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  1. #1

    The best Jamerson riffs he DIDN'T PLAY!!!

    Motown was blessed to have had James Jamerson, one of if not the greatest bassist that ever walked the earth. He obviously had such an impact that many of his peers and followers incorporated his style into their own. Here are some of his greatest works that he had nothing to do with!

    Rescue Me- Fontella Bass
    I Want You back- J5
    Man In Love- Fantastic Four
    Can I Change my Mind- Tyrone Davis
    If I Were Your Woman- Gladys Knight & The Pips
    Bad Luck- Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes
    Waterfalls- TLC
    I Could Fall in Love-Selena
    Valentine Love- Michael Henderson

    what are some your favorite Jamerson-esque riffs?

  2. #2
    Anything Bernard Edwards played on.

  3. #3
    Rescue Me, as done by James, is actually making my mouth water. The producer wanted to highlight Ms. Bass vocals,(Pun intended, but crashed and burned).

  4. #4
    "I Can Sing A Rainbow / Love Is Blue" by the Dells.
    "More Than Yesterday" by Spiral Staircase.
    "Do I Love You.." by Frank Wilson.
    "Ain`t Gonna Tell You" by Frank Wilson.

  5. #5
    The best Jamerson riffs that James didn't play probably belong to Bob Babbitt.

    Cool Jerk
    Signed Sealed Delivered
    Papa was a Rolling Stone
    Scorpio
    Taurus
    Tears of a Clown

    to name but a few.

  6. #6
    I believe that James played on the first version of "Tears Of A Clown" in 1966. Bob didn`t join until the following year.

  7. #7
    Blame It On The Pony Express - Johnny Johnson & The Bandwagon
    Let's Hang On - Four Seasons
    One More Chance - Jackson 5

  8. #8
    Chairmen of the Board - Try On My Love For Size (Bob Babbitt)

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by jboy88 View Post
    Motown was blessed to have had James Jamerson, one of if not the greatest bassist that ever walked the earth. He obviously had such an impact that many of his peers and followers incorporated his style into their own. Here are some of his greatest works that he had nothing to do with!

    Rescue Me- Fontella Bass
    I Want You back- J5
    Man In Love- Fantastic Four
    Can I Change my Mind- Tyrone Davis
    If I Were Your Woman- Gladys Knight & The Pips
    Bad Luck- Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes
    Waterfalls- TLC
    I Could Fall in Love-Selena
    Valentine Love- Michael Henderson

    what are some your favorite Jamerson-esque riffs?
    Some terrific basslines mentioned here...however, most of them are not stylistically Jamerson IMO. Rescue Me is probably the closest to Jamerson in this post.

    I Want You Back is a much brighter sound that Motown was looking for as opposed to Jamersons deeper more muddy sound. Wilton Felder was a Jamerson protege...but it's a different sound.

    Bad Luck...once again Ronnie Baker was influenced by Jamerson...but other than a P Bass tone...while Jamerson rarely strayed from 1st position...Ronnie's decending scalular runs coming out of the verse went higher on the fingerboard (up to 3rd or 4rth position) which is nothing similar to what Jamerson ever did. Also, the pattern in the main part of the verse lacks Jamersons style of syncopation. The only similarity between Bad Luck and Jamerson that I see is the incredible locking between Baker and Earl Young which is reminiscent to Jamerson and Benny Benjamin. Chuck Rainey and Bernard Purdy also locked incredibly well. Check out Arethas If You Come Back To Me.

    More comments on some of the other examples on this thread (where I definitely DON'T hear Jamerson) when I get some more time...

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by StuBass1 View Post
    Some terrific basslines mentioned here...however, most of them are not stylistically Jamerson IMO. Rescue Me is probably the closest to Jamerson in this post.

    I Want You Back is a much brighter sound that Motown was looking for as opposed to Jamersons deeper more muddy sound. Wilton Felder was a Jamerson protege...but it's a different sound.

    Bad Luck...once again Ronnie Baker was influenced by Jamerson...but other than a P Bass tone...while Jamerson rarely strayed from 1st position...Ronnie's decending scalular runs coming out of the verse went higher on the fingerboard (up to 3rd or 4rth position) which is nothing similar to what Jamerson ever did. Also, the pattern in the main part of the verse lacks Jamersons style of syncopation. The only similarity between Bad Luck and Jamerson that I see is the incredible locking between Baker and Earl Young which is reminiscent to Jamerson and Benny Benjamin. Chuck Rainey and Bernard Purdy also locked incredibly well. Check out Arethas If You Come Back To Me.

    More comments on some of the other examples on this thread (where I definitely DON'T hear Jamerson) when I get some more time...
    I can see what you mean! However we all hear thing differently and I agree there are some tracks mentioned where I don't hear much resemblance to Jamerson. Also the fact the actual bassists on my tracks in particular, had different methods of bass playing based of the era it came out. but they still maintain a playing style close to what Jamerson likely did in the past. To my ears, the bass line on I Could Fall In Love" follows a pattern similar to what he did on some of Ashford & Simpson produced ballads (on which Valerie Simpson ruled with an iron fit). It's not necessarily spot on, but it's reminiscent!

  11. #11
    Coincidentally, Jack Ashford called me about 5 minutes ago. Anyways...some bassists who sound a lot like Jamerson on certain tracks...Anthony Jackson of course...but David Hungate (Toto, Bozz Skaggs, etc) did a lot of L.A. Motown sessions and was also a standin for Jamerson at times. Diana Ross Reach Out I'll Be There album features Hungate on bass, although a lot of those bass parts were written out by arranger Gene Page. Also, Phil Chen on the Jeff Beck classic Scatterbrain on the Blow By Blow album was definitely Jamerson inspired.

  12. #12
    uptight Guest
    "I Know Myself" on The Sylvers LP (1972). So funky, I could have sworn it was Jamerson! But Leon Sylvers recently told me the bass player (whose name escapes me now) played it on the record pretty much the way Leon himself performed it in the demo tape. And Leon was probably around 17 or 18 at the time.

  13. #13
    uptight Guest
    "Never Can Say Goodbye" - The Jackson 5

  14. #14
    I always believed that Jamerson played on "You Dont Have To Be A Star" by Maralyn Macoo & Billy Davis Jr after he left Motown but on listening again I'm not so sure it is him. Can anyone confirm.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by TMSG View Post
    I always believed that Jamerson played on "You Dont Have To Be A Star" by Maralyn Macoo & Billy Davis Jr after he left Motown but on listening again I'm not so sure it is him. Can anyone confirm.
    YDHTBAS was Jamerson...his last studio performance on a #1 Billboard charted song. Produced by Detroiter Don Davis.
    Last edited by StuBass1; 03-28-2012 at 12:01 PM.

  16. #16
    Neither the LP nor the record sleeve lists the musicians on the record. Jim Vitti was involved with the engineering, Don Davis produced the album, Paul Riser did many of the arrangements. The tracks were done at United Sound in Detroit and Wally Heider's studio in LA so there's plenty of people involved with the project who would have known Jamerson. So as the Mythbusters would say, it's plausible.

  17. #17
    Definite Jamerson on YDHTBAS, verified by several credible sources. Speaking of Marilyn & Billy...Joe Osborns brilliant bassline on Age Of Aquarius is one of my all time favorites, but I can't help but wonder what JJ would have done with that song.

  18. #18
    Good thread!

  19. #19
    okay stoobie.....so who are the suspects for "If I Were Your Woman?"......one of my faves.

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by destruction View Post
    okay stoobie.....so who are the suspects for "If I Were Your Woman?"......one of my faves.
    Hi Des...

    IIWYW = Bob Babbitt...

  21. #21
    Roger:

    Tony Newton played on the original version of Tears of a Clown.

  22. #22
    Thanks Dave ,that does surprise me as I thought that James was almost Smokey`s personal bassist around this time.It`s the first session that I have heard crediting Tony , do you know of any others. Thank you once again for putting me right.

  23. #23
    Any track and any Bassist that makes one question if it was Jamerson or not, is testement to his greatness. Jamerson created a standard that you could first equal before you could go forward. Any Bassist who could make you wonder , deserved respect , and that's what matters.


  24. #24
    Roger:

    Tony went on the road with Smokey and also worked in parallel with Jamerson. As you can tell, especially from side two of the Motortown Revue in Paris, he was more than capable of playing Jamerson style. When Babbitt was called to redo the bass for the single release of Tears of a Clown, Tony was not well pleased, and told me so. I've just listened to the two versions again and can't find any improvement in the single version. I think the original clean bass had more impact and the closed hi-hat on the new version gets in the way. To each his own. I thought that album was a treasure when I bought it; every song a winner.

  25. #25
    Good to bring up Tony Newtons name Dave. A lot of people have always thought it was Jamerson on the original TOAC.

    Let's not forget his work with HDH at Hot Wax & Invictus, as he, along with Bob Babbit, gave us those memorable Jamerson style bass lines on many of their hits.

    http://www.youtube.com/user/TonyNewtonHistoric

    It's also worth remembering he often doubled with Jamerson on some of the early Motown tracks like Nowhere to Run & Love Is Like An Itching In My Heart.

    Cheers

    Paul
    Last edited by bradburger; 03-31-2012 at 02:35 PM.

  26. #26
    Many thanks gentlemen, fascinating stuff. Why wasn`t he on "SITSOM" and did he play on "Reach Out.." ? That`s a great picture of James in "TMS" playing up the neck it`s the first time that I`ve seen a picture that he`s not playing open strings.

  27. #27
    Quote Originally Posted by Roger Polhill View Post
    Many thanks gentlemen, fascinating stuff. Why wasn`t he on "SITSOM" and did he play on "Reach Out.." ? That`s a great picture of James in "TMS" playing up the neck it`s the first time that I`ve seen a picture that he`s not playing open strings.
    Roger,

    I know he links it in his YT page, but I don't think Tony played on Reach Out with Jamerson. I have the isolated bass track to it and it sounds like it's only one bassline.

    Cheers

    Paul

  28. #28
    With the greatest respect to all concerned, the union was heavy around that time and it was not unusual for players to be told to stand down in the middle of a track. Tony was very young, but he had some track record and he learned direct from Jamerson. Whoever thought they played on classic tracks may have been right, but they also might have got something going that was taken over by their replacement.

  29. #29
    That said, I don't think Tony ever claimed to have played on Reach Out. I think he had left by then, and the Holland brothers would always use James at that time. I have Tony's resume somewhere. I think he was probably working with Bacharach by then.

  30. #30
    Does anyone know who's playing bass on Eddie Kendricks' "Girl You Need a Change of Mind?" It's from 1973, so I doubt it's Jamerson, but I did a quick Google search and didn't turn up anything. Thanks!

  31. #31
    Quote Originally Posted by vcq View Post
    Does anyone know who's playing bass on Eddie Kendricks' "Girl You Need a Change of Mind?" It's from 1973, so I doubt it's Jamerson, but I did a quick Google search and didn't turn up anything. Thanks!
    one of my very fave songs. hope someone has an answer!

  32. #32
    Soulful Strut - Young - Holt Unlimited

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