A Phil Brodie Band
~ Info Page
Hardest Lick I Never Played"
~ A Tribute To James Jamerson ~
I was asked if I'd like to write a piece about Tamla Motown bassist,
James Jamerson I answered that I would like that very much. However,
as to whether I could, is a different story. After all, he was, probably,
the most influential electric bassist ever to exist and I certainly
can't think of any of my bass playing mates who wouldn't kiss the hem
of his garment given the chance. I guess what I'm trying to say is that
there must have been thousands, if not millions, of words written about
him over the past four decades and I can't think of anything original
to add to what has already been said. So I'll try it from a personal
point of view.
The first bass lick ever to hit me between the eyes and get my head
spinning was on a Stevie Wonder track called Shoo-be-Doo-be-Doo-da-Day,
from his 1968 album 'For Once in my Life'. There were no credits given
on this album so I didn't know who the bass player was. As soon as I
heard it I was reaching for my bass eager to 'cop the lick' but after
several hours of trying, I could only play something approximately like
the original. As time went by my efforts lessened in intensity as no
progress was made and I eventually stopped trying.
In 1969, the band I was playing with, The Foundations, was booked to
support Stevie Wonder on a tour of the UK. I met a tall, lean and very
happy young bassist called Michael Henderson whom I assumed was the
bass player on the track I tried so hard to copy. We struck up a fairly
good relationship during the tour and I eventually asked him if he could
show me the bass lick I had, so far, failed to get together. He obliged.
But I was no better off. I didn't even see his fingers move he was so
fast. He then went on to explain that he was not the player on the record.
I asked him who was, and I still remember his reply:"That was some
old cat called James Jamerson, he's a really baaaad bass player. There's
no way he can play shit". I didn't realise it at the time, but
he was paying JJ a compliment.
Well, after all these years, I still can't play the lick and James Jamerson
is sadly no longer with us. Hopefully, when I eventually fall off the
perch, I'll meet up with him and with a bit of luck he'll show me how
Peter, a fine tribute to James Jamerson, the musician who set
the path all bass players follow today. I find myself repeating ~ there
isn't a musician anywhere who picks up a bass guitar, even to tinker,
who isn't influenced by this amazing soul filled man, whether they
reolize it or not, makes no difference ~ they just are.
things we play today may sound a little different
but if you analyze
the notes, youll find that the same patterns being played today
are the ones this fellow was inventing 50 years ago
THANKYOU JAMES" ~ quote: Dave 'O'
* * * * * * * * * *
player, founder member of The Foundations
and session musician
February 2nd 1943
Queen Charlotte's Hospital, West London
Peter was bought up in west London and finished
his education at
Watford Technical College.
St Albans Art College. He was a muli - musican from an early age; his
father started teaching him steel guitar when he was only 9 years old,
at school he was learning to play trumpet, and his love for drums saw
him playing in New Orleans jazz bands when he was 13 years old. By 1963
he was playing electric guitar in various R&R bands around London.
Two years on Pete took up playing the electric bass studying the Simandl
& Ray Brown method, he played with several R&B bands, then Soul
bands. He finally went professional with the Rockhouse Band fronted
by Ralph Denyer (later fronting Blonde on Blonde). 1966 see's Pete,
Colin Young and Alan Warner forming the band The Foundations, who from
their beginnings backed several visiting US soul singers including Edwin
Pye Records signed them in 1967 and they recorded 'Baby Now That I Found
You' which became a Number 1 hit single in 23 countries. Two more Top-20
singles followed, 'Back On My Feet Again' and 'Any Old Time'. In 1968,
Clem Curtis replaced by Colin Youngas lead singer, and they recorded
the legendary track 'Build Me Up Buttercup', which became another international
chart topping hit, this was followed by 'In the Bad Bad Old Days' a
top 10 hit in many countries. In 1969 The Foundations tried and failed
to reach a more mature and musically aware audience with 'Born To Live,
Born To Die', a single which entered the top 50 at number 46, only to
drop out two weeks later.
Seeing the writing on the wall, Pete quit The Foundationns in 1970,
resting for a few months before joining former East of Eden members
Geoff Nicholson (guitar), Brian Holloway (drums), Bernie Livings (alto
sax') from Manfred Mann and Simon Lait (vocals) from Alexis Korner,
to form Bubastis, a jazz rock band. 1972 -1992 sees Pete as a freelance
bass player/session man & occasional band member in London &
Paris working with Link Wray, Freda Payne, Brian Parrish, Chris Jagger,
Sammy Mitchell, Steve Swindells, Graham Bond, Robert Palmer and Algerian
artist, Bouri Saib, among others. Sadly from 1992 to the present day,
due to serious health problems, curtailed musical endeavours and Pete
entered into the publishing world as Editor-in-Chief for EuroView, a
Japanese language quarterly magazine promoting European business and
culture to Japanese middle management. Later on Pete worked as Managing
Editor for a company publishing the official programmes for seven golf
tournaments on the European Tour. Much bigger health problems caused
cessation of all work and a move to North Wales where Pete is currently
receiving treatment for radiotherapy reaction in tandem with writing
a novel and studying keyboards with the purchase of a Hammond organ
and Lesley tone cabinet firmly in mind.
James Jamerson Discography
Find The Funk Machine
James Jamerson Jr. Page