audio restoration notebook

the Louis Armstrong project

This is studio session vinyl audio from the mid 60's for the commercial to promote the baby doll Suzy Cute.  This is so rare, only two copies are known to exist.  Armstrong and his band are swinging hard in the ad lib section that precedes the actual commercial, and therein lies the rarity: the commercial footage with the tamed music is available on VHS, but the "rehearsal" session really highlights Armstrong's band.  The drummer has a solid sound and he is very present in the mix; it sounds GREAT!  His cracking, backbone groove didn't make it to the commercial version, though  It's my guess that marketing felt it was just too much considering the intended audience, so the drums are barely audible at all.  The horn soloists get theirs, too, in the ad lib run-up to the commercial take.  They succumb to the same fate as the drummer though, however, in the final commercial mix: relegated to the back of the mix, or just not there at all.
Louis Armstrong Commercial Ad Lib/Rehearsal With His Swinging Band!


The two known existing 10 inch copies of this studio session came in to the facilities here at VINYLRECORDSTOCD.COM with neither having been cared for very well in the 40 some years since their cutting on the studio's vinyl lathe.  They were sandwiched one on top of the other in a cardboard container with a third non-descript disc molding away.  Normally in a situation like this, and, given only one copy of the record, I would have tracked in to the computer prior to cleaning to make a safety copy, lest something go awry in the cleaning process.  But with two copies to use, I cleaned one using my special process, and then input to the computer using a high bit rate and bandwidth.  Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, considering the condition of the vinyl, the record skipped.  The second 10 inch disc was put through its cleaning and input paces, only to find that it, too, had a skip, albeit in a different place.  Surface and impulse noises were pretty prevalent, as was some 60hz hum introduced in the master cutting process. 

Louis Armstrong Commercial For Suzy Cute


I was able to edit the two records together to make one digital file which I then processed in 4 separate steps.  Some noticeable clicks and pops remained.  I resisted any more software processing to avoid altering the character of the audio with the introduction of quantization errors and digital processing artifacts, and elected instead to interpolate the remaining impulse noises by hand, redrawing the wave form in the places where these noises were most pronounced.

For a less flattering take on Armstrong's pimping the child's toy, check this blog spot here



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