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  1. #1

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    The 10 greatest backing bands of all time

    As lists go, this one has much to commend it.

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    Crazy Horse is on the list. No arguments from me about any of them.

  4. #3

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    I would substitute the Heartbreakers for Joan Jett’s group. The Heartbreakers are the ultimate backup band. Play just the right notes that are needed, no more, no less.

    There are some pretty good “pickup” backing bands…Eric Clapton and “the Dominos” backing Delaney and Bonnie, the Heartbreakers backing Dylan, the Dirty Mac backing Lennon, Leon Russell and Bobby Keys backing Joe Cocker on the Mad Dogs tour…

    Also, no mention of the Meters?? Best. Backing. Band. Ever. Robert Palmer and Dr. John wouldn’t have had a career without them. Not to mention the Neville Brothers and Wild Tschoupitoulas.

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    And don’t forget Linda Rondstadt’s backing band, with Glenn Frey and Don Henley. They did pretty well… ;-)

  6. #5

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    The Wailers and JBs were underrated! This list was definitely missing the Heartbreakers and The Bluesbreakers, and The Double Trouble.


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  7. #6

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    Once saw The Odds backup Warren Zevon. That was a show.

  8. #7

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    Where are Booker T. and the MGs? They were not just a studio band but did a lot of live work with Stax artists as well.

  9. #8

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    Boz Scaggs’ backing band went on to fame as Toto. Seems like a pretty glaring omission

  10. #9

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    I'm biased towards all things Joni, but her touring group that included Metheny and Jaco Pastorius was amazeballs.

  11. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont
    I'm biased towards all things Joni, but her touring group that included Metheny and Jaco Pastorius was amazeballs.
    Don't forget Michael Brecker, Lyle Mays and Don Alias.

    She has always had good musicians behind her. She also toured extensively with Robben Ford and Tom Scott. And in 2000 toured with Herbie Hancock and Peter Erskine. Jazz royalty.

  12. #11

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    My god this could go on and on.

    Donnie McCaslin and his band backing Bowie on Blackstar, with Ben Monder on guitar.

    The Faces backing Rod Stewart on his first solo records--also backed Mick Jagger on I Know It's Only Rock'n'Roll, which led to Ronnie getting hired by the Stones.

    Rockpile backing either Nick Lowe or Dave Edmunds, depending on which week they were in the studio LOL...

    Dylan has had quite a few great backing bands, some not so good IMO (the Grateful Dead was not a good mashup), but the most interesting was the pickup band for the Letterman show:

    The Strange Story of Bob Dylan’s Triumphant First Letterman Performance

  13. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Doctor Jeff
    Don't forget Michael Brecker, Lyle Mays and Don Alias.
    TBH It’s quite easy for me to to forget there’s anyone in that band apart from Jaco and Joni. Everyone else is in the corners, which is pretty crazy - that specific chemistry is pretty special. And also Jaco is just so incredibly dominant.

  14. #13

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    Africa 70, then the James Brown lineup w/ the Collins bros & Clyde Stubblefield

  15. #14

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    The band on any given Steely Dan album…

  17. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkRhodes
    The 10 greatest backing bands of all time

    As lists go, this one has much to commend it.
    I like this list, it’s a bit of a boomer rock bore list that could have been written by a staff writer for Mojo, but its valid.

    Really any of Zappas bands would make this list, but I’m particularly fond of the mothers. They had great texture.

    As far as Bowie’s bands go that’s a tough one. Well it’s not. They were all great. I can’t pick one. The Spiders sounded incredibly good on the BBC sessions, raw as anything, but tight, better than the album imo. Mike Garson joined later and was such a fixture in Bowie’s bands over the years…

    So many great backing bands though. James Taylor, that’s a heavy band… not such a ‘cool’ artist as the guys on the list (well if you are middle aged) but respected among musicians and the band is among the best.

    Anyway where the fuck are the Funk Brothers? Nowhere, because Motown is for girls or something. Ah rock journalists.

    Check out Beyoncé’s touring band.

  18. #17

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    One of the bands listed here is The Band. They are an amazing outfit. Backed up Ronnie Hawkins as The Hawks, backed Bob Dylan on his electric tour (-one Band member said 'we were booed all over the world'---it was a tough tour, leading to Levon leaving The Band for awhile) and then releasing several classic albums on their own (esp "Music From Big Pink" and The Brown Album).

    By the way, here's a picture of Levon with "Miss Brer Foxhole" (as she was identified in the song "W. S. Walcott Medicine Show.") Levon saw her perform in the '40s. She was known as "The Lady With The Million Dollar Smile" because she had a diamond in every tooth. Her real name was Mary Smith McClain.

    10 Greatest Backing Bands of All Time-miss-brer-foxhole-jpg

    Way back then, she performed with F. S. Walcott's Rabbits Foot Minstrels.





    I think Garth Hudson plays the tenor sax solo on this, as well as the organ and accordion.

  19. #18

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    Sting’s bands would be up there… best
    line up, maybe Soul Cages?

  20. #19

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    The blockheads. The heartbreakers. The other heartbreakers. The blues brothers. The MGs. The tcbs. Where are they? The funk brothers? Though that wasn’t a stable lineup.


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  21. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by Christian Miller
    Sting’s bands would be up there… best
    line up, maybe Soul Cages?
    There’s a clever show out now called Only Murders in the Building with Steve Martin and Martin Short. One of the ongoing jokes in the series is that Sting—who is a resident in the manhattan apartment building where they live—might have poisoned Martin Short’s dog and committed the murder of his investment adviser. It’s no True Detective, but it is pretty amusing and nice to see Martin and Martin together on the small screen.

    Back to Sting…the only Sting CD I’ve ever purchased was All This Time. It is a live album recorded in Italy on 9/11/01. Apparently everyone was aware of what had happened in NYC and Washington, but decided to continue the concert as a tribute to the victims.

    It is one of the great live albums out there, with a strong jazz influence—not surprising since Christian McBride and Chris Botti are on it. I prefer these versions of the songs to the studio versions. Immaculate recording with an all star backing band.

  22. #21

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    Speaking of Booker T & the MGs, Steve Cropper and Donald "Duck" Dunn were in the Mar-Keys before joining forces with Booker T. (Steve and Booker got together first; Dunn was not the original bassist).

    Anyway, this was the Mar-Keys' big hit, "Last Night."
    Not much camera time for the guitarist and bassist in this video but you can make 'em out to the right.