“Sunny” by Bobby Hebb
This is such a wonderful sounding recording of a fabulous performance of a delightfully soulful song. The recently deceased Hebb wrote it as a declaration of gratitude for the healing power and optimism of a new day after some dark and discouraging times.
This stereo recording smacks of a “head-on” take--a group performance captured live--and the lead vocal is right up the middle with most of the other elements hard-panned to the left or right channels. Leakage from the left side drums can be heard on the right side horns. Love it.
Nevertheless, it’s not a crude or unrefined mix. This is a great sounding recording of a great performance of a great song. What more might one want?
I find this to be exemplary of what I like to call “sophisticated soul”, boasting much harmonic eloquence and instrumental aptitude. It’s a musical chart that I’m sure kept all the players excitedly on their toes while laying it down!
After the first 2 verse/choruses, the arrangement modulates keys upward in half-steps, famously and repeatedly--three times. I recently noticed that--after the third and last modulation--that the bass, in the second measure, doesn’t quite make it up to the three chord , playing an “uh-oh” quick second.
So quick, it didn’t matter.
Bob Dawson (Bias Recording) and I like to say “Soupy won’t mind!” It won’t affect …uh…sales. Indeed, the record became a million seller and is known the world over.
I’d be interested to know the total time taken for this production—tracking, overdubs (if any), and mixing. I’d venture that it took 1/20 the amount of time needed to produce the typical pop record of today. My friend Don Dixon suggested that it probably took about an hour, considering the fact that in those days, most of the session players’ time was spent patiently while the singer learned a theretofore unheard song. But Bobby was the writer, and showed up ready to sing.
Listen one of these ol’ days, and it will grab you all over again. It’s one of my all-time favorites.
"Sunny" was recorded at Bell Sound Studios in New York City and released as a single in 1966.
Read more about the artist and the song HERE.