Monday, December 14, 2020

Joe Osborn

A little while back I read that Wrecking Crew book (a fun summer read if summer ever comes back). Gradually I put two and two together and realized that a ton of my favorite bass lines are the work of Joe Osborn. A couple from my parents' record collection:

  • The Grass Roots' "Midnight Confessions"
  • The Fifth Dimension "Go Where You Wanna Go"

The latter is also one of my favorite bass lines that isn't really in tune. I love love love realizing that a favorite bass line isn't in tune. My 3-year-old got REALLY into "I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend," and after play 30,000, I realized that one of Dee Dee's strings was a little flat. An all time favorite of mine is Youth Brigade's "Waste of Time," which doesn't even PRETEND to be in tune.

Back to Joe. Turns out Joe Osborn also played the bass line on America's "Ventura Highway." I guess that song is a guilty pleasure of mine, but now that I listen to it again, the lyrics really are terrible, the melody is trite, the chord structure rides that fine line between cliched and just plain boring. But that bass line! That must have been why I liked it, not that dumb line about the alligator lizards or the part where they rhyme "sunshine" and "moonshine." That bass line goes all over the place, to the point where I can imagine this insanely talented bass player on take #579 saying eff it, stand back, here I go, just pinballing off the walls of everything. And they say yeah, that's the one, that's the take, the take that bought the hacks the mansions.