Single: “I’ve Got a Feelin’”
Date Recorded: May 2007
Producers: Steve Rosenthal, Don Fleming
Mixers: Ted Young, Steve Rosenthal (assisted by Stephen Clemmer)
Mastering Engineer: Warren Russell-Smith (The Blue Room at the Magic Shop)
Other Projects: (Fleming) numerous Sonic Youth albums; Teenage Fanclub, Bandwagonesque; the Posies, Frosting on the Beater; (Rosenthal) archiving and restoration of the Rolling Stones catalog; Ollabelle, Ollabelle; Lou Reed, Set the Twilight Reeling
Single Songwriter: Sidney Wyche
Mixing Monitors: ATC SCM200 Main Monitors with ATC power amps; ATC SCM20
Mixing DAW: Pro Tools
Tracking Signal Chain (lead vocal): Neumann U 67 and RCA 77; Neve 1073; Universal Audio LA-2A Producer’s Diary
“I’ve Got a Feelin’,” from Dearest Darlin’, results from a most harmonic convergence — that of Jenni Muldaur, daughter of Geoff and Maria Muldaur; producers Steve Rosenthal and Don Fleming; and a stellar band, all assembled at Rosenthal’s Magic Shop studio in lower Manhattan.
“I had started a project with Jenni where we were doing more [Alan] Lomax material — field hollers and acoustic stuff,” says Fleming. “It was really good, but I had heard her, and she can really belt it out.” “Her strong point,” Rosenthal agrees, “were these vintage soul and jump blues numbers.”
“I’ve Got a Feelin’ ” was cut live with all players in the room together, says Rosenthal, “which is the way I like to do stuff. With music like ‘I’ve Got a Feelin’,’ it’s really important that the musicians and the singer connect in a ‘momentary’ way, where they’re in the same place at the same time, and feeling something at the same time.”
The song was recorded through the Magic Shop’s Neve 80 Series console and recorded to Pro Tools at 24-bit/96 kHz. In the mixing stage, tracks went back through the Neve, “and I used the Chandler TG-1 stereo compressor,” says Rosenthal.
“We actually recorded everything two different ways,” he adds. “Everybody had a vintage set, and a modern set, of microphones. We recorded it all at the same time into Pro Tools, and would decide as we were working which set of mics we would use for each song. Jenni had two vocal mics — a [Neumann] U 67 and an RCA 77.”
“We weren’t trying to sound retro,” Fleming recalls, “but at the same time, it’s so much fun!”
“It made sense,” says Rosenthal, “because the whole idea of this record was to explore that time period between blues/jazz and rock.”
Dearest Darlin’ is a poignant record for all participants, as it was the last time they would work with guitarist Sean Costello, a blues phenom who passed away, on the eve of his 29th birthday, in 2008. “That was heartbreaking,” says Rosenthal. “We had a really great time. He’s playing really great on the record, so it has a warm place in my heart for that reason alone.”
The guitarist’s family has created the Sean Costello Memorial Fund for Bipolar Research (www.seancostellofund.org). “It turned out that Sean was bipolar,” Rosenthal explains. “I don’t think anybody knew; he had only been diagnosed a couple of months before he died.”
Christopher Walsh is the recording editor for Pro Sound News and the associate editor of Pro Audio Review.