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American Idol - Ricky Minor on Motown Night -- Not so great.

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by funkytoe, Mar 26, 2009.


  1. funkytoe

    funkytoe Supporting Member

    Jan 17, 2008
    Northern California
    Gotta say, I was really hoping for some great performances from the band on Motown night last night. In the end, I was really disappointed -- especially with Ricky Minor's bass playing. I know he loves his Sadowsky, but couldn't he put flats on it? His tone was midrangy with no fundamental. Totally wrong for Motown imo.

    The only song I thought he really excelled on was Adam's acoustic version of Tracks of My Tears. Finally, that big doghouse bass produced the deep round tone I associate with Motown.

    Anyone else have this reaction?
     
  2. Ed Goode

    Ed Goode Jersey to Georgia Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Nov 4, 2004
    Acworth, GA
    Endorsing Artist: FBB Bass Works
    I've always thought Mr. Minor was a gifted musician, but I've not particularly cared for his playing on American Idol, ever. I don't think it has so much to do with gear as it does with the way he plays on this particular show. When I see him in other non-Idol settings his tone and his playing are, IMO, markedly different than what he does on American Idol.

    Again, to be clear, this guy has a butt-load of talent and is obviously at the top of his game. No disrespect intended towards him, believe me .... :cool:
     
  3. While that whole show kind of grosses me out in general (the few times I've suffered through a few performances, for the most part, they were out of tune caterwallin':rollno:), the idea of having to use flats, etc. on Motown tunes makes no sense to me.

    It's 2009! Those are wonderful old songs, but there is very little glory in trying to cop that tone at this point, just because that's how they were cut 40+ years ago.

    If you dig that tone, that's obviously cool. However, I see NOTHING wrong with making the sound and feel of those tunes a little more contemporary. Otherwise, it's just 'oldies nostalgia'.

    IMO, of course.
     
  4. kirkm24

    kirkm24

    Jan 1, 2007
    Columbus, Ohio
    He makes more money than me or you playing bass (presumably). I might not like everything he does but I'm jealous of his talent and his gig. Session players always amaze me.

    As far as tone goes, it's always personal preference. No one cares about that stuff except other bass players and musicians unless it is just completely out of whack and sticks out like a sore thumb.

    If I had a Sadowsky with rusty, 30 year old strings, I would still be happy to play it.
     
  5. funkytoe

    funkytoe Supporting Member

    Jan 17, 2008
    Northern California

    Sorry, I must disagree. What is the point of having a "MOTOWN" night, if you do not intend to honor that great Funk Bros. vibe? Without that deep fundamental bass, it all collapses. Sure, reinterpret the songs -- show some musicianship -- but don't lose the FUNK. Where were the ghost notes? The chromatic passing tones? I KNOW Mr. Minor can play his a.. off. So where was the JAMERSON? In the words of Randy Jackson, "It just didn't work for me Dawg."
     
  6. Nino Valenti

    Nino Valenti Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 2, 2001
    Staten Island NYC
    Builder: Valenti Basses
    Why have a live band. They could just take the original tracks of the motown recording and have the Idols really be a Karaoke band.

    I watched 1/2 of it before I fell asleep (Tivoed it and started it at about 11PM) and I thought the band sounded great.

    The contestants get flack when they try to copy the song exactly and that they should try to make it their own. Copying the exact MoTown sound is opposite to that.
     
  7. I again understand your point and disagree with you completely. Per Nino's comment, why be stuck in the past. I just don't get that at all. Why would a world class bassist want to play somebody else's style, tone and part 40 years later?
     
  8. I confess to never having watched the show, so I was out of the loop on Ricky Minor even being involved. My greatest recollection of him was at a Miles Davis concert (JVC jazz festival) back in '91. He and Ricky Wellman on drums were just amazing and that show had a huge impact on me. Obviously I lost track of him sometime between then and 2005ish. :D

    So...this thread got me to do a google search to watch some action from the Motown Night show. Color me crazy, but I thought the band sounded really good. Of course, I play a lot of Motown stuff in a few different groups and none of the rhythm section members...or singers for that matter, tend to interpret timbre as strictly as we do the notes themselves. I believe Teddy Campbell is the drummer in the Idol band? I suppose if there is criticism aimed at Ricky Minor, we should consider Cambell's interpretations against Benny Benjamin or Uriel Jones. For that matter, I didn't hear a whole lotta' Joe Messina or Earl Van Dyke either. :)

    Not tryin' to stir anything...just sayin'. :ninja: :bassist:
     
  9. Well, Jamerson is dead and gone. While he left a great legacy, I'm more than happy to see Ricky do his own thing.
     
  10. testing1two

    testing1two Supporting Member

    Feb 25, 2009
    Southern California
    Remember this is a television show designed to showcase vocalists to a predominantly younger audience. Ricky knows how to do his job and play to this audience. Also remember he is the MD not just the bass player. Having worked with him on many shows I can tell you that much more of his time is spent putting all the logistical pieces together than crafting intricate bass lines. He gets so busy at times that he has a stand-in play many of his rehearsals.

    He's a very good bass player but he realized a long time ago that famous bass players don't get paid nearly as much as bandleaders/MD's or producers in the case of Randy Jackson. I'm sure he knows all the Jamerson phrases and probably has a P-bass with flatwounds hanging somewhere in his studio. But that's not what the Idol gig is about. Sadly, that crowd would probably be more at home with Micheal McDonald's Motown sacrilege than anything that came out of The Snake Pit.
     
  11. JTE

    JTE Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2008
    Central Illinois, USA
    It's AI. If it was really about music, Jennifer Hudson and Melissa Doolittle would have been the first place winners, not the bland "let's sound like someone else" singers who do win. Plus, the sound is for TV, not for musicians.

    One thing, the OP says he's disappointed in Minor's playing, but he spends most of his post whining that the tone isn't what HE wants to hear. First, that's got little to do with the PLAYING, and second, that's not really an issue. The show is about the SINGERS, not the band, nor even the music.

    Well, actually the show's about the way the judges interact with the contestants, and the drivel the TV audience thinks is "singing".

    jte
     
  12. Sounbwoy

    Sounbwoy Supporting Member

    Aug 29, 2005
    Clayton, NC
    The show is about the singers, not the band. Aside from some of us bassies, no one even cares whether he's using flats or roundwounds
     
  13. jerry

    jerry Doesn't know BDO Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 13, 1999
    I've never seen the show but, put me down in the that-was-then-this-is-now catagory when it comes to strings.;)
     
  14. funkytoe

    funkytoe Supporting Member

    Jan 17, 2008
    Northern California
    OK. I hope my comments don't come off as "whiney." But AI built last night up as "Motown night." The show opened with a tour of the Hitsville studio in Detroit led by Berry Gordy and Smokey Robinson. What does that have to do with singing? If you want to do a show featuring MOTOWN, then give people a little MOTOWN!!

    Nor did I say Minor played poorly. His playing was fine. It was his midrangy tone and lack of any Jamerson-esque technique that left me disappointed. Clearly Minor must know and love Jamerson as many of us do. This was a great opportunity to really put some funk in AI. I wish he would have given us a little more.
     
  15. LilRay

    LilRay Commercial User

    Dec 27, 2007
    Between my Roscoe and Leather
    Owner: Cockeyed Cow Custom Leathercraft
    +1 Other than us dorky bassist, I bet 99% couldn't tell the difference between rounds and flats anyway.

    Long Live Jamerson's soul and feel. Copping the rest of the Motown sound is the easy part.

    God Bless. R.:)
     
  16. mcm

    mcm

    Oct 2, 2007
    Nashville, TN
    Put on a Free album and forget about Am. Idol.
     
  17. i saw some of the show, but turned it off. what is sad, is the fact that in the paper today, i read that uriel jones passed away........another funk brother gone..................
     
  18. JTE

    JTE Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2008
    Central Illinois, USA
    How do you reconcile that with saying "Nor did I say Minor played poorly." That's why I made the comments I made- your post says you were disappointed with his playing, then you say that you didn't say that...

    I'm confused...

    The thing is however, that I'd rather hear Ricky Minor play HIMSELF when he's covering Motown than merely regurgitate Jamerson. James ain't here, and the reason he was great is because he wasn't copping other electric bassists' sound or style. Like Monk said "A genius is the one most like himself." Did he play the lines well, did the band sound good backing up some people who probably don't have much clue about what Gladys Knight, Mavin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Levi Stubbs, et. al. were about?

    jte
     
  19. Buogon

    Buogon

    Feb 2, 2009
    New Jersey
    Ricky Minor is a great Bass Player as well as Bandleader, first off trying to play a motown gig is a job it's self let alone trying to capture the Jamerson vibe.
    The concept of the show is to showcase the singers and get judged by the panel and the voters, not the band. As far as flats on his bass not a issue, if they did a beatles night do you expect him to sound like Paul McCartney and play a Hofner ?
     
  20. funkytoe

    funkytoe Supporting Member

    Jan 17, 2008
    Northern California
    He can play whatever bass he wants. But, yes, if its "Beatle's night" I expect him to sound like Paul McCartney.

    Is that so much to ask? Will Lee has been doing it for years. (not just McCartney, but any bassist whose songs were featured.)
     

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