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Motown Fans... Help me! (boxset purchase Q)


dohhhhh6

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For Christmas, I figured I need some Motown love, as I have basically none of their cds.

 

So I went to Amazon and found these 2 gems (I believe Sweet Willie mentioned this series before).

 

Hitsville 1959-1971

Hitsville 1972-1992

 

Lets say that you had to choose one of these (though I figure I'll eventually swoop 'em both up) cd collections, which one would it be? Would you choose Motown then, or Motown later?

 

I was originally thinking of going with the older one, but I have no really clue.

 

Please help me in this dilemma! Thanks!

In Skynyrd We Trust
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Why wait until you've heard it on the grapevine, do we need to go and get a shotgun? Can I get a witness to hear me say buy the older CDs? I second that emotion. You could shop around, or order it on the net. But then you'd be begging "Please Mr Postman, hurry up". And once you've got it you'll have nowhere to run because you'll be practising so much.

What's going on here? It seems I never can say goodbye. Is it just my imagination or have I been hit with a ball of confusion? Must be on cloud nine...

For once in my life I ain't too proud to beg. Buy it.

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Originally posted by davebassman:

Why wait until you've heard it on the grapevine, do we need to go and get a shotgun? Can I get a witness to hear me say buy the older CDs? I second that emotion. You could shop around, or order it on the net. But then you'd be begging "Please Mr Postman, hurry up". And once you've got it you'll have nowhere to run because you'll be practising so much.

What's going on here? It seems I never can say goodbye. Is it just my imagination or have I been hit with a ball of confusion? Must be on cloud nine...

For once in my life I ain't too proud to beg. Buy it.

That was great. :D

 

I have the 1959-1971 box set. It's really got a hold on me.

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I've also got the earlier box set. It has a stellar reputation which I don't think is entirely deserved. A lot of great music, for sure, and the booklet is exemplary. But in attempting to give a "balanced" overview they include quite a lot weaker and/or "mainly of historical interest" material, especially by minor artists, while artists who had lots of great hits are represented by 2 or 3 songs at most. You could compensate for that by buying individual albums by the likes of Stevie Wonder, The Supremes, Marvin Gaye etc. Alternatively I've suspected you could probably put together a better compliation by getting a selection of the "Motown Chartbuster" albums, nowadays available at very low prices (in the UK at least). But it'd be more work, obviously.
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Originally posted by 57pbass:

If you weant to hear Jamerson and The Funk Brothers at their best get the 1959 - 1971.

That has all the real classic motown hits that put them on the map. I have that box set ...its great...song after song of outstanding music

As an interesting footnote....

 

In recent years, there has been a rather bitter dispute over who actually recorded the bass parts for many of the hits that have traditionally been attributed to Jamerson. Bass anthems such as "Reach Out", "Bernadette", "Can't Help Myself", and "I Was Made To Love Her (along with many others) have all been claimed by Carol Kaye! There has been an ugly backlash against Kaye by loyal Jamerson supporters (by the way, I'm a HUGE Jamerson fan - he's my idol at this point in my career). However, having read Carol's explanation as to why she wasn't originally credited with the performances, I must say she presents a very compelling argument. Also, if there's ANYONE in the world of bass guitar who has no reason to lie about anything, it's Carol Kaye - she's quite possibly the most recorded bassist in history!! Finally, the bass lines in all of the tunes mentioned do sound very "Kaye-esque" to my ears.

 

It's unfortunate that James is no longer here to set the record straight, whatever the truth may be...

 

Kirk

Reality is like the sun - you can block it out for a time but it ain't goin' away...
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In recent years, there has been a rather bitter dispute over who actually recorded the bass parts for many of the hits that have traditionally been attributed to Jamerson. Bass anthems such as "Reach Out", "Bernadette", "Can't Help Myself", and "I Was Made To Love Her (along with many others) have all been claimed by Carol Kaye! There has been an ugly backlash against Kaye by loyal Jamerson supporters (by the way, I'm a HUGE Jamerson fan - he's my idol at this point in my career). However, having read Carol's explanation as to why she wasn't originally credited with the performances, I must say she presents a very compelling argument. Also, if there's ANYONE in the world of bass guitar who has no reason to lie about anything, it's Carol Kaye - she's quite possibly the most recorded bassist in history!! Finally, the bass lines in all of the tunes mentioned do sound very "Kaye-esque" to my ears.
I remember an old bass discussion newsgroup (remember those?) I was on where Chuck Rainey and Carol Kaye themselves got in a heated argument about this very subject. Rainey was blasting Carol for trampling on Jamerson's legacy, while Carol was standing by her claim.

 

I didn't know what to think or who to believe then. I still don't.

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Get the earlier boxset. And anyone who hasn't got plenty of Motown via other sources, go buy it too. It's wonderful in every way. A perfect fusing of art and pop.

 

Ah, the Carol Kaye vs Jamerson debate. A discussion a while back on talkbass threw up a possible explanation: Whilst the original recordings had Jamerson's fantastic improvised lines on them (and when you listen to them is there any way that that sound is Carol's flatpick and not 'The Hook'?), tracks were often recut for TV broadcast etc to avoid paying the original session players again (the recutting rate for TV rate being much less than the payment required to use the original tracks - I think this still goes on, I've definitely read about a certain current Nashville bassist specialising in re-recordings for TV shows - and I'm sure Wally can throw some more light on it).

 

Consequently, Carol and the West Coast team ended up re-recording tracks such as Bernadette (and maybe before these tracks were even released). But the original recordings which we all know and love were made by the Funk Brothers, and the lines that Carol Kaye recorded on the recuts were Jamerson's lines as transcribed by the session arranger (I presume) for her to read during the session.

 

That wasn't very eloquent was it? But you catch my drift, I hope!

 

Alex

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Alex,

 

I've heard this theory before and I think it's plausible, althought it strikes me as very odd that Carol herself would mistake TV remakes with hit versions. I would think that she could easily identify her own sound and feel when she hears it. I just listened to "Bernadette" again and I agree that the tone certainly does sound like a vintage P-bass with 15 year-old flatwounds plucked with a single finger, although I'll never understand how JJ got that "hook" to move so darned fast!

 

Like Ben, I'm not sure who to believe. However, I really don't have a dog in this fight since I love both players. That said, it would be nice for historical posterity to know the truth...

 

Kirk

Reality is like the sun - you can block it out for a time but it ain't goin' away...
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"The debate" is a huge can of worms which probably shouldn't be opened on this forum. I know several of the principal parties and wish to stay on good terms with all of them.

 

It has led to lots of bad feelings and threats of lawsuits by various parties.

 

I have heard of one website threatened with legal action for posting speculation.

 

There are multiple explanations depending on whom you talk to. I've made up my own my mind and my own explanation which I will not post in public.

 

Meanwhile, let the music do the talking. If you like Motown, get the older stuff, please. And listen carefully.

 

Studio musicians were generally uncredited in the 50's and 60's. And over the years, bitterness about this was one result.

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Originally posted by 57pbass:

Kad....

That is very interesting...the first time I have heard about this... this is worthy of a Bass Player Mag investigation.....

OK - point taken. I had no idea this dipute was so well known.
Reality is like the sun - you can block it out for a time but it ain't goin' away...
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Originally posted by BenLoy:

Originally posted by davebassman:

Why wait until you've heard it on the grapevine, do we need to go and get a shotgun? Can I get a witness to hear me say buy the older CDs? I second that emotion. You could shop around, or order it on the net. But then you'd be begging "Please Mr Postman, hurry up". And once you've got it you'll have nowhere to run because you'll be practising so much.

What's going on here? It seems I never can say goodbye. Is it just my imagination or have I been hit with a ball of confusion? Must be on cloud nine...

For once in my life I ain't too proud to beg. Buy it.

That was great. :D

 

I have the 1959-1971 box set. It's really got a hold on me.

I'd make sure the earlier set was signed, sealed, delivered. I'd play it for my girl because I was made to love her. I'm sure my papa covered some of those tunes because Papa was a Rolling Stone. Ain't no mountain high enough to keep me from that box set...

 

 

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Originally posted by Da LadY In Tha Pink Dress:

Done, a request for the older one is in hand. Thanks for the help guys!

 

By the way, isn't this snazzy? I emailed my Christmas list to my pop instead of giving him it. Technology...

I was thinking about this on my way home, and I think there's one glaring absence from the older sets: most of the Jackson 5 catalog. There's some great stuff of theirs that's on the '70's set, but I still think that the older box set (which I asked for this Christmas as well) is the better set.

 

As for the whole Carol Kaye vs Jamerson argument...I think the only people who REALLY know who played on those recordings are the producers or engineers. I love both Carol's and James' playing, and whoever I heard play on "Bernadette", I love what they did. The instrumental version on the soundtrack for Standing In The Shadows Of Motown is awesome, BTW.

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"My concern is, and I have to, uh, check with my accountant, that this might bump me into a higher, uh, tax..."

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Here are some excerpts of some things Bass Player Magazine and Guitar Player Magazine have had to say about this subject (Re: Jamerson playing on Motown Records).

 

http://bassland.net/forjohn.htm

 

BTW (re: who knows the truth about who played on the records in question) there are the rest of the Funk Brothers and the producers on those records with Jamerson which pretty much puts what Ms. Kaye has to say on the subject in a real bad light.

BassLand

www.BassLand.net

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Originally posted by jeremy c:

"The debate" is a huge can of worms which probably shouldn't be opened on this forum. I know several of the principal parties and wish to stay on good terms with all of them.

A few years ago I brought this up on The Bottom Line and got emails from the mods saying " don't feed the bears".

 

I with Jeremy, I don't want to go there.

 

Wally

I have basses to play, places to be and good music to make!
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I did some fairly extensive reading on this controversy a couple of years back. My conclusion was that this argument may never be absolutely proved either way, but that the balance of probability leans overwhelmingly in one direction. I believe that most people with no prior axe to grind will reach the same conclusion if they study the evidence.
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