Brian Wilson/Carol Kaye

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by matty1039, Jun 14, 2016.

  1. matty1039


    Oct 26, 2015
    New Orleans
    Over the weekend I watched the movie Love and Mercy. In one scene Brian Wilson and Carol Kaye are talking about the bass track on a song. She asks him about a part where she is going to play one bass line on the electric and another person is going to play a different bass line on the upright.

    The way she phrased the question made me think the two parts were going to be a harmony of some sort. Is this correct? Can someone explain this? Was this common practice back in the day?
    nixdad likes this.
  2. Remyd


    Apr 2, 2014
    St. Louis, MO
    You mean orchestral? Yes. Some orch pieces have split lines or bass 1/2.

    I do this (in perfect-ish intervals) as a second bassist at a local bluegrass jams because the other bass player wouldn't spit on me if i were on fire. She doesn't even nod to say hi anymore, just glares menacingly.
  3. Biggbass


    Dec 14, 2011
    Planet Earth
    For Wrecking Crew sessions that was fairly common
  4. viper4000


    Aug 17, 2010
    More than likely they were playing the same part, just one on upright and one on EB. To my knowledge, mid 20th century recording did this a lot, specifically in country. You end up with a great deep acoustic tone from the upright, with a nice attack on the lead edge of the note from the EB.

    Specifically here, they may have been playing harmonized notes, maybe a west coast or surf aficionado can jump in here.
    One Drop likes this.
  5. matty1039


    Oct 26, 2015
    New Orleans
    So if bass one were playing a progression in G Major what key would bass two play in?
  6. Remyd


    Apr 2, 2014
    St. Louis, MO
    What's a progression? That sounds fancy. We don't like us nonea that fancy stuff.</bluegrass>
    MasonMinor likes this.
  7. Bass Growler

    Bass Growler

    Jul 10, 2015
    I read on her website that they sometimes even added a 3rd line on the Danelectro bass. For a high clicky type of sound.
    I can only imagine the look on our poor guitar player's faces if I brought in 2 additional bass players! :D
  8. matty1039


    Oct 26, 2015
    New Orleans
    If I'm playing DUM dum DUM dum and so on what would the other bassist be playing? :smug:
    ThePresident777 likes this.
  9. jasmangan


    Jul 13, 2008
    I think do WACKA do WACKA
    might cover it
  10. Remyd


    Apr 2, 2014
    St. Louis, MO
    Well, fancy stuff, obviously. Octaves, passing tones, a silly little fill, the melody, anything I can think of to get a glare from the old-timers.
  11. They used two basses in "Billie Jean" by MJ. Just so you know it can be done.
    matty1039 likes this.
  12. matty1039


    Oct 26, 2015
    New Orleans
    Does one play the melody and the other play more chord progression stuff? I'll have to go back and check it out.
  13. Excellent film...I was fortunate to attend a screening also attended by Brian and Melinda and the films producers who stayed for a Q&A following the showing. As to the part you mention when Carol mentions to Brian that her bass and the upright part were written in two different keys was intended to show that Brian wasn't constrained by conventional rules as he stated something like..."but that's whats in my head"...I don't recall if that exchange was directed at a specific tune, but rather a reflection of Brians creative process in his productions...
    Fxpmusic, SirMjac28 and matty1039 like this.
  14. matty1039


    Oct 26, 2015
    New Orleans
    You are absolutely right SoCal1. I guess I was more interested in the technical side of that scene rather than what the story teller was trying to convey. A conversation between the two of them carries a different weight when you know their music chops versus the average movie goer.

    That was a good movie. I don't think I ever paid attention to the cellos in Good Vibrations before, but now they are as clear as day.

    I was just curious for more information on two bass tracks and how the basses interacted with each other. I know Spector did that but I always assumed the basses were playing the same thing to get a bigger sound, a wall of sound if you will.
    One Drop and SoCal1 like this.
  15. ahc


    Jul 31, 2009
    No. Virginia
    For another example Lou Reed's "Walk on the Wild Side" has two bass parts. Herbie Flowers played both electric and double bass on that track. Not at the same time though, I'm ASSuming. :)
  16. Motown experimented with two basses on some tracks...Some with Jamerson and Bob Babbitt, and a few with Jamerson and Tony Newton. Babbitt had stated that they really didn't come off well and sounded quite muddy...I suppose it could have something to do with Motowns recording equiptment and engineers just used to doing things a certain way, not conducive to certain types of recording innovation...or perhaps the parts were not written to emphasize the separation necessary for achieve good sonic quality???
  17. Yes...please refer to my above post regarding Motowns experiments...The Wrecking Crew often used two electric with Kaye or Osborn, and Lyle Ritz, Ray Pohlman or Chuck Berghofer often adding an upright part...I don't recall any of the specific tunes, but they did many like that.

    I also found the cello story on Good Vibrations quite interesting...
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2016
    nixdad and ET777 like this.
  18. SirMjac28

    SirMjac28 Patiently Waiting For The Next British Invasion

    Aug 25, 2010
    The Great Midwest
    I would love a movie about her life a woman of her status in today's music is still a rarity I always found her fascinating.
  19. Atshen


    Mar 13, 2003
    Grim Cold Québec
    Garret Graves and nixdad like this.
  20. matty1039


    Oct 26, 2015
    New Orleans
    When we were watching the movie I tried to tell me wife about Carol Kaye. I don't think she was as excited as I was. A woman very much holding her own in a man's world. A Carol Kaye movie would be great.

    I was on youtube one day and came across a video that had "Victor Wooten and some old lady at NAMM." Half the comments were along the lines of "he is so nice talking to that grandma" but at least someone chimed and said "That is Carol Kaye, she is probably teaching Victor Wooten something."
    Polk Salad, blkpwdr, 99Z3 and 10 others like this.
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