Sunday, May 13, 2012


Donald "Duck" Dunn has passed away.  Steve Cropper, his off and on band mate of over fifty years, first posted the news on his Facebook page earlier today, "Today I lost my best friend, the World has lost the best guy and bass player to ever live. Duck Dunn died in his sleep Sunday morning May 13 in Tokyo Japan after finishing two shows at the Blue Note Night Club."

Booker T and the MGs - Booker-Loo.  French TV, 1968.  Duck Dunn is feeling it. You'll wish you were there.

You should know who he is.  If you don't, you've really got a bit of catching up to do.  His most visible role was that of bass player for Booker T & the MG's, but his groove is all over Stax releases from their golden era, from '61 - '68.  That's just for starters.  He played with a shitload of people, both live and in the studio.  You'd be heard pressed to find any bass player ever with his resume: The Mar-Keys, Booker T and the MGs, Otis Redding, Sam & Dave, Johnny Taylor, Wilson Pickett, Rufus Thomas, Eddie Floyd, the Staple Singers, Isaac Hayes,  Albert King, Freddy King, Eric Clapton, Leon Russell, Wilson Picket, Muddy Waters, Roy Buchanan, Bob Dylan, Jerry Lee Lewis, Willie Dixon, Ray Charles, and Neil Young; and that's only about half of them. A striking thing about this list is that he played live, or toured with, a great many of those names.  So, it's not like he was just a hired gun playing in the studio.  

The moving part of this whole thing is that it was Steve Cropper who announced it.  They started playing in bands together in high school, the first band being the Royal Spades, which also included classmate Packy Axton.  Shortly after that, it was Booker T & the MGs, all the while backing other Stax artists.  When you listen to anything on Stax up until about '68, chances are Dunn, Cropper, MG's drummer Al Jackson, or some combination of the three are on it.  And, when someone like Steve Cropper refers to him as the best bass player that ever lived, you better listen.  There maybe technically better bass players, faster, more advanced, or whatever, but one thing that is lost on many is the bass player's role in the rhythm section.  They're the groove makers.  And there is absolutely no question, he had that down.  Even if he wasn't the best that ever lived, he was a great, great bass player, one of the very best, and he cannot be replaced.  It will always be "he plays like Duck Dunn." 

Booker T and the MGs - Green Onions mp3 at La Detente Generale
Booker T and the MGs - Hip Hug Her mp3 at 8106
Booker T and the MGs - Hang 'em High mp3 at LZ Center 
Booker T and the MGs - Melting Pot mp3 at Aerial Noise 
Booker T and the MGs - Bootleg mp3 at Planet Mondo  
Booker T and the MGs - Time Is Tight mp3 at LZ Center 
Booker T and the MGs - Chicken Pox mp3 (via Mediafire) at Tonegents Annoying pop-up, but worth it. 
Steve Cropper on the MGs and Stax at YouTube Mandatory. 
Booker T and the MGs - Green Onions (hollywood A Go-Go, 1965) at YouTube 
Booket T and the MGs - Hip Hug Her (the opening credits of Barfly) at YouTube 
Booker T and the MGs - Green Onions (the race scene in American Graffiti) at YouTube 
Donald "Duck" Dunn at Wikipedia 
Donald "Duck" Dunn at The Stax Site (France?) An excellent comprehensive fan site. 
Donald "Duck" Dunn official site 
Donald "Duck" Dunn - Discography

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