Thoughts and Prayers – Joe Sample 1939-2014
In the book a large portion is dedicated to Galen’s work with the Crusaders and some of their legendary recordings with BB King. While the relationship between Wilton Felder was strained and tenuous, Galen’s recollections of Joe Sample were always happy and carried a great deal of respect.
From the book….
SC: Did Wilton ever lighten up or loosen up with you?
GS: No, he was always tense. Wilton never lightened up, and working with him was tough,
because he would layer and layer and overdub and overdub. When you are recording, the more stuff
you add to a song, the less pronounced each of the individual parts is going to be within the mix.
So, we would add layer after layer, and all these overdubs, and then he would complain that I
ruined the mix because the bass was no longer audible. I finally broke down and said, “Wilton, if I was
to take a picture of you and you only, you would be able to see a lot of details in that picture. Now, if I
was to take a picture of 30 people, and you were one of them, those details would not be as clear to see.
Every time you add a layer or an overdub, you are adding more people into a group photo.”
It was challenging and surprising at the same time, because he had done tons of recordings and
gotten producers’ credits, but the principle of wave forms and bass were concepts that he could never
seem to grasp—at least, not while I was working with him.
SC: Working with Joe Sample was probably amazing by comparison.
GS: Oh yeah, Joe was easy to work with. He is a wonderful guy. He married this Swedish blonde
lady who was really nice as well. Joe was just really cool and always positive, whereas it would get a
little tense at times with Wilton.