Whether you know it or not, Donald "Duck" Dunn's sleazy (in a good way) bass lines have reverberated through your body at some point in your life. Known more as a "filler" bassist than a conventional rhythm man, Dunn's plucks were an integral part of the session sound of Stax Records' '60s and '70s sound.
Along with fellow session men Al Jackson Jr., Booker T. Jones, and childhood pal Steve Cropper, Dunn was part of the legendary stable of Stax men that became the world-famous and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame recognized (1992) Booker T. & the MG's. While he wasn't onboard for the recording of their classic Green Onions album, it was his bass that propelled the compositions and covers since he joined in 1964.
If nothing of this rings a bell, maybe his participation in 1980's The Blues Brothers film starring Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi will, as the bass player with the dynamite one-liner quote: "We had a band powerful enough to turn goat piss into gasoline!"
Born on November 24, 1941, in Memphis, Tennessee, Donald Dunn got his cleverly obvious nickname from his father, who made the connection by watching Disney cartoons with him. Even if it hadn't risen so early, the moniker would've eventually stuck, given Dunn's boyish/prankster looks and his penchant for white-man afros and the casual glint of the wild-eye traits that can be likened to the cartoon duck's sang-froid.
Dunn would reprise his Blues Brothers' role in the 1998 sequel but had been in a state of semi-retirement since the early 2000s, save for occasional gigs with his surviving band mates (Al Jackson Jr. was murdered in Memphis in 1975).
Dunn had recently undertaken a tour with old pal Cropper and died of apparent natural causes in his sleep the night after performing at the Blue Note nightclub in Tokyo, Japan, this past Sunday. He was 70 years old.
Hip Hug Her
One of our favorites rolled with the opening and closing credits of Charles Bukowski's film Barfly. This sexy track makes us want to drink and bone, and not necessarily in that order.
Another sexy track, where slow is king and the rhythm guides.
Red Beans and Rice
Here's another rolling tune, a classic synergy for MG tracks to make you want to dance and eat at the same time. Damn these guys make me hungry!
Already cemented into the consciousness of music forever, this will guarantee his continued life through the magic of another medium: film.
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