Bassist Lee Sklar is one of the more easily-recognizable musicians, with his long gray hair, long white beard, and frameless glasses. He’s also been on over 2000 albums, including many with James Taylor, Phil Collins, Jackson Browne and others. I can hardly do him justice with just five songs, but there’s a list of just a few of the records he’s been on on Wikipedia.
- James Taylor, "Long Ago and Far Away": The first time I can remember seeing Lee’s name was on James Taylor’s 1971 album Mudside Slim & The Blue Horizon. There was a lot of talent on that record, including Carole King and Joni Mitchell. This is a song I heard frequently on album-oriented rock stations at the time.
- Jackson Browne, "Doctor My Eyes": From Jackson’s eponymous 1972 debut, the first single. Jackson was backed by David Crosby and Graham Nash on vocals, as well as Lee on bass. The song reached #8 in the US and #4 in Canada.
- The Section, "Forward Motion": Lee, along with Danny "Kootch" Kortchmar on guitar, Russ Kunkel on drums and percussion, and Craig Doerge on keyboards, were on many of the albums in the ’70’s by singer-songwriters such as Taylor and Browne, and gradually became known as The Section. They were the house band at Asylum Records as well, and recorded three albums together, a mixture of rock, folk, fusion, and jazz, a lot of which was instrumental. "Forward Motion" is the title track from their second album, released in 1973.
- Phil Collins, "Another Day In Paradise": The Section disbanded as a unit in the early ’80’s. Lee worked with Phil Collins starting with his 1985 album No Jacket Required, and has appeared on several albums since then. "Another Day In Paradise" is from Phil’s 1989 album …But Seriously. It was Phil’s last #1 single (to date).
- The Manhattan Transfer, "Confide In Me": Lee has a YouTube channel that he posts to almost daily, and many of the posts are memories of making recordings, such as Donald Fagen’s "Confide In Me," from The Manhattan Transfer’s 1991 album The Offbeat Of Avenues. Lee featured the song on his channel this past Tuesday, and talks about recording the song (as well as playing the CD), the people he worked with, and just life in general, such as getting his Covid-19 vaccine and how his basset hounds are doing.
John Larroquette had a show on A&E (the name of which I can’t find) over 20 years ago where he visited people who had significant collections. One of the people he profiled was Lee Sklar, who over the years has amassed a collection of Shriner memorabilia and ephemera. While he’s one of rock’s most identifiable musicians, he doesn’t participate in the rock & roll lifestyle, eschewing drugs and having been married to the same woman for years. He’d rather browse antique shops looking for things to add to his collection than party all the time. You have to admire someone like that.
Lee Sklar, your Five For Friday, January 29, 2021.