joshthevegan: (Bassy)
As a bass player, I find myself drawn to bands with interesting, talented, and/or notable bassists. When I sit down to listen to a record, more often than not it is the lower register that draws my attention. So, after profiling my favorite albums, album art, and guitarists, I felt it was about time I paid tribute to some of my favorite bassists; people that I have enjoyed to listen to, and who have had an influence on the way I play. People made this list for a variety of reasons. Some it is because of their virtuoso abilities on the instrument, some it is because they take a wholly unique approach, and some it is simply because of intangible charm. I consider each and every one of these people to be great, and compiling and ordering this list was a labor of love that I spent some serious time on.

And with that, we'll start with number 25 . . .



Rick Danko had been playing music for a number of years when circumstance landed him the job as bass player for Ronnie Hawkins. Danko didn't let the fact that he had not played the instrument before get in his way, and he quickly picked it up. The people that would be his bandmates in this group would become his partners for many years to come as they went from backing Hawkins, to backing Bob Dylan, to being a popular group in their own right under the name The Band.

Danko's quirky, charming vocal stylings and stage presence made him endearing, and his bass playing mirrors those traits. He would be rumbling away in the lower register one moment, and then suddenly jump up several octaves immediately demanding attention only to draw back just as quickly, allowing someone else to take the spotlight.

Despite being in one of the most successful rock bands of the 1970's, Rick Danko maintained his cool, down-to-earth, "aw shucks" demeanor for all of his life, which was tragically cut short by a heart attack in 1999.

Here he is playing and singing his song "Stage Fright" from the legendary Last Waltz concert:



And this is one of my favorite performances of his where he focuses strictly on bass, Neil Young's "Revolution Blues" from his fantastic On The Beach record. Young and Danko have similar idiosyncrasies to their voicing on their respective instruments, and this collaboration is one of my favorite pairings in rock music from that time period:

September 2014

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