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Thursday, July 15, 2010

"Who Are You" - The Who Isolated Drums

Since everyone seemed to like the last Keith Moon track that I posted so much, here's another one. This time it's the isolated drum track from another Who hit - "Who Are You." This was the last album that Moony recorded before his untimely death. Here are some things to listen for.

1) Listen to the hi-hat work at the beginning of the song. I especially like the way he emphasizes the two and four downbeat. Many drummers would just play this as straight 16ths. Moony was much more sophisticated in his technique than he's ever been given credit for.

2) Once again, he's playing to a pre-recorded sequenced synth track and he's very solid doing so. Not a big deal today, but not something that was done much back then in 1978.

3) His time wavers slightly during the double time chorus as he's slightly on top of the beat but he pulls himself back every time he drifts off tempo.

4) Listen for the tympani overdub during the tom part in the bridge. It's mixed back in the track a bit so you've probably never heard it before (I know I didn't).

5) The outro is typical frantic Moon, playing his signature tom fills like only he could. The tempo goes out the window, but that's OK because it lifts the track to a peak just when it's needed most.

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Bob Buontempo said...

Wow!! You did it AGAIN!! You have to stop posting these solo tracks so I can get something done besides listening to them!!

First; Actual stereo drums!! I think this was all recorded flat and dry, and, to me, the cymbals are up a little too much, with too much low mids/mids, and the mids of the toms are a bit "boxy", as well.

I LOVE hearing him "growl" or yell during his fills. I remember having that on happen with several drummers I've recorded.

I also like, right before those tympanis, hearing him put the stick down on the head.

There is NO discernible headphone leakage!! Those drum mics must have been padded way down, or, at least, needed very little pre-amp gain, proving how hard Moon hit the drums.

Finally, screw the tempo fluctuations. We are HUMANS, and that's part of what makes older recordings sound so great. There are some Ringo overdubs that are WAY more out of time, and they let them stay. If the ending of the tune is a build up, then I LIKE when things tend to speed up at the end of the song, building the excitement, too!!

As long as the band all comes together, then it's all good.

CaptainVictory said...

Thanks for posting these, Bob. With these little revelations, I get to relive a little of that youthful excitement I had when I first heard these tunes decades ago.

Anonymous said...

Nice little article. However I don't know if you heared Townshend demo which you can find on Youtube....

Would have given even more food for thought about this track. For example Hi-hat part is Townshends "invention" etc.

Maybe revised article :-) ?


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