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Phil Upchurch On Bass

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by xsogol, May 27, 2005.

  1. I've read that John Paul Jones was influenced by Phil Upchurch, who I've seen as mainly a guitarist....what songs does Phil Upchurch play bass on? If anyone can fill me (us) in, it would be greatly appreciated!!! :bassist:
  2. DaveBeny


    Mar 22, 2000
    London, UK
    I think that Phil Upchurch plays bass on some of George Benson's albums on the CTI label from the early '70s. JimK may know which ones.
  3. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    The very 1st Jazz album I ever bought with my own money was CTI's Bad Benson by George Benson. Upchurch's rhythm guitar on that record was killin'....Upchurch did play electric bass on Side 2's "Full Compass". Very cool part, though, I would not say the tone blew me away.
    Regarding Breezin', I always think of Stanley Banks as the primary bassist. Could be possible that Upchurch plays bass on "6 to 4"...maybe?
  4. leanne


    May 29, 2002
    Rochester, NY
    No kidding? I had no idea, that's great!

    Upchurch also plays bass on a Buddy Guy tune called "Keep it to Myself." It sounded so cool to me when I first heard it, I ran out and bought flatwound strings that same day!

    He's recorded bass on Muddy Waters albums, (I think) Howlin Wolf, and Grover Washington--I am pretty sure he is on Mister Magic.
  5. DaveBeny


    Mar 22, 2000
    London, UK
    Upchurch was part of the "house band" at Chess Records in the late '60s, but was one of the two guitarists (Pete Cosey being the other). Louis Satterfield was the bassist on those psychadelic Muddy Waters and Howlin Wolf albums etc.
  6. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    I pulled out "Full Compass" this morning...man.

    Here's what I have for the 1st phrase-
    (All Triplets, start on the "&" of Beat 1)
    l-&a 2&a 3&a 4&al1&a 2&a 3&a 4_-l

    l-BD C#FAb GBD C#AbFlF#A#C# CEG F#F#EF#_-l

    This can be practiced as an etude-
    "Easier" to maybe see it & finger it as clusters of 3 notes-
    B-D-C# Played on the E & A strings using a 4-2-1 pattern with the fretting hand
    F-Ab-G Played on the A & D strings using a 4-2-1
    B-D-C# Played on the D & G strings using a 4-2-1

    The initial B is on the 7th fret/E-string; the D & C# are on the A string
    >the 2nd group of 3 notes are 1 fret up using the A & D
    >>the 3rd group of 3 notes are 1 fret up using the D & G

    So it moves from B-F-B...tritones?

    Same goes for the triads-
    F#-A#-C# uses the A & D strings
    >F# is played at the 9th fret/A string(fretting hand fingers = 2-1-4)

    C-E-G uses the D & G strings
    >C is played 1 fret up at the 10th fret(fretting hand fingers = 2-1-4)

    Moves from F#/Gb to C

    ...and the tempo is, uh, quick-quick!
  7. Thanks for the tips guys! I figured I'd re-open this thread as I'm still curious which recordings I can find Mr. Upchurch playing a 4 string. :hyper:
  8. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    Upchurch played bass in the studio with many Chicago acts outside the Chess roster...I have some old LPs by folksinger Bonnie Koloc that he's on.
  9. Mojo-Man


    Feb 11, 2003
    Phil's on Howl'n Wolf's London Sessions.
    Fine groove player.
    jerry likes this.
  10. Lo.


    Jan 29, 2005
    NW UK
    Go to Allmusic.com, search him out and check his credits - Lot's of great blues albums in the 60's and 70's.

    There's also Bill Upchurch - a Motown session player - I wonder if it's the same guy, or related...
  11. Lo.


    Jan 29, 2005
    NW UK
    "Cold Sweat" on "Darkness, Darkness" album - Phil Upchurch

    Harvey Mason & Chuck Rainey

    Just heard for first time.

  12. nolaguy


    Jun 27, 2011
    Check out his work with Little Milton on Chess Records- Jamerson on steroids.
    JimK and gbrooding like this.
  13. berlihe


    Jan 16, 2014
    I know it's crazy to bump this thread, but I'm a big fan of Phil's bass playing, and one great album to check it out is Brother Jack McDuff's "The Heatin' System" (the 1972 double LP, not the '90s CD, which is a different album). He plays great electric bass on six tracks, and you get Sam Jones on upright for the other two!
    markjazzbassist and JimK like this.
  14. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    Glad you bumped. I have forgotten how to play "Full Compass".
    Nice to know I used to know it...in 2005?!?!

    Bob_Ross and berlihe like this.
  15. berlihe


    Jan 16, 2014
    The catalogue of songs I've half-learned and then fully forgotten is long! Phil can also be seen (and heard) playing bass in this live version of "Breezin'," although the best part of the video is the weird faces and gestures Chick Corea makes at Benson!

    JimK and markjazzbassist like this.
  16. Michedelic

    Michedelic MId-Century Modern

  17. jerry

    jerry Doesn't know BDO Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 13, 1999
    When I was a kid this might have been the first album I saw his name on, he's only on this track but the grease on this song always stuck with me.
    JimK likes this.
  18. Bob_Ross

    Bob_Ross Supporting Member

    Dec 29, 2012
    That’s Phil?!?! Crap, when I first saw that clip (which was only a couple months ago) I could’ve sworn that was Stanley Banks!

    (I’m almost positive Phil played bass on the original studio recording of “Breezin’” ...emphasis on almost.)
  19. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    Just looked at the liners on Breezin'...Upchurch on bass for "Breezin'" & "6 To 4".
    Bob_Ross likes this.
  20. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    I have seen Benson/Banks doing "Breezin'" more than Benson/Upchurch.
    I also thought the Downbeat Award concert was with Banks. Weird.

    Here's one from the UK's Old Grey Whistle Test-
    Bob_Ross likes this.

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