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Singled Out: The City Champs

02/01/2010
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(antiMusic) Welcome to Singled Out! where we ask artists to tell us the inside story of their latest single. Guitarist Joe Restivo of The City Champs tells us about "The Safecracker", the title track to the band's new album. Here is Joe with the story:

Most of my ideas come from hearing a melody or bass line and The Safecracker is no different. I guess it's kind of ironic that writing for a band with no bass player that a lot of bass lines are the embryo for our tunes.

When we made the record "The Safecracker" we had been primarily a stylized 1960's type soul-jazz organ trio so a lot of our tunes sounded like Lou Donaldson, John Patton, George Benson Quartet tunes. With this number, I thought we needed a more Memphis-y, Booker T type tune with a straighter groove. It's really a simple song. Basically a blues form with a rubato organ intro and a tag at the end in A minor. I think I told our drummer George to play something like Al Jackson Jr., the late great Stax session legend. No biggie. The title has no major significance. I'm not real good on naming tunes and our organ player Al Gamble has named a few of mine for lack of a title by me. At the time I was reading turn of the century thief Jack Black's autobiography "You Can't Win" so a bunch of tunes ended up with titles coming from that book.

We cut the entire record in two days at Scott Bomar's Electraphonic Studio here in Memphis. I can't remember exactly, but I'm sure the cuts on the record is probably the first or second take. We had been playing The Safecracker a little while so it was a pretty smooth tune to knock out. I do remember that we added the organ intro at the session. I think Al was playing around with the melody by himself and I suggested he open the tune solo to create a mood.

Hearing is believing. Now that you know the story behind the song, listen for yourself and learn more about the album - right here!

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