Who played bass for Al Green?

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by Skel, Mar 12, 2006.


  1. Skel

    Skel

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    Was Jamerson the bass player for Al Green's hit "Let's Stay Together"? Nothing earth shattering, but what a cool song.

    Skel
  2. timmarks

    timmarks Supporting Member

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    Leroy Hodges--there was a short story in Bass Player about him recently. He was the house bassist at Hi records in Memphis. All of his work on Al Green's records is fantastic. Check out other Hi artists like Syl Johnson or Ann Peebles--they all have good best-of collections out--you won't be sorry.
  3. corinpills

    corinpills

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    An innocent question, but in soul music circles that would be considered blasphemy. Memphis soul labels like Hi and Stax positioned themselves as the grittier alternative to Motown's crossover pop. It would be akin to asking- 25 or 30 years from now- if Dr. Dre produced a Britney Spears hit. Not that I'm comparing the artistry, but Motown was a pop label that just happened to produce soul masterpieces. For some reason, today I hear people appplying the term Motown to anything from the 60s that wasn't the Beatles or Stones. People always call Aretha Franklin Motown- and at least she's from Detroit- but she made her classic records in memphis and New York and never recorded for Motown. I've even heard people call Van Morrison Motown and Belfast is pretty far from Detroit.

    Anyway, AL Green has about 18 completely stunning songs that you could pick up on a greatest hits- he's one of the greatest. The secret to his sound is producer Willie Mitchell who got hot levels and then had the musicians play really softly. He got an amazing sound that way. Another great Hi Records artist worth checking out is Ann Peebles- same musicians and arranger.
  4. Skel

    Skel

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    Good history lesson, seriously. I think it's more of an assumption that if you were a black pop artist in the 60's, you were "Motown". I actually don't even know exactly what "Motown" is - the name of a record company in Detroit? A recording studio?

    Skel
  5. corinpills

    corinpills

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    Motown was a Detroit label that also owned an in-house studio (as many labels did at the time). Some Motown artists are:

    The Temptations
    The Supremes
    Marvin Gaye
    The Four Tops
    Gladys Knight & the Pips
    Smokey Robinson & the Miracles
    Edwin Starr
    The Marvelettes

    Gnereally speaking, these were designed to be pop acts (AKA the records were for white kids to buy) and it's slightly by accident that became soul classics.

    Memphis acts (on Stax/Volt, Hi and Atlantic-a NYC label that did a revolutionary licensing deal with Stax) include

    Wilson Pickett
    Sam & Dave
    Otis Redding
    Al Green
    Aretha Franklin (exported to memphis by Atlantic)
    The Staple Singers (though they've been on a bunch of labels and have a whole gospel discographyas well)
    Booker T & the MGs
    Irma Thomas

    Typically, the Memphis sound is positioned as authentic Southern soul. The slogan on Motown's office was "Hitsville" so the guys at Stax hung up a sign that said "Soulsville"- as if they weren't trying to have hits as well.

    Of course, that's a general thing because Motown had great screamers like Dennis Coffey of the Contours and Levi stubbs of the Four tops and Stax got pretty poppy as well. Also, Motown was run by a black staff and Stax was owned by caucasions- to further confuse the issue.

    *note: James Brown was from Georgia and was neither Motown nor Stax, but a world unto himself.


    next week's lesson: Philly Soul and just how bad ass is Thom Bell.
  6. timmarks

    timmarks Supporting Member

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    +1
    Well said--i'm a Detroit native and that music (Motown) is very important to me, but is a whole different animal compared to Stax, Hi records, Atlantic and other large soul and R&B record labels of the era.
    After wearing out my Motown and Stax stuff for years, I bought a great Syl Johnson collection and the MUST BUY Hi records box set (3cd's titled "Hi Times") last year....

    I was hip to Al Green, but when I heard the full spectrum of that label and Willie Mitchell's production, I was blown away. It really freaked me out. Amazing arragements, songs, grooves, and, oh, THE SOUND. The well of soul and R&B music is a deep one, and the more I dig, the more great stuff I find. If I hadn't looked past the AL Green hits, I wouldn't have found this stuff. Hi records, to me, seemed to bridge the gap of really gritty labels like Stax and King with slicker stuff like Motown and Philly Soul.

    Leroy Hodges is largely overlooked along with the others who did those Hi records dates. Just like David Hood, Roger Hawkins, Reggie Young, and Barry Beckett sometimes are for their killer Muscle Shoals (Atlantic) sessions. Roger Hawkins is about the baddest drummer I can think of--the groove is super deep--I never get tired of this music. Checking out all of this stuff is well worth it.
  7. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Supporting Member

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    Corinpills, you forgot to mention that Aretha also recorded some major hits in Muscle Shoals, Alabama with that studio's rythmn section. Their bassist, David Hood, is super tasty. Anyone remember the bass break on the Staple Singers' "I'll Take You There?" David Hood was also one of the first bassists to use an Alembic.
  8. corinpills

    corinpills

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    Actually, you're right. That's where the real magic happened for her- but only on two songs total: "I Never Loved A Man the Way I Love You" and "Do Right Woman"- and on the latter, they only got the basic track down before a big fight ensued and Aretha stormed out and back to NYC. They had to fly the Muscle shoals guys up there to finish it.

    Anybody with Netflix, do yourself a favor and rent Tom Dowd's movie about his recording career. You simply will not believe how such classic recordings were made in such humble settings. All those classic early Ray Charles hits were done in Atlantic's office after hours. Thye used to just move the desks and cut hits.

    People forget that Tommy Dowd was recordng to 8 track about 8 years before everyone else. For a long time, he and Les Paul had the only 8 track machines in existance and then Motown caught up. I'm talking Tom and Les working on 8 tracks by the end of 1959. Amazing.
  9. jerry

    jerry Definitely not trending Gold Supporting Member

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    + 1 on the Tom Dowd documentary! I was always aware of him because his name was on so many of my favorite albums growing up, but that movie blew my mind with all that he accomplished. Too me, he is one of the most important people in recording history.
    Back on topic........+1 also on the High records box!
    A little bit of groove heaven right there.
  10. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Supporting Member

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    This is coming from a generation that doesn't know singles - as in 45 RPM black vinyl!! ;)

    So - when I was growing up - the labels were very clearly defined - so Motown singles had Black labels with gold or silver writing for the logo and Atlantic, for example were very clear with their green and red split label and the Atlantic logo!

    I always preferred Atlantic records, but my sister was a huge Motown fan and had hundreds of singles - at the time I hated her record collection as too 'poppy' and "plastic" - but later I got to like some of those artists - like Isley Brothers and of course Stevie Wonder/Marvin Gaye - nowadays it all sounds great to me, compared to what is produced today!! :)
  11. Woodchuck

    Woodchuck

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    Over here, Motown had blue labels with a map of Detroit on them. Tamla (Stevie Wonder's label under Motown) had brown and yellow labels, and Bhudda (Gladys Knight & the Pips) had a picture of Bhudda against a maroon background. BTW, great call on Willie Mitchell. Also, in that Tom Dowd doc, the section on Ray Charles was fascinating. God, I'm getting old! :help:
  12. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Supporting Member

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    They were all like this in the UK :

    [​IMG]

    Whereas Atlantic all looked like this :

    [​IMG]
  13. jerry

    jerry Definitely not trending Gold Supporting Member

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    We had the bigger center holes in our 45's.:)
  14. Woodchuck

    Woodchuck

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    The Atlantic labels looked the same over here as well. I noticed the Tamla logo on the Euro version.
  15. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Supporting Member

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    I know!! It used to be really annoying when people said they had a rare Amercian import and you couldn't play it on your turntable without one of those silly plastic adapters...:meh:

    But seriously. I thought those were only for jukeboxes...?
  16. IotaNet

    IotaNet Supporting Member

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    Over here, this is what the REAL "Old School" Atlantic labels looked like ...

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    And Bruce, those were absolutely NOT exclusively not for Jukeboxes. That's what all 45's were like in the US.
  17. IotaNet

    IotaNet Supporting Member

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    Don't forget about ...

    * "SOUL" records -- white with the purple side (a la Jr. Walker & The All Stars)
    * "GORDY" records -- burgundy with Gold lettering (a la The Temptations)
    * "RARE EARTH" records -- orange with the weird tree logo (a la "Rare Earth.")
  18. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Supporting Member

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    What did your turntables look like then? Ours just had a thin spindle in the middle...:confused:

    Like this :

    [​IMG]
  19. fretlessrock

    fretlessrock Supporting Member

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    My first turntable rig dated to the late 50's and had a short "manual" spindle, A long "auto-drop" spindle, and a large 45 spindle adapter that linked to the auto drop mech. So I could play any LP on the short spindle manually, or stack LPs or 45's with hub adapters on the long spindle, or stack 45's on the 45 spindle and they would drop one at a time. That was a really nice table that was half dead when I got it for free and my dad helped me fix it up (this was maybe 72-73...). That was a mono rig that we converted to stereo by ripping the guts out of a newer machine with a bad motor.

    The big hole on the 45 was developed, afaik, for auto-load machines and the big hole made it easier to align the handler. The hub on the transfer arm was tapered to give some margin for error on the pickup.
  20. IotaNet

    IotaNet Supporting Member

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    Ours did too.

    To play 45's, you either needed one of these ...

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    or one of these ...

    [​IMG]


    or a whole bunch of these ...
    [​IMG]

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