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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Yes "Roundabout" Isolated Vocals

Keeping on with our isolated vocal week, here's the isolated vocal track from Yes' breakthrough hit "Roundabout" from their Fragile album. One of the nice asides on the track is hearing bits and pieces of Rick Wakeman's keyboards isolated as well.

Skip to 1:03 to where the vocal starts, but while listening, keep an ear out for:

1. The double on the lead vocal. It's both a little pitchy and not that tight, as the releases are usually off against the original vocal.

2. At around 2:19, the vocals and the organ clash as one is on a major while the other is on a minor chord.

3. The loose harmony vocals on the choruses. The background vocals seem like they want to sing in stacked thirds all the way through, but they often drift to unison and octaves.

4. At 7:15 on the last verse, new voices join in the harmony (it's been Jon Anderson by himself up until this point).

5. The short reverb on the vocals at the outro at 8:00.

Also listen for keyboard mistakes at 3:03, 5:35, 7:53, which I guarantee no one has ever heard when the record played. Listen also to the B3 solo at 6:05. Even by itself it smokes.


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Darren Landrum said...

You know what I find hilarious about this? I just released my first album, and I'm getting all sorts of guff for my singing. I agonized for months and months on the singing. I didn't double my vocals because I had trouble matching the original notes. And now I hear this, and find out that one of my favorite singers had all the same problems.

I think I'm going to stop caring so much about what's supposedly the "right way" to do it.

Michael Stone said...

It was nice to see my favourite band featured in this series.
I wonder, though, if your comments on the harmonies are fair. Yes featured vocal harmonies from the start and spent much time arguing about the finer points of their arrangements if Bill Bruford is to be believed so I think it was probably scored as they wanted. It is also interesting that almost all of the isolated tracks of classic pieces you have investigated contain a fair few imperfections that would most likely be "corrected" these days possibly sterilizing the performances. Back then I feel that the strength of the musical ideas and their execution far outweighed any technical niceties.
Finally, a correction of fact. Rick Wakeman played a Hammond C3 throughout the '70s. This model was generally preferred over the B3 by the Prog bands.

Bobby Owsinski said...

The only difference between the B3 and C3 was the cabinet. The C3 held up a bit better on the road, as I can attest to with my own B3.

Doug Darrell said...

Admittedly a nit-picky point - but I believe at least Chris Squire joins in during the bring (i.e., pre-7:15).


Doug Darrell said...

^^Make that "...during the BRIDGE."

fat fingers...

DJ_Kevonator said...


A couple of points of interest I've noted from listening to this:

1: John seems to be straining his voice with the multi-track verses at the front of the song. In or out of tune (if ever so slightly), I LOVE the natural phasing between both of his vocal tracks - he sounds great double tracked!!!

2: The Mellotron flutes just before the keyboard and guitar solos in the middle of the piece; Note the pitch waver. Rick Wakemann must've left his Mellotron out in the sun for a little too long - no wonder why he wanted to burn it!

I do apologise if I sound really excited about this - My father introduced me to Yes at an early age and Fragile has always been an 'Atomic Bomb' of an album in my opinion. It still sounds as good now as the day I first played it.

Thanks once agin for posting these videos up - it's definitely given me a new perspective on this album, even if it's only just one song! =)


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