Dylan and Cash Throwback Thursday on Acoustic Guitar

Acoustic Guitar recently featured a video of Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash singing Girl From the North Country in 1969. View the full article.

Nikkie Lane’s ‘Send The Sun’ Video Influenced by Pete Drake’s ‘Forever’

Pete Drake-Forever Influences Nikki Lane

In this article from Entertainment Weekly, Nikki Lane cites Pete Drake’s ‘Forever’ as influencing the direction they took on her newest music video for ‘Send The Sun’.

Full article and video here.

Don McLean Performs at Penn’s Peak

written by Jim Radenhausen, Pocono Record Writer
Posted Aug 25, 2017 at 12:18 PM Updated Aug 25, 2017 at 12:18 PM

Any songwriter would love to have his material covered by multiple artists. Don Mclean, the voice behind the iconic “American Pie,” hit the songwriter mother lode when Elvis Presley recorded a version of his 1970 song “And I Love You So.”

“Elvis recorded ‘And I Love You So’ because at the time he did it, most everybody that sang that kind of music had recorded that song,” said McLean, who performs Friday at Penn’s Peak, Jim Thorpe. “It probably had 100 recordings of it by then. So Elvis came, and once Elvis did a song, it transformed the song, and he was going out with Sheila Ryan at the time (later became the wife of James Caan), but he would sing it to her and it was kind of their song. Elvis sang it every night for the rest of his life. From 1976-1977, there are hundreds of recordings of Elvis singing that song.”

Read full article and interview with Don here.

Jerry Kennedy on Pete Drake

In honor of Pete’s 82nd birthday on October 8, here’s an interview with Jerry Kennedy, one of Pete’s best friends, session-mate and producer on Smash records. The interview is conducted by Julie Henry. Enjoy!

How Peter Frampton Met the Talk Box

If you’ve spent any time on our website, then you know the story of how Pete Drake introduced Peter Frampton to the talk box.

Listen to Peter tell his firsthand account in this article and video from Ultimate Classic Rock.

Interview: Peter Frampton Talks Talk Boxes

Click here to see the complete interview from Guitar World:

In the current March 2013 issue of Guitar World, guitar legend Peter Frampton gives GW readers the full “Dear Guitar Hero” treatment, answering 12 questions about everything from Pensa Suhr guitars to the status of his long-lost (and recently recovered) 1954 Gibson Les Paul.

As is usually the case, there was some leftover material from that interview, and you can check out the extra information here and below.

In this portion of the interview, Frampton discusses his talk-box usage and his involvement in recording sessions featuring two former Beatles — George Harrison and Ringo Starr — during the ’70s.

Remember to check out the new issue of Guitar World (with Stevie Ray Vaughan on the cover),which is available now at the Guitar World Online Store, for the bulk of this interview with Frampton.

GUITAR WORLD: Where’d you get the idea for the talk box? Did it take a long time to learn how to use it correctly?

When I was living at home with my parents in the ’60s, there was a radio station called Radio Luxembourg. They used this gadget to do their call letters. Also, I think Alvino Rey started using something approaching the sound of a talk box in 1939. But the guy who showed me the talk box was pedal steel guitarist Pete Drake. So I moved to America and found that Bob Heil was starting to make them because Joe Walsh had asked him to. Pete lent Joe the talk box he used on “Rocky Mountain Way.” I verified this the other day when I spoke with Joe at a Ringo Starr show. Pete’s wife, I think, sent it up to Joe to use on that song.
Head over to Guitar World to read the complete interview.

Pete Drake Gives Peter Frampton his First Talk Box

Pete Drake Gives Pete Frampton His First Talk Box

Ever wonder how Peter Frampton came up with his talking guitar sound?

Here is the story.

During the recording of George Harrison’s album All Things Must Pass in London’s Abbey Road studios, Pete Drake enthralled everyone with his ‘Talking Guitar’ especially a young Peter Frampton.

“He was setting up his pedal steel right in front of me and got out this little box. I didn’t know what was doing,” Frampton recalls. “He had a pipe and plugged this in here and that in there, stuck the pipe in his mouth, started playing the pedal steel and it started coming out of his mouth. The pedal steel was singing to me, talking to me. That’s when my jaw dropped, and I said, ‘There it is. I’ve got to get that.'”

After meeting during the sessions, Pete and Peter remained friends throughout the rest of Drake’s life.

Shown left to right in image from the All Things Must Pass recording session are Pete Drake, George Harrsion, Ringo Starr, Peter Frampton (kneeling next to steel) and Billy Preston.

Read more about Peter Frampton discovering this sound in the article on Spinner.com: Peter Frampton Explores the Origins of His Talking Guitar.


Pete Drake on George Harrison’s All Things Must Pass

It is early 1970 on Music Row in Nashville. Pete Drake is in his office.

His assistant buzzes in, “George Harrison wants you on the phone.”

Pete says, “Well, where’s he from?”

Assistant: “London.”

Pete: “Well, what company’s he with?”

Assistant: “The Beatles.”

Pete Drake recounted this story with laughter in an interview he did for Guitar Player Magazine. “His name, you know, just didn’t ring any bells-well, I’m just a hillbilly, you know (laughter). Anyway, I ended up going to London for a week where we did the album All Things Must Pass.”

Photo (Left to Right): Ringo Starr, Pete Drake, Phil Spector and George Harrrison.

Pete Drake-Ringo Starr-Phil Spector-George Harrison

Recorded between May and August 1970 at Abbey Road Studios and produced by Harrison and Phil Spector, All Things Must Pass, became one of Rolling Stone magazine’s “500 Greatest Albums of All Time” selling more than six million copies. Musicians appearing on the triple album included Ringo Starr, members of Badfinger, Eric Clapton and the other members of Derek and the Dominos, future Yes drummer Alan White, keyboard players Billy Preston, Gary Brooker and Gary Wright, and Pete Drake on steel guitar. A young, pre-Genesis Phil Collins played bongos on “Art of Dying.”

It was during the recording sessions that Pete met Ringo Starr, who later asked Pete to produce his solo album. It was recorded in Nashville in June of 1970.

In 2000, George Harrison personally oversaw the remastering of All Things Must Pass, the beginning of a re-issue project that was to see all his albums refurbished. For this 30th anniversary reissue, Harrison added the song “I Live For You,” left off the original version of the album.  When asked about the song in an interview for the re-issue, Harrison said he felt the original recording wasn’t good enough, except for Pete Drake’s steel guitar which he kept.  He re-recorded several of the other parts and included the song on the reissue.

Harrison lived long enough only to witness the 30th Anniversary reissue of  All Things Must Pass in January 2001 on his own GN Records imprint, distributed by EMI. After George’s passing in November 2001, the album once again topped the Billboard charts.

Download the album from iTunes:

All Things Must Pass by George Harrison


George Harrison - All Things Must Pass (30th Anniversary Edition) [Remastered]

All Things Must Pass [BOXED EDITION]

Dolly Parton Box Set Features Pete Drake

Dolly Box Set

Pete Drake recorded with Dolly Parton many times during his four decade career. His steel guitars can be heard on some of Dolly’s biggest hits “Jolene” and “Coat of Many Colors.”

In 2009, the first-ever multi-label, career-spanning box set Dolly was released.  The four CD, 100 song collection features many of Pete’s performances with Parton such as the early duets with Porter Wagoner and her first number one single.

The box set has received great critical praise and is a must-have for Dolly Parton fans.

Learn more about it here:

Dolly (Box Set)


The Hippie and The Hillbilly – Tracy Nelson and Pete Drake

In the mid-1960s at the height of the psychedelic era, Tracy Nelson was the lead singer of San Francisco band, Mother Earth, performing at the Fillmore with the likes of Janice Joplin, The Grateful Dead, and Jimi Hendrix. Tracy came with Mother Earth to Nashville in 1969 to record a country side project.  She had learned about a great producer and steel player named Pete Drake from her work with Bob Dylan and asked Pete to produce her album. Elvis Presley’s original Sun-era guitarist, Scotty Moore, engineered and co-produced the album, which was cut at Music City Recorders. Tracy Nelson was the first of the female rock ‘n roll artists Pete produced. The album Mother Earth Presents Tracy Nelson Country was released on Mercury Records in 1969. Tracy liked Nashville so much she decided to relocate and has lived here ever since.

Pete Drake’s longtime business partner and wife, Rose Drake, shares her recollections from the project: “Tracy was fun and a bit of fresh air for everyone during those sessions. She came to the studio and to our office with several of her very well-behaved dogs every day. Tracy found out she could embarrass Pete by saying her famous “four letter word,” so she decided to use it often. Before press meetings and recording sessions, Pete would remind her, ‘In the south, ladies don’t use that language.’  That was a real big mistake,” Rose laughs, “because Tracy would get him in front of someone and let the expletives fly!  You could see Pete and Scotty Moore just want to go under the console with their red faces. I remember the musicians would just scatter and start laughing saying,  ‘She did it again!’ All the musicians loved working with Tracy. This was always one of Pete’s favorite projects because she was such a professional, a great talent and a beautiful person.”

Later when Ringo Starr came to Nashville to record his solo album, Pete took him out to visit Tracy’s farm in Burns, Tennessee to spend some time in the Tennessee country with Mother Earth. In fact the album cover and promo shots for Ringo’s Beaucoups of Blues were photographed at Tracy’s farm.

Today Tracy Nelson still records and tours as a solo artist.  You can learn more about her and find her upcoming shows on her website www.tracynelson.com.

Download Mother Earth Presents Tracy Nelson Country produced by Pete Drake from iTunes:

Country by Tracy Nelson