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2019 thesis: The Carol Kaye/James Jamerson controversy

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by design, Nov 14, 2019.

  1. blacktocomm


    Feb 19, 2013
    Good read.
  2. Cowboy in Latvia

    Cowboy in Latvia

    Mar 1, 2015
    Interesting, if a bit biased in writing style. Thanks for sharing.
  3. DirtDog


    Jun 7, 2002
    Read it end to end. Well researched.

    It would be interesting if machine learning could be trained on “known good” Jamerson and Kaye recordings - attempting to isolate the bass tracks - and then applied to the disputed cases.
    Glenn Johnson, equill, whero and 9 others like this.
  4. THE SAW


    Sep 14, 2006
    Dirt-Dog: or a fingerprint of the basses being used. Even if the actual instruments are gone, the program could refer back to recordings.
  5. lowdownthump


    Jul 17, 2004
    Thanks for posting this.
    Quite informative .
    Glenn Johnson, design and Pbassmanca like this.
  6. Thank you for posting this. It will take a few reads to draw an opinion, but it looks like well researched data.
  7. A great share, thank you! A very well-researched, plausible, and sensible take on this old debate.
  8. 405BassGuy


    Jul 15, 2019
    Great article; thanks for posting. All I can say is that I'm grateful for all of the wonderful bass work performed by both Kaye & Jamerson.
  9. Wisebass


    Jan 12, 2017
    Lost in Space
    Hi design :)

    You should! :D:laugh:

    thx for sharing :thumbsup:

    Glenn Johnson, nixdad, design and 2 others like this.
  10. Drucifer

    Drucifer Not currently practicing Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 20, 2009
    Houston Heights, Texas
    Disclosure: I am not a great bass player
    Very interesting, great read, thank you.
  11. Oddly

    Oddly Supporting Member

    Jan 17, 2014
    Dublin, Ireland.
    It is a good read and seems well-researched.

    As @405BassGuy says, let's just be thankful for both of them.
    At this stage, I doubt anyone can 100% say who played on what of the disputed songs, and really, does it matter?

    Clearly guys like Berry Gordy made the money from the musicians' work, and did so in ways that certainly stretched the definition of legality.
  12. RattleSnack

    RattleSnack Supporting Member

    Sep 22, 2011
    Interesting read, thank you.
    I remember reading on Bob Babbits web site his story about the times in Motown studios. It has lots of resemblance with Kays. He was called to copy Jamersons style, when he was too drunk to play. He said that James even threatened him with loaded gun once when he came to studio late night and found Bob recording bass.
    Who knows, maybe there were times when James recorded drunk, and someone else than re-recorded his part? Impossible to know... Yeah, there's a story that one evening Marvin Gay went looking for James through bars, found him and draged him back to studio to record What's going on. James was so drunk, he was laying down and playing.
    Edit: Here's Bobs tale.
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2019
  13. Good read.
  14. LoTone

    LoTone Clean as an Entwistle... Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 4, 2010
    Quebec, Canada
    It is quite an interesting read but it does not solve the age old debate. How many songs credited to Jamerson were actually recorded by Bob Babbitt? :roflmao:
  15. ElMon

    ElMon Supporting Member

    May 30, 2004
    Oklahoma City, OK
    Seems to me ... when comparing Bob Babbitt/Carol Kaye/James Jamerson ...

    If you have the ears/put in the time to study each player/take all of the bias out of it ...

    You couldn't possibly confuse the one for the other.

    Bob Babbitt/Carol Kaye: perfectly-serviceable players that had a career I'll never get close enough to get a whiff at, but stylistically nothing that remarkable. Just getting the job done/playing what is the most foundational bass line to enhance the songs. My own studies/reading/personal experience tells me that the Babbitts/Kayes of the world will work in more musical situations. B-A-S-E playing.

    IMO James Jamerson was possessed with a singular feel/sound that can't be duplicated. An absolute genius of the instrument. In a completely different league. Sorry Carol ... not even close. Still love what she does on the instrument.

    Take that you dead horse.
  16. kesslari

    kesslari Groovin' with the Fusion Cats Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2007
    Santa Cruz Mtns, California
    Lark in the Morning Instructional Videos; Audix Microphones
    Very biased writing style just in the first bits - Jamerson's "acolytes" deeming CK's participation claims as "blasphemous". The conclusion that CK played on "as many as 5 Top 40 hits" should surprise no one.
  17. What does this even mean? Based on what you wrote, if you listened to The Temptations' "My Girl," who would you think recorded it?
  18. Copperhead

    Copperhead Still creakin' around. Supporting Member

    Jul 29, 2018
    Glenn Johnson likes this.
  19. jnewmark

    jnewmark Just wanna play the groove. Supporting Member

    Aug 31, 2006
    Stax 1966
    Third St. Cigar Records staff musician.
    I'm kind of on this side of the debate. As someone who started playing music " in the shadows of Motown " ( I live 50 miles from Detroit ), I had Motown music on the radio ( CKLW ) constantly and even saw Jamerson play once. I had all the records ( singles ). I listened to those bass parts over and over again, relentlessly. Jamerson had a funky, bouncy, percussive style that just jumped out of those records; he was more " street ". Carol Kaye had a more urban, almost refined way of playing pop songs ( I'm not putting it down ), that almost sounded " pretty " in comparison. No doubt, she is probably the most recorded bass guitar player in history, with tons of hits and acclaim. But, as far as Motown goes, if you study it a lot, I don't see how you could confuse the style of Jamerson with Kaye. I have a harder time with Jamerson and Babbit.

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