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Recent Review Round-Up

I’ve been remiss in my review-gathering lately as we prepare for this Saturday’s official release of Tales of Jack the Ripper. So, to make up for said neglect, here’s a Recent Review Round-Up. Hopefully this influences what’s next in your to-read queue… Continue reading

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CHICK BASSIST celebrates chick bassists: Tina Weymouth

Tina Weymouth and roommates David Byrne and Chris Frantz formed art-punk band Talking Heads in 1975, quickly establishing a signature sound through her minimalist, reggae-and-funk-derived staccato bass lines. By 1977 the band had added guitarist Jerry Harrison and signed to Sire Records, ultimately becoming one of the most critically-acclaimed bands of the 1980s.

In 1980, Tina and Chris formed side project Tom Tom Club, initially as a way of keeping busy while Talking Heads was on hiatus. But that group soon hit big with one of the most infectious dance-floor fillers (and sample source) of all time, “Genius of Love.” Bohannon. Bohannon. Bohannon.

Today, Tina is still active with Tom Tom Club, though Talking Heads broke up in 2002. She and Chris Frantz have been married since 1977, and have two sons, Robin and Egan.

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And with that, we’re taking the weekend off. We’ll have more chick bassists for you starting Monday. If you’ve got a favorite bass player you’d like to see featured, or if you’re a chick bassist that readers need to know about, please leave a comment and a shout-out. And if you enjoy these posts, tell a friend!

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CHICK BASSIST celebrates chick bassists: Carol Kaye

Even if you’ve never heard Carol Kaye’s name, chances are you’ve heard her bass. One of the most prolific bass guitarists in history, session musician Carol Kaye has played on approximately 10,000 recordings, including hit singles from the likes of The Beach Boys, Simon & Garfunkel, The Monkees, Ray Charles, Ike & Tina Turner, Sonny & Cher, Tennessee Ernie Ford, Nancy Sinatra, and Barbra Streisand. And on movie and TV soundtracks like Duel, The Streets of San Francisco, Mission: Impossible, M*A*S*H, Get Smart, Hogan’s Heroes, The Love Boat, Wonder Woman, and the Cosby Show. Here’s a recent clip of Carol talking (and plucking) about her fifty-five year career.

Here’s Carol chatting a bit about two of her best known bass lines, The Beach Boys’ “Good Vibrations” and “California Girls.”

At the time, Carol’s contributions to popular music went largely unnoticed, with credit going to the stars rather than the “Wrecking Crew” of session players who actually played on the albums. Regardless, The Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson once described Carol as “the greatest damn bass player in the world.” Not bad for a girl from Everett, Washington.

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CHICK BASSIST celebrates chick bassists: Louisa Rachel Solomon

A veteran of the riot grrrl scene of the ’90s, Louisa Rachel Solomon played in bands Lucky Tiger and The Syndicate before forming The Shondes in 2006. Louisa’s bounding basslines and the furious finesse of her voice have seen the band release two demos and three albums, 2008’s The Red Sea, 2010’s My Dear One (Fanatic Records), and 2011’s Searchlights (Exotic Fever Records).

Louisa is also an outspoken activist regarding the Israeli occupation of Palestine. The Shondes’ “I Watched The Temple Fall” addresses this issue with aplomb. And just a touch of punk-rock Klezmer chutzpah.

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CHICK BASSIST celebrates chick bassists: Jennifer Leitham

Bassist Jennifer Leitham has played on over a hundred jazz albums, alongside such notables as Mel Torme, Doc Severinsen, Woody Herman, George Shearing, Gerry Mulligan, Peggy Lee, Joe Pass, and Cleo Laine. A left-handed double-bass player, she’s also been credited as “Lefty,” “Southpaw,” or “John.”

Here’s Jennifer and Trio, performing her composition “Split Brain.”

Here’s “C.O.D.”

And here she is noodling around at Winter NAMM 2012. I could watch clips like this all day.

A veteran of some of the most prestigious stages throughout the world, Jennifer challenged the conservative social mores of the Jazz world when she transitioned gender in 2001. She is the subject of the 2012 documentary, I Stand Corrected.

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CHICK BASSIST celebrates chick bassists: Vickie Blue

Vickie Blue replaced Jackie Fox as bassist for The Runaways in 1977, playing with them for just over a year before leaving the band in 1978 due to medical problems. After The Runaways split up in 1979, Vickie formed a band with singer Cherie Currie (Currie-Blue Band) and the duo appeared in the film This Is Spinal Tap. Here’s a circa 1978 The Runaways performance featuring Vickie on bass.

Today, Vickie calls herself Victoria Tischler-Blue and works primarily as a film producer, director, writer, and photographer. She directed the controversial 2004 documentary, Edgeplay: A Film About The Runaways, which has been described as “a rock n’ roll Rashomon”, and the 2005 Suzi Quatro documentary, Naked Under Leather.

Recently, Victoria directed Suzi Quatro’s video for her 2011 cover of Goldfrapp’s “Strict Machine”, which adds a few lyrics from Quatro’s “Can the Can” to jaw-dropping effect.

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CHICK BASSIST celebrates chick bassists: Jackie Fox

Jackie Fox became The Runaways’ third bassist in 1975, after being “discovered” by the self-proclaimed “mayor of the Sunset Strip,” Rodney Bingenheimer, and being presented to The Runaways’ Svengali/manager, Kim Fowley, shortly thereafter. Though she auditioned to be the group’s lead guitarist, that role was claimed by rocker Lita Ford, and Jackie replaced short-term bassist Peggy Foster. She was fifteen years old.

Though Jackie didn’t play on The Runaways’ 1976 debut album (Blondie bassist Nigel Harrison did), she did play on second studio album Queens of Noise, and on The Runaways’ 1977 Live in Japan album.

It was during the 1977 Japan tour that Jackie grew distraught over her bandmates’ inability to get along, deciding ultimately to quit the band. She was replaced by Vicki Blue.

In subsequent years, Jackie worked as a record company promotions executive, modeling agent, and Tony Robbins seminar promoter. In 1980, she appeared as a contestant on TV’s The Dating Game.

Today, Jackie is an entertainment attorney, having attended Harvard with classmate Barack Obama. She appeared in her The Runaways’ replacement Victory Tischler-Blue’s 2005 documentary film Edgeplay: A film about The Runaways, and has written columns for the Huffington Post.

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