07/11/07 - Donald "Duck" Dunn

Tutelage Led By Vinny "Bond" Marini Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Do you know what the following albums have in common?
(OK, this is a long list...but it illustrates our point).

Albert King (Born under a bad sign, 1967)
Albert King (Blues for Elvis, 1968)
Albert King (King of the Blues Guitar, 1969)
Albert King (Lovejoy, 1971)
Albert King (The pinch, 1977)
Albert King (The Blues Don't Change, 1996)

Albert King (Born Under a Bad Sign, 2002)
Bill Withers (Just as I Am, 1971)
Billy Swan (Your OK, I'm OK, 1978)
Blues Brothers (Briefcase Full of Blues, 1978)
Blues Brothers (Made In America, 1980)
Bob Dylan (Shot of love, 1981)
Bob Dylan (Bob Dylan 30th Anniversary Concert, 1993)
Booker T & The MGs (Sould Dressing, 1965)
Booker T & The MGs (And Now... Booker T & The MGs, 1966)
Booker T & The MGs (In the Christmas Spirit, 1966)
Booker T & The MGs (Hip Hug-Her, 1967)
Booker T & The MGs (Doin' Our Thing, 1968)
Booker T & The MGs (Soul Limbo, 1968)
Booker T & The MGs (Uptight, 1968)
Booker T & The MGs (Mclemore Avenue, 1970)
Booker T & The MGs (Melting Pot, 1971)
Booker T & The MGs (And Now... Booker T & The MGs, 1992)
Booker T & The MGs (That's the Way It Should Be, 1994)
Booker T & The MGs (Time Is Tight, 1998)
Booker T & The MGs (Soul Men, 2003)
Bruce Roberts (Bruce Roberts, 1978)
Carla Thomas (Love Means Carla Thomas/Memphis Queen, 1997)
Carol Grimes (Carol Grimes, 1976)
Chris Hillman (Slippin' Away, 1976)
Crosby Stills Nash & Young (Looking Forward, 1999)
David Porter (Victim of the Joke?: An Opera, 1971)
Delaney & Bonnie (Home, 1969)
Diana Ross (Baby it's me, 1977)
Don Covay (Mercy, Mercy/Seesaw, 2000)
Don Nix (Living by the Days, 1971)
Doug Clifford (Cosmo, 1972)
Duane Allman (Anthology vol. 2, 1974)
Eddie Floyd (Knock on wood, 1967)
Eddie Floyd (Rare Stamps, 1969)
Eddie Floyd (Soul Street, 1974)
Elvis Presley (Raised On Rock/For Ol' Times Sake, 1973)
Eric Clapton (Behind the sun, 1985)
Eric Clapton (Crossroads, 1988)
Eric Clapton (Money & Cigarettes, 2000)
Eric Clapton (Money and Cigarettes, 1983)
Eric Clapton (Unplugged/Clapton Chronicles, 2001)
Freddie King (Getting Ready, 1971)
Freddie King (Texas Cannonball, 1972)
Freddie King (Getting Ready, 1996)
Freddie King (Texas Cannonball, 2002)
Guitar Showdown at the Dusk 'Til Dawn Blues Festival, 1966)
Herbie Mann (Push Push, 1971)
Isaac Hayes (Presenting Isaac Hayes, 1968)
Jesse Ed Davis (Ululu, 1972)
Jimmy Buffett (Hot Water, 1988)
Joan Baez (Blowing away, 1977)
Joan Baez (Gulf winds, 1976)
John Fogerty (Blue Moon Swamp, 1997)
John Fogerty (Blue Moon Swamp, 2004)
John Prine (Common Sense, 1975)
John Prine (Prime Prine, 1976)
Johnnie Taylor (Who's Making Love, 1968)
Johnnie Taylor (Who's Making Love, 1991)
Keith Christmas (Stories from the Human Zoo, 1976)
Leo Sayer (Here, 1979)
Leon Russell (Best Of Leon Russell, 1976)
Leon Russell (Will o' The Wisp, 1975)
Levon Helm (Levon Helm & The RCO All Stars, 1977)
Manhattan Transfer (Pastiche, 1976)
Mar-Keys (Great Memphis Sound, 1966)
Mavis Staples (Mavis Staples, 1969)
Mavis Staples (Only for the Lonely, 2002)
Mel & Tim (Starting All Over Again, 1972)
MGs (The MGs, 1973)
Mickey Thomas (As Long As You Love Me, 1976)
Mickey Thomas (As long as you love me, 1977)
Mitch Ryder (The Detroit Memphis Experiment, 1969)
Muddy Waters (Fathers and sons, 1969)
Muddy Waters (Muddy & The Wolf, 1974)
Muddy Waters (Goodbye Newport Blues, 1995)
Neil Young (Road Rock Vol 1: Friends & Relatives, 2000)
Neil Young (Are You Passionate?, 2002)
Otis Redding (Pain in my heart, 1964)
Otis Redding (Great Otis Redding Sings Soul Ballads, 1965)
Otis Redding (Otis blue, 1966)
Otis Redding (Soul Album, 1966)
Otis Redding (Live in Europe, 1967)
Otis Redding & Carla Thomas (King & Queen, 1967)
Otis Redding (Immortal Otis Redding, 1968)
Otis Redding (Dock of the Bay, 1968)
Otis Redding (Love Man, 1969)
Otis Redding (Tell the Truth, 1970)
Peter Frampton (Where I should be, 1979)
Rance Allen (Straight From the Heart, 1972)
Rance Allen (Soulful Experience, 1975)
Richie Havens (End of the Beginning, 1976)
Rita Coolidge (Rita Coolidge, 1971)
Rod Stewart (Atlantic crossing, 1975)
Rod Stewart (A Night on the Town, 1976)
Ronnie Hawkins (The Hawk, 1971)
Roy Buchanan (Loading zone, 1977)
Roy Buchanan (Guitar on Fire, 1993)
Ruby Johnson (I'll Run Your Heart Away, 1993)
Rufus Thomas (Can't Get Away From This Dog, 1992)
Sam & Dave (Back at 'Cha!, 1976)
Shirley Brown (Woman to Woman, 1974)
Shirley Brown (Shirley Brown, 1977)
Soundtrack (Roadhouse, 1989)
Soundtrack (The Great Outdoors, 1988)
Soundtrack (Vampires, 1998)
Steve Cropper (Playing my Thang, 1980)
Stevie Nicks (Bella Donna, 1981)
The Blues Brothers (Blues Brothers & Friends: Live from House of Blues, 1997)
The Emotions (Sunshine, 1978)
The Mar-Keys/Booker T & The MGs (Back to Back, 1967)
The Original Soul Christmas (1994)
The Soul Children (Genesis/Friction, 1999)
The Soul Children (Soul Children/Best Of Two Worlds, 1995)
The Staples Singers (Soul Folk in Action, 1968)
The Staple Singers (This Time Around, 1981)
Tinsley Ellis (Fire it up, 1997)
Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers (Damn The Torpedos, 1979)
Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers (Hard promises, 1981)
Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers (Playback, 1995)
Tony Joe White (Lake Placid Blues, 1995)
Various Artists (Atlantic Blues, 1986)
Various Artists (Monterrey International Pop Festival, 1967)
Various Artists (Soul Christmas, 1968)
William Bell (Soul of a Bell, 1967)
William Bell (Little Something Extra, 1992)
William Bell (Bound to Happen, 1997)
Willie Dixon (The Chess Box, 1990)
Wilson Pickett (In the midnight hour, 1965)
Wilson Pickett (Exciting Wilson Pickett, 1966)


What the above represents is the discography of one Mr. Donald "Duck" Dunn. Every one of those albums carry a credit line for Mr. Dunn on one or more songs.

Go on, go back and scroll through them again. We will wait...

Mr. Dunn was born in 1941 in a place called Memphis, Tennessee. Dunn's dad was a candy-maker and was of the opinion that going into the music business meant doing drugs and dying young.

Mr. Dunn picked up a ukulele when he was around 10, but began playing the bass guitar at the age of 16. As Mr. Dunn explains it on his web site, "There were so many good guitarists another one wasn't needed. What was needed was a bass." He did grow up with Steve Crooper, a great R&B/Soul guitarist

Mr. Dunn taught himself to play by listening to records and always felt he would be good at the bass guitar.

His dad gave him his nickname early in life one day as they watched a Donald Duck cartoon together. Even some of Mr. Dunn's teachers called him Duck!

He and Cropper formed their first band, "The Royal Spades", playing Jerry Lee, Bo Diddley and Chuck Berry covers. They were one of the first white bands to play Soul and Rhythm and Blues in the Memphis area.

The band morphed into the Mar-Kays and had a hit "Last Night" before Crooper left to be a session guitarist at the great Stax Label.

A short time later Mr. Dunn, at Cooper's urging joined the house band at Stax. This group of musicians performed live as a little band called "Booker T. and the MGs"

On his blog, Mr. Dunn speaks of the bass guitars he has owned in a reverential way, he still owns the first Fender Bass he bought in 1958.

In 1967, Mr. Dunn traveled with Otis Redding to England for a series of concerts, and was taken back by the great reaction the bands received there. Prior to his going on tour the group at Stax would try and achieve the sound that was coming from Motown. Over time, he and many others, including myself, believe it certainly does.

Remember, during this time, in the Memphis area you had Stax and Sun Records both cranking out hits along with Motown out of Detroit. All three had incredible house bands. As the bands became so comfortable playing together they each created a "sound" special to their label.

Famous riffs and song rhythms were born out of jam sessions and allowing songs to flow at the end, people taking a chance or changing a rhythm and letting something new evolve.

mr. Dunn was a part of the legendary recording session for Jerry Lee Lewis' album, "Southern Roots" in 1974. The four day session ran rampant with drugs and alcohol and people passing out on the studio floor. Through it all, Mr. Dunn says that "When A Man Loves A Woman" was done in one take and calls Lewis, "...outrageous, but I think he is the best rock and roller that ever lived."

The MGs continued to put out music with some hits through the 70's until Booker left Memphis. He had decided to move to California. Steve Jackson and Mr. Dunn worked to keep the MGs together, but it was not to be. Jackson was killed by an intruder to his home in 1975.

In 1980, Mr. Dunn, along with Crooper were asked to appear in "The Blues Brothers Movie"

Mr. Dunn has a few lines in the movie, but the most memorable one is in the scene where Jake and Elwood are trying to convince the band (now playing as "Murph and the Magic Tones"), to reform as the Blues Brothers. After Jake tells them they were the backbone of a great rock and roll band, Mr. Dunn's line comes...

"Jake ain't lying though.
We had a band powerful enough to turn goat piss into gasoline."

Mr. Dunn is third from left.

Mr. Dunn has continued playing with Booker T. and the MGs since they began doing shows again in 1977, as well as playing in the Blues Brothers Rock and Roll Revue, while continuing to work on albums for other artists.

In 2007 Mr. Dunn and Booker T. & the MGs members Lewie Steinberg, Booker T. Jones, Steve Cropper, and wife of deceased member Al Jackson - Barbara, were awarded a Lifetime Achievement Grammy during a Special Merit Awards Ceremony in Los Angeles.

Mr. Dunn is also an inductee in the "Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame", along with his Booker T. and the MGs band mates, having been inducted in 1992.

Now you know...