Who played bass on The Carpenters hits?

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by Fender32, Apr 29, 2007.


  1. ElectroVibe

    ElectroVibe

    Mar 2, 2013
    Yes. I'm sure the influence went a lot more in the other direction.
     
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  2. david osborn

    david osborn

    Jul 5, 2018
    Louisiana
    Definitely not. Dad never listened to music unless it was a project he was producing or similar work related purpose, and that started around 1976. In LA he didn't have a record player or anything else to listen to music on.

    He prefered to go into every session with no thought of what he might play.
    In fact I believe he played on some of the Cowsills records, only by what I hear. I have no firm documentation on that yet, but I will soon.
     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2021
  3. david osborn

    david osborn

    Jul 5, 2018
    Louisiana
    I recently found which Mike Nesmith and the first national band music my father was on, I knew he'd worked with Nesmith post Monkeys... But what?

    Album: Nevada Fighter
    Recommend: Here I am,,,and
    Texas Morning, and there are others.
    You can easily hear the difference between the ones where Ron Tutt, James Burton and Joe O. Came in to finish the album.
    Apparently the band blew up during the making of the album but for Red Rhodes who remained with Nesmith.
    Well worth a listen.
    Dave
     
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  4. laklandplayer

    laklandplayer Supporting Member

    Jul 10, 2001
    USA - Memphis, TN
    Except of the Beach Boys, all of these acts had professional record producers calling the shots, hiring the arrangers and musicians. They created the sound and the framwork that the performers worked within.

    The Mama's and Papa's, 5th Dimension, and the Association were real acts that wrote and had input on their material and they were activly involved in the process.
    The Grassroots was a studio act contrived from some song writers that eventually had to hire players and form a real touring band back after they started having hits.

    My late brother played on all of those Bobby Sherman hits, along with Joe, when Bobby was a teen idol and they never even met him. They would do the tracks and he would come in and overdub his vocals (such as they were) later. He was on the show "Here Comes the Bride" and sold millions of records.

    My friend, the late Bob Dorough (look him up, an amazing man) produced Spanky and Our Gang. He did all of the pre production and would bring them in to coax the vocals out of them to finish the records. He always used a NY studio guy named Bill Takas on bass along with other NY musicians.

    The record companies didn't waste time which was money to them and they used the pros, to make the records in a short time frame with pretty small budgets, so they could get the records out there. Remember, tunes back then had a pretty short shelf life and they were constantaly looking for new acts and material to keep the hits and AM radio machine running.

    They called the Monkees the pre-fab four (meaning prefabricated or manufactured) and that set the wheels in motion for every tv singing act that came along afterward. Then you had the Brady Bunch trying to get into the act and then there were the Osmonds, who could actually sing but were still packaged by the record label.

    There is a painful documentary about the Cowsills called "Family Band", you all should watch it.
    It's a sobering look at the reality of the music business.
     
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  5. ElectroVibe

    ElectroVibe

    Mar 2, 2013
    Yes, I think that they used session musicians on a lot of their stuff anyways.
     
  6. laklandplayer

    laklandplayer Supporting Member

    Jul 10, 2001
    USA - Memphis, TN
    David you are correct, the studio musicians I knew didn't do any recreational listening of they stuff they were doing, except for Hal, lol. That would essentially be like eating at McDonalds while you working there...
    Besides, they were usually burnt out by the end of the day from doing sessions and had families to come home to. My brother kept KNX news radio tuned in on his car radio and at his house.
    Musically, he would occassionally go to Donte's or the Baked Potato to play a jazz gig or listen to to his friends play on occassion, just to get the studio out of his head. He took casuals even while he worked in the studio, (most studio players didn't) just so he could play for his own enjoyment and keep his chops up.
    Studio work was chops killer, as you know. You work a lot, doing pretty much the same thing, 3 minutes at a time. When I did a lot of jingles it was 59.5 seconds at a time....
     
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  7. ElectroVibe

    ElectroVibe

    Mar 2, 2013
    I have to remember that the Cowsills were probably partially inspired by the kind of music that he was already making.
     
  8. TomB

    TomB Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2007
    Vermont
  9. IMMusicRulz

    IMMusicRulz Commercial User

    Aug 3, 2020
    Atlanta, GA
    I am a semi-professional musician
    I also would like to mention that Karen Carpenter played bass on 2 tracks from Ticket To Ride.

    Not sure if it was Joe Osborn's Jazz Bass or just a rented Fender Precision Bass
     
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  10. david osborn

    david osborn

    Jul 5, 2018
    Louisiana
    It's my guess that it wasn't Joe's bass.
    If he were present that day, he would have played on those tracks. It's far more likely that he was on another session at a different studio, and of course would have had his bass with him.
    Producer Jack Daugherty was assigned to the Carpenters and A&M couldn't have made a better choice. Jack recognized the talent of Richard Carpenter in his arrangements, chordal voicings, selection of instrumentation etc, and Jack did the thing that many producers didn't or couldn't do which is to stay out of the way of the artist, be as transparent as possible. Turned out to be a good thing.
     
  11. ElectroVibe

    ElectroVibe

    Mar 2, 2013
    That's cool. I had no idea Karen played bass. I even read their biography a few years back.
     
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  12. ElectroVibe

    ElectroVibe

    Mar 2, 2013
    Would it be normal to rent a bass for a session? It seems like the studio might have one available.
     
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  13. lfmn16

    lfmn16 Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2011
    charles town, wv
    Listen to the bass playing in Hendrix, Cream, Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, The Faces, The Beatles or any number of bands from that era and it’s plain that bass playing has devolved.

    What’s more insidious is how many bass players have bought into the whole idea. Not saying every song needs a Jack Bruce Cream-era bass line, but so many don’t even try to make it interesting.
     
  14. david osborn

    david osborn

    Jul 5, 2018
    Louisiana
    Some studios might have a bass, but not in general. In L.A. you can rent anything from Studio Instrument Rental, they also have rehearsal rooms and cartage service. If you were to fly to LA for a session and the airline has lost your bass,
    Then you could rent something for the session to get you through. It is not,in my experience, common to rent a bass for a session. Karen probably borrowed something from a friend.
     
  15. david osborn

    david osborn

    Jul 5, 2018
    Louisiana
    Ifmn16
    I totally agree with you. Looking back to the high watermark of the '60s and '70s it's unlikely music will ever get there again.
    My wife and I watched the Yes songs concert dvd last night and after she sighed and said "we've lost so much".
     
  16. MonetBass

    MonetBass ♪ Just listen ♫ Supporting Member

    Sep 15, 2006
    Tulsa, OK
    Agreed, sadly. That DVD, and for me, "Rush In Rio" and "Queen Rocks Montreal & Live Aid" makes me feel the same way.
     
  17. JimmyM

    JimmyM

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    Either that or the studio might have a house bass for such occasions. Some did, some didn't.
     
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  18. JimmyM

    JimmyM

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    My parents said the same thing when they would watch Lawrence Welk :D Don't worry, David...we're not supposed to get today's music. If it doesn't piss you off, they're doing something wrong :D
     
  19. If life is cyclical, as some social theorists propose, we’re moving toward a return to banging on logs with rocks.
     
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  20. ElectroVibe

    ElectroVibe

    Mar 2, 2013
    Interesting. I would think any producers or studios working with Wrecking Crew musicians would be the kind to have extra gear on hand.
     
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