The Dawn Chorus

Fresh Australian Feminism

Weekend Love-In: We Love You, Carol Kaye

Posted by Clem Bastow on July 5, 2008

Carole Kaye in the studio

Carole Kaye hard at work in the studio, c. 1960s

If you have ever listened to the Beach Boys’ Good Vibrations, The Monkees’ I’m A Believer, Glen Campbell’s Wichita Linesman, Nancy Sinatra’s These Boots Are Made For Walkin’ or Ike & Tina Turner’s River Deep, Mountain High, you will be familiar with the work of ‘The First Lady Of Bass’, Carol Kaye – only chances are, you didn’t realise it was Kaye’s nimble fingers providing those hits’ undulating basslines (that’s her, at right, hard at work in the studio during the ’60s). In short, Carol Kaye is a stone cold legend of popular music; Brian Wilson called her “the best damn bass player in the world”, and many others would agree.

Kaye is a freelance session bassist and was a member of the celebrated session band The Wrecking Crew and has played bass (and guitar) on approximately 10,000 recordings and countless #1 and Top Ten hits since 1957, not to mention numerous television themes and film scores. She even “played” The Truck in Steven Spielberg’s Duel.

Kaye is also a leading bass guitar educator, having taught since 1949, and published many books and tutorial DVDs on the subject; as a teacher, she has instructed many noted bassists; Sting and Led Zeppelin’s John Paul Jones are both vocal fans of her instructional books.

So, for this Saturday’s Weekend Love-In, pull out your old Beach Boys/Phil Spector/Glen Campbell/Nancy Sinatra/Cher/Joe Cocker… records and have a drink to Carol. Here is an excerpt from filmmaker Pekka Rautionmaa’s documentary, Rockin Suuri Tuntematon (First Lady of Bass):

(Additionally, the son of Wrecking Crew guitarist Tommy Tedesco, Denny, recently made a feature-length documentary – The Wrecking Crew – about these legendary musicians; it is currently doing the film festival rounds and will hopefully be picked up commercially, so that more people can learn about these amazing figures of music history, and in turn, so that Carol Kaye can show the rock snobs of the world that sneeringly calling someone a “chick bass-player” is pretty much the biggest compliment you can give a musician.)

2 Responses to “Weekend Love-In: We Love You, Carol Kaye”

  1. sjxsjc said

    “She even “played” The Truck in Steven Spielberg’s Duel.”

    Now this I didn’t know! That’s awesome…..

  2. Jan said

    If you love Jazz I recommend the live recording “Thumbs Up” by Carol Kaye (electric bass), Ray Pizzi (sax) and Mitch Holder (guitar). It gives you a good impression of Carol’s tasteful playing. And you won’t miss the drums, because Carol lays down a great groove.You can download “Thums Up” on iTunes or buy the CD on her website.

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