6. Deedee Warwick

where is that rainbow?

July 1969

In high school, there was one black kid in our class. In art school there weren't any. Hardly ever saw one, much less talked to one. Now, in the studio, black musicians became a big part of my life. I began to connect with them, first as musicians, then as friends. Buddy Miles' band was all black except the keyboard and guitar players.

Now, a few months after finishing Buddy's record, this July recording date was the first of hundreds of times that I would be the only caucasian in the room. There was no thought of or comment on this fact. 

All I knew about Deedee Warwick was that she was Dionne's sister. The song was "Where is that Rainbow", and this was also my first recording date with real session musicians. By this time I had gained enough confidence to sit back and really listen to each musician's part. And these guys were the best, all solid veterans. I remember being awestruck by their precision, tightness, the simplicity of the individual parts, and how they all worked together to create a magical, seamless groove.

 I didn't notice until I was cleaning up the room afterwards that they were all playing from written sheets of music.

Union rules allowed three songs per session, so there must have been two more tracks cut that day, but Where Is That Rainbow is the one I remember. Deedee sang along and usually that kind of "scratch vocal" was  considered just a temporary, disposable guide for the players, but her performance was strong, emotional, and technically perfect. It seemed to be a real expression of someone who had once had dreams, but somehow, somewhere,  lost them.

Part of cleaning up was looking over the paperwork, which included forms filled out by the musicians, and a signed work order. I glanced at the name and quickly ran down the hall to the elevators, and Phil Medley was still there. He had been the conductor on Deedee's session, and had arranged the score that had just knocked me for a loop.

"Are you the guy who wrote "Twist and Shout"? I panted. (Isley Brothers, Beatles). He nodded and we shook hands.


One thing that got me off to a good start in studio work was that when I saw engineers plugging plugs into jacks, or patching, something clicked—  or a patch cord was patched—  in my head. I got it right away. You probably get it too; at least I hope you do, after all that explaining.

A jack in a row of jacks can be an output, and another jack in another row of jacks can be an input.  And if you plugged a plug into an output, and the plug was attached to an electrical cable made of wires connected to another plug, you could send the signal  to the other kind of jack, an input jack.