Five Things: Wednesday, December 4th

Favourite Kickstarter Pledge Reward Of The Week
I can’t get enough of documentaries on the musicians behind some of the finest pop music ever made. Motown’s Funk Brothers in Standing In The Shadows Of Motown, The Swampers in Muscle Shoals, Booker T and the MGs in Respect Yourself – The Stax Story, and now the The Wrecking Crew. This is, to quote Danny Tedesco, son of the great guitarist, Tommy Tedesco, and director of the film, “a documentary about an elite group of studio session musicians in Los Angeles in the 1960’s who played on hits for the Beach Boys, Frank Sinatra, Nancy Sinatra, Sonny and Cher, Jan & Dean, The Monkees, Gary Lewis and the Playboys, Mamas and Papas, 5th Dimension, Tijuana Brass, Ricky Nelson, Elvis Presley, Johnny Rivers and Phil Spector’s Wall of Sound, and that’s just a few! The amount of work in which they were involved was tremendous.” Here’s a clip of the musicians talking about the session for “Good Vibrations”. Love that Brian Wilson/Carol Kaye bass line! You have til December 21 to help them, and a thousand bucks will get you legendary Wrecking Crew Pianist/Arranger Don Randi’s services for a recording session – and he’ll buy you lunch as well.

Researching a piece on Queen’s Roger Taylor, Google throws up… This Week–Three Top-Name Attractions!
The Jet Set somehow don’t sound like the right support group, do they?

Ken

Fanfarlo, Water Rats
What are the chances of stumbling across a really good band in a London pub? One in a hundred? One in a thousand? Whatever, Fanfarlo are terrific (apart from their name, possibly). A band with a cracking drummer, two keyboardists who double on violin and trumpet, a frontman with a beautifully pared-down guitar style and a bass player who looks like a bass player should. The band have described their current sound as “Space Opera meets Spaghetti Western”. I can’t do any better than that. They also cover (on their website) one of my most favourite songs ever, “Witchi Tai To”, written by jazz saxophonist Jim Pepper and based on a Native American chant. The hit version was by Harper’s Bizarre, purveyors of Baroque Pop, produced by Van Dyke Parks, and with the Wrecking Crew aboard by the sound of it.

Come Gather Round, People…
Shortlist’s emailer Mr Hyde sends me to this review that really captures the spirit of the Coen Bros’ Inside Llewyn Davis and should whet the appetite of those who have a soft spot for either the Coens or Greenwich Village in the 60s.

Big Bill Broonzy: The Man Who Bought The Blues to Britain, BBC4
“I met some big shot and I was ready to make a record. I wrote a guitar solo called “House Rent Stomp” about those rent parties, no words, just pickin’ those old guitar strings, making the first two, E & B, cry, making the G & D talk, and the A & E moan”. That may be the best description of blues guitar I’ve ever heard.

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