It's a rough week for influential Tennessee sidemen, as we've lost both Music Row session stalwart Fred Carter Jr. and original Big Star bassist Andy Hummel.
Carter has been on a billion-and-a-half tracks — statistically speaking, if you left your house today, you probably heard one of his cuts for, say, Dylan or those Simon & Garfunkel dudes or maybe Willie or Waylon or Dolly. And he played guitar on Jesus was a Capricorn, for chrissakes! (Pun completely intended.) He played with Ronnie Hawkins in the late ’50s and Levon Helm in the ’70s, and cut the lil' nugget of ’60s pop shown above for my all-time favorite local label, Monument Records. (If you put out "Yakety Sax" I'd love your record label, too.) He's also the father of Deanna Carter, who I guess is somebody I'm supposed to know about, since the Tennessean talks about her before anyone else in their article. Is she a famous country singer? Either way, it's a bummer about her dad.
Hummel might not be the most marquee name to come out of Big Star, but I've got No. 1 Record on the stereo right now, and holy shit, that is one hella tight rhythm section! Seriously, "She's a Mover," "Back of a Car" — those are some seriously badass tunes where the bass just settles in and keeps the whole ship upright. I know it's trite to be a music critic that slobbers all over Big Star's legacy, but there is really no band quite like them. Every listen is as exciting as the first time you heard it,, which almost never, ever fucking happens. Now, with Hummel's passing and the loss of lead singer Alex Chilton, the greatest Southern rock band in history (yeah, I said it) is down to one surviving member: drummer Jody Stevens. That's just a bummer, man.