Bob Marley “No Woman No Cry” – multitrack analysis

taken from –
Bobby Owsinski is an author, producer, and a music and technical consultant

Bob Marley was a superstar that transcended stardom to become legend, even before he died, and 30 years later, his music is as fresh as it was back when he was at his peak. Today we take a listen to the bits and pieces of the multitrack to the song “No Women, No Cry” from the 1975 Natty Dread album. This version is pretty interesting, but the one that’s more widely known came from a live album a year later.

It’s believed that Marley wrote the song but gave the songwriting credit to his childhood friend Vincent Ford in order to help him sustain the soup kitchen that he ran in the Trenchtown ghetto. Regardless who wrote it, it’s still powerful today. Here are a few things to listen for.

1) It’s interesting that the track is built around a primitive drum machine. Considering how formidable Reggae rhythm sections are, you expect the full band to play on every song.

2) The low vocal parts by the Wailers are pleasing out of tune. These probably fall into the “close enough” category so prevalent at the time.

3) The number of keyboards used is also a surprise; 4 organ tracks, a piano, and clavinet.

4) There are two lead vocals, but you can’t tell if they were eventually comped together from listening to just this single multitrack pass in the video.

5) The recording looks to be done on 23 tracks of a 24 track tape machine. Track 24 was usually reserved for timecode if needed, but sometimes the edge tracks of the tape were avoided altogether or used for bass and kick drum because they’d be damaged and have limited frequency response.

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Anatomy of a Bob Marley multitrack

extract from :
Bobby Owsinski is an author, producer, and a music and technical consultant

Here’s another multitrack from one of Bob Marley’s most popular songs, “Lively Up Yourself.” The song was the first song on Marley’s seminal “Natty Dread” album, and was the first by Marley without his former Wailer bandmates.

1) The first thing you hear is the horn section, which is doubled on two tracks. The horns sound particularly tight and together.

2) Bob’s lead vocals consist of two passes on different tracks, with the harmony background vocals of I-Threes doubled on two tracks.

3) The drums are interesting in that they’re on three tracks consisting of kick, snare, and high-hat (instead of overhead). Listen to the intricate high-hat work, which is unusual for a reggae song.

4) The guitars consist of standard reggae layering on three tracks – one providing the rhythm backbeat “chucks,” the second doing fills in between the lead vocal phrases, and the third doubling the bass.

5) The keyboards are interesting. The organ plays a form of the standard reggae “bubbling” with the bass line doubled on the left hand (bubbling normally requires both hands). The piano outlines the chords on beat 2 with the left hand while doubling the bass line with the right hand, which is very unusual.

6) Once again, the entire song was recorded on only 15 tracks!

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UK Premiere in Lincoln of new Documentary

Directed by Mac Dara O’Curraidhín,
Written by Prof. Brian Winston. Film Editor Chris Hainstock

A new feature length documentary, which looks at the life and works of Robert Flaherty,
often called “The Father of the Documentary”. HD 90 mins.

Directed by Mac Dara O’Curraidhín, Written by Brian Winston.
Film Editor Chris Hainstock.
Sound mixed at Lime Street Sound, Dublin

Leirethe Mac Dara O’Curraidhín & Minerva Productions, In association with the Irish Film Board,
TG4, EM Media, Brightspark Studios and the European Media Fund.
in association with the University of Lincoln/The Lincoln School of Media.
further details at

Radio One Broadcast – visit to the truck

19th Ocober 2010
Steve Richards, BBC Sound Engineer gave Level 2 Audio Prod Students a behind the scenes tour of the broadcast truck today – with all the wires, desks, software, hardware, consoles etc, we discovered that the final output gets sent out to air via 3 ISDN lines, temporarily set up by BT about a month ago specially for the broadcast.

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