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November 9, 2017

Donald 'Duck' Dunn

Lifetime Achievement award ...and a book well worth reading

posted by Mike Walton

Donald 'Duck' Dunn was honoured with a Lifetime achievement at this years Bass Player Live in L.A. hosted by Bass Player Magazine last weekend.

The late legendary bass player is best remembered for his 1960s recordings with Booker T. & the M.G.'s and as a session bassist for Stax Records. At Stax, Dunn played on thousands of records, including hits by Otis Redding, Sam & Dave, Rufus Thomas, Carla Thomas, William Bell, Eddie Floyd, Johnnie Taylor, Albert King, Elvis Presley and many others. In 1992, he was inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Booker T. & the M.G.'s. He is ranked number 40 on Bass Player magazine's list of "The 100 Greatest Bass Players of All Time".

Here at SMILER we also remember his great work with Rod on the albums "Atlantic Crossing" And "A Night On The Town" and the three fantastic tracks "To Love Somebody", "Holy Cow" and "Return To Sender" that were recorded in the Clover studios in the April of 1975 and were meant as icebreakers and only recently became available as part of the deluxe Rhino collections, Rod described recording with Duck, Steve Cropper, Al Jackson and Booker T. as a realisation of a dream.

The award was accepted by the author of the book "Soul Fingers" Nick Rosaci who also led the tributes

One of the most special parts of the event was having Duck's legendary '59 Fender Precision there compliments of Duck's son Jeff who unfortunately could not make the event due to health issues, but later remembering Duck's working with Rod, told SMILER that he recalled Rod was looking for that soul sound, and they went to Muscle Shoals to record, and Al Jackson rode along with them, since the Dunn household was on the way to Muscle Shoals.he also remembers Rod sitting in the living room waiting for everyone to get ready for the ride out to the studio. His other memory was of them riding around on the Sunset Strip in LA, and Duck saw Rod driving by in a Porsche. Duck said, "Hey, there's Rod Stewart. Hey, Rod, how's it going?" And Rod said, "Hey Duck, what's going on?" Jeff said about his memories, They're nothing fancy, but Duck was a working guy, as was Rod.The original RSG was also represented at the event by our good friend and band bass player Phil Chen

Soulfingers' The Book
Plenty has been written about the man who was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1992 as a member of Booker T. & the M.G.‘s, the house band at Stax Records, but nothing compares with this year’s book “Soul Fingers: The Music & Life of Legendary Bassist Donald ‘Duck’ Dunn” by Nick Rosaci.

Authored by accomplished bassist Rosaci with the cooperation of Dunn’s wife June and their son Jeff Dunn, also a talented bass player and sound engineer, “Soul Fingers” should be required reading for any and all bassists.

The book features 57 classic songs Dunn played on transcribed note-for-note with details on his technique. Plus, there are 28 audio tracks that can be accessed when you purchase the book, with the fresh recordings featuring top-shelf recreations of Dunn’s best-known bass parts by Rosaci with Jeff Dunn playing his dad’s instrument on a smoking rendition of “Soul Man.”

“Soul Fingers” is also a great read for music fans like me fascinated by Dunn’s place in the history of rock ‘n’ roll.

As a songwriter and bassist with Booker T. & the M.G.‘s, his decades-spanning accomplishments include 1967’s Top 40 hit album “Hip Hug-Her” and 1994′s “That’s the Way It Should Be,” featuring a track Dunn co-wrote called “Cruisin’” that won a Grammy Award for Best Pop Instrumental Performance. The same album features another instrumental Dunn co-wrote, a personal favorite of mine, “Sarasota Sunset.”

In addition to his Booker T. & the M.G.‘s albums and those classic recordings by Redding and others at Stax that he helped shape, Dunn was a member of the Blues Brothers, playing himself in the 1980 hit movie of the same name, where he famously says, “We had a band powerful enough to turn goat piss into gasoline!” Dunn also played on records by Muddy Waters, Albert King, Elvis Presley, Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, Neil Young, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, and the Stevie Nicks-Petty hit single “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around.”

If you want to read this amazing book it is available from,204,203,200_QL70_&dpSrc=srch

© 2019 SMILER Magazine

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