Session Soldiers of the Past/”Teaching Whites to Play the Blues”
Taj Mahal asked me the other day if I thought people were still doing recording sessions any more, you know, like in the old days of studios, tape, engineers and professional studio-track musicians. I don’t think he asked for himself–he’s got way too much momentum going in his career at this point to fuck around with that distraction–, just curious as I am.
Frankly, I think synthesizers and computers changed all that forever. Starting longer ago than I care to admit, it became possible to replicate the sound of a 24-track studio and at least emulate the sounds, tho not the real, bone-deep creativity and chops, of the musicians who made the music work, if you get what I mean. But I told Taj I’d ask around to see if there was still any actual “scene,” as opposed to the odd sweetening here and there by pros like John Tropea, Anthony Jackson, Lou Marini, Chris Palmaro or Tommy Mitchell might do on request.
Meantime, I dragged out an old article from that golden session-man era that I did for Crawdaddy Magazine about a thousand years ago. Actually, I think it was 1976. See how many names you think you recognize.
Following that is a short piece I did on teaching white folks to play the blues. Just ’cause I know you’ve been waiting for it.