Dave James

Amy Winehouse

217 posts in this topic

The whole production lacks any subtlety, and comes off rather whitebread to me, cliched whitebread, at that.

EXACTLY! Snappyass whitebread. I'm a fan!

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Among the many interesting details, there's this:

'Lesley Gore recalls that "It's My Party" was among some two hundred demos producer Quincy Jones brought to review with her in the den of her family home in February 1963. On hearing "It's My Party" Gore told Jones: "That's not half bad. I like it. Good melody. Let's put it on the maybe pile." The song proved to be the only demo Gore and Jones found agreeable.' (My emphasis ... and note Gore's fully collaborative role.)

Also, the arranger-conductor on the demo recording that Gore herself then made and that was released (after much hugger-mugger) and became the big hit was Claus Ogerman.

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Larry, have you know any "professional commercial songwriters" in your life? The path of writing a song, getting a cheap demo made of it, getting it to the publisher, getting the publisher to get it to label's A&R dept, getting the A&R dept to get it to producers, to artists, ad infinitum, that's a whole 'nother world right there, and could probably fill several books worth of tales about how such-and-such a hit song ended up getting recorded.

It's a world that's pretty much gone in pop music now, except for Nashville, where songwriters still go through that whole routine, and from what an acquaintance of mine who played the game for a couple of years told me, the hoops to be jumped through just to get a song auditioned by a producer are damn near epic in scope. But those demos still get made daily, still using real players!

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EMI released a three-disc Helen Shapiro set earlier this year. It looks rather good and the price -- on Amazon -- is certainly right.

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EMI released a three-disc Helen Shapiro set earlier this year. It looks rather good and the price -- on Amazon -- is certainly right.

EMI are known for using heavy noise reduction on their reissues, though I don't know if this set has been affected.

Edited by J.A.W.

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Larry, have you know any "professional commercial songwriters" in your life?

Nope. But this particular tale did seem rather Byzantine to me, especially the Phil Spector part.

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Probably a little more than usual, but before pop/rock artists came to be their own creative outlet, the song itself was the industry's currency of the realm, and like all such things...

One of the more convoluted tales is that of that na-na-na-na-hey-hey-hey-kiss him goodbye song and the group that released it, Steam: http://www.allmusic.com/artist/steam-p25372/biography

Don't know how I would have liked a Spector verion of "It's My Party"...either Barbara Alston or surrogate-Crystal Darlene Love would have done a great job, and I love Spector, but....

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EMI released a three-disc Helen Shapiro set earlier this year. It looks rather good and the price -- on Amazon -- is certainly right.

EMI are known for using heavy noise reduction on their reissues, though I don't know if this set has been affected.

I thought that was only on the 78-era material where clicks and pops were the norm even on the masters. This is way after that.

I've been very happy with the other EMI Gold sets I've bought, such as the Hollies Clarke Hicks Nash box and the Matt Monro singles set.

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I'll agree with this: Quincy had and has, among his other many talents, a phenomenal ear for trendy sounds. He hears what's in the air and knows how to get it down on score paper and out of the players. An exceptional arranger of popular material, he deserves a lot the credit IMO for the success of this record. I'm not saying Leslie Gore didn't have something, though it may not appeal to me. She wasn't sitting on her hands, and the message was real to those kids. But Quincy is the one who took a third rate song and nailed sound that got into everyone's head. And, coming off a tour that nearly bankrupted him, it was a career-saver.

BTW: great discussion, everyone :tup

According to that wikipedia article Quincy Jones produced, but didn't arrange or conduct it. Claus Ogerman did. Not sure of the article's veracity, but if I was wrong I should concede that.

However, the more I read the sillier and less important in the scheme of things this song and its story seems. It's just another reason to shake my head over the dubious taste of large portions of the American public.

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Not sure Q actually arranged anything after (about) 1956, when he discovered he could hire folks.

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EMI released a three-disc Helen Shapiro set earlier this year. It looks rather good and the price -- on Amazon -- is certainly right.

EMI are known for using heavy noise reduction on their reissues, though I don't know if this set has been affected.

I thought that was only on the 78-era material where clicks and pops were the norm even on the masters. This is way after that.

I've been very happy with the other EMI Gold sets I've bought, such as the Hollies Clarke Hicks Nash box and the Matt Monro singles set.

No, they also used heavy noise reduction on a lot of pop/rock and classical CD reissues and box sets with material from the 1950s and 1960s. I tried several, but got rid of most of them, the noise reduction artefacts were too annoying. Matt Monro's The Singer's Singer set from 2001 is a case in point, and so is the Animals' The Singles Plus 2CD-set from 1997 (the single CD with the same title from 1987 is excellent, though), and there are many more. On the other hand Matt Monro's Complete Singles Collection 5CD-set sounds good, no noise reduction was used on that box. Don't know about the Hollies box.

Edited by J.A.W.

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I don't know about the Hollies box either. :unsure:

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I don't know about the Hollies box either. :unsure:

...and I don't know about the Hollies. :mellow:

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Not sure Q actually arranged anything after (about) 1956, when he discovered he could hire folks.

hahahahahaha!!!!!!!!! TOUCHE!! shhhhhh, there's still folks around that don't know this!! LOL

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Not sure Q actually arranged anything after (about) 1956, when he discovered he could hire folks.

That would make him exactly like almost every in-demand arranger who bit off more than he could chew workload-wise. I'm not defending him, but it was common practice then. A lot of people would be amazed how many charts on well-known record dates of all kinds were 'ghosted', not to mention movie scores, TV shows---you name it. A lot of writers farmed out. It was just too hard for some of them to say no to the money and also there's the fear of not being asked again if you turn one down. It's well-known that Q did it, and he's been accused many times over for taking credit where it wasn't due, if not outright theft. I used to hear lots of grumbling about him at the Local 802 union floor, and from writers of the caliber of John Carisi. The jury's still out though, so I'm not gonna be a hanging judge on that one.

Anyway, ghosting quickly became real work for really gifted writers like Billy Byers, one of Q's top ghostwriters. Bob Brookmeyer and at least one other arranger wrote a lot of a Ray Charles album assigned to, possibly, Al Cohn---I don't remember exactly. Gil Fuller did plenty of ghosting. So it wasn't a bad thing at all, just a neccesity.

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Have to add this one by Shapiro:

These clips were the first time I've heard her. I think she's got the two mentioned here, Winehouse and Gore, beat by a country mile. I wonder where that huskiness came from in such a young voice.

Another one bites the dust, I guess. I tell you, all the wrong people get laid and paid in this life :(

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I think she's got the two mentioned here, Winehouse and Gore, beat by a country mile.

And throw in Connie Francis. Screw it, throw in Annette Funicello!!!

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Seems we've reached some sort of catharsis.

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Seems we've reached some sort of catharsis.

Guess so. And why the hell not? :rolleyes:

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Another one bites the dust, I guess. I tell you, all the wrong people get laid and paid in this life :(

True, but, otoh, see what most likely will happen to you once you get laid and paid ...

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Several sources are reporting that Winehouse purchased $2,000 worth of crack and heroin the night she passed away. Self-destructive to the very end. The idea of a death wish has to be part of the discussion. Makes you wonder what might have happened if she'd never hooked up with that scum sucker Blake Fielder-Civil. As I understand it, Winehouse was vehemently opposed to drugs until she met this guy. But, I suppose if it wasn't him, it probably would have been someone else.

On a more upbeat note, there is a fair amount of chatter concerning a third Winehouse album. I guess she'd finished a lot of the vocal work on about a dozen new tunes, so filling in whatever blanks remain, assuming the lawyers don't get involved, shouldn't pose an insurmountable problem.

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Several sources are reporting that Winehouse purchased $2,000 worth of crack and heroin the night she passed away. Self-destructive to the very end. The idea of a death wish has to be part of the discussion. Makes you wonder what might have happened if she'd never hooked up with that scum sucker Blake Fielder-Civil. As I understand it, Winehouse was vehemently opposed to drugs until she met this guy. But, I suppose if it wasn't him, it probably would have been someone else.

On a more upbeat note, there is a fair amount of chatter concerning a third Winehouse album. I guess she'd finished a lot of the vocal work on about a dozen new tunes, so filling in whatever blanks remain, assuming the lawyers don't get involved, shouldn't pose an insurmountable problem.

And the family says she had a brain seizure from with drawl symptoms. We'll know more when the tests are in.

Anybody that deep into their addiction has such a don't give a fuck/don't care attitude, it amounts to a death wish.

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