Monday, February 23, 2009

I see a lot of music documentaries and am often disappointed or deflated by the time they’re over. Not so with ”The Wrecking Crew”. A lot of love and respect went into the making of this.

The film took 12 years to complete. Denny Tedesco made it to celebrate the amazing lives of his dad, guitar player Tommy Tedesco and his colleagues. Since the piece was completed, Earl Palmer passed away in September 2008. It’s important that such a document exists, not only for those who are familiar with their work but also for those who have yet to discover it. Like “Standing in the Shadows of Motown”, this is an insight into the people who were the bedrock of the greatest records ever made. This one is more personal and therefore affecting than “Shadows”. There’s a sort of overlap which isn’t touched upon, that being when Motown moved to the West Coast, some of these musicians took up the slack on those too.

At this point it would probably be easier to make a list of the great tunes that they weren’t on. Those they did though include all the Wall of Sound sides that have sent shivers up and down all of our spines over the years and The Beach Boys. Doctor H reported recently that they were even the house band on the Lancelot Link and the Evolution Revolution sessions! These musicians combined intuitive playing with real heart and soul to create a backdrop for an amazing array of artists.

You can’t programme what these folks made with some software. Synthetic orchestration is no match for the full-on analog assault that their sessions wrought.

The pace is just right and the tone undeniably upbeat. Discovering that Tommy was the guitar player on the "F Troop" theme (not to mention Bonanza) really made my heart soar. To be able to hear folks like Al Casey tell their stories is such a valuable resource and you won’t be able to believe how cool Carol Kaye is. Denny Tedesco’s access to the cast is what makes this tick with a passion. It infuses the whole deal with actual reality as opposed to the devices that directors often scatter through this type of film.

Hopefully down the line – when not if it snags proper distribution – some of the individuals who made the documentary will make it to the UK in person. Please go to the site and sign up to the mailing list. Pronto.

Earlier on in the day, I saw the “Who Killed Nancy” film. Alan G Parker was there to introduce it but had to bail to attend a screening at The Cameo in Edinburgh. The evening previously, I’d watched Don Letts "Punk: Attitude" (thanks Martin) and there seems to be some bleed in terms of the interviews. WKN is interspersed with some really irritating graphic animation. The interview sequences make up for this somewhat as the story unfolds. You’re left in no uncertain terms with the fact that Sid didn’t “do it”. It was a big boy what did only he ran away and has never been tracked down. In his absence, Rockets Redglare is also cited as a probable culprit. In total, I enjoyed the film but feel it would have been tighter without those cartoons. In the closing credits I noticed a typo on “Otto’s Shrunken Head” where some of the interviews took place. I have to deduct points for that.

But then again, there was Glen Matlock's poster for "The Rebel". Wouldn't mind having one of those...

It’s no secret that I never rated Buzzcocks. nothing anyone can do or say will ever convince me otherwise. However, Sam Taylor-Wood’s short film, “Love You More” that accompanied WKN is a nice little slice of nostalgia. More details here.

1 comment:

Ron Ziffle said...

Apparently Tommy Tedesco also played the guitar on Green Acres! Can't get much of a better pedigree than that. Not even Batman...