Robert Johnson's Love In Vain - A Community Collaboration (from the archives)

It was June 2021.
No sooner than I had decided to put recording and projects on the back-burner to focus on my singing than opportunity knocked on my door. I ignored the immediate moment of self-doubt and said “yes”.

I was taken by complete surprise to receive a message from @Richard_close2u asking if I would be up to add vocals and produce a cover of this classic song, to be done The Rolling Stones way.

The timing proved just right, to be able to apply what I was learning in the singing course plus put the Guitar Pro 7 license I won in the Forum Festive Season contest to use. GP7 was a great aid to producing this.

Thank you so much for the opportunity, the support, and encouragement, Richard. I’m most grateful, feel ever so privileged.

It’s taken us a while for various reasons, but here it is. Hope you enjoy it.

Some kind comments ensued:

from @CT

Excellent! Nice bluesy tone. Well played, sung and produced (stats for nerds bears that out). Such a cool mid-week blues bump.

from @brianlarsen

What a fine collaboration by our two most prolific forum contributors :slight_smile:
The instrumental side earns simple criticism from me, as it sounds great and is way beyond my ability to judge. (I hope hiring gun-singers is not the beginning of an avoidant habit though, Richard, as you really need to continue in the vein of your OM contribution)
Top job on vox and production, David-
As some fat boy once remarked: “You’ve come a long way, baby” 8)
I remember a couple of years ago, you seemed uninterested in what your singing was like, as you were (quite rightly) focused on learning guitar. It’s been educational to watch how, as your playing improved, you have broadened your horizons. esp. in recording/production, performance and now singing, to become a much more ‘rounded’ musician.
The phrasing is still tied a tad too close 2 the bars for my taste, but you have to do that before you can start ‘letting loose’, I suppose. Leaps & bounds, good sir.
(I was unfamiliar with the Glimmer Twins moniker, although it pleasantly reminded me of the fabulous Glimmerman pub in Stoneybatter, Dublin on this Bloomsday, celebrating the joy of Joyce :slight_smile: )
Twin vibes from me!

from @TheMadman_tobyjenner

Well that was a lovely treat on a rainy afternoon !
Really enjoyed Richard’s wonderfully clean playing, such deftness and awesome tone.
Then only to be matched by Mr Ps dulcet tones, with a super display of what you can do after 10 weeks of a 12 week singing course :wink: Your hard work is paying off David !!
Fantastic collaboration chaps !!
Cheers Toby 8)

from @adi_mrok

This was superb, I think you really polished up and made the song your own you both. Guitar as always spotless Richard, but I am sorry to say David took most of my attention, very clean singing and really interesting fx applied making it all fantastic collab. Well done chaps!
Keep on rockin’ my friends

from @sairfingers

Kapow! The dynamic duo strikes! Well done guys that was terrific. Super playing from Richard and some tasty vocals and excellent production from David. Loved all the steam engine graphics too.
I think we’ll be hearing more from this collaboration in the future.

from @RodC

Excellent, what a great collaboration. Very much enjoyed all aspects.
@Davidp I’ve got to thank you for prompting to me to listen to more Stones. With everything else going on my younger days they were “just those old guys”. But now I truly appreciate them. I think I’ve got about 6 different Stones songs I regularly play around with. This track did send me on a pretty cool YouTube journey of listening to your version, The Stones, Clapton and of course Robert Johnson. All different, all great. Thanks again to you and Richard for this.

from @MikeSebastianP

Wow guys that was great, I enjoyed every moment! Great collaboration from everyone, playing the guitar, vocals, everything was at the highest level. I really, really liked the sound of the guitar!

from @Digger72

Hi David/Richard,
Great job. So laid back and chilled. A proper mind de-clutterer. (Probably not a real word, but I like it.)
Loving the blues - recently re-watched Crossroads. Did you sell your souls? :smiley:

from @pkboo3

David/Richard. This was such a clean and polished performance. The sound balance seemed perfect to me. I know I know very little about production, but I heard the balance between vocals and instrument. I heard the deep, open, clear and clean sounds of it all. Sounded great to my ears.

from @Rossco01

Very good job both. Not a song I know but east to appreciate the both vocal and guitar on this one. Very nice indeed. You’re hitting the higher notes there David and letting those notes extend which sounds good.

from @Mari63

Very nicely played and sung, great post you guys!

from @batwoman

Great to see you two fine fellas making music together, so happy for you David and Richard. I like the spaciousness in your arrangement. It allows both guitar and voice to each have a life of their own and then the sweet sounds of them coming together in that space. Tuneful David and toneful Richard, nice work.

from @Willsie01

I’m having a great Father’s Day Sunday Afternoon working through new stuff on the AVOYP forum. And this! Already listened to some really good music and this just adds to the list. Lots of applause to both of you. You’re both above my pay grade musically speaking so I’m not going to try and say anything more.

from @crocodile1

Super collab from you, guys!
The guitar and vocals are perfect, and the whole mix is fine.
Respect to you both!

With replies and thanks of course.

Thanks everyone so much for watching and the comments. It’s greatly appreciated and glad you all enjoyed our collaboration to bring this classic to the community.

Clint, I find that nerd stat to be tricky to hit the target of a few cents under the norm level. I had to go back, tinker, and reload to get this level. I figured 0.2dB over was not going to result in any ill effects of the hard limiting I assume they apply to songs over the threshold. Looks like about 14LUFS on the integrated on my YouLean Loudness meter may be about right.

Brian, “most” is maybe a little hyperbolic :wink:
LOL … “gun-singers” … classic. Voice-for-hire … I’ve a long way from being a Top Vox here. Rather enthusiastic, willing, and a well-known lover of the Stones. Bala commented on my YT channel … he is well … and as another Stones-lover and a Top Vox would love to hear him sing this song.
I suppose everything comes down to focus and timing. With limited time one can only work on so many things, even just when focusing on guitar there is so much I’d like to be able to do. I suppose less time on the Forum might help, but it is such an invaluable part of my experience. And the way things were rolling, I just felt now was the time to give some attention to singing. And as always, putting in the practice hours in a deliberate way leads to learning and improvement.
I hear you on timing, getting it to be natural and not too rigidly on the beat, tied tightly to the strumming. For this one I tried to follow the the timing of the original in terms of where lines start and did my best to hold the last notes of the line long enough, without running out of air and collapsing.
I forget the origins of the moniker but it always tickled me.

Toby, Richard is simply an inspiration and what a pleasure to do this with him.
Full disclosure now … this vocal was hard work. I’d say the hardest I’ve worked on anything I’ve produced today, either singing or playing. To be fair, first time I have done much more vocally than just turn the mic on and have a go. So this is the result of many, many takes, singing over a melody reference, using Melodyne to check the pitch. And the melody goes from lows to highs with some big jumps up and down.
Both Chris Liepe and Rick Beato have recently posted videos on the topic of autotune and pitch correction. Rick would be pleased to know that I worked this vocal line by line getting the melody right and the pitching as close as I could. No note adjustment on this one.
As far as I have come, and am more than satisfied with progress so far, I have so far to go before I can sing something like this as a One Take Wednesday, and that is before considering being able to play that guitar part while singing.

Adrian, hopefully not sounding too over produced in terms of fx. For this I was trying to keep it as natural sounding as possible, with just enough fx for it to sound warm and full, as if in a small soom with good acoustics.

Gordon, glad the graphics were a winner this time round. Would love to have created more of a music video story with people on platforms etc but limited with what is free to use on the internet.
As for more collabs, I don’t know about that. But in general I do enjoy collaborating with Forum Friends and always up to join projects. Producing the few collabs that I have has taught me a great deal and always been fun. And as people say, the only way to get better at recording, mixing, arranging is to do more of it.

Rod, I was enjoying your Symapthy as I was wrapping this up. Thinking about the different sides of the Stones. And Let It Bleed is such a fantastic album to showcase that, from this song to Midnight Rambler and Gimme Shelter. And another favourite of mine, Monkey Man.

Thanks Mike. Richard played the song so well and recorded it with both a mic and DI. I used both tracks in the mix to blend the tones and create a little bit of width and fullness. Glad you enjoyed that.

Thanks Digger. Crossroads was great. Based on the way I play and sing, if I had sold my soul then I got short-changed ;D

Thanks Pam. Appreciate your comments on the production. As I said above to Mike, part of what helped this one was having the acoustic recorded both DI and with a mic. The differences in tone on the two tracks made a significant contribution to the sound.
For the rest I’d say my mixes started to sound a lot better when I started to use some much better quality tools on the mix and master. And like everything in music, just takes time and attention to get into production. I’ve really enjoyed that side of things since I made my first multi-track for a Forum Contest … goodness, when I listen back to those I can hear how my production skills have grown.
But I’d probably be a better player if I’d used all that time in learning to play better. All about choices. And it is gratifying to read your comment and know that the time spent has borne fruit.

Thanks, Jason. The song is probably one only lovers of the Stones would know, not one from any of the Greatest Hits compilations. If you liked it then you could give a listen to Eric Clapton’s Me and Mr Johnson. A tribute to Robert Johnson that makes the songs much easier to listen to than the original Robert Johnson recordings from '36/'37.
Appreciate the comment on the vocal. It took a lot of work to be able to get that recorded. Couldn’t do deliver that in an OM but previously couldn’t have delivered it in any way, so I am pleased with the progress.

@Mari63 and @batwoman
Mari and Maggie,
Thanks for listening, appreciate the comments, and ever so glad you enjoyed it.

Thanks, John, glad you enjoyed it. I think your playing and singing has been excellent in the OMs and videos you’ve posted, so no need to hold back on comments. And at the end of the day, I think all that matters is how something sounds to you as a listener, not how good one is or isn’t.

Thanks again, Richard, for the opportunity. If this were an awards ceremony then you would be on the stage, as we did this together and I hope you are enjoying that “warm glow” as much as I am.

The final song is only as good as all the parts and steps. So once again, tip of my hat to you for the guitar playing and everything else you contributed to help me learn the phrasing of the lyrics, the timing, and the feedback along the way.

Your belief and confidence in me was again a huge catalyst in being able to step up to this quite significant challenge.

And now I will keep working, keep improving, and maybe one day be able to sing a melody with these big jumps up and down in a live performance.

Thanks, Leo. Appreciate the listen and wonderful comment. As one of the people here whose performances and production in delivering full band covers and recently an original, I so admire, that inspire me to keep on keeping on, it means a lot.


@ everybody who has listened, commented, taken time to indulge David and me.

Thank you, thank you so much. Your positive responses have been gratefully received.
I wanted to step back from this a little to allow David the warm glow for a while.

This collaboration dates back a while.
It is long known that David is rather partial to the Rolling Stones. There had been several conversations about Let It Bleed at a time that, by chance, I was learning to play Love In Vain the Stones way. I also knew David was taking a vocal course. The idea of reaching out and suggesting we record together seemed a natural and obvious step.
Then I suffered a hand injury and had a long lay-off. Then life got very busy for both of us and it all got put on the ‘no rush, we’ll get to it’ pile.
Through this time David was doing some work in Guitar Pro to make a midi backing track and recording some initial guide vocals, learning the part and getting it to a point where he felt confident recording a proper take.
Meanwhile I was back playing a little, and post OM I got back to playing this in earnest.
David set a deadline when he would have some time off work so it all fell together nicely.

I couldn’t decide whether to play with a pick or with just thumb / fingers, and eventually decided on the latter. I recorded the guitar DI and with a condenser mic in to two separate channels.
that was my part done.
Beyond there David did all the heavy lifting on his vocals, with the DAW and creating the video.
So vibes and kudos to him.

I’m really delighted with the way it turned out and must say that David’s singing has taken many huge leaps forward, the control and versatility to jump intervals a la Jagger in this song is a great show case for the improvements he has achieved.



Excellent collaboration guys. Great vocals complementing some beautiful guitar playing and a great video to boot.


What a great cover song to listen to as I travel on the train. Great vocals, playing and production. A mighty fine collaboration.


That was a great collab guys. I don’t know much Stones stuff but that was a wonderful listen.

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@Eddie_09 @Socio @SgtColon

Thanks for giving this ‘blast from the past’ a listen. Not just one from the Community archives, but the Stones recording is a cover of a Robert Johnson tune from the late 1930s.

If you are interested in the Stones, Stefan, getting into the Band rather than just the hit songs then you can do a lot worse than listening to the entire Let It Bleed album on which this cover was released. Listening to that album and a few others from around the same period showcase what all the fuss was about, a band that has more to it than just being one of the great live acts.

But as Richard says above, I am a fan :rofl: And as one of my bosses used to say when I started work, one typically loves either the Stones or the Beatles, seldom that one ends up loving both. I like a lot of the poular Beatles tunes, mostly the sng-alongs, and love the Stones largely based on the flurry of what I consider to be 4 great albums produced late 60s/early 70s.

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Thanks for the pointer there David. I’ve added the album to my Spotify and I’ll give it a wibble. :+1:

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I had a cassette tape with Let It Bleed on one side and Beggars Banquet on the other. I played it many, many times.
They make a great pairing.

@DavidP would also likely point you to Sticky Fingers and Exile On Main Street.

You know me too well Richard :rofl:. The observant reader will notice you have now made reference to 4 albums, the 4 which I consider to be their finest work.

And you can add Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out, ideally the anniversary release, which documents a live performance from that era, supplemented by opening sets from BB King and Tina Turner.

That performance has Mick Taylor, another from the John Mayall school for guitarists (including of course Eric Clapton and Peter Green), as the second guitarist. He may not have struck up the same kind of guitar-weaving cameraderie as exists between Keith and Ronnie, but was a masterful player.

But here I go again, letting me enthusiasm get the better of me :rofl:

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I’ve just given that a listen. A very good album, I thought. Lots of bluesy stuff in there. There was 3 tracks on there I knew. A lot of re-listen value on that one.

I’ve added the 3 Richard mentioned and will give them a go too and if I’ve time, Get yer ya-ya’s out. :smiley:


Yeah, bluesy, some country influence, and rock/rock n roll.

I’m guessing the three known would be Gimme Shelter, Country Honk, and You Can’t Always Get What You Want?

I love Monkey Man


You are correct there David. The last one being the best of the three, in my opinion.


Hi guys,
Strange on this one as I guess I read the lead in sentence and thought this was from way back. Alas I finally saw that was not the case and it was a new post of this classic Stone song.

At any rate, good play-Richard and vox by David. Both performance stood out and were well done.

Not sure, but might have heard a tad of clipping on the guitar in the low end at around 0:46 and possibly before, on the right side mainly. Could be my bionics playing games on the old ears though?

At any rate I really enjoyed this one and you guys should do more together.

All the best,