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Motown Suggestions

Discussion in 'Recordings [BG]' started by Andy On Bass, Sep 26, 2005.

  1. Andy On Bass

    Andy On Bass

    Sep 10, 2005
    I've really gotten in to Motown recently and was wondering if you guys could make me some recomendations to check out. I've got Marvin Gaye: The Love Songs, and thats about it, apart from that I've just had to nick a few of my dads CD's! Any suggestions are much appreciated!

  2. dougjwray


    Jul 20, 2005
    Well, if you're mainly interested in Motown because of the mighty James Jamerson, I'd say you could simply get any large box set or other compilation of Motown hits. They've been repackaged, reissued, reconstituted and recycled zillions of times. I say this because Motown was a hit-making machine and most of the original albums were collections of hits, plus filler. By getting a box set, you can hear the great Jamerson sufficiently (and he is not to be missed, BTW).
    If you're more interested in great Motown albums, that is, unified works of art, I'd start with Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On" and move on to Stevie Wonder's amazing run of masterpieces from 1972-1976: "Talking Book", "Innervisions", "Fulfillingness' First Finale" and "Songs in the Key of Life." The only thing is, Jamerson played on almost all of "What's Going On", but none of the Stevie Wonder titles just mentioned. But those are great from a bass perspective, anyway (Stevie's left hand is unbelievable).
    Anyone else?
  3. Loel

    Loel Blazin' Acadian

    Oct 31, 2004
    i'd suggest "hitsville usa" box set 1959 to 1971 prolly the best complete collection available.always on ebay :)
  4. cowsgomoo

    cowsgomoo gone to Longstanton Spice Museum

    Feb 8, 2003
    the bit between 49 and 52 seconds on 'What's Happening Brother' (2nd track on Marvin Gaye's 'What's Going On') is my favorite bit of Jamerson ever :)

    the way he drops down to the major 3rd below gets me every time... if you ever need to do a Jamerson impersonation that's one of the key things to throw in (see Chuck Rainey on 'Kid Charlemagne') :bassist:
  5. bucephylus

    bucephylus Supporting Member Commercial User

    Aug 18, 2002
    General Manager TecPadz LLC
    1) Hitsville USA
    2) Standing in the Shadows of Motown Book/CD (Transcriptions of Jamerson's lines by Slutzky(Dr. Licks))
    3) Standing in the Shadows of Motown DVD (devotional)

    That should cover it.

    The individual albums are also interesting, because they would often cover tunes already gone gold for another artist. Jamerson & Co. would come up with something new. There wasn't much those cats did that wasn't amazing.
  6. Andy On Bass

    Andy On Bass

    Sep 10, 2005
    Thanks for the suggestions guys! Much appreciated. If anyone has anymore to add then please feel free to do so :).
  7. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    I second the SITSOM book/cds...that should give you a sampling of what's out there.

    What's Going On is a masterpiece of '70s R&B/Pop...the Temptations Psychedelic Shack is up there, too.

    The Stevie Wonder albums mentioned by Doug are great.

    ...and laugh if you want-
    The early Jackson 5 albums(Diana Ross Presents, ABC, Third Album, Maybe Tomorrow) are some of my favourites.
    ABC & Third Album were 2 of my 1st 5 'real' albums(the other 3 being Santana's Abraxas, The Doors' Waiting For The Sun & Led Zep's III).
  8. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    I agree with all the early Jackson Five catalog! There is some serious bass playing to be had there! "I Wanna Be Where You Are" = Seriously Funky!! That chromatic-like run in the chorus section of "Mama's Pearl"! It's so simple but who woulda thought to play a run like that!!
  9. bucephylus

    bucephylus Supporting Member Commercial User

    Aug 18, 2002
    General Manager TecPadz LLC
    Laugh?! You've gotta be kidding. Those are excellent albums, with lots of great songwriting and bass lines irrespective of one's position on the lead singer.

    That stuff may have been considered bubble gum in its time, but I'd much rather play that catalog all day long than some of the other "Funk" pieces that are popular. For example, the cover band I'm working with wants to pick up this tune "You Dropped a Bomb on Me." I'm really struggling with whether I try to make something musical out of it, or just lay out and let the keyboard player cover the "bass line." Ouch.
  10. bucephylus

    bucephylus Supporting Member Commercial User

    Aug 18, 2002
    General Manager TecPadz LLC
    That line is so good, that it is one of the few pieces that merits reading right off the actual transcription at the gig like it was Bach or something. I know that isn't in the spirit of the music, but the line is so great that it falls right in that way. The Gladys Knight Grapevine is the same way.

    For the individual albums, one that lived on my studio CD player for a while was "Supremes A-Go-Go;" one great bass line after another.
  11. Andy On Bass

    Andy On Bass

    Sep 10, 2005
    Nothing wrong with a bit of the Jackson 5 :p! Seems like I should definately check some Stevie Wonder out, thanks for all the other suggestions too!