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  1. #1

    For fans of the Chicago Sound

    Hi all,

    Hope everybody is well given the current circumstances.

    If you are a fan of the Chicago Sound, the link below will take you to an excellent website on the Chicago Sound. It is especially interesting because it heavily features interviews with the arrangers and musicians who were the architects of the Chicago Sound, for example Thomas ’Tom Tom’ Washington, Willie Henderson, Gene Barge, And James Mack, as well as artists such as Gene Chandler.

    And what an amazing institution Crane College was: “Prominent Crane grads include Tom Washington, fellow Brunswick Records arranger Willie Henderson, Nancy Wilson, Jerry Butler, Tyrone Davis, Della Reese, Walter Jackson, Little Milton, Verdine White, and founding members of Earth, Wind & Fire, Louis Satterfield, Don Myrick, and Maurice White.”

    Oh, and and excellent tracks representing Chicago in a playlist.

    Cheers

    Mike

    https://www.312soul.com/1955-1966
    Last edited by MIKEW-UK; 06-08-2020 at 01:52 PM.

  2. #2
    Bingo!...
    Now that's what I like to see!
    Thanks, Mike....

  3. #3
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    Great website! Thanks for posting the link.

  4. #4
    thank you thank you.

    Tom Tom 84 has always been a mystery name for me , appearing as arranger on many records of the seventies. Could never learn anything about him . Not even a last name.

    AT LAST !





    https://vimeo.com/390182857

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Boogiedown View Post
    thank you thank you.

    Tom Tom 84 has always been a mystery name for me , appearing as arranger on many records of the seventies. Could never learn anything about him . Not even a last name.

    AT LAST !



    https://vimeo.com/390182857
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    He was around, arranging in the late '60s, too.

  6. #6
    Great website! Thanks & Cheers to Mike for sharing the news.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by robb_k View Post
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    He was around, arranging in the late '60s, too.
    Yes he goes back and has done a lot ! --- as Tom Tom and Tom Tom 84.
    Now that I know who he is I look forward to reviewing all of his work .

    Any idea what the moniker
    'Tom Tom 84' means ??
    Haven't found the answer to that yet ...

  8. #8
    Actually Tom Washington used several different variants depending when he was recording......

    "In my cratedigging, I actually look for his name on a record as a mark of excellence. I call it looking for a “Tom Tom”. I have at least a couple of hundred cuts he’s had a hand in (under the names Tom Tom, Tom Tom 74, Tom Tom 75, Tom Tom 84, Tom Tom Washington, and a few other aliases)".
    https://www.google.com/amp/s/darkjiv...hollywood/amp/

  9. #9
    I believe Kevin Goins is a personal friend of Thomas Tom Tom Washington and hopefully see this thread and post something. Tom Tom is still working by the way! Mike

  10. #10
    Hi Tom Tom is on Facebook. I just asked him this question. Perhaps Kevin did too :-).

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by heikki View Post
    Hi Tom Tom is on Facebook. I just asked him this question. Perhaps Kevin did too :-).
    If you get an answer from Tom Tom , Heikki, I hope you'll share.
    Maybe you'll interview him!

    I'd love to know how much he thinks his input accounts for the sound of a record? What percentage ? Or another way of asking , when listening to the song BEST OF MY LOVE by The Emotions , how much of what is being heard, the vibe, is due to him??

    On another, I think the part his horns and strings play on SHAKE YOU BODY are essential, but did they flow easily from the existing tracks already laid ? Does he consider them as mere sweetening ?


  12. #12
    Just to throw out there... I'm not so sure there was such a thing as the "Chicago Sound, in the same vein as there was an immediately recognizable "Detroit (Motown) Sound" that was distinguished with certain characteristics... repetitive backbeats, wandering basslines, a hot tambourine, that familiar Motown shuffle drum beat, and the patented studio A mixing tendencies, a true formula, and I don't know that Chicago or any specific studio there had such a patterned formula as did Detroit and Motown, at least that transcended certain specific artists... Chicago had many great artists, but not a single characteristic sound that I can recall... Jackie Wilson (Dick Jacobs arranged tracks) bore little resemblance to Impressions tracks, and what Maurice White ultimately developed into Earth, Wind & Fire really cannot be traced to the evolution of anything from Chicago specifically that came before it, save similarity of heavy horn emphasis shared with CTA (later Chicago) but was not really a big part of earlier Chicago tracks from Gene Chandler or some of the blues or Jazz artists from the Windy City (if there WAS a Chicago sound in the 50's and 60's, it would be those classic southern blues transplants perhaps), but I don't hear that stuff in EW&F or Jerry Butler, or the Chi-Lites for example... So from a strictly musical perspective , can someone tell me what the characteristics of the "Chicago Sound" being discussed here really were???...There were several really good arrangers from Johnny Pate and Sonny Sanders, to Dick Jacobs, etc... but different stylistically whereas at Motown, arrangers like Paul Riser, Wade Marcus, and Willie Shorter had a similar feel the company was looking for until Dave Van DePitte came along with slightly more intricate arrangements...but I don't see the type of structural or instrumental similarities as was happening in Detroit...I've heard people say about songs from other labels and cities that they sound like Motown...but can't recall anyone saying about any record that it sounds like the "Chicago" sound... Or maybe it's just me...

  13. #13
    Hi Stu,
    You make a very good case.
    On reflection I can't disagree with your observations about a specific Chicago Sound. The reality is that there were number of Chicago sounds, not one specific formula. However I do believe within these different Chicago sounds there are distinct formulaic methodologies which make Chicago recordings identifiable and distinct. They bear their own hallmarks and would not be mistaken for Memphis / Stax, Detroit / Motown, Philadelphia Intl/ P.A, or any other city than Chicago. I'll present some examples and set out my thoughts later.

    Cheers

    Mike

  14. #14
    I don't know if I'm articulate enough to shine a brighter light on the subject but I think
    this article is fairly accurate:
    http://www.encyclopedia.chicagohisto...pages/267.html

    Also a lot of the aesthetics that Maurice White brought to bear in EWF came from the
    influence of jazz musicians like the Art Ensemble of Chicago and especially from the
    late Charles Stephney. This is the man who made career successes for several acts, Minnie Riperton, The Dells as well as EWF. They were on different plane than Detroit
    or Memphis...

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qtuCkUhuxdg

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by StuBass1 View Post
    Just to throw out there... I'm not so sure there was such a thing as the "Chicago Sound, in the same vein as there was an immediately recognizable "Detroit (Motown) Sound" that was distinguished with certain characteristics... repetitive backbeats, wandering basslines, a hot tambourine, that familiar Motown shuffle drum beat, and the patented studio A mixing tendencies, a true formula, and I don't know that Chicago or any specific studio there had such a patterned formula as did Detroit and Motown, at least that transcended certain specific artists... Chicago had many great artists, but not a single characteristic sound that I can recall... Jackie Wilson (Dick Jacobs arranged tracks) bore little resemblance to Impressions tracks, and what Maurice White ultimately developed into Earth, Wind & Fire really cannot be traced to the evolution of anything from Chicago specifically that came before it, save similarity of heavy horn emphasis shared with CTA (later Chicago) but was not really a big part of earlier Chicago tracks from Gene Chandler or some of the blues or Jazz artists from the Windy City (if there WAS a Chicago sound in the 50's and 60's, it would be those classic southern blues transplants perhaps), but I don't hear that stuff in EW&F or Jerry Butler, or the Chi-Lites for example... So from a strictly musical perspective , can someone tell me what the characteristics of the "Chicago Sound" being discussed here really were???...There were several really good arrangers from Johnny Pate and Sonny Sanders, to Dick Jacobs, etc... but different stylistically whereas at Motown, arrangers like Paul Riser, Wade Marcus, and Willie Shorter had a similar feel the company was looking for until Dave Van DePitte came along with slightly more intricate arrangements...but I don't see the type of structural or instrumental similarities as was happening in Detroit...I've heard people say about songs from other labels and cities that they sound like Motown...but can't recall anyone saying about any record that it sounds like the "Chicago" sound... Or maybe it's just me...
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    Dick Jacobs was a native New Yorker, who lived there all his life. During the time he arranged recordings for Jackie Wilson, Brunswick worked mainly out of New York, and Jackie recorded in New York. Jackie started recording in Chicago only in 1965, after Brunswick hired Carl Davis to run their new Chicago office, because they thought that would revive his career. So, Dick Jacobs played no part in creating The Chicago Sound. If anything, Jacobs participated slightly, in helping create the early "Detroit Sound", by keeping his own arranging and directing, as close to Berry Gordy's demo recordings of Jackie's songs he and Billy Davis wrote for Jackie, and recorded in Detroit, and also keeping close to Al (Kent) Hamilton's original "Am I The Man", which was much more of a Detroit-sounding cut than a "New York style". Berry's and Billy's songwriting style was emulated by many up-and coming Detroit songwriters and arrangers, so that their early songwriting has a "Detroit Sound" to it.

    As far as there being a unique "Chicago Sound (style)" of early and late R&B/Soul transition and Soul music, I agree that there IS; just as there was one for New York, Detroit, L.A., New Orleans, Philadelphia, Memphis, and Muscle Shoals. When I listen to 1960s R&B/Soul recordings, I can almost always tell in which of those particular cities the song was created, or mostly created, and for the most part, where it was recorded. It is much more difficult to assess that by listening for other cities, Like Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Seattle, Denver, Phoenix, Miami, Nashville, Atlanta, Boston, Minneapolis, Houston, Dallas, and all the others who don't seem to have their own, unique sound. Milwaukee, St. Louis, Indianapolis, and even Des Moines '60s R&B and Soul cuts sound like "Chicago Sound" cuts, probably because they were recorded in Chicago (as they didn't have very many high-quality recording studios in those smaller Midwestern cities, OR, they were written and arranged by writers and/or arrangers who worked mainly in Chicago and the style of what others were doing rubbed off on them, or they actually had some Chicago people come there to work on their records.

    During the 1950s, just as in Detroit, the R&B cuts were arranged and played by Jazz musicians. The big arrangers were saxist King Kolax, bassist Al Smith, saxist Red Holloway, pianist and woodwind player Riley Hampton, Pianist and flautist Johnny Pate, pianist Sonny Thompson, and others, who played on most of Chicago's R&B recordings for both large and small labels.

    Most of them continued to arrange in the 1960s, joined by Leo Austell, Jr., Eddie Silvers, Sonny Sanders, Phil Wright, Johnny Cameron, Tom-Tom Washington, Eugene Record, Flash McKinley, Richard Parker, Gregory Washington, Burgess Gardner, Gerald Sims, Monk Higgins, Raynard Miner, Leonard Caston, Charles Handy, Roscoe Bowie, Marshall Thompson, and a whole lot more. All these played with musicians from the same large group of musicians who played on most of the Soul music recording sessions. They formed a sound that is unique to Chicago, just as the musicians at Motown - Funk Brothers, plus all the part timers, such as Joe Hunter, Don Davis, Melvin Davis, George McGregor and scores more, developed The Motown Sound, which influenced recording sessions for just about all the Soul sessions around the city. Same in Chicago. Most of the arrangers and session players didn't have exclusive contracts with their main record company employers. So, those same players were heard on many of the myriad of Chicago labels. The arrangers worked with so many of the session players around the city, many of whom were also session players when they weren't arranging. They all influenced each other. Many of the best songwriters were very prolific, and wrote for a lot of different companies. They, too, influenced each other, and were influenced also by the better arrangers. And, of course, Curtis Mayfield, Carl Davis, Billy Davis, Eugene Record, Gerald Sims, and the other great writers had a lot of influence on the young writers, just as the great Motown writers did on "The Detroit Sound".

    As to "The Chicago Sound", a prominent twangy guitar solo(like that of Curtis Mayfield, Billy Butler, Kermit Chandler, and Gerald Sims), and prominent horns, a plunky piano (like that of Riley Hampton, Sonny Thompson, Johnny Pate, Flash Mckinley, or Raynard Miner), and a great group harmony background. And if strings are included, they are quite a bit less forward than those of Motown's style, also lots of mid-tempos, and Latin beats are featured. Recordings are generally less "hectic" than "fast Soul". Give Robert Pruter's book on "Chicago Soul" a read. You won't be Sorry.

    The proof to me that there was a "Chicago Soul Sound" is "I'm Gonna Make You Love Me" by The Combinations. It was produced and recorded in Atlanta GA, by an Atlanta producer, and sung by an Atlanta group in 1965 - the midpoint of the classic "Chicago Sound", and by a group with the same name as a current Chicago classic Chicago Sound group, and yet, it is about as representative of "The Chicago Sound" as any record recorded in Chicago. When I first heard it, I said that had to have been recorded at Chicago's Universal Recording Studio in mid 1965. Now, this doesn't prove that there is no "Chicago Sound" because it was recorded elsewhere. There are only a handful of other cuts recorded elsewhere that sound as remotely "Chicagoish", just as there are a handful of Soul records recorded elsewhere that sound like they were recorded in Detroit.

    Here it is - give it a listen:
    Last edited by robb_k; 06-15-2020 at 03:37 AM.

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    Here's a Chicago record from 1963 that epitomises "The Chicago Sound":

  17. #17
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    Here's another - from 1964:

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    Here one from Major Lance:

  19. #19
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    Here one from The Dukays:

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    Here's one from Jan Bradley:

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    Here's one from The Daylighters:

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    Here's one from Billy Stewart:

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    Here's one from Otis Leavill:

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    Here's one from The Chi-Lites:

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    Here's one from The Opals:

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    Here's one from Gene Chandler:

  27. #27
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    Here's Betty Everett, with Kermit Chandler on guitar:

  28. #28
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    Here's Chicago Bluesman, Jimmy Reed's son, Jimmy Jr.:

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    Here are The Kittens. Remember SDF member "Don" (Montgomerie), whose uncle who raised him was a member of Chicago's Major's? This was his aunt's group:

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    Here's Walter Jackson teaming up with Curtis Mayfield and The Impressions:

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    Here's Jerry Butler:

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    Here's The Marvelows:

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    Here's Chicago's Jackie Beavers(AKA Tammy Levon) - No she's not Detroit's male Jackey Beavers after a sex change!:

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    Here's The Dell's original 1964 Vee Jay version:

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    Here's The Fascinations -( yes The Detroit group)-But they're recording Chicago songs in Chicago, with The #1 contributor to The Chicago Sound:

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    Here's The Radiants:

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    Here's Jackie Wilson - but it's not a hybrid Chicago/Detroit sound backed by The Funk Brothers and The Andantes, -but, rather, a pure Chicago Sound recording:

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    Here's The Lovelites (featuring Patti Hamilton):

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    Here's Wade Flemons- ex lead singer of The Newcomers:

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    Here's The Naturals led by Carlton Black, who was also the piano player for The Drewvells, and their bass singer, and songwriter:

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    Here's The Drewvells - recorded the same night as The Naturals' previous song:

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    Here's Mill Evans (AKA Millard Edwards - co-lead of The Sheppards - whose manager/producer Bill (Bunky) Sheppard occupied the next office suite over from my Airwave Records many years ago:

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    Here's Marlina Mars -not a Chicago artist but everything else about this production is Chicago - even the Curtis Mayfield style strings:

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    Here's Ray and Dave singing for one of several record companies owned and managed by my favourite DJ growing up, Al Benson:

  45. #45
    Attachment 17636
    Here's Philadelphian, Dee Dee Sharp singing a Chicago Sound song, as Cameo asked new Philadelphian, Jerry Butler to get material for her from his fellow Chicagoan, Carl Davis, to help her sagging career(as was done for Jackie Wilson that same year('65). The song was written by Barrett Strong and preliminarily arranged by Sonny Sanders:

  46. #46
    Attachment 17636
    Here's Chubby and The Turnpikes (AKA Tavares):

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    Here's The Fantasions (Barbara Acklin (AKA Barbara Allen) lead:

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    Here's Billy McGregor, Detroit's George McGregor's Chicagoan cousin:

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    Here's Joyce Kennedy:

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    Here are The Pacesetters with a Vietnam song:

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