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An archiving observation ...

Deckman 16 Dec 11 - 08:07 AM
Jim Dixon 16 Dec 11 - 09:50 AM
Deckman 16 Dec 11 - 09:58 AM
Bill D 16 Dec 11 - 11:05 AM
Stewart 16 Dec 11 - 01:20 PM
Nick 16 Dec 11 - 01:29 PM
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Subject: An archiving observation ...
From: Deckman
Date: 16 Dec 11 - 08:07 AM

Four years ago I started archiving my 700 tape recordings of hoots, concerts, private lessons, jams, conversations, etc. Six months ago I signed an agreement with the University of Washington. The "U.W." will be the final repository of the collection. In this archiving process I have spent literally thousands of hours listening to these old recordings, evaluating their value, digitizing them and assembling all the background information.

I recently went through about 100 LP recordings. These were all produced commercially. I passed a few on to collectors that I knew would appreciate them. The remainder went to the U.W. for public use. In listening to these LP recordings, I am struck by something I'd not noticed before. I'm curious (people have been saying THAT about me for many years) if anyone else feels this way: These recordings are TOO PERFECT!"

By and large, there is not one single "flaw." The instruments are perfectly in tune. The diction is fine, the phrasing perfect, etc. But ... I usually find there is not a "vitality."

In archiving the many hours of hoots, I hear the scraping of chairs, the phone ringing, the starting and the stopping of songs as someone tries to remember a forgotten verse, etc. To me, I find these recording much more interesting.

Am I alone in this thought? CHEERS, bob(deckman)nelson

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Subject: RE: An archiving observation ...
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 16 Dec 11 - 09:50 AM

I know what you mean. I have a related observation. I remember once going to hear a nationally-known band that was touring the country. This performance was near the end of the tour. I found myself feeling disappointed, though it was hard to say why. I liked the music well enough. The performance was near perfect—too perfect. It was too slick, too well-rehearsed. They always segued smoothly from one tune to the next, with never a moment of confusion about what tune to play next, or in what key, or who would be playing which instrument. If they ever made a mistake, they didn't acknowledge it. When they told a joke, I got the impression they always told the same joke at the same point in the program. When the concert was over, I suspect even the band wouldn't remember it, because the concert they gave in Minneapolis was exactly like the ones they gave in Madison, Des Moines, etc.

It's one of the reasons I seldom go to concerts, and when I do, I prefer to hear local musicians. The fact that they have a few old friends in the audience makes them loosen up a bit, and allows some improvised banter. Some of them travel, but they probably test their new material on local audiences before they take it on tour, so it's fresher.

The sound of scraping chairs doesn't do much for me, but it's what the chair represents.

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Subject: RE: An archiving observation ...
From: Deckman
Date: 16 Dec 11 - 09:58 AM

Jim ... that's a very common complaint I hear often. bob

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Subject: RE: An archiving observation ...
From: Bill D
Date: 16 Dec 11 - 11:05 AM

I find that many commercial recordings feel too.... ummm... 'plastic', as if everyone was afraid to deviate one iota from some imaginary norm.
There are exceptions, because some folks sound alive and free no matter where they are.
There is also 'some' virtue in a 'clean' performance, so that those who learn songs FROM it can add their own interpretation.

I do know some singers personally who I enjoy in a live setting, but whose voice & delivery just don't work well on a recording, even in a taped 'session' or party... *shrug*

"Good though!"

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Subject: RE: An archiving observation ...
From: Stewart
Date: 16 Dec 11 - 01:20 PM

For the same reasons I enjoy live recordings much more than flawless studio products, and performances of local musicians over the carbon-copy performances of nationally-touring music stars (also, at a fraction of the cost). One of my favorite recordings is "Live at Mona's" - New York City's longest-running Irish session recorded live in a nondescript tiny bar on the lower east side. In the background you can hear the billiard balls clinking on a nearby table, a door opening and shutting, the ventilation system noises, and muffled conversations in the background. But it's real - it has all the ambiance of a real live session. The musicianship is first rate, but still rooted in the reality of the situation. It's almost as good as being there in person.

Cheers, S. in Seattle

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Subject: RE: An archiving observation ...
From: Nick
Date: 16 Dec 11 - 01:29 PM

In a different genre I used to like Eric Clapton a lot as I grew up through John Mayall --> Cream --> solo.

I found him a much more interesting player live than on record - even on live albums. Somehow the things chosen for the live cuts seemed to often be the ones that sounded most like the album rather than the ones that had a touch of brilliance that made them listenable to again and again (for me at least)

Editing out the 'mistakes' often seems to take something away.

I quite like it where people leave the errors in. There's a Joan Baez track where the guitarist misses it and they do it again but leave the mistake and the laughter and reaction in, Rolling Stones unplugged album has Ronnie Wood messing up the arpeggios in Love in Vain etc

Something rather human and nice about that

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