Yeah, you know the joke but it’s worth remembering as everyone dreads that awful moment in any live set when (hitherto unremarkable) musicians are thrust into the spotlight. It’s fine until the drums do stop and …they take a (bass) solo.
The great records we love have often included some spectacular contributions from these same fairly unknown, but brilliant, musicians. A couple of weeks ago I was talking to Stuart Cosgrove about his excellent Detroit ’67 book. In it he talks about the contribution made by The Funk Brothers to the music coming from the Hitsville Studios. At one point in the story, Berry Gordy stopped a session in LA and recommenced it back in Detroit simply so he could get the attitude and skills of that house band. In Stuart’s book, so successful were the brothers to the sound of Tamla Motown and so ubiquitous were their performances, they began to feel, fairly correctly, that their contribution to the records was being taken for granted.
In the country film, ‘Coal Miner’s Daughter,’ – stop me if you’ve heard this before – my favourite moment comes when Loretta Lynn’s first recording is delayed by the studio engineer sacking the B team and calling in ‘some real pickers.’
This Tuesday evening we will celebrate one of the great studio players. It is said she played on over 10,000 recordings – many of which have been huge hits – over 55 years. Thinking about it now I guess she didn’t even have time to play a solo but of course there were these hallmark riffs. We’ll be playing you one such gem this Tuesday as we celebrate Carol Kaye’s, not insignificant birthday.
We’ll be playing new records from Brandi Carlile, Tobias Jesso Jnr, The Lone Bellow and a fab new song from our old friend Kacey Musgraves. Is this sounding good? It gets better. We will also have an exclusive AC session by these good people…..
In 2011 The Decemberists leaped forward from their Indy hide away in Portland to become America’s darlings when their album Long Live The King went straight to Number 1 on The Billboard Album Chart. We dreamed then that they might come and visit us but we didn’t quite imagine it would happen. We’re delighted to tell you that on the very day the band were to play their sold out show at The Academy they found the time to record a session with us and I sat down with Colin Meloy and talked about what a beautiful and terrible world we all live in. I think you’ll enjoy it.
Last week we started our year long vinyl celebration of dear Neil Young. We’re keeping it going but not in any logical order. Having started with his first solo album we skip to the 90s this week with a track which harks back to his 60’s roots lyrically and musically – any guesses? You can find out where the needle lands on Tuesday evening from five past eight on BBC Radio Scotland.
I’ll be hearing from green activist and Guardian writer, George Monbiot as well as talking to Peter Stanford about his excellent biography Judas: The Renegade Apostle.
Don’t forget we’re on air from 10 on Sunday morning and, as always, we will play you some fine music and you can hear us on BBC Radio Scotland.