Bob Moore, architect of Nashville Sound, dies at 88

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NASHVILLE – Bob Moore, a 1950s and 1960s Nashville Sound architect who played bass on thousands of popular recordings, including Elvis Presley’s “Return to Sender” and Patsy Cline’s “Crazy”, died on September 22 in a hospital here. . He was 88 years old.

His death was confirmed by his wife, Kittra Bernstein Moore, who did not cite a cause.

As a mainstay of the loose aggregation of Nashville first-session pros known as the A-Team, Mr. Moore has performed on many country hits of his day, including Tammy Wynette’s “Stand By Your Man.” , “Loretta Lynn” Coal Miner’s Daughter ”and“ He Ceased Loving Her Today ”by George Jones.

All were # 1 country singles, and each featured the intuitive, clean-cut style of play that characterized Nashville Sound less is more.

Mr. Moore, who played mainly double bass, also contributed to the boastful opening figure of Roger Miller’s “King of the Road” as well as the indomitable bassline on Jeannie C.’s skewer of hypocrisy. Riley, “Harper Valley PTA” Both records were Number 1 on country singles and crossover hits, with Ms. Riley reaching the top of the pop charts in 1968.

Over 40 years, Mr. Moore has raised the bass in country music from a subordinate timekeeper to an instrument capable of considerable tonal and emotional reach. Alternately sober and robust, his imaginative phrasing revealed a knack for capturing the dramatic moment in a recording or arrangement.

“No matter how good a musician you are technically, what really matters comes down to your taste in playing,” he once said. “A lot of guys can play a hundred notes a second; some can play a note, and it makes a much better recording.

Mr. Moore’s energetic and empathetic playing has extended far beyond the confines of country music to encompass Simon & Garfunkel’s “The Boxer” and Brook Benton’s “Rainy Night in Georgia”, among others. pop and soul hits, as well as several notable rockabilly. records.

As session leader at Monument Records, where he worked in the late 1950s, Mr. Moore created arrangements for recordings by Roy Orbison and others, including “Only the Lonely”, a pop single. of the Top 10 for Mr. Orbison in 1960. The record stalled at No. 2 and could have taken the top spot without Brenda Lee’s “I’m sorry”. Mr. Moore also played bass on that one.

He had his own Top 10 pop record: the instrumental “Mexico” with flavors of Mariachi (1961), credited to Bob Moore and his orchestra. (The song was composed by Boudleaux Bryant, who, along with his wife, Felice, also wrote hits for Mr. Orbison and the Everly Brothers.)

In 1960, Mr. Moore and some of his fellow A-Teamers received an invitation to perform at the Newport Jazz Festival in Rhode Island. After a series of violent incidents in Newport, some sparked off by an angry mob of spectators who had been excluded from sold-out shows, the festival ended prematurely and Mr. Moore was unable to perform. Nashville All-Stars, which included vibraphonist Gary Burton, recorded an instrumental album titled “After the Riot at Newport”.

“Anyone who has heard me play bass knows my soul,” Mr. Moore said, reviewing his career in a 2002 interview with the Art of Slap Bass website. “I am studied, solid, meticulous, unwavering, daring and reliable. “

In 2007, Mr. Moore and his fellow A team members were inducted into the Musicians Hall of Fame in Nashville.

His son R. Stevie Moore is also a musician, having played a pioneering role in the lo-fi, or do-it-yourself, movement popularized by indie rock artists like Pavement and Beck.

Bobby Loyce Moore was born November 30, 1932 in Nashville and raised by his maternal grandmother, Minnie Anderson Johnson, a widow.

When he was 9, Bobby set up a shoe shining station outside the Ryman Auditorium, which then housed the Grand Ole Opry. One of his regular clients was Jack Drake, bassist for Ernest Tubb and his Texas Troubadours; Mr. Drake became one of the first mentors.

Bobby appeared in local bands before going on tour at the age of 15 as a guitarist and bassist for minstrels Jamup and Honey. With future A-Team guitarists Hank Garland and Grady Martin, he spent time in the groups of Opry stars Paul Howard and Little Jimmy Dickens before working with vocalists Red Foley and Marty Robbins.

Mr. Moore’s big break came in the early 1950s, when Nashville conductor Owen Bradley offered him a steady job with his dance band. Even more auspicious, Mr Bradley promised the then touring-weary Mr Moore a steady job on the recording sessions he would soon oversee as the new local office manager for Decca Records.

Over the next three decades, Mr. Moore would appear on hits from Decca luminaries like Kitty Wells and Conway Twitty as well as others, like Jim Reeves and Earl Scruggs, who recorded for other labels. He appeared on virtually all of Patsy Cline’s 1960s recordings for Decca, including his 1961 hit “Crazy”, and much of Presley’s RCA release from the early to mid-1960s, including “Return to Sender “, released in 1962.

As a new generation of session musicians began to supplant the original A team in the early 1980s, Mr. Moore pursued other projects, including a stint with Jerry Lee Lewis’ band. A hand injury forced his premature retirement to occur later in the decade.

In addition to his wife and son Stevie, Mr. Moore is survived by a daughter, Linda Faye Moore, who is also a stage musician; two other sons, Gary and Harry; and two granddaughters.

In the early 1950s, when Mr. Bradley offered him a career as a studio musician, Mr. Moore discovered a musical fraternity that changed his life as a member of the A-Team.

“We were like brothers,” he said in his interview with Art of Slap Bass. “We had great musical chemistry and great communication. He continued, “We loved creating our music together. We were able to assert our personalities and express our feelings through our music so effectively that audiences came to recognize our individual styles.


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