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  1. #1

    Gladys Knight "The Nitty Gritty" Mixing Error???

    This may well be my favorite Gladys Knight Motown track by Norman Whitfield. The guitar work and the Funk Bros are on fire here and Gladys delivers over them. But one thing drives me crazy about this recording.

    It came on my iPod today at the gym and reminded me that about 1 minute into the song the drum fades out...and stays out for over a minute. I have always wondered if this was a mixing error by Whitfield or was he trying to augment the horns and guitars here. It's on both the stereo and mono mixes.

    Anybody else pick up on this?

  2. #2
    There is also" Diana Ross & Supremes & The Velvelettes, there are others none motown Ricardo Ray & Shirley Ellis "Nitty Gritty"

  3. #3
    Yeah; I picked up on the way that the drums fade out on Gladys Knight & the Pips' "The Nitty Gritty" and I've always thought that it was Norman Whitfield's choice to do that [since it's on both the mono & stereo versions of the song]. I'd love to hear an alternate mix on the song where the drums don't fade out at the 1 minute mark but it doesn't seem likely these days.

  4. #4
    Interesting thing is on Diana Ross & The Supremes' rendition of the song, which incorporates the same instrumental track, the drums are not muted in those places where they are muted on Gladys Knight & The Pips version. The places where the drums go out and come back in are kinda odd in the sense that they don't happen at a point where a musical phrase beings or ends. I can only guess that the intention was to create a certain vibe or feel at those points. Actually it sort of works though because of the congas and the tambourine predominately keeping the back beat of the groove going. They probably kept the drums in on the Diana Ross & The Supremes version because there's no tambourine in that mix, and the rhythm guitar part is muted a lot so it also isn't there consistently to help keep the rhythmic groove of the song going.

  5. #5

    That track is all about the syncopated rhythm, with the tambourine, the guitars, the congas and the horns, underpinned here and there by the bass which, itself, is also faded down at points.

    So, I'd say that the absence of the drums is deliberate as it happens in both the mono and stereo mixes, and even when one can hear the drums they're well back in the mix.

    I'd say that the mono mix beats the stereo mix hands down, but is this percussive and rhythmic tour de force actually less commercial because it's all about the rhythm rather than the beat and because, as a result, for some listeners it's perhaps a bit stop-start and never really gets going.

  6. #6
    Norman did his own mixing, so I doubt that it was not intentional. The mono almost always beats the stereo.

  7. #7
    Since Motown was using 8-track multis at this time, when Norman cut this for the Supremes, all 8 tracks were filled up with instrumentals and vocals. When he reused the same track for Gladys/Pips, he had their vocals dubbed over the Sups, but I also noticed there are additional instrumentation added to Gladys/Pips version. This meant the instrumental track had to be bumped meaning instruments originally having their own track were combined or instruments were dubbed over. The brass during the break on the Supremes version aren't present on the Gladys/Pips version - instead it is a guitar solo not heard on the Supremes version. Also the tambourine was added. I would love to know what was dubbed over.

    I actually prefer the track in its original state rather than the dubbed version.

  8. #8
    fascinating....one I'd probably never picked up on my own ....

    Norman Whitfield was so good at thinking outside the box ....and thereby creating his own. Doesn't surprise me he'd think of trying this.

    Interesting Brad .... how do you account for the drums returning two thirds in?

  9. #9
    Looking at the DM number [N-K-S-615M08] on the 45 of the Pips version, it was mixed by Ken Sands, whilst the B side, 'Got Myself A Good Man', was mixed by Norman [N-Q-N-624M01]



  10. #10
    Great info, but for me I would have preferred the drums maintained throughout the song. This track is so funky I just don't know why it didn't sail into the pop top ten. Gladys' vocal has more fire on this than Diana's does. Was too complicated a track for Ross.


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Ralph Terrana

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