Making the Rhythm to Fit the Song or Vice-Versa?

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Making the Rhythm to Fit the Song or Vice-Versa?

Postby bluejam62 » Sun May 13, 2018 12:21 am

I was listening to this interview with Johnny Clarke here and in it he says that when he used to make a tune in the studio with Bunny Lee he would sing the words to the musicians and they would create the backing from what he sang. He says that now they just make a rhythm and have a million people sing/DJ on top of it. I think you can really hear that on a tune like 'Every Knee Shall Bow' that the music was made to fit the song.

I would be interested to know what was the most common practice when constructing an original tune back in the 70s. I can't imagine Burning Spear just recording on top of a pre-recorded rhythm for example.

What do you think?
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Re: Making the Rhythm to Fit the Song or Vice-Versa?

Postby Ranking Glasses » Sun May 13, 2018 8:16 am

I think that in the early days lyrics were written and the rhythm was built around the song in many cases, such as how Waiting in Vain was crafted. However, there are lots of examples of Studio 1 songs where there are several songs over the same rhythm.

In interviews on YouTube artists like General Saint and Barrington Levy talk about wanting the best rhythms of the day as opposed to rhythms being built for their particular songs.

I think the issue is it's being done on an industrial scale nowadays as it's more efficient and econmic but the music has suffered as a result. Creativity and good song writing have gone out of the window. It has become a race to the bottom which no one wins.
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Re: Making the Rhythm to Fit the Song or Vice-Versa?

Postby Vinnie » Sun May 13, 2018 12:07 pm

I saw once an Otis redding doc and it was the same with him.
The musicians build the songs around his lyrics when he sang them before them
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Re: Making the Rhythm to Fit the Song or Vice-Versa?

Postby Peacemakeya » Sun May 13, 2018 5:59 pm

an excerpt from the enclosed booklet in the Shanachie 3CD Collectors Box Set 'Dread Prophesy - The Strange and Wonderfull Story of Yabby You'

In the recording studio Yabby’s work ethic was typical of that generation of the reggae fraternity. These were dirt-poor, hard scrabble ‘yountry boys come a town’ and now savvy ghetto-ologists. Studio time was very expensive and precious. For the most part the ‘soon come’ Jamaican sentiments got left at the studio door. Not a second of studio time was to be wasted.

When a touring band went into the studio (ie. The Wailers, Third World, Skin Flesh and Bones) they were certainly rehearsed. Yabby did not tour until later in his career and even then he never had a polished rehearsed band. So in Yabby’s case, in the recording studio nothing was previously rehearsed. The calibre of the session-players musicianship was so refined, experienced and intuitive. A recording session would begin with Yabby briefly giving some combination of the musicians a riff idea, a lead or melody line or a signature sound. Then Yabby and the players would quickly parlay off-mic, with an accapella, some vocal beat-boxing or some instrument lines. Sometimes Yabby would have a suggested rhythm or instrument lines. Other times it was left to the players to spontaneously come up with it.

Yabby never liked to play over the ‘riddim of the day.’ He always said: “We nah pattern others, dat a parasitical t’ing … we originators!” Then the musicians would instantly transfer the ideas to their instruments, still off-mic and the creative soup would invariably instantly jell. Yabby would nod through the glass to the engineer to “roll tape,” and “a one and a two and a three…” and into it. The recordings were almost always “first take.” A “second take” was rare and a “third take” was unheard of. Occasionally after a take, while reviewing the song through the monitors, Yabby or one of the players would suggest a minor correction. Wham-bam and Yabby would say: “Next Song.”

If an aspiring session player had somehow talked his way into a try-out, and then couldn’t meet these standards, he was quickly told: “go home laddie, practice ya instrument, come try again when ya ready.” Problems were rare during recording sessions …………

Of interest. The topic: 'Dread Prophesy - The Strange and Wonderful Story of Yabby You' is strangely and wonderfully one of (if not the most) populated topic ever in the history of this B&F Forum

Word is, there are is still an unreleased Studio1 Yabby You / Jackie Mittoo LP sitting in the archives. An album that, before he left this world, Yabby emphasized: "this di one ... this di one Mon!" Someone who got the link please let Sting, Keith, Simply Mick, Chris Blackwell, Dali Lama or others in a position to forward the quantum groove ... let them know about this available gold mine (of the enduring kind). Contact Yabby's estate via the proprietors of this B&F Forum, Shanachie Ent., Pressure Sounds, or p.m. yours truly.

Yabby You 'Conquering Lion' featured on 'Match of the Day'

Studio version with King Tubby
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Re: Making the Rhythm to Fit the Song or Vice-Versa?

Postby bluejam62 » Tue May 15, 2018 1:08 am

Thanks for that. I would really like to see a film of reggae musicians building a rhythm, like in the film 'Sympathy for the Devil' with the Rolling Stones.
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Re: Making the Rhythm to Fit the Song or Vice-Versa?

Postby Tune In 2 » Tue May 15, 2018 8:43 am

Tune In 2
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