Music Routes Blog

Carole King to Big Audio Dynamite (SMLP #12: Special Flea-less Edition)

21 November 2009

I was excited to do a little Internet research to find out what the role of Flea was on the Big Audio Dynamite record No. 10, Upping St. Alas, it turns out that the Flea involved in the B.A.D. record is not the Flea who is a member of Red Hot Chili Peppers and has recorded with Alanis Morissette, the Mars Volta, Jewel, Mike Watt, Tricky, and others. Instead, it is Adam "Flea" Newman, about whom much less material is available.  For one thing, I have not been able to find out what the liner notes mean by crediting him with "Dynamite".  Did he play an instrument?  Produce?  Provide spiritual guidance?

The other record selected for today's listening party, Music by Carole King, has some crediting ambiguities too.  It lists five names as playing in the "flute quartet" on "It's Going To Take Some Time".  I'd love to know what the deal is with that.

Our route starts with "Back To California", the closing track on the Carole King record. It is the grand finale in the context of the record, featuring a larger ensemble and more rock-oriented playing than other tracks.  As such, it features two drummers.  Joel O'Brien, who plays all the other drum tracks on the record, is on this one along with soft-rock studio drumming stalwart Russ Kunkel.

Kunkel appeared in SMLP #10 where he connected Art Garfunkel to Bob Seger.  Here, he connects Carole King to Stevie Nicks via the title track from the first Nicks solo album Bella Donna.

The organ on "Bella Donna" is performed by Benmont Tench.  Tench has impressive studio credits and is also the keyboardist for Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.  Tench backed up Joe Strummer for a track Strummer recorded for Chef Aid: The South Park Album.

Note that Flea from Red Hot Chili Peppers is on this track.  So, if it had been that Flea that was on the Big Audio Dynamite album, we could go right there. 

Since it's not the same Flea, we'll have to go from Joe Strummer to the Clash first so we can go from there to Mick Jones in Big Audio Dynamite.

We'll use "The Card Cheat" from London Calling. (Anyone know who's in the horn section?)

From there, Mick Jones gets us to "V. Thirteen" by Big Audio Dynamite. Incidentally, Joe Strummer and Mick Jones produced No. 10, Upping St.

My pick for best track in the route: This is another route with a lot of oranges-to-apples comparisons to be made. I'll go with "The Card Cheat".