Thursday, May 05, 2016

Letters...We Get Letters...

Okay -- the backstory.

In 2014, when the world and this blog were young, I did a post with the original instrumental backing track for Dylan's "Like a Rolling Stone" and prefaced it with this throwaway comment.

In case you've forgotten, the personnel on this is Bob (rhythm guitar and harmonica), Mike Bloomfield (lead guitar), Paul Griffin (piano), Al Kooper (Hammond B-3), Joe Macho Jr. (bass guitar) and Bobby Gregg (drums). Tom Wilson was the producer...Two things come immediately to mind at this point. First of all -- who the fuck was Joe Macho Jr.?

And, given that I have no work ethic, I never bothered to research the aforementioned Joe Macho Jr. and basically forgot about the post entirely.

Until the other day, when I received the following quite wonderful e-mail.

Hi, I just read something you wrote two years ago about the Dylan Like A Rolling Stone sessions and regarding Joseph Macho, Jr. - he was more commonly known by his professional name, Joe Mack. Macho, pronounced "Mah-koe" is actually a Hungarian name. He was my father and was a very busy studio bassist from the early 60's through the 70's and played on numerous hit records including "Sounds Of Silence," "Bad Bad Leroy Brown," "Walk Away Renee," "Abraham, Martin And John," "Sugar, Sugar," "Let's Twist Again" and many more. There is a brief biography about him on the All Music website. His work for Dylan includes all the electric tracks on "Bringing It All Back Home" and the single, "Like A Rolling Stone." Greil Marcus in his book, "Like A Rolling Stone: Dylan At The Crossroads," presents a detailed account of these seminal sessions. My dad died in 1977 at the age of 56. So without trying to be overly snarky, that's who the fuck Joe Macho is. -- Stephanie Mack

To which I can only reply -- a) Mea culpa and b) your dad played bass on "Walk Away Renee?" I'm completely not worthy; you have every right to be super proud of his accomplishments.

You can find out more about Stephanie's dad -- who clearly deserves to be way better known -- over at the aforementioned All-Music Guide entry HERE.

And because I love you all more than food, I'm re-posting the original backing track that set all of the above in motion.

And in conclusion, let me simply add -- Joe Macho Lives!!!


Mark said...

Now THAT'S some story, thanks to Stephanie Mack.

Anonymous said...

Hello, please remain seated,

That's a delightful post! Super props to Mr. Joseph Macho Jr. and thanks to Ms. Mack for getting in touch with you.


Anonymous said...

Who's playing the tambourine on that track?

Blue Ash Fan said...

I'm with you, Steve. When I saw "Walk Away Renee" on that list, my first thought was, "Damn!"

Shame the guy only made it to 56.

Ken J Xenozar said...

I echo you AND Blue Ash Fan. Your dad played bass on "Walk Away Renee?" Nice... Guess we have consensus that Renee is a beautiful track. And yes, let's hear it for all musicians who have toiled and made great music and never felt the bright spotlight. I have respect for anyone who has the talent and dedication to follow that road.

But please Mr. Simels, do not let this tamp down your snark. We also love that.

Marc Platt said...

Great stuff. The Al Kooper part of the equation is the best. The guy refused to leave the organ even though Tom Wilson kept trying to dump his ass of the session...LOL

steves said...

What a wonderful post. And thanks to Ms. Mack for setting the record straight. Kudos to both you and your dad, who should be far better known than he is.

Anonymous said...

I bet what's her name knew him and has a funny anecdote about him to relate.

Anonymous said...

"Walk Away Renee" is certainly a great track. But give "Abraham, Martin & John" another listen. There is a tremendous walking bass part in that recording. Nice to know now it's Joe Macho.

Anonymous said...

Joe Macho played on some of the tunes on the Left Banke's debut record. But neither "Walk Away Renee" nor "Pretty Ballerina." John Abbott is the bassist. I adore "Pretty Ballerina".

VR - just close your eyes, yeah, just close your eyes and she'll be there

steve simels said...

According to Bruce Eder at All-Music, Mr. Mack played on those tracks. I suspect John Abbott was a nom du disque, if you know what I mean. Probably some kind of union thing.

Anonymous said...

Methinks Bruce Eder made a mistake.

VR - trust me steve. the guy's not infallible.

Anonymous said...


Pretty Ballerina
Arranged By – John Abbott
Bass – John Abbott
Cello – Seymour Barab
Drums – Buddy Saltzman
Engineer – Steve Jerome
Lead Vocals – Steve Martin-Caro
Oboe – George Marge
Piano – Michael Brown
Producer – Bill Jerome, Harry Lookofsky, Steve Jerome
Violin – Harry Lookofsky
Written-By – M. Brown

Walk Away Renee
Arranged By – John Abbott
Backing Vocals [Harmony] – George Cameron, Tom Finn
Bass – John Abbott
Drums – Al Rogers
Engineer – Steve Jerome
Guitar – George "Fluffer" Hirsh
Harpsichord – Michael Brown
Lead Vocals – Steve Martin-Caro
Producer – Bill Jerome, Harry Lookofsky, Steve Jerome
Strings – Harry Lookofsky
Written-By – B. Calilli, M. Brown, T. Sansone

Joe Macho (aka Joe Mack) played on 4 songs but not the hits.

cheers mothers,

VR - Anyone know George "Fluffer" Hirsh?