Posted tagged ‘Kiki Dee’

TCM MUSIC GROUP LATEST NEWS: TED CARFRAE INTERVIEWED FOR DORIS DAY ALBUM ‘MY HEART’

September 2, 2011

TCM Music Group’s Ted Carfrae Talks About Producing On Doris Day’s Album ‘My Heart’.

Doris Day’s Latest Album ‘My Heart’.

Multi Platinum Producer, Ted Carfrae of TCM Music Group talks about producing on Doris Day’s latest album ‘My Heart’ in this recent interview for the longest running Doris Day website – Discovering Doris. Ted also gives a track by track appraisal.

The album is already generating a huge amount of interest. So if you’re interested in Doris Day, you need to check out the interview.

The album is due for release in the UK September 5th 2011 by Sony Music UK. The CD can be purchased at Amazon UK and Amazon.com on import.

Over his long and successful career, Ted has worked with some of the biggest music artists in the business. Everyone from Kiki Dee and Cilla Black to David Cassidy, Soul Queen Jaki Graham to Sheena Easton and Classical Superstar Katherine Jenkins.

In the last few years Ted has taken great satisfaction in helping up and coming artists like Ray Prim, Robert Gillies, Texas Rap Artist SES, 7th Heaven, Klubkidz and CYLiX.

Through TCM Mastering and the TCM Music Group, along with his partner in Nashville – CJ Boggs – many new artists have benefitted from the professional, fast and affordable services they provide.

So if you need some music advice, help with production, recording, mixing or mastering, drop them a line or call them to discover some of the great deals on offer at the moment.

Latest TCM Mastering News:

TCM Mastering’s Ted Carfrae has just mastered James Scott’s album ‘Letters from Sonora’. An album of great acoustic guitar work. James Scott is a solo finger-style steel string guitarist.

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TED CARFRAE, MY LIFE IN MUSIC: KIKI DEE ALBUM MASTERING PROJECT – PART 2

August 12, 2011

Ted Carfrae, My Life In Music: Gus Dudgeon, Me And Kiki Dee – The Rocket Records Remastering Project Part 2

TCM Music Group’s Ted Carfrae continues from last Friday’s blog with his recollection of working with Kiki Dee and Gus Dudgeon…..

Bernie, Elton and Gus.

Apart from the aforementioned unreleased albums, of course there were the tapes for the four classic albums; 1973’s ‘Loving & Free’, 1974’s ‘I’ve Got The Music in Me’, 1977 ‘Kiki Dee’ and 1978’s ‘Stay With Me Baby’ produced by my all time favourite engineer/producer, Bill Schnee.

Gus and I spent a few days pre-mastering ideas, playing around with digital mastering equipment we had borrowed and decided to burn off a set of CD’s and live with them for a few weeks and then come back to finish off and make any changes that were needed.

Both he and I had other commitments to attend to so we said we would touch base soon and sort out a date, shook hands and said our goodbyes. That would be the last time I would ever talk to Gus because unfortunately, he died in a tragic car accident along with his wife a week or so later.

It was an awful shock to everyone who knew him. I didn’t know Gus that well, only a couple of years and more work colleagues I guess, but he was an amazing presence in this industry, a true original character and I feel blessed to have worked with him because he filled the place with laughter and was a complete joy to be around.

Naturally, the mastering project was rightly shelved, I packed the tapes away and returned them to the warehouse and put the DAT and CD transfers in a drawer where they stayed.

Some years later I decided to move out of London and relocate to a beautiful village in Kent and while building my new studio, I stumbled across the masters I had done with Gus in a drawer. Quite by chance, Kiki Dee was playing in concert at my local hall with her long time music partner Carmelo Luggeri so we decided to go along and see the show and if there was a chance, I would mention the masters I had done with Gus.

The show was fantastic of course and after the show she was busy signing autographs so I decided to leave it. For about a week after the concert, these tapes were on my mind. I eventually decided to contact Kiki direct to see if she wanted to have them and maybe she could use them. Within days Kiki called me back, we met for lunch and a friendship began. She told me that Elton had actually given her ownership of the master tapes so over a period of months, we toyed with the idea of trying to get all the albums properly released.

I contacted a good friend of mine at EMI called Steve Davis and arranged an initial meeting with him to discuss my ideas and straight off he was interested and wanted to meet Kiki. We set the meeting up and after a lot of discussion over the following months, the deal was signed.

It was quite a unique deal in some ways because not only were EMI going to release all five original albums on CD for the first time, but they were also going to re-release  Kiki and Carmelo’s latest album, the excellent ‘Walk Of Faith’ along with earlier albums, ‘Where Rivers Meet’ and ‘Naked’.

All the albums were scheduled for release in the spring of 2008 with me acting as executive producer for the project. I decided to approach the mastering from a fresh perspective and enlisted the talent of Geoff Pesch at Abbey Road Studios in London.

Kiki and I worked hard on finding some great content for the CD booklets. She arranged for all of her photo shoots to be shipped in from the Rocket archives and there were some real treasures along with thousands of newspaper cuttings of her massively successful US tours and interviews. I arranged for literally hundreds of previously unseen slides to be transferred to disc and Kiki and I spent weeks picking all the photos specifically for each album booklet.

I have to say it was such a fun time sitting alone with Kiki ploughing through all of this stuff, listening to all the anecdotes, it was an amazing time. I then enlisted the talent of another dear friend, journalist Chris White to write the new sleeve notes and in April 2008 all of Kiki’s albums were finally released by EMI and I strongly recommend them all.

Speaking of anecdotes, Kiki told me a fantastic one about my all time favourite vocal on her classic recording of the song ‘Stay With Me Baby’.

Evidently, back in the late seventies when Kiki was living in LA, the song was released as a single and she ran into Patti Labelle at a party and Patti told her it was one of the best vocal performances she had ever heard and it deserved to get a Grammy, praise indeed. Well it didn’t win the Grammy but it is to this day a master class vocal performance and for me personally, I distinctly remember listening to Kiki’s version of this incredible song all those years ago when I was a young assistant engineer and it set the standard for the level of feeling, power and production I wanted to achieve on my own records someday and that still stands today.

Over the years I often refer to that one track as a supreme example of the perfect vocal take, full of passion and feeling.  If you don’t know Kiki Dee’s music, do yourself a real favour, get the albums off Amazon and  listen to one of the best voices of all time.

Next Friday…..Cilla Black Beginnings Revisited.

TED CARFRAE, MY LIFE IN MUSIC: KIKI DEE ALBUM MASTERING PROJECT – PART 1

August 5, 2011

Ted Carfrae, My Life In Music: Gus Dudgeon, Me And Kiki Dee – The Rocket Records Remastering Project Part 1

Ted Carfrae owner and founder of TCM Music Group and TCM Mastering recalls his work with Kiki Dee and Gus Dudgeon…..

Anyone who knows me, knows that I am a huge fan of Kiki Dee. For me, she is without doubt one of the finest singers that the UK has ever produced.

My association with Kiki began some years ago in the late nineties at my studio in London’s Great Titchfield Street. Quite by chance, an associate friend of mine, the late and great record producer Gus Dudgeon asked me to work with him re-mastering all of Kiki’s Rocket Records back catalogue.

Rocket Records was owned by Elton John and his then manager John Reed and Kiki was their first signing in 1973. Kiki recorded five albums for the project, four were released and one remained unreleased. In fact, Gus and I didn’t know it even existed until I dug out the original stereo master tapes for this mixing project with Gus.

Elton John US Tour with Kiki Dee in 1974.

The master tapes were held in an amazing warehouse near London’s Heathrow Airport and I remember the day I went down there to see what I could find. The building itself was a bit of a mess and the road leading up to it was full of potholes so I thought to myself,  I must be in the wrong place, surely this can’t be the right address, I knocked on the door and sure enough this was it.

I walked into the building and was met by a chap called Richard who owned the warehouse. He took me through into the main warehouse area and I was astounded by what I could see in front of me…..I was completely surrounded by more rock memorabilia that I could ever have imagined. Everything from several of Elton John’s pianos and stage sets, loads of Beatles equipment including guitars and even Ringo’s original Ludwig drum kit and I even held the snare he played at Shea Stadium.

Ringo and his Kit at Shea Stadium.

There were thousands of master tapes there as well, in special temperature controlled vaults including everything the Rolling Stones ever recorded and that was just scratching the surface. It was so incredible that I asked Richard how much it was insured for and he told me that it wasn’t, because how could you put a price on this stuff – it was truly priceless. Richard pretty much gave me the run of the place so as you can imagine I was in music heaven and I remember pinching myself several times.

Back to Kiki, when I managed to calm down from the excitement, Richard pulled several boxes of Kiki Dee 1/4” master tapes and I started to explore the contents. There is something quite magical about opening up a box and not knowing what is inside, the smell of tape is also very distinctive and for me it took me right back to my early days of working with tape.

It turned out that Kiki was quite prolific when she was at Rocket, there were of course the four main albums, there were some non album singles and ‘b’ sides. But the gem find was a completely un-released album entitled ‘Cage The Songbird’ that was recorded in Los Angeles in 1976.

I say un-released, in fact there was a single released from the album called ‘Once a Fool’ and  I am assuming that for one reason or another, a decision was made to shelve the album and maybe return to it at a later date which of course never happened until I discovered it’s existence. The album was produced by US producer Robert Appre so even Gus was unaware of its existence.

Incidentally, another song from the ‘Cage The Songbird’ album called ‘Chicago’ was re-recorded for a single and featured on the ‘Kiki Dee’ album  that followed in 1977.

Very interestingly, I discovered another un-released album in one of the boxes, this time from Kiki’s tenure at Ariola in the early eighties. Kiki’s first album ‘Perfect Timing’ produced by Status Quo producer Pip Williams, included her massive hit single ‘Star’ and this unreleased follow-up album entitled ‘Every Story Has Two Sides’ also produced by Pip is unreleased to this day, so maybe someday it will see the light of day, I really hope so because it is really good.

I brought all the boxes to the studio and Gus and I went through everything in more detail. Generally, the tapes were in very good condition but some of them had deteriorated over the years and I had to arrange for them to be ‘baked’ – let me explain this process in simple terms.

Baking Oven for Recording Tapes.

Essentially, when master tapes are left for many years, sometimes stored in ‘less than perfect’ conditions, the oxide in the chemical makeup of the tape itself starts to effectively melt and before you can play them again they are carefully baked in a special oven for a few days until the chemical composition returns to pretty much its original state.

Once baked, the process doesn’t last too long so you have just a short time to transfer the tapes onto a new tape or in this case a digital format before they revert to their damaged state. Gus and I initially copied straight transfers of all of the albums onto my early Pro-Tools system, onto DAT tapes and several CDs just to make sure we had plenty of safety copies

A word about Gus Dudgeon…..Gus was a character, an original – renowned for his outrageous clothing, a true eccentric – but he was also a true genius and lovely man. Gus produced many artists but he is probably best known for producing all of Elton John’s classic seventies albums including, ‘Yellow Brick Road’ and my personal favourite ‘Captain Fantastic and The Brown Dirt Cowboy’.

A lot of people forget that Gus created some unique recording techniques to create these sonically amazing albums. One of his best inventions was used on the ‘Yellow Brick Road’ album in an effort to isolate the piano from the band while recording (because of course the band all played together in those days). He had the brilliant idea of building a box that mirrored the shape of the piano that rested on top of the piano, with the lid taken off, with two holes in the side for the Neumann 87 microphones to fit through. And it was, as with everything Gus did, a complete triumph.

Like so many producers before him such as the great George Martin, who I was also lucky enough to work with several times, Gus Dudgeon was an innovator, a total genius. And I remember particularly how wonderful it was for me to watch Gus audition Kiki’s tapes again after so many years because I know that working with Kiki was a very special time for him personally and he was in his own world for a while reliving those many recording sessions.

Next Monday…..Part 2 continues.