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What's so special about Larry Graham?

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by diegom, Apr 2, 2020.

  1. diegom

    diegom Supporting Member

    I'm not the biggest funk/r&b fan out there, but I can see why people like Rick James, Bootsy Collins, Bernard Edwards and the likes.

    I can even see why people like James Jamerson, although I think he's seriously overrated.

    But I don't understand why Larry Graham is so highly regarded here on TalkBass and in the media. I listened to Sly and The Family Stone and Graham Central Station top songs on Spotify and watched a few videos on YouTube. Sure, he has that sort of thumping technique and a few fills on "Thank You," but is that it? I guess he did come before Rick James et al., making him a pioneer?

    I'm being serious here. I'm not trolling. What am I missing?
    Sixgunn, K-2, jamro217 and 5 others like this.
  2. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol

    Skokiaan, MarkJC8, Fishtude and 73 others like this.
  3. Raoul_Duke


    Jun 13, 2010
    This is like asking why people like chocolate cake or Thai food.

    I’ll bite. He was the first guy to do it, which is fascinating when you hear him describe how he developed the technique. “The Jam” is an all time great funk tune slash bass anthem. His style was really fun, including his fashion choices.

    I guess if a guy has to be out of this world technique wise to hold your attention then you’re going to miss out on a lot of great playing.
    MarkJC8, Fishtude, Rezdog and 39 others like this.
  4. WestyBassBob


    Mar 2, 2020
    I think all these guys from that era are important to us bassists because they broke the mold of bassists going back to the days of big band where they were told to stay in the back just play simple rhythms and let the other instruments hold the melody.

    guys like him, Entwistle and later Jaco made the bass a much more melodic and central instrument to the music. And us low tone loving people thank them for it.
  5. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol

    Not sure what to tell you.
    He came up with an entirely new way to play the instrument, invented a frontman role to go with it, has the classiest looks, sings at Motown level while playing mean lines, used all kinds of effects before anyone did, wrote lines to a dozen major hits.
    Any video of his clearly shows he's a master. One who thinks Jamerson is overrated could easily miss it though.
    Skokiaan, MarkJC8, Fishtude and 105 others like this.
  6. WestyBassBob


    Mar 2, 2020
    Or to quote a movie I saw once. Fast isn’t good. Good is good.
  7. LBS-bass

    LBS-bass Supporting Member

    Sure you're not. Just taking another post and almost word for word duplicating it, just changing the genre and the names. That's never a troll.

    I'll pass.
    2pods, Mr Cheese, BadJazz and 60 others like this.
  8. WestyBassBob


    Mar 2, 2020
    Despite how much people here love themselves. We are all essentially copying all these old greats did. The only difference I can see is now we have 5-6-8-12-22 string basses to try to show off our skills. And yet most of us still can’t replicate their sound or rhythm.
    ihixulu, Frampton, Yonni and 5 others like this.
  9. FunkyYeti

    FunkyYeti Supporting Member

    Oct 10, 2019
    And barely anybody ever talks about Larry Graham... Last time he was mentioned in a thread title was in 2018...
    Fishtude, Yonni, zubrycky and 4 others like this.
  10. WestyBassBob


    Mar 2, 2020
    Gotta have something do while your social distancing.
  11. Dincrest

    Dincrest Supporting Member

    Sep 27, 2004
    New Jersey
    Because he was the first person ever to "slappa da bass."

    Yeah, I said it. And I'm sure several of you were thinking it as well.
    murphy, iammr2, danesdad and 6 others like this.
  12. I "don't get" a lot of high-profile players & their fans might not appreciate the players I enjoy, so be it!

    as they say in France:

    c'est la vie
    Fishtude, malthumb, Yonni and 9 others like this.
  13. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather Supporting Member

    I think you are.
    MarkJC8, 2pods, Manny G. and 6 others like this.
  14. LBS-bass

    LBS-bass Supporting Member

    Yeah, it's an obvious dig at the Entwistle post because both of them were pioneers in their genres who brought us techniques and technologies that we didn't have before. So that's the answer, y'all can have fun with it anyway, I know you will :)
    Fishtude, Charlzm, jamro217 and 6 others like this.
  15. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather Supporting Member

    Try inventing a new way to play the bass, sing and dance at the same time. You don't like the genre of music? That's fine. Respect the talent.
  16. Tubehed


    Oct 27, 2011
    Maybe there should be a ban on topics starting with: "What's so special about..."
    Fudgebass, hwystar, BadJazz and 13 others like this.
  17. Shovelbone

    Shovelbone Supporting Member

    Oct 18, 2007
    Yonderville Georgia
    You think James Jamerson is seriously overrated? Why if you were here I would slap you upside your head with my Standing in the Shadows of Motown DVD!!! J/K
  18. lowdownthump


    Jul 17, 2004
    2pods, hwystar, ihixulu and 7 others like this.
  19. lordradish

    lordradish Supporting Member

    Jul 20, 2006
    Funny how people even mention Rick James. I think, in the grand scheme of Funk Royalty, he's maybe a court jester. Doesn't hold a candle to Graham, who practically invented it, and even Bootsy.
    ihixulu, Rezdog, Ld Young and 16 others like this.
  20. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    If you want know why Larry Graham is important, listen to Graham Central Station. The band he started when he left Sly. The first song with thumping and plucking is Thankyou that he did with Sly, but he really refined it as the front man with GCS.

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