Franklin, TN - Paragon Studios recently completed the remixing of six Roy Orbison classic hits that are now available as a download pack for the Rock Band 2 video game. The six hit songs, "Oh, Pretty Woman," "You Got It," "Claudette," "Mean Woman Blues," "Ooby Dooby" and "In Dreams" had arrived just in time for the holidays.
"The interesting thing about doing this kind of a project is that you're taking material that is over 25-years old and trying to find that balance of how to modernize the sound for today's purposes while also trying to maintain the integrity of the original mix," says Fred Paragano, owner of Paragon Studios.
It was important to the Orbison family that Paragon Studios did not re-record these classic tunes with mock artists but rather use the original masters and Roy's voice from the actual recordings. In order to accomplish this, Paragon first started out by pulling the original master recordings from their vault. The next step required some degree of forensic work in order to determine which recordings were the actual masters as opposed to copies, slaves or alternate takes. Once the masters were identified, they were transferred from 2" 24-track tapes and then digitally archived for future uses. The songs were then cleaned up, remixed and then mixed into multiple stem mixes making them compatible for the video game. Due to the tight deadline for delivery, Paragano mixed four of the songs in Paragon's Control 'B' on the SSL C300 console, while J.R. McNeely mixed an additional two songs in Control 'A' on the SSL XL9080.
"We were very happy to discover that the master recordings were recorded very well and maintained their integrity after all those years," says Paragano. "Anytime you are working with tapes that old you will be presented with challenges, you've got hiss and other noise that need to be cleaned up. And so, the clean-up process and noise reduction process were pretty extensive on this project."
The Orbison family also had its own requests for some of these songs. "Roy's wife Barbara wanted the guitars in "Oh, Pretty Woman" to be much more aggressive than they were on the original recording," says Paragano. "Since the guitars were recorded really clean, I needed to make them edgier, but not too edgy. So I ran them through amp simulators and other machines trying to find that balance of what's too far and what's not far enough and what will make the game pop while honoring the family’s requests. It was a challenging but fun project to work on and I look forward to playing the game."
Paragon Studios has enjoyed working with The Orbison Estate on various projects over the past nine years. Paragano recently restored an acquired tape cassette recording of the last live concert Orbison performed just two days before his untimely death. To commemorate the 20th anniversary of Orbison's passing and to thank fans for keeping Roy's memory alive, the Orbison family has made the full recording of "The Last Concert," performed at Highland Heights in Akron, Ohio on December 4, 1988, available for download, exclusively at iTunes.
"When the Orbison family found the cassette tape of Roy's last concert, they asked me to restore and remaster it so it could be released to his fans," says Paragano. "Not only was the cassette 20 years old, but it was the only copy that existed so we had to be very careful with it. It was an honor to be able to keep Roy's memory alive and well."