Thursday, October 06, 2005


Tales from the analog age

From Peter Guralnick's Sweet Soul Music: Rhythm and Blues and the Southern Dream of Freedom. In this passage, the author is describing a 1966 session at Muscle Shoals, where the volatile Wilson Pickett was recording "Mustang Sally." "Wex" is, of course, the R&B guru Jerry Wexler, who was overseeing the date:
They had finally gotten a take that everybody was satisfied with, recalls Spooner Oldham. Everybody was standing around the control room waiting to hear the playback when "somehow the hub wasn't fastened on the reel of tape and it jumped off, and the whole reel of tape jumped off, and splinters of tape went flying, and Wilson's kicking and screaming, 'Goddamn master,' and 'I hate you,' and [Tom] Dowd just sits there a minute and then directs everybody to move the machines and pick up the pieces and put them together--there must have been about forty or fifty one-inch pieces of tape. He said, 'Give me about thirty minutes, y'all, go get some coffee and come back.' So we all left, sat around, got depressed--all that work. We come back, and he played it for us. And Wex says, 'You know, you guys were looking at one nervous Jew!'"

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