The Life and Times of a Second Call Studio Musician Part 11

The Life and Times of a Second Call Studio Musician Part 11

Rounding out 1981 there were a few other recordings of note, one was Gail Davies album “I’ll Be There”. I played on the title track along with Dean Parks. Dean and I did most of the guitar tracks on that album. Great band, Mike Baird on drums, Lee Sklar on bass, and Jai Winding on keyboards.

I’ll Be There (1981) was her third studio album and became the most commercially successful, peaking at number twenty-seven on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart. Spawning three singles, “I’ll Be There (If You Ever Want Me)”, “It’s a Lovely, Lovely World”, and “Grandma’s Song”, which all became top-ten hits on the Hot Country Singles chart list.

Also I did the first album with my dear friend the late Roby Duke. Roby was a Contemporary Christian artist, the album was called “Not The Same”. He was such a talent, we became fast friends and worked together on many projects. Roby produced my first solo album “Lucias Tokas” that we released in 1996.

Moving into 1982 I’m looking at my book and there are lots of entries. Some pretty obscure/forgettable things. A Richard Simmons album, 🙂 , sessions for Pat Boone 🙂 🙂 , and some cool things. Tracks for the movie “Summer Lovers” one by Tina Turner called “Johnny and Mary” which was produced by Richard Perry. Tina was there and she was the coolest! I just remember her being pretty hands on at the session. She knew what she wanted and was way involved in the parts we all played. Here is a youtube link if you care to dig.

Another song for that movie I worked on was “If Love Takes You Away” by Stephen Bishop, produced by Russ Titelman. Another youtube link for y’all.

On March 2nd and 3rd Tommy Lipuma called me to play on the Randy Crawford album “Windsong”.

The session was for the song “One Hello”, it was done for the movie “You Ought To Be In Pictures”. Great rhythm section, Jeff Porcaro, Neil Stubenhaus, Robbie Buchanan and Paul Jackson Jr. Day 1 we cut the track and day 2 I was in to do the guitar solo. I always wondered how I got that call as I had never worked for Tommy before. Quite an honor, another legend in the music biz.

On February 4th I played on one of the bigger hits of my career. Neil Diamond’s “Heartlight”. I found this article years ago by the engineer Jeremy Smith talking about the recording techniques. He included this diagram of the room setup.

Here is info again from WIKI
“Heartlight” is a song written by Neil Diamond, Carole Bayer Sager and her then-husband Burt Bacharach, and recorded by Diamond in 1982. The song is the first track on Diamond’s 1982 album, also titled Heartlight, and reached number five on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming his eighth (and last) top 5 hit on the chart. The song also spent four weeks atop the adult contemporary chart in late 1982, and was the last of his eight #1s on that chart.

The song is inspired by the blockbuster movie E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, which Diamond, Bayer Sager and Bacharach had all seen together. When the alien E.T. leaves Earth, his heart glows a luminous red, hence the title of the song.

The songwriters were required to pay Universal Studios $25,000 for the use of ideas from the film.

What??? I wonder why on earth they were required to pay $$ for the fact that the song was inspired by seeing the movie. Sounds crazy to me. They obviously told the wrong people! Hahaha. Here is a very cool video someone made of Heartlight and ET on youtube. The lyric certainly did follow the storyline.

What’s odd about this time is the fact that while I was booking legit union mostly double scale dates my book is also filled with demo sessions still. My good friend Allee Willis who gave me the opportunity to hone my skills on her demo sessions for Irving-Almo was now producing too. She would hire me for a legit union album date then a few days later I’m doing a demo for her for demo rates. There were really two pay scales, one for record companies that produced huge records that generated lots of $$ and then another for publishing companies that were not making money from your recordings, they were just using the tracks to show the songs. Hoping to get the songs cut.

April came and some great Dave Mason sessions. These came out of the Eddie Money experience. Keyboardist Alan Pasqua, who played on Eddie’s album “No Control” and wrote one of the songs for that album was writing with Dave and was now in the producer’s chair. We were coming off the very successful No Control LP and Alan decided to keep that team together for the Mason sessions. After one of the tracking dates I went with Andy Johns to his house to hang. He had made a 1/4 tape of a rough mix of the song “Never Give Up”. We were listening and I told Andy that I would love a copy and he just handed me the 1/4 inch tape. Here is a photo of the cover on the 1/4 inch tape box.

Here is the rough mix of “Never Give Up” from that 1/4 inch tape.

On May 5th I did a movie date for Burt Bacharach, the movie was Night Shift, the song was an instrumental piece called “Street Talk”. Here is a youtube video of that track.

Just a word about my relationship with Burt. I first met him in February of 1980 when I got a call to go up to Paul Anka’s house in Carmel CA to play on some demos. Paul had a beautiful house with a studio and he paid really well for demos. I went up with Bassist Dave Parlato. Dave and I played on those tracks and I didn’t see Burt again until I was booked on that Master recording session of Arthur’s Theme. I guess he must have liked what he heard because I became his go to guy for a few years. Burt was just amazing, and a sweetheart of a guy.

Carrying on into the latter part of ’82 more obscure sessions, some TV shows with Eddie Money, more sessions for Michel Colombier, dates for Jackie Deshannon, Laura Branigan, Paul Anka, Manhattan Transfer, various jingles and some demos for Don Costa’s daughter Nikka Costa. Nikka was 10 years old at the time. I also did a string of dates for Helen Reddy. The album was called “Imagination”. Great players on those sessions, Paul Jackson Jr and I did all of the guitar work.

Funny story, back in those days arrangers many times would lift parts from demos and write them into the arrangements. Nick DeCaro did the Helen Reddy arrangements. He passes out this one chart and there was a written single string R&B mute guitar part notated. We all pile into the control room to listen to the demo. They spin the demo and I realize I am the guitar player on it. Now Paul Jackson Jr is a really highly regarded R&B guitarist, and Nick turns to Paul and tells him to play the written part. He had lifted my exact part and wrote it into the arrangement. I wanted to say to Nick, “Hey man that’s me writing and playing that part on the demo”! No can do. I played on the demo for probably 50 bucks a year or so before and now I am charging him double scale to play on the same song. I could not reveal the fact that he is paying double union scale to a “demo” guy. Hahaha!

Finally to close out the year my phone rings on December 30th. On the other end of the line is David Foster. Now I had worked with David a few times but always via another contractor or producer. I never got a call from David. I know he used Jay, Luke and Paul Jackson at this time pretty exclusively. David says “Marty can you do a date for me tomorrow?” Tomorrow?? That’s new years day! Of course I take the date and I never asked David how many guys he called before he got to me, maybe none but I’m betting I was at least 3rd call on this one. For some reason on WIKI Paul Jackson is listed as the guitarist and I have requested a change as the page is protected. Here is a youtube link of “We’ve Got Tonight” by Kenny Rogers and Sheena Easton.

Again thanks for reading, I love all you guys! I’ll see you all next week!