Mister Blue

Nothing succeeds like success. That said, there are some well known recordings that drive me crazy because they have philosophy mistakes that would have been easy to fix. Was [whatever] bad for you too?

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Mike McCarthy
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Mister Blue

Postby Mike McCarthy » Fri May 01, 2015 7:31 pm

I simply do not understand how this take of "Mister Blue" ever made it into final mixdown. It was a monster that should have been strangled at birth by the obstetrical staff (the producer) for the greater good of all mankind. Check out what happens at 0:55 of this upload of the song ...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xgNnEkzWwt8
and every place else where the muted trumpet appears.

That instrument is way too flat. Not just a little flat, it's a lottle flat. It is in fact a Whole Lotta Flatness Goin' On flat -- about five cents, say my ears. This is inexcusable.

Apparently everybody's hearing is shot, including the producer's. How this happens is a subject for a different article. (Hint: Any music will sound good if played loud enough.) When your hearing goes, that's it -- end of session, or it ought to be. No more takes and certainly no mixing. Ear fatigue means you're done for the day and only a decent night's sleep will restore the auditory circuits of your brain.

... ...

What's that?

... ...

You were up against a hard deadline? Yeah, I know. I can hear it. You're just damn lucky that the general public doesn't hear these things, at least not consciously.

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Re: Mister Blue

Postby BlueStrat » Tue Jun 30, 2015 2:21 am

Having listened to that tune ever since I was knee-high to a grasshopper, I always though it sounded kinda "funny", but in those days who ever paid attention to whether or not a song was in tune, or had any other technical problems. All we ever cared about, was how fast we could learn the lyrics and what position it currently was on the charts. Nowadays having a "matured ear" (well, since Mike brought it to our attention ;) ) I can't help but wonder "IF" that way-off key was intentional or not ? It does in fact have quite a haunting echo sound to it, sort of a "drifting notes across a fog covered moor" style in order to set the mood maybe ? The reason I even dare to suggest this, with Mike having such a great ear for the technical aspects of the music world, is that on that same page that Mike sent us to, was a much later version (Lead Singer Gary Troxel had only half his hair remaining !), and the horn STILL sounded out of tune. You would think that by now decades later, the current producer would have made a correction wouldn't you ? Have a listen, and see what you think. Albeit a slightly improved version, the melancholy, echoe-y, haunting coronet is STILL there! https://youtu.be/w8PgS6EWleY Come to think of it, I was going to mention that Gary sounded more off key than the coronet, but then I read that he had suffered a partial stroke, so instead, I will say that it is so nice to see someone with disabilities still trying, and NOT giving up on what you love to do !

Mike McCarthy
Site Admin
Posts: 145
Joined: Thu Apr 16, 2015 8:07 pm

Re: Mister Blue

Postby Mike McCarthy » Tue Jun 30, 2015 6:15 am

I like horns to be a touch flat, but not like this. Evidently whoever was producing the show (thanks for the link) felt obliged to keep that horn way flat because it is ear candy of a very strange kind -- painfully strange to me. (And I heard nothing wrong with any of the singer's pitch control. They all sounded right on to me)

Apparently Werman also has an acute sense of pitch. I sent him a link to the Dandy Warhols' "Bohemian Like You" ...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CU3mc0yvRNk
and his immediate reaction by email was "guitars in perfect tune, probably done to a click track"

I had to laugh because I too had noticed the perfection of the guitars' tuning. I have to assume that all producers and most top ranked musicians have musical hearing as good as mine. I can't take credit for this -- it was a gift that I had nothing to do with. I cultivated my ability to hear everything that's going on -- I'll take credit for working at that -- but the underlying ability is simply inherited genes.

Here's one of my favorite recordings, "Psychotic Reaction".
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fBTT3VPriV8

I didn't know till seeing this video that the guitar was an electric 12-string. I think he had one set of strings tuned well and the other deliberately detuned to be a little flat, thereby fattening the sound. However ..

... The late entry of the guitar make me as crazy as the flat horn in "Mister Blue".


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