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The Temptations' bass player (s)?


bassdrummer

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I love the Temptations. Who played bass for them? Was it James Jamerson? Who played bass on the classic "My Girl" ? What kind of bass was that? Was it a Fender? Was it a P-bass? Was it a J-bass? Was it the same bass player on "Ain't Too Proud To Beg" ? And who played on "Papa Was A Rolling Stone" ?

 

I need answers!

"All the world's indeed a stage, and we are merely players..."

--Rush, "Limelight"

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Originally posted by bassdrummer:

I love the Temptations. Who played bass for them? Was it James Jamerson? Who played bass on the classic "My Girl" ? What kind of bass was that? Was it a Fender? Was it a P-bass? Was it a J-bass? Was it the same bass player on "Ain't Too Proud To Beg" ? And who played on "Papa Was A Rolling Stone" ?

 

I need answers!

Definitely Jamerson on "My Girl" playing a Fender P-bass with old heavy gauge LaBella flats and the bridge mutes still on. Here's a brief list of some of the hits he played on:

 

My Girl - Temptations

Bernadette - 4 Tops

Aint That Peculiar - Marvin Gaye

Ooh Baby Baby - The Miracles

To Many Fish In The Sea - The Marvelettes

Uptight (Everything Is Alright) - Stevie Wonder

Heat Wave (U) - Martha & The Vandellas

This Old Heart Of Mine - Isley Brothers

I Heard It Through The Grapevine (2 recordings) - Marvin Gaye, Gladys Knight & Pips

Where Did Our Love Go (U) - Diana/Supremes

Since I Lost My Baby - Temptations

For Once In My Life - Stevie Wonder

My Guy (U) - Mary Wells

Your Precious Love - Marvin Gaye/Tammy Terrell

You've Really Got A Hold On Me - The Miracles

Love Child - Diana/Supremes

I Guess I'll Always Love you

Dancing In The Streets - Martha & The Vandellas

Don't Mess With Bill - The Marvelettes

What's Going On - Marvin Gaye

Standing In The Shadows Of Love - 4 Tops

Mickey's Monkey (U) - The Miracles

Cloud Nine - Temptations

Nothing's To Good For My Baby - Temptations

My Baby Loves Me - Martha & The Vandellas

You Keep Me Hanging On - Diana/Supremes

You Beat Me To The Punch - Mary Wells

Little Darling (I Need You) - 4 Tops

I'm Ready For Love

The Way You Do The Things You Do - Temptations

I Can't Help Myself - 4 Tops

Roadrunner - Jr. Walker & The All-Stars

You're All I Need To Get By - Temptations

You Can't Hurry Love - Diana/Supremes

Shop Around - The Miracles

Ain't To Proud To Beg - Temptations

My Cherie Amour - Stevie Wonder

It's The Same Old Song - 4 Tops

How Sweet It Is - Marvin Gaye

Take Me In Your Arms (And Rock Me A Little While) - Brenda Holloway

Ain't No Mountain High Enough (2 recordings) - Marvin Gaye/Tammy Terrell, Diana/Supremes

My Baby Must Be A Magician - The Marvelettes

Love Is Like An Itching In My Heart - Diana/Supremes

Beauty Is Only Skin Deep - Temptations

Ask The Lonely - 4 Tops

Going To A Go-Go - The Miracles

I was Made To Love Her - Stevie Wonder

Hitch Hike - Marvin Gaye

I Second That Emotion - The Miracles

Please Mr. Postman - The Marvelettes

Jimmy Mack (U) - Martha & The Vandellas

I Hear A Symphony - Diana/Supremes

Shake Me, Wake Me (When It's Over) - 4 Tops

I'm Gonna Make You Love Me - Temptations

Get Ready - Temptations

The Hunter Gets Captured By The Game

Stop! In The Name Of Love - Diana/Supremes

That's What Love Is Made Of

Nowhere To Run - Martha & The Vandellas

Seven Rooms Of Gloom - 4 Tops

Pride & Joy - Marvin Gaye

(I Know) I'm Losing You - Temptations

Two Lovers - Mary Wells

I'll Turn To Stone - 4 Tops

Come See About Me - Diana/Supremes

Stubborn Kind Of Fellow - Marvin Gaye

How Long Has That Evening Train Been Gone

If I Were your Woman Gladys Knight & The Pips

My World Is Empty Without You - Diana/Supremes

The Tracks Of My Tears - The Miracles

I'm Wondering - Stevie Wonder

Can I Get A Witness - Marvin Gaye

The Girls Alright With Me - Temptations

Shoo Be Doo Be Doo Da Day - Stevie Wonder

Reflections - Diana/Supremes

What Becomes Of The Broken Hearted - Temptations

Baby I Need Your Loving - 4 Tops

Quicksand... - Martha & The Vandellas

Reach Out...I'll Be There - 4 Tops

You Beat Me To The Punch - Mary Wells

The Bells - The Originals

Shotgun - Jr. Walker & The All-Stars

Fingertips (pt2)- Stevie Wonder

Hey Girl - Stevie Wonder

What Are You Gonna Do When I'm Gone (U) - Kim Weston (submitted by Chuck Whaley)

Still Water Runs Deep - Four Tops (Chuck Whaley)

All in the Game - Four Tops (Chuck Whaley)

My Baby - Temptations

The One Who Really Loves You (U)- Mary Wells

This Old Heart Of Mine - Isley Brothers

My Whole World Ended (The Moment You Left) - David Ruffin

It Takes Two (U) - Marvin Gaye/Tammy Terrell

Honey Chile - Martha & the Vandellas

To Busy Thinking About My Baby - Marvin Gaye

When Your Young And In Love - Marvelettes

Ain't Nothing Like The Real Thing - Marvin Gaye/Tammy Terrell

Still Waters Run Deep - Four Tops

If I Were Your Woman - Gladys Knight & the Pips

I Want You Back - Jackson 5 (see below)

It's Growing - The Temptations (thanks to Catherine J. Lewis)

Agent Double O Soul - Edwin Starr(thanks to Catherine J. Lewis)

I Can't Get Next To You - Temptations (thanks to John Coe)

I want A Love I can Feel - Temptations (thanks to Anthony Parker)

Heart Breaking Guy - Supremes (thanks to Anthony Parker)

 

He da man!

 

Alex

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Correction: James Jamerson did NOT play bass on Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On." Although he was credited on the album's liner notes, the actual bassist was Motown's second call player, Bob Babbitt, who is - gasp - a WHITE BOY! :eek: He also played on a lot of Stevie Wonder stuff, like "Signed Sealed Delivered." Lots of his playing is mistakenly credited to Jamerson, because sidemen didn't get album credits back in the day. This is not to say that Jamerson isn't perhaps the most important electric bassist in rock history. I don't think anyone but Jaco even comes close in terms of lasting influence. Everyone from McCartney and Entwistle on down cites James Jamerson as an influence.

"I had to have something, and it wasn't there. I couldn't go down the street and buy it, so I built it."

 

Les Paul

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Originally posted by Jode:

Correction: James Jamerson did NOT play bass on Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On." Although he was credited on the album's liner notes, the actual bassist was Motown's second call player, Bob Babbitt, who is - gasp - a WHITE BOY! :eek:

I'm declaring shenanigans on this one. But I'll agree w/ you that, yes, Babbitt is white. ;)
Ah, nice marmot.
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Alan Slutsky offers "What's Going On" as track #1 in his Jamerson bass lines compilation. On the compilation it is played by James Jamerson Jr., who says on the track that the line is his dad's. I don't know, myself, but I'd say the burden of proof falls on the one who says it wasn't Jamerson.

 

But oh, do we really want to do this...? :rolleyes:

 

And what Ben said--Jamerson is the alpha & omega of bass guitar.

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You have to love that "brief list." :D

 

Studio records are difficult to trace, but the predominant story on "What's Goin' On?" is that the part was written out by the arrangers FOR Jamerson to SOUND LIKE Jamerson. The arrangers had worked with him for years and were able to emulate his style. Word has it that he was flattered, although I'll bet good money that he embellished the part a little bit.

 

Bob Babbitt discussed the "Who Play On What?" question in a recent issue of Bass Player. He mentioned some of the songs that he played on and didn't get credit for, but "What's Goin' On?" wasn't one of them.

The Black Knight always triumphs!

 

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One Babett did play on for sure has killed me every time I've heard it- Midnight Train To Georgia is Bob, and that's also as good as it gets for me.

James also had an old Jazz with those stacked pots that were on the '50's Fenders... most of his stuff was played with just his index finger. Incredible, no?

 

BTW, if you haven't seen the movie, "Standing In The Shadows Of Motown", by all means make every effort to see it. They really tell the story... including one time the band kicked Jamerson out of the band car for smoking a cigar and eating pig's feet. :D

"We are the Federales... You know, the Mounted Police..."

---"If you're the police, where are your badges?"

"Bodges?..."

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Eh... Babbitt, Jamerson, who cares? They both sa-MOKED. My original post was based on my admittedly foggy memory of a BP article many years ago entitled, "Who in the world is Bob Babbitt, and where did he get all those gold records?"

"I had to have something, and it wasn't there. I couldn't go down the street and buy it, so I built it."

 

Les Paul

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  • 1 month later...

Babbitt is definitely a great bassist, but it was Jamerson on “Whats Goin' On” , lying flat on his back drunk as hell. He couldn't even stand up.

 

I got that from the bonus material on the Standing in the shadows of Motown DVD.

Jotown:)

 

"It's all good: Except when it's Great"

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One story I do remember from the Babbitt interview was of Jamerson coming to the studio with a buzz on and a pistol in his waistband, saying, "I'm playing tonight." Babbitt would just smile and take a step back and say, "Okay, James." Then sometimes James would pass out or get distracted by something else and Babbitt would sometimes end up on the track anyway.

"I had to have something, and it wasn't there. I couldn't go down the street and buy it, so I built it."

 

Les Paul

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I have heard that story also, but the story I posted above was told by the Funk Brothers who were on that particular session, so I would consider it gospel.

 

I have much respect for Bob Babbit, but he would never in a million years get picked over James Jamerson at a Funk Brothers session, unless Jamerson was unconcious.

 

Bob Babbit could never fill the J mans shoes. He was simply the greatest pop R&B bassist ever. He defined a style, and created a vocabulary that is still in great use today.

 

There was only one James Jamerson, and the blessing is that he recorded so much music in his short life. We are all the richer for it.

Jotown:)

 

"It's all good: Except when it's Great"

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Originally posted by Jotown:

Babbitt is definitely a great bassist, but it was Jamerson on Whats Goin On , lying flat on his back drunk as hell. He couldnt even stand up.

I heard that same story from one of the Motown session drummers that moved to Atlanta in the '80s.
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I've got both the book and, a few days ago, the video of "Standing In The Shadows Of Motown". This has been discussed extensively here - do a search - but I dig the hell out of it.

 

I've been using the transcriptions in the book for sight-reading practice. Late last night I finished up with "Don't Mess With Bill"; went to bed with that song in my head, woke up this a.m. it was still there. Not such a bad way to go.

 

JAMERSON RULES!!!!!!

 

 

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