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Standing in the Shadows of Motown: The Life and Music of Legendary Bassist James Jamerson Paperback – May 1, 1989
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Top Customer Reviews
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
There is nothing wrong with the contents of this book. My bass teacher recommended it and it is worth having in your library.
Here is my Major Complaint. Read more
Standing in the Shadows of Motown is a great book about James Jamerson. You don't have to be a musician to read and enjoy it (just as the author wanted), as long as you have at... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
I'm not saying this isn't a great book. In fact it's probably is an outstanding book to some, & I won't entirely disagree. I would say this book does not contain TABS. Read morePublished 3 months ago by LTD
This book was great, it was really informative and the CD's that come with it are great.Published 5 months ago by marc duarte