Walter Becker of Steely Dan played lead guitar on Tough on Crime for a bottle of wine. I don't think he usually does that. Larry was musing one day, and said he thought Walter might play for us if he liked the record. He sent it on over to Walter in New York, and Walter did some recording there and sent it back to us, and it was perfect. A perfect bluesy guitar solo, in that inimitable Becker style, on the title track of the CD. (With a witty homage to "The girl can't help it" at the end). "What does a guy like that get paid?' I asked Larry nervously. (This was an independent project, with no record company backing at the time). "Why don't you send him a nice bottle of red wine?' he suggested. "Okay," I wept gratefully.
Dean Parks stopped by to do some recording. He had recently been playing with Walter at a Steely Dan show. They had known he was in the audience, and so they invited him up on stage to play. He is a quiet, well- mannered person, who plays the guitar like a "Lord of Rock", or anything you want really. He can do anything on the guitar. When you say "Dean Parks" to anyone who knows about classic rock over the past few decades, you will get exclamations of admiration.
Albert Wing came in to work on a few tracks, and was masterful. Larry asked him at one point if he could play, "in the style of Wayne Shorter", for the track "Learn to Pray". He came up with a very beautiful, odd, staccato kind of arpeggio thing, melting into a wistful resolve. Next thing he's doing R&B three part harmony jabs on "Tough on Crime", and weird, sad, foghorn jazz on "Candid Lady".
Larry had heard a very talented jazz drummer, Scott Amendola, one night, playing with his own band. He asked him to come in and play, and to work around Larry's new toy, a 1950's beat box, which he'd used for the first four tracks we recorded. Scott ended up playing drums for most of the record, because we liked him so much.
Jimmie Wood, fresh from playing with Don Was, came in to play blues harp on "Ordinary Blues", and "Nasty Guy", and that was extraordinary. He really rocks on down in "Ordinary", and does a wonderful turn (which sounds something like an enraged bumble bee) in "Nasty Guy".
Billy Preston, who I wrote about last week, played Hammond organ, and Wurlitzer piano on the CD. In my opinion, (and many others), Billy is one of the "Great Players Of All Time." It was staggering to me to have him on the record.
Listen for his delicious sexiness on "The Romance of Everyday Life", and his hilarious Dracula- "I'm losing it and I'm going to have to bite you now"-chords in "Nasty Guy." (That's him laughing at the end of the track.)
Jay Bellerose (drums) and Larry Goldings, (keyboards) with whom I had played a couple of gigs around LA, came and joined us for the bonus track "Army Brat". You can hear both of them also on Madeleine Peyroux's stellar CD, (also produced by Larry), "Careless Love". They are both musicians in their prime, and they absolutely shine.
Also on "Army Brat" are Gabe Witcher, playing a beautiful old-time fiddle, and Rick Boston who kindly came in and played the guitar perfectly, so I wouldn't have to!
Larry Klein played everything else. He plays all instruments well, but he is famed for his bass playing. He has played with everyone from Bob Dylan to Joni Mitchell. He has produced Shawn Colvin, Joni Mitchell, Madeleine Peyroux, Don Henley, Julia Fordham, Bjork, and many others. At the moment he is co-writing songs with Walter Becker for a CD the two of them will bring out sometime soon. It was Larry's distinctive bass playing that first drew my attention to him years ago. I'd never heard anything like it. He is a great musician.
I then met him when I was in a band, and years later asked him to produce my record. A few more years passed, and we actually got it together, for which I am very grateful.
There you have it. A little bit about the wonderful musicians I was lucky enough to have playing on my record. I hope you enjoy listening to them, as much as I enjoyed playing with them