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The Sidemen


Dirk
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Paul Franklin. Whenever I hear guitar on a song I love, I look it up and its usually Paul Franklin. I wrote this once about Paul Franklin for a country music site. 

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My favourite song full stop is Were You There When They Crucified My Lord by Johnny Cash. It’s untouchable, it’s perfection in every way whatsoever. About 20 seconds into the song the late Anita Carters voice comes in and it could make you weep. Trust me, literally. Go on YouTube and listen to it, nothing better. For ten years, I thought that voice was June Carter, I just assumed it was. When I found out it was Anita I felt a little foolish but from then on in I made sure that if I heard something I liked on a song I went out of my way to find out who was responsible.

 

Paul Franklin is one such person. Paul who? Now to some Paul Franklin is a legend, to some he is that guy who played on Bakersfield and to some there isn’t even a flicker of recognition. You know Paul Franklin, you just don’t know you know Paul Franklin. Franklin is a guitar and dobro player of some renown. His steel guitar playing has graced albums from the likes of Miranda Lambert to Alan Jackson, George Strait to Dire Straits, Willie Nelson, Aaron Watson and Craig Campbell. Paul Franklin doesn’t have a CV as long as your arm, he has a CV as long as Mr Tickles arms. To look at it you would say, alright Paul, you are showing off now. Stop it, retire or something.

 

I recall the first time I heard Paul Franklin, like Anita Carter, I didn’t know I was hearing Paul Franklin, I didn’t even care I was hearing Paul Franklin. In 1987 I heard Alan Jackson’s Here In The Real World, if you are reading this site I hope that you are familiar with the track, if not, stop Johnny Cash on YouTube and listen to it. Cash is my all-time favourite tune, this is a close second. The main instrument is a fiddle, Alan thankfully loves that nick-nick-ner fiddle sound. But at the start of the first chorus there is this beautiful mournful sound of steel guitar. This song is definitely a sum of its parts, Alan’s voice, the great lyrics, Rob Hajacos’ fiddle and Paul Franklins steel guitar. When that guitar swoops in, for me at least I can’t help but smile, even with the song being, at its core a sad tune. Sublime.

 

Here In The Real World was one of the first tunes that made me look up musicians credits, and Paul Franklin meant nothing to me then. A Detroit native, a city grounded in working class rock, garage rock at that. A city that has given birth to The Stooges, The MC5 and in recent times, The Detroit Cobras. For a dobro player there really was no apparent option other than to move south to Nashville. Franklin carved out a name for himself not only in that city, but internationally. Mark Knofler and Elton John, two names from outside of country music have employed his services.

 

Franklin became more prominent as a member of The Time Jumpers, a hobby band made up of musicians and session men and women from country music. Western Swing broadly, but they throw in a little bluegrass and out and out country. His guitar features on their self-titled 2012 album. None more so than on Three Sides To Every Story, paired with Vince Gills impressive vocals, it hints at the collaboration that would follow in 2013. Bakersfield. Three Sides To Every Story, a Vince Gill original and an artist I have limited experience of, but on this track he makes me want to investigate more. I didn’t, I investigated Paul Franklin more, in your face Gill.

 

The Time Jumpers, and indeed Paul Franklin, popped up on my radar again when they backed, arguably, the current queen of country, Miranda Lambert, on All That’s Left from her gold selling album, Platinum. A cover of a Tom T Hall track and a display of the diversity of Miranda Lambert in you have a Texas flavoured Western Swing track happily beside more contemporary sounding tracks. A real testament to her and to Paul Franklins guitar in that it lifts an already excellent track to new heights.

 

A longstanding relationship Paul Franklin has had appears to be with Toby Keith. Appearing on numerous albums by Toby, up until 2011’s Clancy’s Tavern and I hope that relationship is rekindled on Toby’s new album due soon, 35mph Town. However Pauls guitar can be heard on the standout title track on Clancy’s Tavern, a short burst towards the end of the track and it’s a beautiful burst at that. I couldn’t imagine any other instrument bringing that feeling, that tone, that sadness. Or any musician for that matter.

 

Paul Franklin has been taking it easy this year, thus far he has only appeared on three albums, admittedly one was with legends Asleep At The Wheel, one was on the Oscar nominated I’ll Be Me Soundtrack and the other was on Aaron Watsons number one album, The Underdog. It is also only March. Paul Franklin, like James Burton, Larry Londin and other session men and women, if not responsible for some of the greatest songs in country, certainly contribute great parts to great songs, from the guitar in Mama Tried to Charlie McCoy’s harmonica on Orange Blossom Special. Sometimes it isn’t the words, or the tune, it can be those moments that people like Paul Franklin give us.

 

 

 

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My favourite song full stop is Were You There When They Crucified My Lord by Johnny Cash. It’s untouchable, it’s perfection in every way whatsoever. About 20 seconds into the song the late Anita Carters voice comes in and it could make you weep.

@Seat68 it is superb, I was listening to Cash's 'Another Man Done Gone' yesterday, not a patch on your call, but in a sort of similar stylee. 

Way back I liked a band that did a cover of Another Man, they were strictly a laptop and a session singer on stage kind of band but it made me google up the song and from there I sort of rediscovered Johnny Cash a few years ago. Funny old world, two middle aged office workers with a laptop and a disco ball lead me to Johnny Cash.

Turned out later, whilst they stood on stage and pressed play, they'd actually played and recorded all the 'real' instruments, layered them massively one on another on another on another to make it utterly synthetic, and then pressed play. Waste of talent, but they didn't want to risk the income from the day jobs I guess.

 

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6 minutes ago, sharkyvilla said:

I've said this before but there's nothing sexier than a woman on drums, even if she's not really a looker.  Just something about the way they move.

I had to google the Sidemen to see what i was missing.

@sharkyvilla

Sir, Sarah Jones of New Young Pony Club / Bat for Lashes / Hot Chip...

 

 

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23 minutes ago, dAVe80 said:

You should start that thread! I vote for James Jamerson.

We could just continue hijacking this one, as none of us have a clue what the sidemen in the opening post are.  Anyway my favourite female drummer is Leah Shapiro

 

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32 minutes ago, sharkyvilla said:

I've said this before but there's nothing sexier than a woman on drums, even if she's not really a looker.  Just something about the way they move.

Meytal Cohen :wub:

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14 hours ago, Dirk said:

Who is your favourite sideman? Simon, Ethan, JJ, Josh, Harry (he he), Tobi or Vikk? A forum for all things sidemen related.

From back in the day, Ray Wilkins was my favourite sideman. Sideman, in that he tended to pass sideways aka the crab.

Villa have had a few crabs in recent years but not me, not since an encounter with a Mancunian lass in 1999 in fact. How was i to know?

I hope this unwanted detail adds to the knowledge for all of these Sidemen.

Banter aside:

@Dirk  You're clearly a young'un so fair play, you're the VT youth team. I take it these are some talented kids into football and trickshots and skills. Could be worse things to watch on Youtube...

 

edit... worse things like our match highlights from this season, last season.... <insert season here>...

Edited by Midfielder
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