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668509 Posts in 26887 Topics by 3904 Members - Latest Member: Charlie Dontsurf May 17, 2021, 03:34:17 AM
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Author Topic: Booth in Studio 3, Western Recorders  (Read 740 times)
PickupExcitations
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« on: March 17, 2021, 08:51:01 AM »

I’m reading the Making of Pet Sounds, the album liner note of the Pet Sounds Sessions released in 1997. Here’s the thing, Mike Love said about a booth in Studio 3 at Western Recorders, and Brian also mentioned ‘the booth’ when recordingPet Sounds in the David Leaf interview. But as I remembered, Studio 3 was a rather small studio, so I doubted if ‘a booth’ did exist in the studio. And when I watched several EastWest Studios virtual tours on YouTube, the narrator always said there was no booth in Studio 3. And I’m quite confused right now. Did a booth exist when The Beach Boys recorded Pet Sounds? And if there was one, what was that booth used for? As an isolation booth? Or some other uses?
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DonnyL
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« Reply #1 on: March 17, 2021, 08:54:06 AM »

I’m reading the Making of Pet Sounds, the album liner note of the Pet Sounds Sessions released in 1997. Here’s the thing, Mike Love said about a booth in Studio 3 at Western Recorders, and Brian also mentioned ‘the booth’ when recordingPet Sounds in the David Leaf interview. But as I remembered, Studio 3 was a rather small studio, so I doubted if ‘a booth’ did exist in the studio. And when I watched several EastWest Studios virtual tours on YouTube, the narrator always said there was no booth in Studio 3. And I’m quite confused right now. Did a booth exist when The Beach Boys recorded Pet Sounds? And if there was one, what was that booth used for? As an isolation booth? Or some other uses?

I would think by "booth", they mean the control room maybe? What is the context of the quotes?
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PickupExcitations
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« Reply #2 on: March 17, 2021, 09:03:55 AM »


I would think by "booth", they mean the control room maybe? What is the context of the quotes?

Mike Love: “We were all milling about the hallway just outside Studio 3 at Western Recorders. From the interior of the booth, the speakers were giving off the incongruous sound of a train passing into the distance.”

Brian Wilson (on Billy Strange): “ Oh! Billy Strange! Do you remember 'Sloop John B?' Do you wanna hear what happened? I cut the track, right? Billy Strange was playing direct in the booth. Guitar. Direct in the booth. He was not in the studio. And after it was done, I went 'Well, that's a wrap, guys! That's it!' He goes, 'Hey, wait a minute. What if I played a third above that (sings) do-do-do-do-doot.' And we overdubbed that onto it and the whole track started to sparkle! I couldn't believe it, you know? It was like the difference between night and day. Really something.”
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guitarfool2002
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« Reply #3 on: March 17, 2021, 09:14:51 AM »

"Booth" definitely meant control room in this case at Western.

If they needed a true isolation booth, for example to cut a vocal on top of a large band, there *were* options for that too. If you look at this photo:



That's Western 3 circa early '67, view facing the control booth. (That's the title page from my page "Classic Studio Sessions" in desperate need of an update lol...). If you look to the right, there is a double-door setup with a small space in between the doors. *That* space is the type of space which would sometimes be used as an iso booth to cut vocals. I recorded at a studio where they had a similar setup with a larger space between the doors, and a peephole window for visual contact, and one time we crammed four backup singers into that booth to cut a Motown-style track with the room full of musicians. Gold Star would also use a similar passageway between the "booth" and the studio room to isolate vocals, I think you can hear Tina Turner or Darlene Love talking from inside that Gold Star booth on one of the Spector studio session reels. Here's a diagram I did of Gold Star early '66 where you can see that space between the control room and the floor:




So yes, in this case with Western and other studios,  "booth" was the term for the control room, however if isolation was needed for a vocal track or elsewhere, they could and would use spaces like that little double-door setup at Gold Star and ostensibly in Western 3 too if the space allowed to set up a vocal mic separate from the musicians on the main floor. The main audio proof I have of this is again found on those Spector session reels where you hear the singer talking from that "booth" and not being on the studio floor nor in  the actual control room.
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"All of us have the privilege of making music that helps and heals - to make music that makes people happier, stronger, and kinder. Don't forget: Music is God's voice." - Brian Wilson
Joshilyn Hoisington
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« Reply #4 on: March 17, 2021, 11:25:21 AM »

Gold Star did have a sort of large Gobo that could function as a quasi-iso-booth. 



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Pretty Funky
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« Reply #5 on: March 17, 2021, 12:09:42 PM »

The Sonny & Cher layout with Mac Rebennack (Dr John) on electric guitar. I never knew that? Thanks!
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Joshilyn Hoisington
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« Reply #6 on: March 17, 2021, 12:27:32 PM »

Dr. John was a rank-and-file session guy for a while!

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guitarfool2002
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« Reply #7 on: March 18, 2021, 08:53:29 AM »

The Sonny & Cher layout with Mac Rebennack (Dr John) on electric guitar. I never knew that? Thanks!

Yes, digging deeper into researching that film and finding out more about Mac was very interesting! One of the key elements is that Mac and Harold Battiste were filmed together on that same Sonny & Cher session at Gold Star - This was a few years before Mac became the "Dr. John" persona everyone knows. When this film was made, Feb 1966, Mac had been out of prison less than a year. He was tied into some very shady players in New Orleans and had gotten busted, and sentenced to prison. As far as I could find out, it was fellow New Orleans musician Harold Battiste who helped get Mac established in Los Angeles and would throw session work his way, as Harold had established himself as an arranger and musician with chart hits to his credit and was working closely with Sonny & Cher (and he later became the musical director for their TV series).

So that film of the Gold Star session is pretty early in Mac's career in LA, not knowing the exact date of Mac's release from jail and his arrival in LA, but it happened sometime in 1965 and this film is from early '66.

Further trivia on Mac-Dr. John...Harold Battiste was Mac's producer and collaborator on the first Dr. John album Gris Gris, with the amazing song "I Walk On Gilded Splinters" as a highlight (of that record and Mac's discography). One of the ways they recorded it - at Gold Star - was creatively using session time booked by Sonny at Gold Star which he didn't end up using. So Mac and Harold jumped in and started recording what became the first Dr. John album.

Another interesting point shown in the amazing collection of talented musicians on that S&C session was to see a young Mike Post on guitar, who is perhaps the most successful composer of TV themes and soundtracks of the past 40 years. Everyone who watches TV at all in the US would know something Mike wrote, and I think he may have "charted" more themes in the top-40 than any other writer.
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"All of us have the privilege of making music that helps and heals - to make music that makes people happier, stronger, and kinder. Don't forget: Music is God's voice." - Brian Wilson
c-man
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« Reply #8 on: March 18, 2021, 06:16:06 PM »

Interesting tidbit: even though Mac "Dr. John" was a successful recording artist in his own right by the early '70s, recording in London for instance, he was apparently still doing quite a bit of session work in L.A., as he played in the Spector Wall Of Sound that backed John Lennon in his late '73 Rock 'N' Roll sessions. A year later, he guested on Ringo's Goodnight Vienna, but that may have been more due to their friendship than just a rank and file session job (Mac would continue to play with Ringo on record and onstage a few times over the years).
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