Monday, February 28, 2011


Boz was the late, great bassist for, among other musical acts, Bad Company. I pulled the band's first disc from my collection yesterday, something for the daily commute and it's a longtime favorite of mine. I wrote about it here way back when I was still doing Album of the Week posts ALBUM OF THE WEEK: BAD CO..

I was struck by the melodic and just plain groovin' bass playing by Boz on the song "READY FOR LOVE". If anyone besides me is familiar with this song, it has a lot of open spaces in it. Boz leaves many grooving spaces, but when he does let out with a riff climbing the scale, it fits so well.

Which is not only impressive from a performance viewpoint but from a technical ability level. Boz had only been playing bass for two to three years at most when Bad Company formed around late 1972 and then later recording their inaugural disc.

The story goes that when he joined King Crimson as a singer, and he had been a singer going back in the sixties, recording some later material as BOZ backed by Richie Blackmore and several other future Deep Purple members in the studio.

Some fallout happened and the bassist left the band, which had been regrouped by the sole remaining member Robert Fripp. Fripp talked Boz into adding the bass to his singing duties and taught Boz how to play. Various websites and say this was a stressful and frustrating endeavor, that is, learning the bass parts from Fripp. Whatever because it must have taught him a heck of a lot about bass playing in a short period of time.

I could see that. Fripp, although obviously technically masterful, was always either over my head or somehow not to my musical liking. I've had non-famous guitar playing friends who play similar to Fripp, and they could never explain their musical concepts so that anyone could really understand what they wanted to be played, so I could empathize.

Still, what doesn't kill you makes you stronger, and within just a couple of years after picking up and learning to play the bass, Boz is laying down some great original riffs and licks with Bad Company. That's not just luck, that's talent.

Boz is no longer with us, having passed in 2006 at the age of 60.

I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the bass I most associate with Boz, that being a mid-60's Ampeg AUB-1 fretless solid body bass with f-holes through the body and a simulated double bass scroll headstock. Long out of production, Eastwood guitars is making a very nice looking copy of the AUB-1 (fretless) and AEB-1 (fretted) basses, albeit without the heavy scroll headstock.

It's unfortunate I don't seem to have the sort of inate ability on bass that Boz had and other bassists who I think play well (like Klaus Voorman) who were rocking on bass as soon as they began playing it. Nonetheless, Mr. Burrell remains a great inspiration on the bass.

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