The Wrecking Crew is a term — which has become part of Rock history lore — for the younger, talented session musicians who arrived in Los Angeles as the city was becoming a center for such gifted, ambitious Rock & Roll and 1960s-Pop producers/arrangers/artists as Phil Spector, Brian Wilson, Jimmy Webb, Herb Alpert, Lee Hazlewood, Lou Adler, Bones Howe (the Fifth Dimension) and many more. The Crew provided the sound to many of the most famous songs to be recorded in Rock’s greatest decade: “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’,” “Good Vibrations,” “California Dreamin’,” “I’m a Believer,” “The Beat Goes On,” “Mr. Tambourine Man” and “Wichita Lineman,” for instance.
While actually a fairly large and informal group, the Wrecking Crew’s better-known members included drummer Hal Blaine, bassist Carol Kaye and guitarist Tommy Tedesco.
The latter died in 1997, and his son Denny started on this 2008 documentary while dad was still alive. At some point, the material must have overwhelmed him as he has trouble shaping and editing the film; the narrative flow is too anecdotal and lacks a strong overview.
But Tedesco found wonderful archival footage. And there are extensive, illuminating new (at the time) interviews with Wrecking Crew members and the artists/producers who worked with them, including Wilson, Alpert, Glen Campbell, Cher and Nancy Sinatra.
Some of the session musicians interviewed — like his father, Tommy — sadly are no longer around, making this all the more valuable a historical document despite its flaws. Grade: B
Presented by Cincinnati World Cinema at 4 p.m. Sunday and 7 p.m. Monday at Carnegie Arts Center in Covington; see www.cincyworldcinema.org for details.