Monday, November 13, 2006

Hey, Mr. Tambourine Man!

Jack Ashford & The Sound of New Detroit - Do the Choo-Choo (Pt. 1)

Percussionist Jack Ashford was one of Motown's legendary Funk Brothers, and it's his tambourine that gave the classic Motown hits that churchy feel (he also played vibes and provided other percussion). In the documentary Standing in the Shadows of Motown Ashford relates how he came to be Motown's "tambourine man," and it's a good thing that he wore that mantle so well! After Motown moved to the West Coast in 1972 and the Funk Brothers parted ways, Ashford put out this 45 for Blaze, a subsidiary of Prodigal Records (which, in keeping things full-circle, was distributed at one point by Motown). It was commerically unsuccessful upon its release in 1975 (it was Blaze's first and only 45) and Ashford, like the rest of the Funk Brothers, remained an obscure figure until the documentary came along. "Do the Choo-Choo" is a nice piece of funky fluff, featuring good percussion work, as one would expect. Get on down with the tambourine man!

1 comment:

jabartlett said...

Jack Ashford's mighty tambourine on Martha and the Vandellas' "Nowhere to Run" is one of my favorite Motown moments, and enough to get him into the R&R Hall of Fame all by himself.