Dusty Hill 1949-2021: paying tribute to the bearded boss of bass guitar

Dusty Hill
(Image credit: Gaelle Beri/Redferns)

I grew up down Texas way, working summers at my father’s sawmill, and scraping together minimum wage to buy a beat-up SG bass. The fretboard pyrotechnics of Sheehan and Lee were beyond my reach, but inspiration came slithering across the yard one scorching afternoon through the screen door of a nearby rib shack. 

As I unloaded lumber from a boxcar, the bluesman growled about gold tooth displays and beauticians at the wheel of his V8 Ford, the backbeat matching the loping rhythm of our sawmill’s conveyor chain. Heat waves shimmied on the tracks as epiphany struck from the percolating bass, laying a muddy groove wide as the West Texas plains, with a mind-blowing breakdown at the end that was both bad and nationwide. 

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