I’m listening to music my husband has been recording for some time now. He has a fair number of tunes for his upcoming CD. Back in the day, before recording studios got so technical, before ear monitors were ever thought of, recording a record was pretty uncomplicated. A huge percentage of the music from the 60’s through the mid 80’s was jumbled, stumbled, and sometimes thrown together, because there was a beginning, a middle, a chorus, a bridge, and an ending. It was pressed and released.
The listeners or audience were so glad that the process was fast, because they had new hits every week. It was hard for Dick Clark’s American Bandstand or Soul Train to keep up with the stars and hits. Playing Radio City Music Hall and Madison Square Gardens back then was the pinnacle of performance groove. And when I was on the road singing backup for Candi Staton, we played Richmond’s Mosque, with Teddy Pendergrass and his Teddy Bears. I remember my sister bringing Matthew, my nephew, to see the show. Our Mother also made the trip and I took them backstage to meet Teddy. Matthew was shy and hid his face, much as I did when my Daddy took me to meet a Native American television star named, Cocheese, in Manhattan. But Matthew’s Father was an entertainer, his brother plays Las Vegas, and he is a recording artist in his own right. This music thing runs in our families from all sides.
Now though, it seems with the computer gizmos and CD’s and digital process that no one seems as satisfied. They need it to be perfect. And perfect isn’t what matters. The music and lyrics is the important part. The artists interpretation and sound is more valid than making certain every single note is sung right on pitch. My favorite artist was and still is Johnny Mathis. When he couldn’t hear himself clearly, he went off pitch, but that didn’t stop him from becoming phenomenal. It didn’t stop millions of his listeners to throw out his albums because, oh no, Johnny sang a note or two sharp or flat. Yeah it bothers me some, too, but the interpretation is part of the charm.
I wish we could just go into the studio, jam and press it. Fast and great. That’s how The Beatles and most of the others did it and when hit after hit after hit shows the will of the people, then that should speak volumes. I wish everything was uncomplicated.