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Carol Kaye Threads (meerged)

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by rob_d, Jul 16, 2001.


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  1. rob_d

    rob_d

    Jun 14, 2001
    I've been reading alot about James Jamerson lately and was surprised to find all this stuff about Carol Kaye claiming she played many of the Motown hits that were credited to him. Even with loads of evidence and witnesses that point to Jamerson indeed being the player she still says she's the one that played those parts. What's with this woman? Is she completely mad and delusional? And why would she risk her reputation to make these claim? Just curious what anybody else knows or has to say about this.
     
  2. mchildree

    mchildree Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2000
    AL/GA
    After having read much about this situation myself, I still remain unconvinced either way, but I tend to lean in favor of the Jamerson-defense camp based on the facts that they're able to cite and "eye-witness" accounts of who played on which tracks.

    However, I don't view Carole Kaye as trying to be deceptive in any way...I just think she might be mistaken, although she's claimed to have kept detailed records of her sessions. Experts on both sides claim to be able to hear the tracks and know for certain who the bassist was. It's a big mess that may not ever be straightened out.

    After all is said-n-done, though, I don't see the point in degrading either player's rep with claims that they're trying to "steal" the credits of the other. Jamerson isn't alive to defend himself and although I don't care for Ms. Kaye's attitude sometimes, I can't really visualize her as the Mad Session Credit Thief, wringing her hands in evil glee as she plans her next plagiarism....mwhahahahahahahaah..... Nahhhh........
     
  3. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    This controversy has blown up way out of proportion over time.

    It is a documented fact that Motown cut rhythm tracks in LA as well as Detroit. Kaye has union pay records showing she played on some of these sessions. The mystery is whether the tracks were actually used for the recordings that were released (it's not unusual that parts originally recorded get replaced or mixed out of the final record).

    The controversy is based mainly on the recorded evidence, namely that some recordings Carol claims to have played on just sound too much like Jamerson (i.e.fingerstyle not pick style).

    Both Kaye and Jamerson were just "hired hands" at the time. We may think of them as great artists (hey, we DO play bass, eh?) but they were just paid to show up and play on the session. Motown did not credit players on recordings in the 60s because it wasn't deemed important.

    So here we are over 30 years later wondering who DID play on "Bernadette". In the grand scheme of things it really doesn't matter.
     
  4. jazzbo

    jazzbo

    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    Well, I will don't have any doubt in my mind about that particular track, but I should mention that there have previously been threads here debating this topic. I would check the archives for some other discussions. I know that there is one such thread in Dann Glenn's old forum.

    There has never been a definitive answer, but I have read good arguments for one particular side. But what can I say, I'm a fanatic for one of those individuals. ;)
     
  5. I have to wonder what Carol Kaye has to gain by all this. There doesn't seem to be any definitive documentation either way so it's always going to come down to opinions and 'he said, she said' type accusations. Really, Carol Kaye's career is going to stand on it's own whether or not she officially gets credit for songs originally thought to be played by Jamerson.

    The perceived bottom line isn't that Carol Kaye is trying to claim credit where credit's due, she's instead going against the legacy of one of music's greatest pioneering bass players. Again, I don't know what she can gain from all this. It seems to me she would be better off just letting it go.
     
  6. Wow Jazzbo, didn't know you were such a Carol Kaye fan... :D

    Isn't this old news? Or is Carol Kaye still attempting to set the record, at least her version of it, straight?
     
  7. This argument seems to raise it's ugly head every now and then. I admire both Carol Kaye and James Jamerson - they're both fine musicians, but I've never heard James Jamerson play anything other than Motown - I'm assuming that he did, but the Motown stuff is what he's become famous for - anyone clue me in on this please?

    On the other hand, I've heard CK playing all sorts of stuff with some pretty heavy jazz cats, and she certainly has the chops... She's a darned good teacher as well...

    I've read about the claims, and I really don't think it matters - not to me anyway.

    - Wil
     
  8. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
    Sure, it's old news for some... and new for others.

    Some people really get worked up about it.
     
  9. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    That's my whole point.

    WHO CARES.

    Might as well just pass this one over to Scully and Mulder to work on :)

    Now, let's go argue over whether David Gilmour or Roger Waters played the bass parts on all those Pink Floyd albums :eek:
     
  10. JimK

    JimK

    Dec 12, 1999
    ...well, for starters, Jamerson's surviving family(which includes his Motown 'family' AND fans!). ;)

    My mind has been made up on this 'controversy' for a long time; IMHO, Jamerson's bass playing is steeped more into an upright vibe...his grooves are based on improvisation & surprise, his rhythms & note choices were daring(a little 'outside' even).
    IMO, they sound as though he was playin' them the for the FIRST time.

    Kaye's lines, IMHO, sound more REHEARSED; they sound more 'consistent'(ie, lacking surprise). She's a guitarist(Jamerson played URB)...her tone on 'her' hits(that are definitely her)is much different than what I'm hearing on "Bernadette" or "I Was Made To Love Her".
    One of the 'funkier' tunes I've heard by Kaye is "Hikky-Burr" from Quincy Jones' Smackwater Jack album.
    IMHO, the person that played that 'funk' ain't the same player who played on those disputed Motown hits...
     
  11. lister423

    lister423

    Jul 4, 2001
    A book by researcher Russ Wapensky should be out later this year and will probably shed a lot more light on the subject. He is doing exhaustive research of L. A. recording studios, studio logs and union contracts of the L. A. local.

    You may be surprised, especially those of you who have swallowed Slutsky's "proof" whole. It may or may not establish Ms. Kaye has having played on every song she claims, but I expect that it will shed a lot more light on Motown's activities in L. A. that almost no one else knew about.
     
  12. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
    Not trying to be funny... what are you basing your expectations on?

    Here's a thought: any idea how many players actually worked on a single Steely Dan album back in the day? Any idea how many actually made it to wax?

    The public heard the final cuts, not the preliminary or demo ones. Will that be reflected?
     
  13. lister423

    lister423

    Jul 4, 2001
    I have no expectations that the matter will be settled for good. I do expect that the records will show much more than we have seen to date. I guess we'll just have to see.
     
  14. mchildree

    mchildree Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2000
    AL/GA
    Carole, is that you???
     
  15. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    He did some recording and touring in LA in the mid 70s after Motown shut down the Detroit studios.

    One recording he's on from that period is "From Every Stage", a live album by Joan Baez :eek:
     
  16. lister423

    lister423

    Jul 4, 2001
    Very cute. No, I'm not even a friend of Carol's. But I'm definitely not Bob Lee!
     
  17. JimK

    JimK

    Dec 12, 1999
    I don't believe anyone is disputing Carol Kaye's LA work...IMmostHO, the stuff she's claiming is blatantly the DETROIT stuff.
     
  18. JimK

    JimK

    Dec 12, 1999
    That's true, Brad...I forget the tale of how many guitar whizzes made a stab at doing the solo on "Peg"(Lukather, Ritenour, Carlton, Dias, Landau, etc?). Jay Graydon finally 'got it'; I don't hear the others claiming it was their solo, though...then again, Graydon is still alive & kickin'. ;)
     
  19. lister423

    lister423

    Jul 4, 2001
    But she's claiming that it was done in L.A. And whether or not she is vindicated on particular songs she has claimed, she is not the only person to claim that Motown did lots more in L.A. than most people realize. That's why I think this book will be so interesting.
     
  20. jazzbo

    jazzbo

    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    Most people don't really realize that Motown did anything in that era in LA, so to say that Motown did lots more in LA than most people realize, could really even equate to 2 songs. KnawutImeen?
     



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