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David Hood & the Muscle Shoals sound

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by Benny the Finger, Feb 24, 2016.

  1. Having recently watched the documentary I have been relentlessly listening to a lot of the tracks that were produced at Fame, Etta James, Bob Segar, Wilson Pickett, etc. I can't help but absolutely love the simple and powerful lines that seem to propel the songs into a different sonic space, regardless of genre.
    I've been trying to get a few under my fingers, certainly a feel rather than difficult playing involved.
    Any ideas on gear/rigs that may have been used, what are some of your favourite songs to play from Muscle Shoals?
    I'm enamoured by the place and the music that has come from there and would love to hear any stories.
    Thanks for reading...
  2. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    I have this book called The R&B Masters by Ed Friedland.
    The chapter on David Hood mentions...
    Bass: '61 P-bass
    Fingerboard: Rosewood (Jazz)
    ...so, it's a P- bass w/ a Jazz neck?
    Strings: Flatwounds (until late '70s)
    Tone: Round, full
    Attack: Percussive
    Signature Traits: Laid-back feel, consistent phrasing
    Influences: Tommy Cogbill, Jerry Jemmott, Duck Dunn, Jamerson, McCartney
  3. jerry

    jerry Doesn't know BDO Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 13, 1999
    That was a great documentary, but for some reason they really passed over Tommy Cogbill's contributions to that scene. He's the cat on all the early stuff while David Hood was still on trombone.
  4. JTE

    JTE Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2008
    Central Illinois, USA
    Several different instruments over the years. There was a Jazz bass, a single-coil Precion (that's what you hear on The Staple Singers' "I'll Take You There"), and an Alembic. I can't find the reference, but I think a Jazz bass got stolen on the tour he did with Traffic and that's when he got the Alembic.

    Badwater and Benny the Finger like this.
  5. I’ll Take You There: An Interview With David Hood

    What are some of your favorite instruments to use in the studio? Does it change based upon the session?

    My first bass was a ’61 Fender Jazz. It took a long time, but I eventually got a really good sound with it. I worked with that bass for over 10 years so I knew how to make it sound right and I measured all other basses against that one. That bass got stolen on one of the Traffic tours in ’73 so I immediately went out and got two other Jazz basses. Then I got an Alembic and was able to get a really good sound with that one. People would come in to the studio and say, “Gosh, I thought you played a Fender. What’s that thing?” But it got a great sound, and as always, I was playing and working for the sound that came out of the speakers. I’ve gotten a good sound with a Kubicki X-Factor bass and then I’ve got some Lakland basses that I really like… one of them is a Joe Osborn model. It’s the closest thing to my first jazz bass; it’s got the stacked tone controls and the neck feels like the neck that was on that Jazz. It has the sound I want and it plays well for my hands.

    He also had a 57 Precision

    I understand that he played the Alembic from 1976 to 1988
  6. i need to get that book
    LarryBama and Benny the Finger like this.
  7. Can't get enough of the bass line on 'Hey Jude' by Wilson Pickett...
    JimK likes this.
  8. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    The "solo" from "I'll a Take You There" is one of my all time favorite licks.
    Badwater, GregC, Jhengsman and 3 others like this.
  9. Castagnier


    Jun 6, 2012
  10. jerry

    jerry Doesn't know BDO Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 13, 1999
    This is also excellent: upload_2016-2-27_11-8-55.
  11. grrg63


    Dec 14, 2005
  12. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    A friend of mine was the drummer for Cry Of Love (rock band from the 90s that enjoyed some radio succes). They recorded there. He said they each had a rug they set up on. They stood in a circle and played everything live with no overdubs. The only "effect" they used was a weird looking coiled up hose mounted to a board. One end was right next to the singer's mic and the other end had another mic on it that gave it a bit of delay. It's the same thing that gave Skynard that effect of dual vocals on many of their tracks.

    If you get a chance check out some Cry of Love from that first album. Just raw music. Good stuff.
    GregC and Benny the Finger like this.
  13. jerry

    jerry Doesn't know BDO Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 13, 1999
    FWIW, HBO has been airing a great Mavis Staples documentary.
    Benny the Finger likes this.
  14. ShoeManiac

    ShoeManiac Supporting Member

    Jan 19, 2006
    New Jersey

    I missed seeing anything about Tommy, too. But I think the filmmakers focused more on Rick Hall's story, with the other focus being on his relationship with the Swampers. And those were the guys who broke away from Rick's studio to start up their own operation.
    Benny the Finger likes this.
  15. Mikhail1


    Apr 8, 2008
    I agree with Shoe the documentary was good but did focus more on Rick Hall. I don't remember anything about Tommy Cogbill either. But I liked it overall but I'm a bit prejudiced. David Hood is one favorite bassist. Period!
    Benny the Finger likes this.
  16. Love David Hood. His son is pretty amazing too.
    brokenstoned, 10cc and GregC like this.
  17. teej


    Aug 19, 2004
    Sheffield, AL 35660
    Seeing as I live in Muscle Shoals, I think it's interesting how prior to the documentary, not many people really knew about this city. Sure the music scene was big back in the 60s and 70s but then it died and was pretty much forgotten. All of a sudden, though, it's been BOOM! Now everyone in this town exploits the rediscovered music history. We've now got massive statues all over town, businesses are changing their names and redesigning their logos to reflect the music heritage... It's nice, though, to see things are picking up for this area. It used to be so dead around here.

    This old railroad bridge is now the end point of a rather extensive network of walking trails. It's a common spot for weddings, photos, fishing, and more.
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2017
  18. Badwater


    Jan 12, 2017
    The Swampers were the go to songwriters of the 60's to the 90's. They wrote melodies, and played on a lot of albums for many famous acts world wide back in the day. Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett, Sam Moore, Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, Rod Stewart, Rolling Stones, Joe Cocker, Skynard, Allman brothers, Eddie Floyd, Leon Russel, Percy Sledge, Staple Singers, Bob Seger, etc... They covered all styles of music, and collaborated with famous musicians all over the US and the world.
  19. back4more


    Aug 11, 2007
    Oakland, CA
    Really?! It took the documentary to spur that kind of civic pride? Wow, that surprises me given the musical legacy of the Fame and Muscle Shoals studios. Better late than never, I suppose. Glad to hear folks are celebrating it. A trip there is on my bucket list!

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