Less is More: Billie Davis 1969

“Nobody’s Home to Go Home To” was a 1969 B-side for Billie Davis that I have a weakness for. The bass playing is incredible and the song cleverly jumps between three keys, but the strings and backing vocals kind of take over the recording. I noticed this morning that they’re both panned hard right and the vocal is centered, so I got to work.

  • Dumped the right channel to make a mono track of the left, leaving all the essentials: drums, bass, piano, elec & acoustic guitars, a quiet organ, tambourine, and the vocal.
  • Made several surgical cuts to bass frequencies that took over the mix at points.
  • Mitigated some incidents of “breathing” and “pumping” in the breaks. This is where a compressor had turned up the gain while the band’s last note of a section was fading out. This can be done to great effect (after the snare hit at 0:21 in Elvis Costello’s “Busy Bodies”), but on this track it just sounded like a someone with coffee jitters was leaning on a fader, and it made the snare hits that preceded the following sections unnaturally loud.
  • Raised some high frequencies to bring some sparkle to the vocal
  • Added a tiny bit of stereo echo to widen the sound

In the result, you get a more interesting intro (IMO) and a tighter rhythm section, and you can actually hear the piano, the backbeat snaps of the electric guitar, what sounds like a low temple block on the snare hits, and Billie’s quiet falsettos at the end of the choruses.

Billie Davis – Nobody’s Home to Go Home To (mrclay.org mix)

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Here’s the original .

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