purchase the record. The banter on forums and chit chat about records is invaluable as it raises the profile of the song like a free advertisement and hopefully fans will purchase the real thing if available, which ultimately helps put money into the industry somewhere to keep things ticking over. A result of this can be seen when Brits bring over groups from the States to perform here 40 years after they recorded a tune somewhere. People like Hitsville Chalky for example, who helped organise The Fabulous Peps visit recently has a conviction which many benefit from despite it probably being a stressful ordeal to orchestrate.

Also, the recent 'Ain't no mountain' 8 track scenario clearly demonstrated that there is a demand to hear isolated tracks of famous sessions from as long ago as 1967, which really gives credence to that style of music. How many people played them, downloaded them, tinkered with them, yet was anything mentioned about the horn arranger on the session or whether it was Johnny Griffith or Earl van Dyke on keyboards? Were there any acknowledgements to Ashford and Simpson, the writers or to Universal/Motown who own the master? Could it be that if those isolated track scenarios were available for purchase with great sleeve notes and various out takes, would you buy them and how much would you be prepared to pay?

So my questions are:

What alternative revenue streams could you see generated from something created in 2008 which would give those interested something more than just a song on a record?

For example would individuals be prepared to invest in a media CD with good sleeve notes, the selected tracks, studio chat, bad takes and isolated tracks, along with photo's, videos etc?

And probably most important, who would be interested in co writing a song and having it produced in say, Detroit with traditional instrumentation where possible, in an appropriate style of the day, say 1966? And how much would you be prepared to pay for that one song, given it could have an instrumental version too? A sort of bespoke production where an individual contributes to a session, and owns part of the song writing credit only, but sees a final record produced with their name on that they can help sell and exploit for the record label? I know there are individuals in the UK who want to write songs but do not know how too or indeed anything about the complicated process of recording etc. The question is, would anybody like to see their song recorded by Detroit musicians young and old, being pressed up and available as a respectable form of soul or dance music, but done in a traditional method - a bit like Champagne!

Any comments appreciated.

Edited by Carl Dixon
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Guest JJMMWGDuPree

Pete

You are right. Unfortunately technology is the tail wagging the dog. How on earth can a synthesized drum machine take the place of Uriel Jones or Spider Webb? Or how could Cher even consider a vocoder for that 'Do you believe' song she did years ago. The human voice has its flaws, but using correcting software that changes the pitch annoys me tremendously. I would rather have slightly flat passages than be trying to correct it electronically.

I never thought I'd be defending Cher but here goes. Supposedly when she was first asked if she wanted pitch correction she enquired something along the lines of "Are you saying I sing out of tune?" except I understand the word 'Asshole' was in there somewhere. Then later while playing with the thing she discovered that yodel thing when it was turned flat out. That's absolutely the only time she's used pitch correction.

Incimadentally, I don't know how many of the Spice Girls use pitch correction, but Posh is so bad you can hear it working on her solo lines.

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Exactly! If you think about the soul groups from the past, they did not even need music to sound great, yet today, there is so much manipulation of sound, it loses the soul - just like a notch filter!

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