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Friday, May 22, 2015

The Ronettes "Baby I Love You" Isolated Vocals

The Ronnettes with Phil Spector image
Here's a real treat. It's the isolated vocal track from The Ronette's 1963 hit "Baby, I Love You," an excellent example of the Phil Spector "wall of sound." The song featured The Wrecking Crew on the backing track, and background vocals that included Cher and The Blossoms (with Darlene Love). Here are some things to check out.

1. The track is swimming in reverb, but that was the Spector sound. Gold Star Recording had a unique live chamber that had a frequency response that was just right for packing on a lot of verb without getting in the way.

2. Everything was recorded on the same track. This was probably done on a two track tape machine with the instruments all recorded on one track, which left the second track open for vocal overdubs. That's why you hear the lead vocal, background vocals and claps, which were all recorded at the same time.

3. The track is panned to the left, which probably means that the music was panned to the right. In the early days of stereo, there was no standards and no one really had any idea how to pan things (believe it or not). Not only that, pan pots didn't exist yet, so the engineer only had the ability to pan hard left, hard right or in the center.

4. Check out the claps, which you don't hear well in the full mix. The song starts with them, they come back during the instrumental breakdown and then do double time on the outro.

5. Listen to the end to hear Phil Spector.

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