Joe Walsh' "Rocky Mountain Way"

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Joe Walsh' "Rocky Mountain Way"

Post by MrFrodo » Mon Sep 24, 2007 6:54 pm

Here's another oddball topic. It's about the latter half of the Joe Walsh solo hit, "Rocky Mountain Way."

After Mr. Walsh stops singing, the drummer & keyboard player on the song, Joe Vitale can be heard playing a great part on an ARP synthesizer (I'm assuming a 2600 with the Oberheim update). What's always blown my mind is what Joe does with the filter cutoff freq. None of the 2600 keyboards were touch-sensitive, so what did he use? An expression pedal? I can't see anyone doing what I'm hearing manually.
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Post by Blue Monster 65 » Mon Sep 24, 2007 7:39 pm

Hmmm ... interesting topic ... I can't think of what part you're talking about, though! It's been ages since I heard that song. I wonder if it could have been played with a touchpad system ala Buchla?

Micke? Can you tell us anything about this?

Funny story about Joe Walsh, though: he borrowed a pedal from a guy who was one of my customers before he had his first hit (they were both from the same town in Ohio). A year later, Walsh is back in town and drops by the guy's house and gives his Mom the pedal - totally trashed!

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Post by stillearning » Mon Sep 24, 2007 7:46 pm

Joe used to play high school dances at Padua High School with The James Gang in my old neighborhood with that very pedal, Scott. Small world, you know?.

(do you remember the guy's name who owned the pedal?) :shock:


As far as that song goes, I haven't heard it in years, but I think I have it at home somewhere on vinyl. I'll check it out later. That's the song with the guitar going through the mouth tube, isn't it?
Last edited by stillearning on Mon Sep 24, 2007 7:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by MrFrodo » Mon Sep 24, 2007 7:47 pm

Somehow, that does sound like something he'd do.
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Rest in peace, Dr. Robert Moog.

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Post by Blue Monster 65 » Mon Sep 24, 2007 7:58 pm

I'm thinking, Stills, but I can't remember off the top of my head! I think he deals in vintage guitars now, though. Damn! I'm getting really bad with names ...

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Post by stillearning » Mon Sep 24, 2007 8:10 pm

The more I think about it, (and I haven't heard this song in many years) the part you're talking about may be guitar going through what I think is called a "voice box". It's just the sound from the guitar run into a tube that goes into your mouth, and you use the shape of your mouth to color the guitar's sound and direct it into a mic. We used to build our own using an old horn driver (w/o the horn attached) and a piece of clear plastic tubing that we'd run up the mic stand and tape it to the mic.

Or I could be thinking of the wrong part, or even the wrong song....
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Post by MrFrodo » Mon Sep 24, 2007 8:13 pm

The talkbox is happening at the same time as the synth part I'm talking about. But, those guitars come in after the ARP.
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Post by stillearning » Mon Sep 24, 2007 8:20 pm

Ahh, I see. Got it. If I get a chance, I'll give it a listen later if I can find the album in the attic, that is. I've probably heard that song a million times, but none in the last 30 years or so, and I can't picture the sound you're referring to from memory.

Sure was a great song in it's day. Got a lot of airplay in northeast Ohio, that's for sure!
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Post by Z » Mon Sep 24, 2007 8:22 pm

MrFrodo wrote:The talkbox is happening at the same time as the synth part I'm talking about. But, those guitars come in after the ARP.
Yes, and I believe both parts are hard panned left and right. To me, it also sounds like there is some clav (electro acoustic or synth) on the same channel as the bass synth. It's not played at first, but starts about halfway through the talk box solo.

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Post by Micke » Mon Sep 24, 2007 8:39 pm

Could you perhaps post a sample of the sound you're thinking of?

IIRC Joe Walsh used an Arp Odyssey "White-face" during most of the '70s. Now, the Odyssey was duophonic from the start so....
The song in question was recorded at the end of 1972 so it can't have been an Arp 2600 with the duophonic keyboard since that wasn't released until mid 1975 or thereabouts.

I just watched a live version on youtube and sure enough, their keyboard player uses an Odyssey...couldn't hear it though.

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Post by meatballfulton » Mon Sep 24, 2007 9:37 pm

Two possible ways to do it on an ARP:

very slow LFO

Sample and hold...remember ARPs had a real S&H with an input mixer so you could create non-random patterns.
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Post by Yoozer » Mon Sep 24, 2007 10:04 pm

The sound starts at 3:13 and yes, it's a talk box.

For a really wicked demo:
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Post by MrFrodo » Mon Sep 24, 2007 10:22 pm

Okay Yoozer, you've convinced me. But for the life of me, I'll never understand how he played that harp.
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Rest in peace, Dr. Robert Moog.

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Post by synthetic88 » Mon Sep 24, 2007 10:35 pm

One of the most famous talkbox solos. But back on topic, there's some cool synth parts in "Life's Been Good." Percussive sound at 3:00, ARP 2600, I assume? Also a Minimoog-sounding bass synth at that part of the song.
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Post by MrFrodo » Mon Sep 24, 2007 11:24 pm

That sequence was included when the Eagles played that song in 1980. But, I never read anywhere if it was played live or pre-recorded.
The greatest thing we ever have is the will to survive.

Rest in peace, Dr. Robert Moog.

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