Robert Johnson recording speed controversy

View previous topic View next topic Go down

Robert Johnson recording speed controversy

Post  felix on Sat Apr 16, 2011 12:11 am

A controversial - erm, controversy - from 2008 (afore my time, by golly):

http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:xBJ5VMngYNkJ:acrosstheuniverse.forumotion.com/t718-robert-johnson-recording-speed-controversy+site:acrosstheuniverse.forumotion.com+acrosstheuniverse.forumotion+blues&cd=26&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=uk&source=www.google.co.uk

My two pennorth: why the hell would the ARC engineers deliberately mess about with the speed of the recording machine for this almost unknown young geezer and not for other folks recorded on the same sessions - well, nothing's been reported about other records from those dates being 'sped up'?

felix
cool cat - mrkgnao!

Posts: 831
Join date: 2011-04-11
Location: see the chicken?

Back to top Go down

Re: Robert Johnson recording speed controversy

Post  pinhedz on Sat Apr 16, 2011 12:21 am

If Robert wasn't speeded up--he sure had his guitar capoed far up.

All the recording engineer has to do is run the disc cutter a little bit slow during the recording session, and that fits more music on the disc (that used to be a big issue).

Then when you play it at 78 rpm, it will be speeded up. Besides getting more music on the disc, it gives it a brighter sound.

I always wondered why Mississippi John Hurt had such a high voice on "Stagolee," but I was impressed by his fast picking. geek

pinhedz
Schrödinger's Hepcat

Posts: 8790
Join date: 2011-04-11
Location: DC

http://www.balalaika.org/

Back to top Go down

Re: Robert Johnson recording speed controversy

Post  felix on Sat Apr 16, 2011 7:58 am

That's a reasonable explanation - the engineer just wants to make sure he doesn't waste too many blanks. But I seem to recall reading an analysis of the timing of Bob's 40+ takes, and the average time coming out so far short of 3:00 mins that the theory looks a bit silly. Poor Bob knew how to finish a number in his allotted time; din't need no engineer with a heavy hand fixin' it for him. I suppose we'll never know...

felix
cool cat - mrkgnao!

Posts: 831
Join date: 2011-04-11
Location: see the chicken?

Back to top Go down

Re: Robert Johnson recording speed controversy

Post  pinhedz on Sat Apr 16, 2011 8:32 am

Yes--considering it was already the mid-1930s and the record company was Columbia, I'm sure you're right about the timing.

But the producers might have thought the blues was just a bit too lugubrious for commercial purposes, and that a peppier tempo would sell more records. It really does make the guitar work sound more virtuosic.

pinhedz
Schrödinger's Hepcat

Posts: 8790
Join date: 2011-04-11
Location: DC

http://www.balalaika.org/

Back to top Go down

Re: Robert Johnson recording speed controversy

Post  pinhedz on Sun May 27, 2012 9:46 am

That old link don't work no more, but I think youtube has all the recordings slowed down now:

Here is a "corrected" example:




Here's the "original:"


pinhedz
Schrödinger's Hepcat

Posts: 8790
Join date: 2011-04-11
Location: DC

http://www.balalaika.org/

Back to top Go down

Re: Robert Johnson recording speed controversy

Post  Yakima Canutt on Sat Nov 15, 2014 9:02 pm


Yakima Canutt

Posts: 3714
Join date: 2011-04-11

Back to top Go down

Re: Robert Johnson recording speed controversy

Post  pinhedz on Fri Nov 21, 2014 1:47 pm

No need for controversy--this is obviously the right speed. geek




pinhedz
Schrödinger's Hepcat

Posts: 8790
Join date: 2011-04-11
Location: DC

http://www.balalaika.org/

Back to top Go down

View previous topic View next topic Back to top

- Similar topics

Permissions in this forum:
You cannot reply to topics in this forum