A Music Documentary That Is A Must See!

By John Huston

A true innovator of his time

I recently watched a documentary on Tom Dowd called the “The Language of Music”. For any music lover, this is an absolutely wonderful glimpse behind the scenes into the world of audio engineering and the genius that was Tom Dowd. Mr. Dowd died in 2002, a few days shy of his 77th birthday. He leaves behind an enormous collection of music that he helped record over the various decades and styles of music. He has worked with Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Aretha Franklin, The Allman Brothers Band, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Derek and the Dominos, Booker T. and the MG’s, J. Geils Band, The Eagles, and James Gang, just to name a few. He was also credited with the invention of multi-track recording that did more to revolutionize music since the invention of the phonograph. Here is a clip I wanted to share with you a video of him mixing live in the studio the original tape of “Layla”, which is arguably one of the finest and best rock and roll recordings of all time, featuring Duane Allman and Eric Clapton on guitar. This video shows just how much this man loved music.

Music is a universal language

Tom Dowd talks in this documentary about how there are a lot of ways to offend people in this world; words, lyrics, poetry, etc. However, there is nothing offensive about music. You may not like all of the music you hear, but you will never be offended by music. Tom Dowd puts more of himself into his work than most people in the studio that I have witnessed personally, he truly was a genius. He’s responsible for some of the best albums of all time in rock, jazz, and R&B. In my own life, there is never a better feeling than making music with your friends and great musicians. Tom Dowd encapsulates the best attitude and diligence that an audio engineer could have; he was beloved by every artist that he worked with and they interview a lot of these musicians in this documentary. I encourage you to watch this movie and show it to all of the music lovers in your life; they will thank you for it.

Question for the class, had anybody ever heard of Tom Dowd before?


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