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The Joe Osborne Collection

December 17th, 2018 Leave a comment Go to comments

 

 

R.I.P. Joe Osborn. There aren’t many rhythm sections that have scored more hits than Joe Osborn on bass, Hal Blaine on drums and Larry Knechtel on keyboards. With Osborn’s death at 81 on Friday, only Blaine is still with us of this particular combination of Wrecking Crew alumni.

Osborn appeared on many of the tracks included in the two volumes of songs featuring the drumming of Hal Blaine (Vol. 1 and Vol. 2), as well as some on the Jim Gordon (Vol. 1 and Vol. 2) and Jim Keltner  (Vol. 1 and Vol. 2) collections.

You will have Osborns basslines many times. Osborne — who was not the only Wrecking Crew bassist — was involved in an astonishing number of hits. They are listed here. Some of them are stone cold classics: California Dreaming and Monday Monday by the Mamas & The Papas, San Francisco by Scott Mackenzie,

Up Up And Away and Wedding Bell Blues by The Fifth Dimension, Gentle On My Mind and By The Time I Get To Phoenix by Glenn Campbell, Cracklin’ Rose by Neil Diamond, Never My Love  and Windy by the Association, Delta Dawn and I Am Woman by Helen Reddy, Midnight Confession by the Grass Roots, Just Dropped In  To See… and Ruby Don’t Take Your Love To Town by Kenny Rogers & The First Edition (and later Roger’s mega hit Lucille), Lonely People and Ventura Highway by America, Dizzy by Tommy Row, Stoney End by Barbra Streisand, Free Electric Band and The Peacemaker by Albert Hammond, and many more.

But his major associations were with Simon & Garfunkel (with Blaine and Knechtel, he played on most of their big hits, including Bridge Over Troubled Water and The Boxer), Johnny Rivers, the Partridge Family and, especially, the Carpenters. In fact, Osborn continued to work with Richard Carpenters when the duo was on its commercial decline and on veracious projects after Karen’s premature death.

The trio, with other Wrecking Crew luminaries, also played on the original musical soundtrack of The Rocky Horror Show.

After the Wrecking Crew faded away, Osborn played on such classics as England Dan & John Ford Coley’s I’d Really Love To See You Tonight and We’ll Never Have To Say Goodbye Again, Olivia Newton-John’s Sam, Neil Young’s Rust Never Sleeps album, and in the 1980s on many records by country acts including Merle Haggard and Johnny Cash.

Louisiana-born Osborn started out as a guitar player, even recording as coupler of instrumental singles as part of Jim & Joe. He also wrote a few songs, but really started to attract attention for his bass work with Ricky Nelson, particularly on the hit Travellin’ Man, using the Fender Precision which he had bought in 1958. He used that bass guitar for much of his career.

He died on December 14 after a long battle with pancreatic cancer.

As ever, the mix is timed to fit on a standard CD-R and includes home-picked covers. PW in comments.

1. Jim & Joe – Fireball Mail (1963)
2. Ricky Nelson – Travellin’ Man (1960)
3. P.F. Sloan – The Man Behind The Red Balloon (1966)
4. The Mamas & The Papas – Somebody Groovy (1966)
5. Neil Diamond – Holly Holy (1969)
6. Johnny Rivers – When A Man Loves A Woman (1967)
7. Simon & Garfunkel – The Only Living Boy in New York (1970)
8. Carpenters – It’s Going To Take Some Time (1972)
9. Barbra Streisand – Beautiful (1971)
10. Thelma Houston – I Just Gotta Be Me (1969)
11. Helen Reddy – Delta Dawn (1973)
12. B.W. Stevenson – My Maria (1973)
13. The Dillards – Listen To The Sound (1968)
14. The Everly Brothers – Less Of Me (1968)
15. Neil Young & Crazy Horse – Sail Away (1979)
16. America – Don’t Cross The River (1972)
17. Albert Hammond – The Peacemaker (1973)
18. England Dan & John Ford Coley – I’d Really Like To See You Tonight (1976)
19. Tim Curry – Sweet Transvestite (1974)
20. The 5th Dimension – California Soul (1968)
21. The Monkees – Valleri (1968)
22. The Association – Windy (1967)
23. Partridge Family – I Woke Up In Love This Morning (1971)
24. The Grass Roots – Where Were You When I Needed You (1966)
25. Laura Nyro – Save The Country (1969)
26. Glen Campbell and The Wrecking Crew – I’m Not Gonna Miss You (2015)

GET IT!

 

Previous session musicians’ collection:
The Hal Blaine Collection Vol. 1
The Hal Blaine Collection Vol. 2
The Jim Gordon Collection Vol. 1
The Jim Gordon Collection Vol. 2

The Ricky Lawson Collection Vol. 1
The Ricky Lawson Collection Vol. 2
The Jim Keltner Collection Vol. 1
The Jim Keltner Collection Vol. 2
The Bernard Purdie Collection Vol. 1
The Bernard Purdie Collection Vol. 2
The Steve Gadd Collection Vol. 1
The Steve Gadd Collection Vol. 2
The Steve Gadd Collection Vol. 3
The Larry Carlton Collection
The Bobby Keys Collection
The Louis Johnson Collection
The Bobby Graham Collection
The Ringo Starr Collection

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  1. halfhearteddude
    December 17th, 2018 at 13:56 | #1

    PW = amdwhah

  2. Aaron
    December 17th, 2018 at 18:14 | #2

    Osborn was present for the recording of so many hits. Without the songs that he played on, I think the world would be in a different place musically today, so certainly worth memorializing as a key figure in music history.

    What I’m truly amazed by, though, is how fast you’re able to put these things out. It’s as if this is your real job and you only exist to make relevant mixes for your appreciative readers. I just want to point out how much I appreciate what it is you do and how well you do it.

  3. halfhearteddude
    December 17th, 2018 at 18:25 | #3

    Aw, such nice words, Aaron. Thanks you. How I wish this was my real job…

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