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WRECKING CREW: 3 STARS. “unexplored part of our collective musical history.”

10985508_10155205021250293_8345219341434314844_nThe name Tommy Tedesco is likely unfamiliar to you, but if you have played air guitar sometime in the last fifty years, chances are you have mimed to at least one of his guitar licks.

Tedesco was one of the guitar players of an unofficial group of musicians known as the Wrecking Crew, the session band who played on records by everyone from the Byrds to Cher and Nancy and Frank Sinatra to the Beach Boys, the Monkees, and Captain and Tennille.

In “Wrecking Crew” Tedesco’s son, filmmaker Denny Tedesco, has brought together many of the anonymous west coast players who provided much of the back beat of the 1960s and 70s.

It’s a personal project for Denny who spends a great deal of time reminiscing about his dad. We learn about how his father became the most recorded guitar player in history, some personal and studio stories and there is even a clip of Tommy on “The Gong Show,” wearing a pink tutu singing his satirical song “Requiem For A Studio Guitar Player.” “I used to be number one / Did all the work in this town / In the Fifties I was something / In the Sixties I was king / Now the Seventies come around and I will do anything…” It’s a funny moment that really speaks to the big picture story of The Wrecking Crew. They were the kings and queens of the Los Angeles music scene, hitmakers who worked round the clock and became millionaires until the work dried up as the singer-songwriter phase of the 1970s took hold.

Tedesco doesn’t focus on the post 70s careers of the players. Light and breezy, “Wrecking Crew” is as frothy as the music it details but he does mine some interesting biographical details about musicians like Hal Blaine, the genius drummer who went from millionaire to security guitar to working musician again, Carol Kaye, the lone female member of the band and Earl Palmer, a jazz drummer who played with everyone from Count Basie to Little Richard.

“Wrecking Crew” is a heartfelt and interesting peak into an unexplored part of our collective musical history and it has a good beat and you can dance to it.

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