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October 2014

WHEN SESSIONS REIGNED SUPREME: THE PLAYERS, STUDIOS FROM L.A.’S GOLDEN AGE

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Original Article: MIX ONLINE Author: Robyn Flans

The Record Plant in Los Angeles was the place to be on Sunday nights in 1973, when owner Gary Kellgren convinced drummer Jim Keltner to host a weekly jam session called the Jim Keltner Fan Club Hour—despite Keltner’s distaste for “jamming,” and for the moniker.

“I said, ‘The only thing I know and love is going in and learning a song and playing a song,’” Keltner recalls. “And Gary said, ‘Well, let’s just do that and call it whatever we want to call it.’”

So many huge artists played and recordings were made, though they never saw the light of day, except for one monumental evening Keltner recalls that was bootlegged for many years and finally released by Mick Jagger on the Very Best of Mick Jagger in 2007.

“One night John [Lennon] and May [Pang] were out for dinner with Richard Perry on a Sunday night,” Keltner recalls. “I didn’t think about inviting John because I didn’t think he would want to come down and do that, but Richard told him there were these jam sessions and John said, ‘What? He’s my buddy, let’s go down there.’”

That night Lennon showed up and produced “Too Many Cooks,” which Danny Kortchmar had brought in to the session. Jagger was on vocals, Harry Nilsson on backing vocals, and among the musicians were Kortchmar, Keltner, Jesse Ed Davis, Al Kooper and Jack Bruce. According to Keltner, Ringo was just hanging out that night.

Modest as Keltner is, artists came because of his reputation, even that early on, as the Los Angeles music scene was bursting at the seams in such recording studios as the Record Plant, Village Recorders, A&M, Conway, Dawnbreaker, Westlake, United Western, Sound City, Evergreen, Ocean Way, Capitol, Sound Factory, Sunset Sound, Paramount, Larrabee and many, many others. He was one of those musicians who remained at the core as a new wave of faces began to appear on the session scene.

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