Five Live: Remembering Donald “Duck” Dunn

2012 has already been a harsh year in terms of the number of influential musicians we’ve lost, the latest of which was bassist Donald “Duck” Dunn who passed away in Tokyo this weekend at the age of 70. Dunn was an innovative four-stringer whose work as a member of the Stax Records house band and as part of Booker T. and the MGs has stood the test of time and won him induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as well as a lifetime achievement Grammy award.

[Photo by TheStaxMan]

While Duck’s more well known for his studio work, he was also a monster in concert. With that in mind, we wanted to celebrate Dunn’s massive contribution to the rock and soul worlds by preparing a list of five videos showing Duck at work with a variety of bands…

1. Stax Volt Tour of Norway

Stax Volt Tour of Norway – Six-Video Playlist

A classic concert from 1967 featuring performances from Booker T & The MGs, Arthur Conley, Sam and Dave, Eddie Floyd and Otis Redding. Within the videos that make up this playlist, you’ll get to hear Dunn play nearly all of the bass lines that initially brought him acclaim such as Green Onions, In The Midnight Hour, Hold On I’m Coming and Try A Little Tenderness.

2. The Blues Brothers – Soul Man

The Blues Brothers – Soul Man

On December 31, 1978 The Blues Brothers opened for the Grateful Dead at a performance that marked the closing of Bill Graham’s legendary Winterland venue in San Francisco. Dunn was recruited by Saturday Night Live actors John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd to hold down the bottom end for the blues and soul revivalist band and this set was one of the group’s first gigs. Duck went on to have a role in The Blues Brothers movie which came out in 1980.

3. Neil Young w/ Booker T. and the MGs – All Along The Watchtower

Neil Young w/ Booker T. and the MGs – All Along The Watchtower

In 1993 Neil Young recruited Booker T. and the MGs as his backing band for a 48 show tour. Young was so enamored with Dunn that he went on to use the bassist in his The Friends and Relatives Band and The Silver and Gold Band in 2000 as well as a second round of Neil Young and Booker T. and the MGs performances later that year. The video above shows Duck holding down the bottom on Young’s cover of All Along The Watchtower.

4. Joe Walsh – Funk #49

Joe Walsh – Funk #49

At the 2004 Crossroads Guitar Festival, Dunn and his MGs band mate Steve Cropper backed Joe Wlash for this performance of his 1970 classic Funk #49.

5. Eric Clapton – Layla

Eric Clapton – Layla

In the mid ’80s Dunn toured the world as part of Eric Clapton’s band. This pro-shot video shows how Duck interprets Carl Radle’s original Layla bass line.

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One Response

  1. Another bummer. It’s said that these things come in threes, so let’s hope that holds true. RIP Duck.

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