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Monday, May 17, 2010

"You Keep Me Hangin" On Isolated Tracks

Staying with our Motown theme for the week, here are two versions of the Supreme's classic, "You Keep Me Hangin' On."

The first version is from the superb Standing In The Shadow's Of Motown deluxe box, which is a must for every musician's video collection. Here's what to listen for:

1) This is a pretty stripped down arrangement compared to most Motown songs in that it only uses the rhythm section, with no strings or horns.

2) The tambourine, played by Jack Ashford, is a Motown signature and is used on just about every single Motown song. In this case, listen to how seamlessly it works against the snare drum on 2 and 4.

3) The interplay of the guitars is also classic Motown and a textbook on how to make 3 guitars work in a song. In the intro and verses we hear the octave high E pedal and the second guitar outlining the chord changes. In the bridge with hear all 3 guitars, with the third one entering with the funky double-time muted line.

4) The same goes for the interplay with the keyboards. An organ plays through the entire song and the piano enters only on the bridges.

5) The timing of the different guitar parts is off in a few places. It would make a producer crazy today, but didn't seem to matter much to anyone back then. The song was a huge hit and I don't think anyone who bought the record noticed that the strummed guitar was off in bars 46 and 91.

6) Check out how the mix breaks down to just the bass and drums at about 1;13, then opens back up to the entire band at 1;38.

In this second version, we have a brief introduction by Diana Ross describing how they worked out the song, then you hear the track with only the background vocals. It's really interesting to finally hear exactly what they were doing.

Tomorrow, more Motown.

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1 comment:

getitinwriting said...

Yes!! Standing in the Shadows of Motown is a MUST HAVE DVD. Great insight into the talent behind Berry Gordy's kingdom. James Jamerson in particular...what an overlooked genius. Thanks for posting these, to dig out my DVD and watch it again.


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