AXE HEAVEN® is extremely honored to release, with his family’s blessing, the Duck Dunn Original ’59 Fender™ Precision Bass™ Duck Bass Miniature Model.
The catalog of classic American popular music includes influences from different regions and lifestyles all across the nation, from the mountains of Appalachia to the beaches of Southern California to the streets and stages of Motown, New Orleans, Cleveland, Harlem, Greenwich Village, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Austin, Nashville, and every other musical nook and cranny in our sprawling country.
In the center of them all, both geographically (almost) and musically, is The Memphis Sound. And the bass backbone of that influential music, also known as Southern Soul, was Donald “Duck” Dunn. He played his Fender Precision Bass guitar on so many of the Stax Records hits and other classic cuts that have blared out of radios and sound systems everywhere since his first 1964 recordings were released.
According to the Donald “Duck” Dunn Wikipedia page, “Stax became known for Jackson’s drum sound, the sound of the Memphis Horns, and Dunn’s grooves. The MG’s and Dunn’s bass lines on songs like Otis Redding’s “Respect” and “I Can’t Turn You Loose”, Sam & Dave’s “Hold On, I’m Comin'”, and Albert King’s “Born Under a Bad Sign” influenced musicians everywhere.”
The fact that Duck Dunn not only played on dozens of tracks that are staples of our lives—of our collective culture as Americans—and he was a member of the Blues Brothers Band, and he was enshrined in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in just its seventh class of inductees in 1992, and he is ranked #15 of “The 50 Greatest Bassists of All Time”, forever marks him as a world-class musician for the ages.
But the fact that he also played on stage with Otis Redding at the historic Monterey Pop Festival during the Summer of Love—described as “The 20 Best Minutes of Pop Music Ever”—sums up his much deserved place in the annals of recorded music.
THE DUCK with OTIS REDDING
Duck Dunn is only shown a few times while Otis Redding sings “Try a Little Tenderness”, captured in D.A. Pennebaker’s noted short film about the 1967 event, but his bass lines run throughout the incredible performance below, which took place only six months before the singer’s tragic passing.
IMPACT ON THE NATION
And let’s not forget the impact Donald Dunn and the other young musicians in Booker T. & the M.G.’s also had on society at large. Being a member of one of the first nationally-popular integrated musical groups was a big step forward for the music industry—and the country. The members of the band, Booker T. Jones on organ, Steve Cropper on lead guitar, Al Jackson Jr. on drums, and Dunn, were also the house band at Stax. They played a significant role stitching new threads into the fabric of American society. A more soulful society.
A young Duck and his band mates may have only started out innocently jamming with friends and fellow local musicians in Memphis, because that’s what they did in their neighborhood, but they were true trailblazers because their neighborhood was distinctively different than most in the nation. Those guys literally and figuratively set the tone of the turbulent times in which they lived—culturally and musically.
Decades later, today’s popular music stands on the strong and steady shoulders of everyone involved with the origins of the open-minded Memphis musical environment, especially the trendsetters at Stax Records and its unprecedented house band. For that, we cannot thank them enough.
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