Unsung Heroes

Ron Wood, Eric Krohel and Scotty - Dec. 1996

In December of 1996 during the recording of the "All The King's Men", Scotty and D.J. went to Dublin to record the last track "Unsung Heroes" with Ron Wood, Jeff Beck and Ian Jennings.  The following text is an excerpt from an article that appeared in the July 1997 issue of Guitar Player magazine which describes the session well.  The pictures are from Scotty's collection but the article can also be viewed here on the site.

Scotty - Dec. 1996

"In early December, Moore and Fontana traveled to Ron Wood's Sandy Mount Studio outside Dublin, Ireland, to record the album's final track with Wood, Beck and bassist Ian Jennings. 'It feels really good to know these guys remember us,' says Scotty, relaxing on a barstool in Wood's private pub while Ron, Jeff and others watch a tape of Elvis and the boys in action. 'Makes you feel like what we did counts for something after all these years.'"

Jeff Beck, Scotty and Ron Wood - Dec. 1996

Jeff Beck, Ron Wood, Scotty, Ian Jennings and D.J. -  Dec. 1996

"Held in Ron Wood's converted sheep barn, the session for 'Unsung Heroes' unfolded like many of the early Elvis dates. Scotty settled into a chair in the center of the main room, plugging his late-80's Gibson Chet Atkins Country Gentleman into Boss delay and chorus pedals and a tweed Fender Twin. Beck, hearing him warming up, dashed from the control room and hurriedly unpacked his guitar while Ron got him a vintage Vox AC30. 'I'd planned to bring a large rig from London,' Beck smiled, 'but decided that ran counter to the spirit of the meeting.' Instead, he showed up with only a Strat Plus and a 10-foot chord. As D.J., Ron and Jennings joined in, Beck picked the melody of 'Blue Moon of Kentucky'. For nearly an hour, politeness prevented everyone from suggesting any specific direction, and, as on the first Elvis session, the players bogged down after jamming on a few standards. A break was called, during which Scotty began to play around with a funky lick that caught Ron's ear. 'What's that?' he asked. 'I dunno,' Scotty replied, 'just something I was fooling with a week or so ago.'

Ian Jennings - Dec. 1996

Jeff Beck
, Ron Wood, Scotty and Ian Jennings - Dec. 1996

'Well, that's it! Keep that going!' With that Ron grabbed a '54 Strat and started chunking rhythm and ad-libbing lyrics about meeting his two heroes. Beck suggested an occasional line between otherworldly bends and fills. Eventually, 'Unsung Heroes' became a song. 'This is incredible. It's just the way they used to do things-somebody gets an idea and they just go with it. The amazing thing to me-and Jeff was saying this too-is that Scotty and Bill came up with that original stuff completely out of the blue. They didn't have any real precedent to go on, and that's the very last time that happened in rock and roll. Everyone who came along after that had those guys to listen to. You take Jeff Beck-he and the Yardbirds were a big part of the British Invasion, and he'll tell you they were bouncing off what they'd heard from America. Then American bands bounced it back, and so on and so on. And the guy sitting right in there (points through the control room window to Scotty) started it all.'

Scotty, Jeff Beck and Ron Wood - Dec. 1996

Ron wood and Scotty Dec. 1996

 Scotty autographing Jeff's guitar Dec. 1996

Later, over pints of Guinness, Scotty and his host listen to a working mix of 'Unsung Heroes.' He and his contemporaries, Scotty says as Ron Wood's eyes begin to mist, have done their part. 'You guys have to carry the torch now-you and the younger guys. We did our thing.'"  In the film, Keith Richards answers for his generation: “ Mr. Moore, Mr. Fontana, Mr. Black, the Hillbilly Cats—that’s the world’s greatest rock and roll band.  Without them, there wouldn’t be any others.  Give thanks, give praises.

Rusty Russell
July 1997

Keith Richards, Scotty, D.J. Fontana and Ron Wood - Nashville 1998

Charlie Watts and D.J. Fontana - Nashville 1998

"When we were in Ireland doing the cut with Ron at his house, Mick Jagger called. He talked to Ron and then I got on the line and he said, 'I had a feeling something was going on over there. I didn't even know you guys were in the country. How come you didn't ask me?' And I said, 'Well, we thought we kind of pushed too heavy already by having Keith and Ron,' and Charlie was going to do a drum thing with D.J. but he had the flu. Then Mick said, 'Well if you do another one, I wanna be on it.' And every time we see him, he always asks about it. We also made a few trips over to Europe and did some touring over there. We hooked up with the Stones in Hamburg in '98. They were playing at a racetrack and 95,000 people were there. Even the Stones were awed by the crowd. Keith said, 'God! At our age! Look at that crowd! What the hell are they here to see?' "

Scotty Moore
February 20, 2000 Rolling Stone Magazine


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