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Standing in the Shadows of Motown: The Life and Music of Legendary Bassist James Jamerson Paperback – May 1, 1989
"Sweet Dreams Are Made of This" by Dave Stewart
A no-holds-barred look into Stewart's remarkable music and life | Check out "Sweet Dreams Are Made of This".
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This book is valuable as a reference for the history of Motown, but it is primarily a teaching tool. It is organized into three parts. The first 78 pages give a biography of Jamerson and put his work into historical context. Part two (17 pages) is a compilation of data: descriptions of bass equipment, recording facilities, accompanists, and discography. Also included in this section is a four page "Appreciation of Style" by Anthony Jackson that attempts to analyze the musical elements that made Jamerson unique. Part three contains 90 pages of transcriptions of Jamerson bass lines and accompanying text. The transcriptions go with the CDs described below.
The CDs and transcriptions are the heart of the set. The CDs feature Motown tunes with the bass lines played by over two dozen "all-star" bassists (e.g Marcus Miller, Jack Bruce, John Entwistle). Bass is on the left channel with instrumental accompaniment on the right. The bass lines are transcribed by the author and the transcriptions are accompanied by short bios of the artists who play the lines. The tracks on the CDs are interspersed with short interviews of people who knew Jamerson. The artists reportedly donated their services as a tribute to Jamerson and the bass lines and accompaniment were recorded in a variety of circumstances. Many tracks are recorded in home studios. The quality varies, but all tracks are well played and all are useful teaching tools.Read more ›
If you do know who James Jamerson is, then this book is a no brainer. Quite possibly the most influential musician of the past 50 years. If it weren't for him, the Beatles, Led Zeppelin, and countless of others in the rock and r&b genres wouldn't sound the way they do.
The biography is compelling and I read it straight through over a several hour period when I first received this book. The lessons are difficult, and definately not for the beginner.
For a beginner who wants to learn classic R&B style bass playing I'd reccomend the Duck Dunn book (What Duck Done) followed by the James Brown book (Funkmasters). Donald "Duck" Dunn was the house player at Stax and has also played on countless classics from Wilson Pickett, Otis Redding and many other Memphis Soul artists. More recently he's played with The Blues Brothers and even Neil Young. His lines are much more straightfoward than Jamersons and are easier to learn. When you get through that book you can go on to Funkmasters and learn some classic James Brown grooves.
Finally, when you've graduated from those books you can take a crack at the Jamerson book, though I think it should be on your shelf from day 1 to give you inspiration, and so you can listen to the tracks with the bass prominently mixed. Just to get it into your ears, so to speak. You might also hear a Motown tune you think you can pick up and will want to reference this book.Read more ›
Sitting without tribute, quietly and anonymously in the audience at the Motown 25th anniversary TV special performance in California, Jamerson had been akin to the elder Indian in the old "Keep America Beautiful" TV ad who sheds a tear with grief at the spoiling of his pristine land. This book was a great first step at righting that wrong.
This book went on to inspire a similarly titled movie on the Funk Brothers. This book and the 2 CDs that accompany it are a one-of-a-kind find for the bassists and all who crave the Motown and soul sound of the sixties and seventies. Thanks to its author for assembling the treasures and for inspiring such good will in the music community!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
James! An outstanding and phenomenal bassists wh never received his fame until after his death!!!!! Barry Gordy had a genuis on his hands and keep him hidden and when Motown moved... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Lynette Beckles
There is nothing better than James Jamerson on Bass. A pioneer of the instrument. This is an outstanding document. This is a master class in bass playing and a history lesson also. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Howard A.
Very Good, especially the tabs, transcriptions, and CD's. Interesting read about JJ. What it lacks is a listing by song title. You have to flip through to find each one.Published 6 months ago by Henry
Personally feel it's the best bass book a bass player can buy. I am a Jamerson fan, I definitely admire his work which still impacts many to this day. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Gerson
Transcribed original bass lines with CDs! A beautiful way to preserve and continue the legacy of James Jamerson. 10 stars if I could give them.Published 7 months ago by VW Seattle
A must have for all bass players; seriously. This is the only book you need.Published 9 months ago by Russell Flynn
A great book for intermediate and advanced electric bass players which tells the story of the Godfather of electric bass playing James Jamerson. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Charles E. Rey