Carl Radle (Eric Clapton, Joe Cocker, Leon Russell)
By Thomas Semioli
Carl Dean Radle’s bass motifs as waxed during his decade long tenure with Eric Clapton – including Derek & The Dominos, were soooooo essential that if you were to play any of these compositions without rendering his lines verbatim – or damn near close – the song sounds wrong!
Witness Nathan East, Dave Bronze, and Willie Weeks, three first-call bassists who have followed Radle in Slowhand’s ensembles over the years follow suite.
From the late 1960s until his untimely passing in 1980 bassist Carl Radle was seemingly everywhere. A melodic / pocket master with a foundation steeped in rhythm & blues, Carl was a central figure in Leon Russell’s famed Oklahoma posse which also featured the drummer Jamie Oldaker, keyboardist Dick Sims, and guitarist George Terry.
Radle’s jaw-dropping resume of record and live credits spans Gary Lewis & The Playboys, Delaney & Bonnie, Derek & the Dominoes, Eric Clapton, George Harrison, The Concert for Bangladesh (with Klaus Voorman), Dr. John, Leon Russell, Dave Mason, Joe Cocker, J.J. Cale, Buddy Guy, Rita Coolidge, John Lee Hooker, King Curtis, Bobby Whitlock, Art Garfunkel, Donovan, and Bob Dylan, to cite a very select few.
Carl’s weapons of choice included a ’65 sunburst Fender Precision with a blocked and bound neck, ’68 blonde Fender Telecaster bass with a single coil Telecaster pickup and a split-coil Precision pickup, MusicMan Stingray, and a ’75 Alembic.