During an interview with Bill Lloyd, veteran session bassist Bob Moore speaks about his career and his contributions to such standards as Patsy Cline’s “I Fall to Pieces,” Brenda Lee’s “I’m Sorry,” Loretta Lynn’s “Coal Miner’s Daughter,” Roger Miller’s “King of the Road,” Elvis Presley’s “Are You Lonesome Tonight?” Marty Robbins’s “El Paso,” Kenny Rogers’s “The Gambler,” and Conway Twitty’s “Hello Darlin’,” among countless other hits. Part of the Museum’s “Nashville Cats” series, the program was recorded on February 17, 2007.
Moore played on more country recording sessions than any other bass player in history—by some estimates more than 17,000 sessions. His heyday came in the 1950s through the 1970s, when he was the first-call bassist as part of Music Row’s legendary A-team session musicians.
This tribute includes several video clips spanning his career, from an early shot of Moore backing Red Foley on the “Ozark Jubilee” TV show in the fifties, to an “Austin City Limits” taping of Moore and drummer Buddy Harman playing rock & roll with Jerry Lee Lewis in 1981.
As interviewer Bill Lloyd explains, Moore was one of the musicians who “legitimized the bass” as a country music instrument; his work demanded that the instrument be taken more seriously, and the bassist no longer was relegated to the role of comic foil within country touring bands.
Moore credits producer Owen Bradley for teaching him more about music and recording, opening his mind up “to the inside of the chords,” and to seeing music as more than melody and rhythm. “It was a real musical education,” the bassist says.
Bob Moore not only became Bradley’s preferred bassist, but soon drew work from other producers, including Chet Atkins and Don Law. Bradley eventually persuaded Moore to give his sessions first priority, and in turn Moore worked on nearly every Decca recording session for years and years.
In the 1950s, Moore also began playing on Nashville recordings that represented some of what would become known as rockabilly. He became a favorite session player of Elvis Presley, even touring as a member of the King’s band. Other samples of Moore’s rock work are played during the program, including songs by Johnny Burnette and the Rock & Roll Trio, Brenda Lee, Bobby Helms, and Wanda Jackson.
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