So sad to hear of the passing of Robin Geoffrey Cable, talented Record Producer and Engineer, and an old friend.
Robin started his career as a ‘house engineer/producer’ at Trident Studios, the organisation which first signed Queen up for management, publishing and recording.
He, along with Roy Baker and Ken Scott took on the clients that used the studios and became a team with a kind of team spirit, I’d say, and they were responsible for the “Trident Sound” as heard on Robin’s work with Carly Simon, and Ken’s with David Bowie. Roy met with some resistance from us because we were looking for a much more ‘live’ sound, and we got our way from the second album on, with his approval, and he eventually became known for live-sounding studio recordings.
But Robin actually gave Freddie (and me too) his first proper release on record. He was obsessed with the Phil Spector sound, and recreated it in his own way on recordings which he masterminded, of Spector’s song “I Can Hear Music” and Carole King’s “I’m Goin’ Back”. Robin had it all recorded but could not find a vocalist. He heard Freddie on the demos we were doing at a very early point, and asked Freddie to sing the tracks, which he did. He wanted a very ‘young’ sound, so he speeded up Freddie’s voice by recording it at a lowered tape speed. As I remember it, Robin was not happy with the solo section, so he invited me in to turn it into a guitar solo – which worked out very well. So then … what to call the artist for the release of the record ? Robin liked the idea of spoofing Gary Glitter and the Glam Rock movement, so he came up with “Larry Lurex” ! So in a sense our first ever release on vinyl was under the name “Larry Lurex”.
I do remember going to Robin when we were worried about the sound of our album when it was mastered. We thought it sounded too thin, and I remember Robin putting it through a graphic equaliser, and putting a little ripple in the frequency levels, up around 2k and down around 3K. It achieved just what we wanted. Robin had great ears – there is no question. We also considered asking him to produce our second Queen II album, and even got him to produce one track – “Funny How Love Is” – which we slotted into the album at the end of “The March of the Black Queen”. It, too, has Robin’s take on the Phil Spector “Wall of Sound”.
We used to see Robin frequently around Trident, but after his accident, he was much less communicative, and I got the impression he found life hard. And of course later on we had a bad falling out with Norman and Barry Sheffield, because they were holding us to a monstrously unfair deal, and we left, never to return, when Jim Beach negotiated us out.
So after that I didn’t have any contact with Robin that I remember. I’m happy now to be in contact with his family, but I’m sad that it is under such sad circumstances.
R.I.P. Robin Cable.
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