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SLIFF: 'Wrecking Crew'

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: November 17, 2008 - If you love the rock music of the 1960s, particularly the mellow sounds that emerged from Southern California, you should enjoy "The Wrecking Crew."

It is the story of a group of 15 or 20 Los Angeles musicians who were known collectively as the Wrecking Crew and who were in the studio for recordings by dozens of artists from the Beach Boys to Sam Cooke, from the Mamas and Papas to Nancy Sinatra. Some of the highly versatile musicians even played on sessions by Nancy's father, Frank.

The documentary was assembled from home movies and interviews conducted over many years by filmmaker Danny Tedesco, whose father, skilled session guitarist Tommy Tedesco, was a mainstay of the Wrecking Crew. Probably the most interesting character is Carol Kaye, a fine bass guitarist who was "just one of the boys" at a time when there were few female instrumentalists in rock music. The documentary has some funny moments - as when the musicians discuss bands like the Monkees who became famous before they could play their instruments, and had to depend on the Wrecking Crew for their recording sessions. The film is also a touching portrait by a son of his father.

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