The Un-Ending Vocal Performance Re-Take Death
by Jerk Producer
A couple of years back I was recording a country album for a Southern Ohio based musician here. He was a good guy that I went a long way back with and I wanted to help him so it was a freebie. The album/CD was ok, but the songs were truly nothing too special and the songs were your a-typical country songs, unfaithful boys and broads, boozing, trucks, every country music cliche' in general.
As luck would have it, possibly the worst song on the album just happened to be the guys favorite. He was/is, at best a VERY marginal singer and this was the issue. He could never nail the performance that he wanted on this one song. We did FIVE vocal recording sessions and literally dozens of "takes" and yet after every take, or punch in, he would say "I can do it better" and off we'd go again for another pass. It was only getting worse as we went (his actual best was his 3rd take) and as we approached the end of the 5th session he started talking about "coming back tomorrow, cause I know I can do it better".
I finally said the ugly truth to him, no amount of takes were going to make him sound like these old school country crooners he likes. I was offically done on that song and would do no more, if simply for the reason I would have to blow my brains out if I had to hear that song for even ten more seconds. Needless to say, he was mightily pissed, but I did not care, I could take any more of his singing, that song, or that album for that matter. I finished the pre-masters of his album, handed him the files, and he's not spoken to me since... so things kinda worked out...