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The Blockheads (Norman Watt-Roy) Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by Dr. Cheese, May 1, 2021.

  1. I actually went through an Ian Dury and Norman Watt Roy appreciation phase just a few weeks ago and worked on this :)
    kobass, Oddly, bholder and 1 other person like this.
  2. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    Me either. Very different vibes. Watt-Roy brings the funk. Jaco was always too busy just being Jaco. ;)
    bobyoung53 and Durham52 like this.
  3. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    Yep. Watt-Roy played an Alembic and JB. Never once saw him with a MM.
  4. smart51


    Dec 11, 2019
    The guy on sax was always the unsung hero of that song. Very few people can pull off a bisaxual solo.
  5. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    I saw the video of him on the Alembic, and he did sound great.
    Happy Face likes this.
  6. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    If Rahsaan Roland Kirk were still here, he would say “hold my non-alcoholic beer.”
  7. Stan_da_man


    Aug 29, 2006
    Phaidrus and Todd Hamby like this.
  8. The only confirmed is Magnificent Seven. Watching Simonon flub his way through that song live on the many occasions that I saw them was truly painful.
    getbent and Todd Hamby like this.
  9. Phaidrus


    Oct 25, 2009
    I am almost certain Watt-Roy plays bass on this number too. I've never seen or heard Simonon slap (3:15 onward on this vid). And there's some Jacoesque feel in the bassline too.

    Last edited: May 2, 2021
  10. Konza


    Jun 16, 2013
    A forum where a Norman Watt-Roy thread is on its fourth page the first day is a forum I'm proud to be on.

    I already had and loved the first album when I saw them open for Lou Reed, but I wasn't prepared for how great they were live. Wouldn't trade it for anything.

    The juice of a carrot, the smile of a parrot, a little drop of claret...Ian Dury was a clever bastard.
    Todd Hamby, Oddly and SteveCS like this.

  11. This is a great thread.
    kobass and Konza like this.
  12. I think that's Mick Jones on guitar. The bass sounds like Simonon. It doesn't sound like a bass at all. Some people think he played on Rock The Casbah. But Topper apparently swears up and down that it's him.
  13. Phaidrus


    Oct 25, 2009
    He explicitly states that Watt-Roy played bass on Magnificent Seven and that he wrote the bassline (along most other parts) to Rock the Casbah; he doesn't mention who played bass on it though.

    GregC and Todd Hamby like this.
  14. You must mean 'he' as in Topper, not Norman, because that's what he said in the beginning. 'Gay' LOL.
  15. Phaidrus


    Oct 25, 2009
    Indeed, "he" as in Topper himself. Yes, some of his comments are hilarious.:laugh:

    PS. Interesting that you think the "slap" part in the track above is in fact a guitar part. I'll listen to it again with that in mind. To this day I've been certain it's Watt-Roy on the bass.
  16. Phaidrus


    Oct 25, 2009
    Well, it's a relatively fast 16th-note line with additional fast string crossing from G to E. Very Watt-Royesque and probably can't be played with a bass hanging low à la Simonon.
    Last edited: May 2, 2021
  17. pineweasel


    Nov 21, 2003
    He played a Precision on most of the original Blockheads stuff, including Rhythm Stick, although it had a Jazz pickup added near the bridge
    Last edited: May 2, 2021
    shufflebass123 likes this.
  18. It's actually an easy bassline except for the intro. I learned everything but the intro as a beginner years ago. It was only recently, after downloading Transcribe, which will slow things down without distorting it, that I was able to figure out what he was doing in the intro.Sure, I knew that it was a descending A minor. But there were a few missing notes that I could never figure out. As it turns out, he chromatically leads into the A from the G at the end. And it's a bit tough, that intro. You have to practice that to get it right.
  19. It's Mick playing a Tele. IMHO, doesn't sound like a slap bass at all.
  20. Yonni


    Oct 31, 2016
    depends on your definition of easy - it’s considered a grade 8 piece in the UK. That’s as high as our grading system goes.

    “Ian Dury's entire catalogue is brilliant, and Norman is sensational. The whole band was just superb back in the day...”

    still are - I saw them in a small Edinburgh venue in 2019. They’re as funky as ever!

    P.S. I'm pretty sure the "Rhythm Stick" bass was a late 50's precision with an added bridge pickup
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

    May 9, 2021

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