And Still More Again...

Equally significantly, the Basement sessions required a different approach to making music. It wasn't a case of cranking it all the way up to eleven. No more Freight train roar. When the album emerged it set a genuine cat loose among the pigeons, and that's where the album's real significance lies, at least as far as Hughesy is concerned.

For a start, there was a shift of focus towards individual songs that signalled a new direction for people like Eric Clapton, who was looking for a way to extricate himself from the Jack Bruce vs Ginger Baker ego wars and the endless soloing that had become part and parcel of the Cream experience. 

You can arguably see the influence of Big Pink in relative absence of extended guitar solos in the not-quite-delivering supergroup Blind Faith, then in the playing a bit of guitar behind Delaney and Bonnie gig that developed into the Delaney-produced first solo album and then provided the other players comprising the core of Derek & The Dominos. They needed Duane Allman to add the extra element to Layla, but it was the Big Pink factor that largely pointed Clapton in that direction.

You can hear further manifestations of that Big Pink factor in all sorts of other areas. The Richard Manuel/Garth Hudson piano/organ combination was replicated in, among others, Procol Harum, Spooky Tooth and Mott the Hoople, and there's a definite Band/Big Pink vibe through the early Elton John albums, maybe not quite a replica, but definitely coming out of an adjacent post code. 

The focus on songs rather than albums also played its part in the emergence of the singer/songwriters in the early seventies, but, more significantly as far as Hughesy was concerned, the most significant manifestations of the Big Pink factor involved Richard Thompson, Fairport Convention and Los Lobos. That may seem like an odd combination, but here's how it panned out.

In the wake of the crash that killed Fairport drummer Martin Lamble and Thompson's girlfriend and left the survivors with significant mental and physical scars, they made a conscious decision that they wouldn't play the old repertoire when they returned to the stage, which meant that they were in urgent need of new material. 


B© Ian Hughes 2012