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Spectropop - Digest Number 32

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There are 4 messages in this issue #32.

Topics in this digest:

      1. Ronnie in Seattle
           From: "Spector Collector" 
      2. Gary Usher on Carol Kaye
           From: "Ron Weekes" 
      3. Studio bass playing - 60s 
           From: Carol Kaye 
      4. Re: In Crowd
           From: Carol Kaye 


Message: 1
   Date: Sat, 09 Sep 2000 03:32:20 GMT
   From: "Spector Collector" 
Subject: Ronnie in Seattle

Ronnie Spector, backed by a crack seven-piece band, played
to a large and enthusiastic audience at the ironically 
named (given that it was the title of one of her 
ex-husband's singles) Bumbershoot Arts Festival, Sunday, 
September 3. Bumbershoot is a multi-stage festival, with 
about a dozen different music events (as well as other 
arts disciplines) going on simultaneously that takes place
at Seattle Center, home of the Space Needle, every Labor 
Day weekend. Unfortunately, someone had the bright idea to
book her into the hockey arena there, so even though I'd 
guess that there were a couple thousand people in 
attendance, the hall was so huge that I fear that Ronnie 
may have had the impression that she didn't draw well. In 
the past, I've seen, for example, Ray Charles and an 
inspired Chris Isaak/Duane Eddy double bill at the arena 
during Bumbershoot, and they filled the place, but 
Ronnie's apparently for more rarefied tastes. But I 

Here's the set list, in order:
Here I Sit
Is This What I Get for Loving You
Do I Love You
Say Goodbye to Hollywood
So Young
She Talks to Rainbows
Chapel of Love
I Wish I Never Saw the Sunshine
Baby, I Love You
Walking in the Rain
(The Best Part of) Breakin' Up
You Can't Put Your Arms Around a Memory
You Shouldn't Have Told Me (unsure of title; new song)
Be My Baby
and, as encores:
Why Don't They Let Us Fall in Love
I Can Hear Music

Ronnie was wearing low-heel pumps, black gaucho pants 
laced up the front, and a sheer black top (not tucked in) 
over a lacy black bustier. She strutted the stage with 
lusty, self-assured sexuality, peppering her performance 
by teasingly lifting the front or back of the top from 
time to time to reveal a glimpse of the tightly covered 
naughty bits, or by pulling the neckline to the side to 
expose a bit o' bosom. I have no idea how this would've 
struck someone who'd never heard of her, but for me, she 
seemed to have a self-aware sense of humor and perspective, 
and was just having a good time playing on her image. 
Even her frequent crotch-grabbing seemed to fit in a 
strange kinda way. What do I know? It's HER, for cryin' 
out loud!

I do believe I can be objective about her singing, however, 
and I'm happy to say that she was in very good, very 
strong voice. After hearing her live on that Wizard of Oz 
album, the live version of "I Wish I Never Saw the 
Sunshine" on the "...Rainbows" EP gave me some hope, but I
was still worried that it was a fluke or studio sweetening.
Not so; her entire range was forceful and in tune. 
"...Breakin' Up" was a particularly powerful highlight, and 
it was great to hear live versions of Ronettes tunes I'd 
not heard her do in concert before.

I was lucky enough to get a chance to talk with Ronnie and
her husband Jon before the show. They confirmed that 
sessions are underway for a new album and that tracks have
been laid down with Keith Richards and Deborah Harry 
already. The song I listed above as "You Shouldn't Have 
Told Me" (?) is still a work in progress, and the one on 
which they're attempting to enlist David Bowie's aid, 
although he has yet to commit to the project. Slim Moon of
Kill Rock Stars hasn't agreed to release it until he hears 
the tapes; it depends on the overall direction the music 
takes as the sessions progress. I had been assigned to 
interview Ronnie for local music newspaper The Rocket the 
only other time she'd been scheduled for a Seattle concert, 
but that February 1989 festival was snowed out and it 
never happened. I also collaborated on the sessionography 
at the end of her book, but we had never met before Sunday. 
I was so pleased that she and Jon knew who I was; they 
were really just the kindest, warmest, most sincere people. 
I told her that my friend and fellow discographer, Jay 
Lammy, had died of AIDS a few years ago, and she expressed
genuine sympathy, sharing that her friend Clifford Terry 
(whom she talks about in her book) had too.

I'd love to have more than ten minutes with her sometime, 
because other than that there's not much of note to report; 
we mostly talked about stuff like where I'd seen her 
perform before, their hotel elevator not working (they 
were on the 26th floor), and other things that'd bore list
members but that showed a vulnerable, human side to my idol
that I appreciated beyond measure.

I just want everyone here to know that Ronnie, along with 
Jon, is as real and as generous - as well as talented, 
which you already know - as can be, and that my love for 
her is greater after Sunday night than it ever was, and I 
didn't think that was possible! Thank you for reading, 
Spectropoppers, and for your support of Ronnie's music. It
was obvious to anyone in the audience that it means the 
world to her.

David A. Young

--------------------[ archived by Spectropop ]--------------------

Message: 2
   Date: Fri, 08 Sep 2000 16:20:27 -0600
   From: "Ron Weekes" 
Subject: Gary Usher on Carol Kaye

Yesterday I received my copy of volume two of Stephen 
McParland's five volume biography on the musical career of
Gary Usher. This volume covers Gary's involvement with the 
music industry from 1964 to 1966.

In an interview with McParland, Usher talks about working 
with the Wrecking Crew. The only times he couldn't work 
with them was because Brian Wilson was working with them.

I know Carol frequents this list a lot with her memories 
of those studio years. I would like to share with the list
the great things that Gary Usher had to say about Carol.

Usher says:

"Carol Kaye (in particular) was in her late twenties, and 
had a family of her own, and you would never think she was
a rock guitar player, but she was fantastic. She could read
great, and I'd bring guys in and put her next to them, and 
they would kind of look down on her thinking, "You've got 
to be kidding putting me next to a woman playing surf 
music," yet she would blow them right away. She was a 
really good guitarist."

Thanks again Carol for all the great music you have been a
part of and the insights you share with us on this list.

Ron Weekes 
The Surf and Hot Rod Sounds of Gary Usher Web Page

--------------------[ archived by Spectropop ]--------------------

Message: 3
   Date: Sat, 09 Sep 2000 11:59:42 -0700 
   From: Carol Kaye 
Subject: Studio bass playing - 60s 

I tho't you'd all like to see a copy of a post I just did 
on my Message Board about studio work on bass in the 60s...
when musicians were required to create their own instant
arrangments (and later with arrangers, change their 
arrangements to make a hit happen better etc.). There is a
book coming out by Russ Wapensky, and he assured us all 
recently this 10-year project was being wrapped up very 
very soon and into the printer (Greenwood Press) for 
publication by either the end of this year or 1st of 2001), 
that was meticulously researched through his researched 
through our mostly-very accurate Musicians' Union contract
records (with the OK by our Federation/Union), and in 
certain cases, he did a TON of personal interviews also, 
with not only our group of studio musicians, but of our 
producers, our arrangers, different VIPs in the business 
to explain certain things about our recording business too
(1945-1969). His was a labor of love, he's a highly trusted
government employee, well-respected by us all as we've 
known him now for 10 years.

Sometimes the contracts would read "guitars" with not even
a mention of the elec. bass, not even as the commonly used 
"Fender Bass" term back then, and certainly the Dano bass 
guitar was considered a "guitar" (never a bass, it was 
always used as an adjunct ONLY to any bass on the date, if
it was used at all).

To solve who played what, Russ continuously over the years, 
sent us all tapes to decipher who played what, and I 
have to say, I haven't heard one word of descension (sp?) 
amongst us....we all agreed in our separate ways who 
played what. We know our own voices (instruments) on tapes, 
and we know for instance Bill Pitman's famous clicky 
Dano sound, apart from Barney Kessel's Dano sound and mine
too (I played Dano quite a bit before I ever did on the 
elec. bass, played Dano for instance on "The In Crowd", 
Dobie Gray's hit etc.)....or Glen Campbell's solo or part 
different from Billy Strange's solos and parts (they were 
pretty similar in their rock solos)...and tapes were also 
distributed amongst the percussionists (at least 2-3 on 
most dates and on Phil Spector's dates, there were usually
4 of them) the line-up was named from those 
interviews, tapes, and any questions that Russ had about 
the nomenclature of the name list of the Musicians' Union 
contracts (these are much more accurate than the "studio 
sheets" that record companies used for "their credits"...).

Sometimes a string bassist would be called (i.e. Jimmy 
Bond for instance) and would just sit there the whole date, 
as just the Fender Bass would be recording alone...yet 
the contracts would read "2 basses" or just "guitar and 
bass" those things had to be cleared up and were 
but it took a LOT of time running these factors down, 
contract by contract, tune by tune by Russ Wapensky.

Interestingly enough, he did it. And we're all proud, as 
finally.....after all these years, he's about to go to 
press. The English groups who came here to "record" (which
was all our LA studio musicians), other groups who you 
tho't played on their own records, etc. and the two groups
I know who did play on their records but added our bunch of
studio musicians too: Frank Zappa (I played elec. 12-string
on his 1st 2 albums) and The Ventures (bass), that was 
sorted out well too. The rest? Studio musicians did them, 
and now everyone can now have *the* definitive book on 
those will wake up the public to what 
happened back then. 

As you all know, I was first a studio guitarist for 5 
years before I ever picked up the elec. bass (but did some
on Dano bass guitar which to all of us is considered a 
"guitar", not a real bass, it was a "bass-guitar") from my 
years of mainly jazz playing in clubs, other arenas before
that (over 1 year on the road with the big-band, mainly 1-
nighters, hardly any day off 1954-55) etc.

It was easy to create lines in the late 50s and early 60s 
on guitar. We were required to not only create a groove, 
but all the parts of a head arrangement (usually) at first. 
Sometimes there wasn't even a chord chart, we'd have to 
quickly write down the chords from listening to the 
song-writer (he/she'd either play guitar or piano), or a 
loosely-made problem, we were all highly 
experienced musicians with good ears.

I did the guitar licks of that day, gritting my teeth 
(later) much of the time like the rest of the jazz 
guitarists on dates, so when I got to replace the missing 
bassist late 1963 at Capitol Records ( and no, I don't 
remember the tunes we cut that day, but one was a big hit), 
I got to play what I tho't bass players should be 
playing "on the bottom" of all that new rock and roll, and
found it to be fun and easy to do ( haven't we all at first
!). With Earl Palmer's suggestion, I straightened out my 
time which is necessary when you switch from one 
instrument to another (different techniques, different 
size strings, you play bass a LOT harder than you do 
guitar etc.), and voila , because Ray Pohlman was out of 
the recording scene coincidentally in 1964 (he was the 
musical conductor of the Shindig TV show), they needed 
bass players immediately . He had been doing practically 
all the hit dates on elec.bass back then since 1955 in LA 
- playing simple but effective lines, and playing normally
with his thumb -- a nice guy, he was also a good arranger 
and studio backup singer.

Everyone not only liked my "new" pick sound and feel and 
so I quickly was "it" on bass (if they couldn't get me, 
they'd ask the replacement bassist to get the "Carol Kaye"
sound etc.), but also the lines I could invent. This was 
>from years and years of playing different styles of music 
with various combos and big bands since 1949.....thank God
for the great experiences in playing fine, 
those recent years of recording sessions on guitar....that
creativity paid off.

Later on, the arrangers got good at arranging but still 
would hire our bunch of studio musicians to help create 
lines like we usually did. Note: we were called the 
"clique", didn't hear that term "wrecking crew" until Hal 
Blaine brought out his book of that title around 1990....
we were ALL independent of each other, there was NEVER any
set rhythm section at all....and in fact, since Hal credits
that with the Phil Spector bunch of studio musicians, 
interestingly enough, Phil used drummer Earl Palmer more 
than he used Hal on hit recordings, Earl even played on a 
few sides with the Beach Boys (but practically all the 
recordings of the Beach Boys did feature Hal Blaine on 

Pretty soon, there was SO much work, those rock dates were
turning into a blur by the mid to late 60s, and the soul 
dates I did were a welcome relief. I finally stopped 
recording altogether at the end of 1969, was so burned out
and especially from rock and roll and went back to 
recording 8 mos. later only to do just a certain am't of 
record dates "I" wanted to do, turning down all the rest, 
and concentred mainly on the better music (and working 
conditions) of the movie-scores and TV film work I had 
already been doing much of the simply was so 
much of an honor to work for the likes of Michel LeGrand, 
Dave Grusin, Jerry Goldsmith, Alfred Newman - Lionel 
Newman, David Rose, Billy Goldenberg, Quincy Jones, Henry 
Mancini, Benny Golson, and on and on, so many geniuses in 
music, but even then I finally got tired of recording 
altogether and went on the road with Hampton Hawes, this 
time playing bass with him to play some excellent jazz 
again (when I was voted #3 in the magazines on polls -- 
elec. bass jazz).

So that's why I can't really remember the names of some of
those rock tunes as there was SO MUCH recording (12-16-18 
hours a day sometimes), you're just burned out but still 
doing your job (on 10-12 cups of coffee a day!) to help 
create good hit recordings back in the 60s. Usually I 
liked the rock and roll, but finally got to 
me.....that's why I relished the good kinds of soul music, 
and good pop music. Sometimes it was a bit much.

But the lines of all those styles of music are in my books
......thank God I can pass on those multi-styled lines to 
learning bass was lucky I could invent and 
play in all styles of recorded music back then (or later, 
change the written arrangements to make the bass parts 
swing.....there's very very few, I can think of only two, 
who wrote fine bass parts: Ernie Freeman and David 

We all talk about "how did we do all those hours every day, 
every year in the studios", it's beyond us even. But we 
did it, and I think the creativity had a lot to do with it, 
plus we all PLAYED TOGETHER. And it was a new age of 
recording, nothing like it before and nothing like it 
since (unfortunately).

Carol Kaye

--------------------[ archived by Spectropop ]--------------------

Message: 4
   Date: Tue, 05 Sep 2000 09:48:10 -0700
   From: Carol Kaye 
Subject: Re: In Crowd

>From Michael G. Marvin:

> You mentioned in one of your posts that you worked with
> Dobie Gray on his 1965 hit "The In Crowd".  The song
> likes it was recorded at Gold Star, because it has that
> distinctive echo. I wonder if it was done there? thanks.

Yes, Michael, you're right, we did that at Gold Star. Gene
Page wrote the arrangement and his brother, Billy Page, 
writer of that song, was in the booth at the time. I'm 
pretty sure that was Earl Palmer on drums....can't 
remember who else was on the date. But I remember playing 
the Dano on that one, I really liked the song.

Dobie Gray has probably more data about it on his website 
(I have him on my Links Page), and we've communicated 
about it just a few weeks ago -- nice to hear from him - I
always liked his singing (as well as Jewel Akens too). 
Dobie remembers me playing on that and other hits of his 
too.....that one was one I distinctly remembered as it was
a good groove and I liked the song. It was fun to record.

Carol Kaye

--------------------[ archived by Spectropop ]--------------------

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