February 4, 1943|
Birmingham, Alabama, U.S.
|Died||June 10, 2009
Hendersonville, Tennessee, U.S.
Barry Edward Beckett (February 4, 1943, Birmingham, Alabama – June 10, 2009, Hendersonville, Tennessee) was a keyboardist who worked as a session musician with several notable artists on their studio albums. He was also a record producer. Along with David Hood and Roger Hawkins, his bandmates in the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section, Beckett took to the road in 1973 in the expanded lineup of Traffic. Recordings from this tour can be heard on Traffic's live album On The Road.
He was involved in the "Muscle Shoals Sound" as a member of the rhythm section at the Muscle Shoals studio in Sheffield, Alabama, of which he was one of the founders in 1969. The studio produced such hits as "Torn Between Two Lovers" (Mary MacGregor) and "Smoke from a Distant Fire" (Sanford-Townsend Band). Beckett was co-producing with Jerry Wexler when, in 1979, Bob Dylan called on Wexler to produce the Slow Train Coming sessions. Beckett not only co-produced the album but played piano and organ throughout. (He did not go on the road as a gospel tours musician behind Dylan, but he was back in the studio with him in February 1980 to co-produce, again with Wexler, the album Saved, on which he was replaced on keyboards by Spooner Oldham and Terry Young after the session of February 12, 1980 and so plays only on the album’s title track, ‘Solid Rock’, ‘What Can I Do For You?’ and ‘Satisfied Mind’. On the album liner notes Beckett is billed as co-producer and as ‘special guest artist’. Beckett moved to Nashville in 1982 to become A & R country music director for Warner Bros. Records and co-produced Williams, Jr.'s records with Jim Ed Norman. Beckett produced records independently after leaving Warner Bros. Records.
Beckett died of natural causes at his home in Hendersonville, Tennessee in 2009, aged 66.
- Allmusic biography
- Everett, Todd (1998). "Barry Beckett". In The Encyclopedia of Country Music. Paul Kingsbury, Editor. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 31–32.
- Alabama Music Hall of Fame biography
- Discogs.com listing
- 1999 interview with Barry Beckett
- Gray, Michael (2008) "Barry Beckett" in The Bob Dylan Encyclopedia, New York & London: Continuum
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