James Jamerson – Standing in the Shadows of Motown

Mar 15 2016

James Jamerson – Standing in the Shadows of Motown

Bassist James Jamerson was the embodiment of the Motown spirit and groove – the invisible entity whose playing inspired thousands and made it impossible for anyone to sit still while listening to a Motown record. 49 note-for-note transcribed musical scores, two hours of recorded all-star performances. This folio also features a 2-CD set that includes performances of Jamerson’s bass lines by such noted bassists as Geddy Lee of Rush, Will Lee, John Patitucci, John Entwistle of the Who, Francis Rocco Prestia of Tower of Power, and Jack Bruce, just to name a few!

Songs include:

  • What’s Going on – Marvin Gaye
  • Ain’t That Peculiar [Excerpt] – Marvin Gaye
  • My Guy [Excerpt] – Mary Wells
  • I Heard It Through the Grapevine – Gladys Knight & the Pips
  • Ain’t Too Proud to Beg [Excerpt] – Temptations
  • Going to a Go-Go [Excerpt] – Smokey Robinson & the Miracles
  • Contract on Love [Excerpt] – Stevie Wonder
  • Darling Dear – Jackosn 5
  • You Can’t Hurry Love [Excerpt] – Supremes
  • Shotgun [Excerpt] – Jr. Walker & the All Stars
  • Reach Out I’ll Be There – Four Tops
  • For Once in My Life – Stevie Wonder
  • I Second That Emotion [Excerpt] – Smokey Robinson & the Miracles
  • (I Know) I’m Losing You [Excerpt] – Temptations
  • Get Ready [Excerpt] – Temptations
  • Bernadette – Four Tops
  • Cloud Nine [Excerpt] – Temptations
  • You Keep Me Hanging on [Excerpt] – Supremes
  • Ain’t No Mountain High Enough – Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell
  • Ain’t No Mountain High Enough [Chorus] – Diana Ross
  • Ain’t No Mountain High Enough [Bridge] – Diana Ross
  • I’m Gonna Make You Love Me – Diana Ross, Supremes, and Temptations
  • Girl (Why You Wanna Make Me Blue) [Excerpt] – Temptations
  • Baby Love [Excerpt] – Supremes
  • It’s a Shame – Spinners
  • How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved by You) – Jr. Walker & the All Stars
  • Heat Wave [Excerpt] – Martha & the Vandellas
  • Mickey’s Monkey [Excerpt] – Miracles
  • Don’t Mess with Bill – Marvelettes
  • It’s the Same Old Song [Excerpt] – Four Tops
  • Shake Me, Wake Me (When It’s Over) [Excerpt] – Four Tops
  • Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing – Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell
  • Uptight (Everything’s Alright) [Excerpt] – Stevie Wonder
  • (I’m a) Roadrunner [Excerpt] – Jr. Walker & the All Stars
  • Still Water (Love) [Excerpt] – Four Tops
  • My Baby Loves Me [Excerpt] – Martha & the Vandellas
  • Home Cookin’ – Jr. Walker & the All Stars
  • Just a Little Misunderstanding [Excerpt] – Contours
  • Come ‘Round Here (I’m the One You Need) [Excerpt] – Smokey Robinson & the Miracles
  • This Old Heart of Mine [Excerpt] – Isley Brothers
  • Strange I Know [Excerpt] – Marvelettes
  • Love Is Like an Itching in My Heart [Excerpt] – Supremes
  • I Was Made to Love Her – Stevie Wonder
  • Nowhere to Run – Martha & the Vandellas
  • Love Is Here and Now You’re Gone [Excerpt] – Supremes
  • Since I Lost My Baby [Excerpt] – Temptations
  • I’m Wondering [Excerpt] – Stevie Wonder
  • How Long Has That Evening Train Been Gone – Diana Ross & the Supremes
  • Non-Motown Medley

This book and CD combination examines the music of James Jamerson, the studio bassist on most of the early Motown hits. Until rather recently, Jamerson was unknown to the general public and not widely known to musicians. Nonetheless, his playing was very influential and many bassists today consider his playing the gold standard of bass guitar in popular music.
This book is valuable as a reference for the history of Motown, but it is primarily a teaching tool. It is organized into three parts. The first pages give a biography of Jamerson and put his work into historical context. Part two is a compilation of data: descriptions of bass equipment, recording facilities, accompanists, and discography. Also included in this section is a four page “Appreciation of Style” by Anthony Jackson that attempts to analyze the musical elements that made Jamerson unique. Part three contains transcriptions of Jamerson bass lines and accompanying text. The transcriptions go with the CDs described below.
The CDs and transcriptions are the heart of the set. The CDs feature Motown tunes with the bass lines played by over two dozen “all-star” bassists (e.g Marcus Miller, Jack Bruce, John Entwistle). Bass is on the left channel with instrumental accompaniment on the right. The bass lines are transcribed by the author and the transcriptions are accompanied by short bios of the artists who play the lines. The tracks on the CDs are interspersed with short interviews of people who knew Jamerson. The artists reportedly donated their services as a tribute to Jamerson and the bass lines and accompaniment were recorded in a variety of circumstances. Many tracks are recorded in home studios. The quality varies, but all tracks are well played and all are useful teaching tools. The best Precision Bass tones are not necessarily from the artists you would expect. (Not everyone tries to duplicate Jamerson’s tone. Geddy Lee was approached backstage at a concert and contributed “Get Ready” on either a Steinberger or a Rickenbacker. Lots of fun.)
The level of the transcriptions is somewhat advanced. Transcriptions are given in traditional bass staff (no tab) and the rhythms will give your reading skills a workout. There are very few specific comments about fingering, right-hand technique, or damping. Yet the range of difficulty is from dead simple (beautifully rendered) line to lines that will challenge the most advanced player. (The challenge is rhythm and feel not lots of note or big stretches.) Beginning to intermediate players can use this book, but will benefit greatly by using it with the help of a good teacher.
One can quibble with the historical overview. It is quite readable, but doesn’t dig deeply into any of the tough issues it raises (e.g. Jamerson’s drinking and emotional stability, Berry Gordy’s business practices). Since the focus is on the music, some of this reticence is laudable. However, one important musical controversy that the author fails to pursue is the question of the true credit for recorded bass lines in the era when Motown was moving from Detroit to LA. (Many tracks were demoed by LA studio bassists and then cut by Jamerson as well. There is still debate as to which track made it to the final recording. The question is acknowledged, but no new information is brought forth.) Another musical deficit is that there is very little about the interplay between Jamerson and other members of the rhythm section. (This is in contrast to the author’s better-written (if slightly less important) book on the James Brown rhythm sections.)

Format: PDF + Audio tracks (Mp3). 55 Pages

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17 comments

  1. johnboy /

    Great upload. Many thanks

  2. salorena /

    Best “BASS BOOK” ever! Thanks!

  3. dimo mitev /

    Thanks for this .I’m so glad to this bass book

  4. Del vega dan /

    cheers, much help

  5. fanto /

    jee thx! mucho grazias!

  6. kees /

    he man thanks we gone take this track

  7. Vini /

    good job!! nice book!!

  8. marto /

    great!!! I studied this long ago

  9. Bruno /

    great job! James Jamerson lines!!!!

  10. estoped /

    gracias por el aporte

  11. Dara Rawat /

    great stuff…great book..

  12. Dara Rawat /

    thanks great stuff..

  13. marco capocchio /

    Food very Bert good

  14. calambrukas /

    thank you very much, I’ve looking for this masterpiece for a long time :)

  15. Bassman8416 /

    Thank you so much for the download!!!!

  16. bokite /

    super telechargement merci beaucoup Harry

  17. mfakka /

    guy is a legend

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