By Thomas Semioli
Two of the era’s seminal six-string slingers, Tommy Bolin and Peter Frampton, called upon Stanley Sheldon to anchor their respective ensembles and watershed slabs.
A native of Ottawa, Kansas – Sheldon’s approach to the instrument draws from a wide array of influences including rhythm & blues, soul, and jazz fusion. Stanley’s grooves and harmonic support fortified his bandleaders’ artistry on record and on stage.
Stanley and Tommy on “People People” https://youtu.be/t01RnTvzlGI
Dig Stanley’s upper register fills on “Homeward Strut” https://youtu.be/QNHGEKKE9As
Dig Stanley and Tommy on a track they co-wrote “The Grind” https://youtu.be/CgdMX8rcxLs
Sheldon, drummer John Siomos, and keyboardist Bob Mayo brought out the best in Peter Frampton on one of the greatest live collections committed to vinyl, 8-Track, cassette, and streaming: Frampton Comes Alive (1976).
Along with Kenny Passarelli (who recommended Stanley for the Frampton gig), Boz Burrell, Rick Danko, and Bill Wyman – Stanley Sheldon was among the first bassists to utilize a fretless (Fender Precision) in a pop rock context.
On Peter’s immortal twofer, Sheldon works the lower-register pocket with a punchy soulful feel which complimented Frampton’s extended improvisations. Most players would have slid all over the neck given the instrument’s tendency to “encourage” gilssandos and harmonics – however Sheldon grooved with space aplenty, which is why those recordings still sound fresh nearly a half-century later.
Dig Tony Senatore with his “Sheldon fretless P Bass” rendering a few of Stanley’s signature Frampton passages:
“Do You Feel Like We Do” https://youtu.be/nxW_DshFEwg
“I’ll Give You Money” https://youtu.be/guBps-ftmPk
“It’s A Plain Shame” https://youtu.be/n_2xnt5YwZ0
“Something’s Happening” https://youtu.be/RIYofxOb5o8
“Doobie Wah” https://youtu.be/6wzD4zgL2tU
Says Stanley of Peter “What can I say about Peter that has not already been said? He was, and, continues to be one of the greatest inspirational figures in the world of music… to his countless fans in general… and to me in particular. We were both born in 1950, but on different sides of the Atlantic Ocean. I truly believe Peter and I came into this world as synchronistic musical soulmates… destined to play together from the beginning.” – Courtesy www.StanleySheldon.Com
An educator, devoted student of Latin American studies and world music, among other endeavors, Sheldon also cut records and/or toured with Lou Gramm, Ronin (with Waddy Wachtel, Rick Marotta, Dan Dugmore), Delbert McClinton, and Warren Zevon to cite a few – and continued to work with Frampton well into the 21st Century.
Be sure to check out www.StanleySheldon.Com – his Diaries are a fascinating glimpse into his career and artistry.