Behind the big names, more often in a recording studio, sits a handful of on-call, talent-burdened musicians. They get paid, fold up their sheet music, shut their instrument cases and move on to yet another recording session on the same day.
Was I the last one in the world who found out about LA's The Wrecking Crew? Probably. They were a tight group of anonymous session musos in California who amassed of stack of gold tracks for A-Listed artists. Many of those famous groups we adored on the radio were in reality, just one amazing studio band.
One man made Australia his home. A quiet unassuming guitarist and producer with a gently lilting Arkansas accent. Louie Shelton. His name is nowhere as well known outside the studio as is the riffs created from his fretboard. He's the 'Guitar behind the Stars'.
Try this for an entree: The theme from The Monkees, including their Last Train to Clarksville, Lionel Ritchie's Hello, and Boz Scaggs' Lowdown. Not impressive enough?
For main course: Louie's guitar on albums for Marvin Gaye, Simon and Garfunkel, Stevie Wonder, Gladys Knight & the Pips, Neil Diamond, John Lennon, Barbra Streisand, The Carpenters - let me take a breath - the The Mamas & The Papas, Glen Campbell, Ella Fitzgerald, the Partridge Family, James Brown, Diana Ross, Whitney Houston, Joe Cocker, Kenny Rogers, Henry Mancini, The Jackson 5, Quincy Jones - as well as producing the legendary Seals & Crofts, and Aussie acts like Noiseworks and Southern Sons.
Retirement is completely out of the question - quite voluntarily. Which is why Louie surrounded himself with three of south-east Queensland's coolest session guys and gigged at the Brisbane Jazz Club recently.
For a sophisticated 2022 Jazz Club, it rocked on like a '70's grandstand, as Louie shared a few of those hits. I looked around the Club's tables to see the long-memorised words falling from the lips of the patrons. The speed and skill of his complex chords might fit the hands of a younger man. And those younger musos - well, they had a hard time keeping pace.
Clearly Louie is having none of this 'living in the past' trip that other fading stars tend to do, with a brand-new album on its way.
What's goin' on? it's as easy as ABC - it's yesterday once more - but even better this time.
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Reviewed by 101FM Radio Presenter Stu Robertson
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