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  1. #1

    Harmony and Background

    Mary Wilson stated in her books that by the time the group consisted of her, Scherrie Payne and Susaye Greene that it was again what it once was with herself, Florence Ballard and Diana Ross which was three group members who all were lead vocalists. When Diana Ross wrote about the harmony in the group she stated that Mary had the perfect sound in between her and Florence which blended their voices and that Mary's voice had a great deal of warmth. When thinking of how they blended together vocally, most on this forum probably would say the original trio had the best harmony vocals but I also feel that the grouping of Mary, Scherrie and Cindy Birdsong also blended together beautifully. In backgrounds Florence was quite strong except for Where Did Our Love Go, where Mary stood out(I think HDH felt if she was considered as the possible lead by one that her sound would really be more in line with the tone of the song). Once Cindy joined and she was a much softer voice, Mary became stronger in the background to adjust and they blended together beautifully. Once Jean joined, their blend was much stronger than when it was with Diana, Mary and Cindy. Mary and Lynda had a decent sound together but it seemed that the blend was a bit off and different and I preferred Mary and Cindy together. Once it was the last grouping, I also found the harmony a bit off and that they were 3 lead singers showcasing their voices and unlike with the originals, Mary was much stronger and no longer seemed to anchor the other two voices as readily as she did with Florence and Cindy. Out of all of them, I really prefer Mary, Scherrie and Cindy with their blend-it seemed so beautiful and perhaps as stated in the LYG Collection by Mary, it was perhaps the nicest group so that is reflected in their harmony vocals. Just my opinion and that is just what I hear and I am sure others will hear things differently.
    Last edited by jim aka jtigre99; 02-15-2020 at 03:14 AM.

  2. #2
    I can tell someone has really been paying attention all of these years. I totally agree Jtgre99. The Original group had superb harmonies which were only closely matched with the latter grouping of Mary, Cindy, and Scherrie.

  3. #3
    I usually cite this recording as a perfect example of how tight the harmonies were with Mary, Cindy, and Scherrie. At times they sounded like one voice that was doubled, tripled, etc.


  4. #4
    I think MSC was a return to three backing vocalists on the tracks, which rarely had been the case since the early days of the group. I'm one of the fans of the original trio who feels the harmonies were never better than when Flo was in the group. But I must say what MSC did together was outstanding. Unfortunately the bulk of studio work that we have for Lynda is the JW album where the ladies are paired with the Blossoms. But live, I'm definitely a fan of Lynda and Mary together. They were strong and dynamic, which we hadn't heard from two background singers in the group since it was Flo and Mary. So I definitely rank them highly. Keep in mind, when it comes to Mary and Cindy, second to Flo, Cindy was the singer Mary sang with the longest in the background. We talked in another thread about the abilities of the original Supremes being aided by the fact that they were together so long. The same can be said about Mary and Cindy. They were so accustomed to each other's voices by the time of MSC that they could make an instant click, which made it super easy for Scherrie to slide in and find her place in the harmony every time. When Cindy left and Susaye came in, Mary was now singing with someone new and with someone whom she really hadn't had to sing alone with (Scherrie) because when Cindy was in the group, she never really sang lead, outside the occasional verse. There is something to be said about familiarity in harmony. MSC had it. MSS didn't.

  5. #5
    the MSC combo had some of the strongest, 3 part harmony blends. also they had completely stopped using additional singers so the voices are ONLY the supremes. there is a lot of layered vocals - listen to Give Out on Sup 75! there are at least 3 if not 4 background vocal lines all layered together. superb

    in the studio MSS also had a spectacular blend. live though...

    unfortunately there isn't much studio material in our hands from the MJL lineup. at least where it's just the 3 of them. to my ear, M and L didn't blend as well as M and C. Lynda just has a very powerful and unique voice that cuts through the orchestra like a lead singer.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by sup_fan View Post
    the MSC combo had some of the strongest, 3 part harmony blends. also they had completely stopped using additional singers so the voices are ONLY the supremes. there is a lot of layered vocals - listen to Give Out on Sup 75! there are at least 3 if not 4 background vocal lines all layered together. superb

    in the studio MSS also had a spectacular blend. live though...

    unfortunately there isn't much studio material in our hands from the MJL lineup. at least where it's just the 3 of them. to my ear, M and L didn't blend as well as M and C. Lynda just has a very powerful and unique voice that cuts through the orchestra like a lead singer.
    Lynda had a loud, bland voice in my opinion that she had to tone down at times.

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