A Day at the Studio
These photographs were taken by Jimm Roberts around February of 1970. He had come to the studio a little early to do some photos for the Livingston Taylor album. We usually had two sessions a day, one from about 1PM till dinner time, and another after dinner until early morning. On this day we were cutting tracks with Oscar Tony, Jr. in the afternoon and doing overdubs with Livingston in the evening. Jimm took these photos and gave them to me a few days later. They represent a cross section or sample of the people who might be found in our studio on a given day. As I look back, the concentration of talent is astounding. This was no ordinary start up studio. Even after the loss of his friend and partner Otis Redding, Phil Walden was firmly established and respected in the music industry. His management and booking company had the largest stable of R&B artists outside Motown, and Atlantic Records was assisting him in setting up his new record label which they would distribute. Capricorn was the land of opportunity at that time. A new artist who showed up in town would get listened to, in fact would probably get into the studio to at least do some demos. An artist looking for more freedom could find it here. It was a place for an established artist or engineer to move up to producer.
In this photo L-R Jerry Williams aka "Swamp Dogg", Oscar Tony, Jr, and the late Tommy Dowd. Over Swamp's right shoulder can be seen Otis's plaque that read "In Memoriam, Otis Redding, 1941 -1967.
Tommy Dowd was at this point in his career an engineering legend with Atlantic Records. He'd done many of my favorite records including the early Ray Charles recordings. He was looking for opportunities as a producer, and I think this session with Oscar Tony was his first at our studio. I engineered for him again a few months later when we worked on The Allman Brothers' "Idlewild South". On that session we cut "Midnight Rider", "Elizabeth Reed" and "Hoochie Coochie Man". We also recorded "Statesboro Blues", but it was not included on the album. I must have ask Tommy a thousand questions, and I still use several miking techniques that I learned from him.
Tommy and Oscar. Song writer Jackie Avery is sitting in the corner.
Well, I thought all these photos were from the same day, but Tommy has changed clothes. In the movies we call that a continuity problem.
Tommy in the studio working out an arrangement.
Livingston Taylor and Jon Landau. This was before Landau ever heard of Bruce Springsteen.