"We toured for many years together, making great music and having some great times. I have missed his presence, musically and personally. His style was minimal and melodic, but first and foremost it swung . . . and when we were playing live, his commitment was phenomenal, and it was as if I didn’t hear him in my head, but felt what he was doing in my soul . . . it was like being carried along on a wave of rhythm . . .
He has always been with me (in spirit), and always will be.

- Eric Clapton

"I first met Carl when he was with Gary Lewis & The Playboys. I had just started doing studio gigs and was often called to sit in with artists that came to town promoting their new radio hit. Back then radio stations would throw dances where the visiting artists could showcase and promote their songs. I remember that Carl had the greatest bass sound out of all the bass players that had ever played those shows. I think at the time I was backing up Neil Diamond or Chuck Berry. The next time I saw Carl was during the “Layla” sessions at Criteria Studios. At first I didn’t make the connection that he was the guy from Gary Lewis’ band as we were both older and looked quite different. He had evolved his playing to the point that it would fit so well in a song it would create an emotional feel instead of being a collection of notes. It wasn’t all that long before I had the honor of being in Eric’s band with him. From those years there are numerous wonderful stories to be told about Carl. Perhaps someday we can have an Eric Clapton Band reunion and share them together. Thank you, Carl, for giving us all a note to stand on . . ."

- George Terry
The Eric Clapton Band

"When Carl first joined Gary Lewis and the Playboys, I was only 19, and very inexperienced in the music business. It wasn't until the 70's that I realized what a good bass player Carl was. Not just good, but tasteful in his choices of what to play, and what not to play. He also helped me look at my craft as a business and not always fun and games. He was pretty much a quiet guy until he had something to say. And then he said it with conviction and intelligence. Carl helped me to grow up, musically and personally. He was a good hearted guy."

- Gary Lewis
Gary Lewis & the Playboys

"I was first introduced to Carl by either Leon Russell (Russell Bridges back then) or Jimmy Karstein in ' 62. Carl and I had a four-nighter in Eagle Rock (California) at a beer bar with a sax player by the name of Chuck Higgins. It paid 15 bucks a night. As all gigs do, it ended, and the next thing I recall was someone told me Carl had a job in a bank in Dallas. I recall thinking, WHAT?!

Well thank God he quit and went back to music. The day I found out he was joining us in Leon’s' band ranks right up there among the happiest days of my life.

The thing I remember most about Carl was how encouraging he was to me. He was the perfect bass player."

- Don Preston

"When I first learned of Carl's passing, I was shocked! Carl was always the one in control, the one with the wisdom and the knowledge. He was my mentor and my friend.

I came to Tulsa in 1973 and worked with Jamie Oldaker and Dick Sims in our own band and Carl used to come and hear us play and sat in with us all the time. When Eric (Clapton) told Carl he was looking to tour and do a new record, Carl suggested us. I felt as if Carl took me under his wing. He trusted all of us implicitly with our musical sensibilities; and we were never made to feel beneath him. We were treated as equals from day one, as family.

Carl's bass playing was indicative of him as a person as well: he was solid as a rock!! You could always depend on him. You always knew that you could rely on him for that bedrock of bass he gave. And he always gave a million percent; his timing, his tone, his feel, were flawless and incredibly tasteful. It was always an honor to be in his company both professionally and personally. I considered him a friend and I treasure the time we spent together. He is sorely missed.

With Love, Admiration and Respect,

- Marcy Levy
Vocals, Background;
The Eric Clapton Band

"Carl was a really fine bass player.  When I play the bass parts on my songs, I’m just trying to sound like Carl."

- J. J. Cale

" Carl, or "old man", as he was respectfully referred to during my 4 years in Eric's band, earned his nickname for his all around wisdom that was evident not only for music; cuisine, couture, politics, travel, and matters of the heart were also areas one could discuss with him or get advice about. The opposite of a braggart, he was kind and extremely funny, with a set of the most twinkling baby blues I'd ever seen.
He came to my defense at a party in L.A. where I had made a comment that went largely unnoticed. Interrupting the flow of conversation that had passed me by, he said, "Listen to what she's saying!" Then added, "She knows about more than you think." I will never forget that. I will also never forget the night he turned me on to absolutely the best tomato soup I've ever tasted. Seeing my reaction, he leaned over and whispered, "The secret, is in the gin!", then went back to the task at hand, which was slurping soup and keeping the mustache tidy. I adored the man. With fond Aloha."
- Yvonne Elliman
Vocals, Background;
The Eric Clapton Band

" Carl was the finest bass player in the world for a long time, much admired and very well liked.  My friends in the United States and England mention him often, always with great fondness. I followed Carl’s meteoric rise in the music world with great pride.  He was the best of us. "
- Rocky Frisco
Keyboardist for J. J. Cale

" Carl was my bass player in the early part of my life in music.  We played the “high class joints”, we even played the “honky-tonks.”  One of the most outstanding things about Carl was his choice of notes and the choice of spaces between.  In music his taste was impeccable, and the strength of simplicity reigned supreme.
I can’t think of another player on the instrument that had his understanding or facility.  While others ran amok, Carl always seemed to play the correct thing for the occasion.  Very rare indeed.
It was truly my pleasure and privilege to have known him and been able to share music with him for many great years.  Thank you for helping the world share his memory."  


Leon Russell

" It was around 1959 that I met Carl, when he was brought in to play bass with our group (in Tulsa). While still going to school, we worked together off and on about a year, including one gig backing Chuck Berry, Johnny Burnett and Clarence “Frogman” Henry at the roller rink.  We thought we had truly hit the big time! 

Carl and I took different paths for a while when I moved to California and lived and worked with Leon Russell for some time.  Later on, we needed a bass player, so Carl joined us.  Thus started Carl’s and my long association in California that included working with Leon, Donnie Brooks, playing the Nevada circuit and joining up with Gary Lewis & the Playboys, until about 1968.   

Recording and touring with Delaney & Bonnie (Bramlett) was Carl’s and my last great musical hurrah working together.  From there Carl went on to many years with Eric Clapton and I started working for J. J. Cale.  But up to that time I had spent more time on and off stage with Carl than anyone else in my life.  We always shared apartments and roomed together on the road.  We did things together:  ate meals together, saw movies together, stayed up late and listened to music together.  Carl was truly one of the best buddies I ever had. 

I still miss Carl.  His smile, his laughter, his true friendship and that wonderful bass playing that I grew so dependent upon for so many years. "

- Jimmy Karstein
Drummer  -  Gary Lewis & The Playboys
Delaney & Bonnie & Friends

"The site is beautiful. It is a fitting tribute to a wonderful man who meant so very much to everyone whose life he touched. Carl was one of the best bass players in the world and I am honored to have known and played with him for such a long time. "
- Bobby Whitlock
Keyboards  -  Derek & The Dominos,
Joe Cocker Mad Dogs & Englishmen

"Carl, and Albert Stinson before him, were the two greatest bass players I ever worked with.  When it came to rock & roll, Carl was my teacher.  He was a very smart guy and he taught me what to listen to and how to be true to the music.  Carl and Leon (Russell) are the two people most responsible for my being where I am today. "
- Jim Keltner
Drummer  -  Gary Lewis & The Playboys
Delaney & Bonnie & Friends
 Joe Cocker Mad Dogs & Englishmen

" He was the best bass player and the kindest person I ever met. "
- Dick Sims
Keyboardist  -  Eric Clapton Band

" My name is Jerry Scheff and I am a contemporary of Carl's. I first heard him with my friend at the time, Jim Gordon, backing Delaney and Bonnie and Friends. He changed my concept of bass playing. I am not saying that I gave up my own style, but Carl taught me that space in the groove has an elegance all its own. At that time, I was one of those bass players that periodically “ran amok”. Listening to Carl and Jim as I stood in front of the stage, I could not stand still.

Carl and I maintained a mutual friendship, close enough to hug each other on the rare occasions when we did come into contact. The last time I saw and hugged Carl was at Blackbush, England in 1978. I was playing bass with Bob Dylan and Carl was playing with Eric Clapton. Lovely man and lovely player. Carl was a very much loved man.
- Jerry O. Scheff
Bass Guitarist

A special thanks to …… 

Peter Cross in the U.K., Andy at Softshoe.com, Thorsten Knublauch of Germany, and many other friends and fans who shared pictures and memories during the making of this site.

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