Friday, December 14, 2012

Fat Friday Feature DOUBLE SHOT: Vince Guaraldi Trio's Fred Marshall And Big Country's Tony Butler

Every other Friday, the focus of this blog is on great bassists/bass parts.  Today, we have the Vince Guaraldi Trio's Fred Marshall as well as Big Country's Tony Butler.

I hold firm to the conviction that amongst all the great Christmas music ever released, you really only need one record for the holiday season:  the soundtrack from "A Charlie Brown Christmas".  Everything about it is delightful, and it stands on it's own as an excellent jazz record.  I've been asked that if I can be in any band ever, what band would it be?  Almost every time I say the Vince Guaraldi Trio.  Most folks think I'm kidding, but I'm really not.  Who wouldn't want to back up a smokin' piano player like Vince Guaraldi?  And listen to Marshall's bass - it's always in the pocket.  Always.  Check it, yo.  And if this doesn't get you in a festive mood, nothing will.

Next we have Tony Butler.  Butler has played bass for Pete Townshend, Roger Daltrey and the Pretenders; but you might know him best as the bassist for Big Country.  Understandably, most have never pursued anything by Big Country beyond "In A Big Country"*; perhaps because the band is guilty of being a little overly sincere.  Poor Stuart Adamson (the band's guitarist and principal songwriter) felt like everything had to be an anthem.  But like many bassists featured on Fat Friday Features, everything Butler plays on has great bass work.  For that reason, it's hard to narrow down what to showcase.  However, I must, so check out the work on "Where A Rose Is Sown".

It's also interesting (at least to me) that Butler's bass tone is a hallmark of the 1980s sound:  it's got a TON of chorus or flanging, or possibly a combination of both.

* - I was glad to find this version of "In A Big Country" because it features the dope extended drum introduction.  This was the version that was on the cassette I had and it's the version I know and like the best.  But for some reason, it's not the more common of the two versions of that song.

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