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Southern Nights vocal effect

Discussion in 'Vocals' started by Torsten Borg, Nov 26, 2014.

  1. Torsten Borg

    Torsten Borg Active Member


    Don't know if this is the right category to put this thread on, so please correct me in the right direction if it's not!

    I've been thinking about this one for a while but can't figure it out..

    What's the main vibrating, thin, flangy, rotary vocal effect Allen Toussaint uses on his version of the song Southern Nights? Or can somebody of you figure out the effect chain, or is this some kind of special effect i don't know about?

    It's cool, for sure!

  2. pcrecord

    pcrecord Don't you want the best recording like I do ? Well-Known Member

    I'm just guessing but my first thought was about a rotary speaker effect. As if is voice was pass through the amp of a B3 or something like this.
    If that's not it, they might have used a guitar amp with a tremolo section. After that, may be a bit of chorus.. but what we here could be the amp alone. I doubt they had a very complex chain.
  3. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    sounds to me as if it was run through a Leslie speaker with some added flange or a modulated delay. Just a guess. This type of production was popular for a while in the 60'sand 70's, lots of artists used it, and not only on vocals; lots of hits with guitar solos processed in similar fashion... The Beatles, Pink Floyd, The Small Faces, Peter Frampton, The James Gang (Joe Walsh)...

    View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bvEexTomE1I

    and, at around 1:30...

    View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QboA41mP7qg
  4. pcrecord

    pcrecord Don't you want the best recording like I do ? Well-Known Member

    Yeah ! A Leslie is a good bet too.
  5. Torsten Borg

    Torsten Borg Active Member

    I'm guessing the same thing. Gonna try a few things and experiment. Thanks for the help guys.
  6. There were a couple of Leslie speakers made back in the 1970s. The best known one, was the large natural wooden units that plugs right into the Hammond organs. But there was a standalone version, complete with a foot pedal that allowed for external input sources. One of my friends had one of those plugged into another brand electronic organ. Which we then also used to feed other musical instruments into, such as a pedal steel guitar. Which sounded awesome. It sounded like a gliding, sliding Hammond organ.

    We could also feed a vocal into an Eventide Clockworks, Instant Phaser and then into the Leslie speaker. And that was doubly awesome. Which is the sound I think you're asking about? Which was back around 1973. A long time ago.
    pcrecord likes this.
  7. Torsten Borg

    Torsten Borg Active Member

    Sounds very exciting! Makes me wanna try that setup, like, NOW! Haha.

    Do you know what the model name was of that leslie?
  8. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    I believe that "Graham" ( ahem...) was referring to the classic 122or 147. Leslie made many other speakers/cabs as well, but not all of them were able to be used on their own apart from the B3.

    If you have $2500 bucks knockin' around that you want to spend, You can get a new version (3300) of that classic model here:


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