A reply to Derek Philpott and Wilf Turnbull

I’ve just had a communication from that gentleman of letters Derek Philpott and his cohort, Mr Wilf Turnbull, who not long ago wrote to ‘Elvis Costello and the Attractions’ regarding anomalies they’d found in some of band’s recorded works.  Having failed to elicit a response from the song smith concerned, I have stepped in to try and help.  Our respective letters may be viewed here at Mr Turnbull’s site … though I fear many wormholes may yet be found in my Victorian analogy.

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New Interview

I’ve just done a six-page interview for the June edition of Bass Player magazine that features a transcription of the bass part for “Chelsea” and a bit of background info on the track.

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Spot the Riff!

Here’s a good old ‘Northern Soul’ track from Don Covay and the Goodtimers, with a riff that was shamelessly stolen by a New Wave popster bass player … no prizes for guessing who … or for what song.

 

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One for the Album

Here’s another find in the magic loft! … a Polaroid I took (according to the date on the back) in 1981 … I can’t remember where. It’s not AIR studios or Abbey Road, so it looks like it must be in the McCartney offices in Soho Square.

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Believe it or not!

Believe it or not, this exquisitely crafted instrument (which I made myself!) is what I began learning to play bass on.  I found it in my Mum’s loft over Christmas — I thought it had disappeared years ago.

Note that it has an eleven-fret octave instead of twelve — which means that I was probably playing in some kind of Indian tuning — particularly as the frets were positioned more or less at random.  Even so, I learnt Green Onions and many other riffs on it.

The electrics are lost — the pick-ups were the voice coils from telephones and the fact that several phone kiosk handsets were vandalized in the streets near our house at the time the bass was made was pure coincidence.

 

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The Band That Prog Remembers (a little)

Following on from my earlier post The Band That Prog Forgot…

I just got an e-mail from Clouds organist, Billy Ritchie (r).  Apparently, on his website, Jon Anderson of Yes has finally acknowledged (a little) the vital role Clouds played in the inception of Prog Rock — and in the careers of the many who embraced it.

Clouds were very important in those early years.  I remember them performing Paul Simon’s America at a Marquee concert and at a gig in Wales.  As you know Yes eventually performed the song, I still do today in my solo concerts. Those far off days were very open and exciting. I did have dreams of all those bands touring together on a bus …great music, great times of innocence.  Jon Anderson (Yes)

As Billy himself adds: Only forty years too late! I suppose it’s safe to own up now? 

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How long did they think they could get away with it!

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For further information, go to the Profile Bass page.

The first thing about it that stood out was that the pickup is probably the loudest P-bass style pickup I’ve ever heard, and the low end response on it is astonishing! For sure, this bass can rumble the house! But it also has a clear ringing high end when the tone control is dialed up. Also notable is the sustain, hit a note and it’ll ring for nearly a minute … The neck is great! The fingerboard width is reminiscent of a ’60s P-bass, but the neck width is somewhat slimmer, making it really easy to play … The instrument is light and very comfortably balanced.
All in all it’s great instrument for the money, and it’s a world of fun to play. I’ve been using it nearly exclusively since I got it, and getting a lot of complements on it from other bass players. I have to say, out of the box I was a lot more pleased with it then with the last few new Fender basses I’ve bought. It certainly holds it’s own compared to other instruments of any price.  (Scott Reid)

The bass is a beautiful colour- that’s what strikes you first. Neck has a great satin finish and shallow profile which makes it very easy to play… a very distinct variant of the “P”. Sound is very much as one would expect from a split “P” configuration … a well-built, very playable, striking instrument. Comes with Elite Stadium 105s! … I thought I saw John McVie playing one on Sky News today – it looked like the headstock. Anyway, having played & owned the instrument for a few months, I think it is probably the most “Rod Mackay” bass I own & I have a lot of Fenders.  Tone, neck profile, colour, cost.  Good effort!   (Rod Mackay)

The bass arrived this morning. What a fantastic instrument. So lovely to play … Congratulations.  (Peter Gale)
 
The pickup output is considerably hotter than the standard “P” pickups. Really a great instrument!   (Mike Miller)
 
This bass is amazing and I make you responsible for making me total addicted to it.  (Carsten Holt)
 
 
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