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Thursday, 20 May 2021

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Unfortunately the Sony E 16-55 does not have stabilisation - if it did I'd buy it like a shot!

I own the documentary "The Wrecking Crew" on DVD (yeah, I own physical media) and it is well worth watching. Anyone into music, especially those that grew up in that time frame where music was transitioning from the Sinatra era into pop/rock will have their memories stimulated. We all know these songs but never knew how little the people on the album jackets were directly involved in making the sounds.

These players were truly masters of their craft.

I recieved the CSN&Y Deja vu box set this week and it's fantastic. The out takes and demos are worth the price for me (this ain't cheap), and the overall packaging is quite nice. There is some thought that this was going to be a double album in 1970, and there are several never heard songs in the extras that let you know that was a possibility.

The weakness of the Wrecking Crew documentary that was put together by Tommy Tedesco's son Denny is that because the Wrecking Crew played on so many songs owned by many record companies, Denny needed a release for every song the Wrecking Crew played on. Very difficult and time consuming. There are lots of bits and pieces of the documentary on You Tube. A search for Carol Kaye will turn up lots of links for the Wrecking Crew's primary bass player.

One of the best behind the scene documentaries is Standing in the Shadows of Motown. With the material controlled by Motown, it has much greater breath and depth.

My misspent youth was spent in Southern California. Concerts at iconic venues were always on the agenda and many were disappointing: The bands couldn't play or at least play well. We would often chalk that up to the bands needing to do a few tunes to "get warmed up". We later learned about those session plays and that no, those headline performers didn't need to "warm up", they needed music lessons.

Interesting. I wasn’t surprised about the various solo artists - I mean, how often did Streisand play a lick? - but some of the groups were a bit startling. I think I always doubted the Monkees, though.

I’m not sure how common the use of session musicians was here in the UK. Certainly there were some groups who subsequently became (in)famous for not playing on their own records. There were rumours about many bands who seemed to exist mainly because of their looks. The Small Faces perhaps? Maybe, even, The Who? (In both cases, only very early on.) And there were many session musicians, a number of whom went on to have successful careers in bands - Andy Summers of The Police was one, I believe. They must have been doing something…I do get the feeling that the UK record industry was less governed by business in the 60s, but I might have that all wrong. There is the famous story of the newly-recruited Ringo Starr playing a tambourine on an early Beatles recording while a session musician drummed. George Martin’s excuse was that at that point in time he didn’t know enough about Ringo’s drumming to use him on the recording.

Windy and Dizzy are not forgotten!

Steely Dan making Peg

It wasn't like they played musical chairs with the guys in the band, they played musical bands. A whole band would go and a whole incredible other band would come in.

https://youtu.be/waIBA6_0GQc?t=212

Making Peg from the beginning ...
https://youtu.be/waIBA6_0GQc

And here is the whole one hour documentary about making the Aja album which includes Peg ... I'm embarrassed to say how many times I've watched it.
https://youtu.be/8sdMV9TzMkc?list=RD8sdMV9TzMkc

The 16-55 does not have stabilization according to Sony.

Let’s not forget that Glen Campbell was a guitarist in the Wrecking Crew! That movie is enlightening and truly fascinating. Two of my favorite drummers were primarily session pros: Hal Blaine and Jeff Porcaro (most known as the drummer of the group Toto, but played on hundreds of records in the 70’s and 80’s with artists ranging from Steely Dan to Michael Jackson).

I will second the recommendation of Standing in the Shadows of Motown. Great film and great insight into the recording industry back in the day. Still going on today especially in Nashville. My son works the studio scene in Nashville and says they are known for their efficiency in turning out solid material in a very short time. In fact, he and others have been flown to New York on several occasions because of how quickly they turn out the finished product.

Funny, I just purchased the book (on the 12th of this month): https://www.amazon.com/Wrecking-Crew-Inside-Best-Kept-Secret-ebook/dp/B005XMMMRY/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=the+wrecking+crew&qid=1621990065&s=digital-text&sr=1-1

Session musicians are still used extensively in the UK. I was told by someone who is generally reckoned to be the third best guitarist in the UK after Julian Bream and John Williams, that he did a lot of session work and with a great deal of modesty on his part, that he just does the "hard bits" that most bands can't play!

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