Wednesday 7/20/11 ~ All Questions Are Answered!
Hey! Sorry this is a half-a-week late! We had some computer "server" issues last Friday, just as the Email Special was ready to send. Unfortunately, I have no idea what they were, or how this "mailing list" thingy works... I'm more of a "A 1963 Gretsch Country Gentleman should have red felt washers under the mute switches; they didn't switch to black felt until 1964" kinda guy...
I suppose I could have saved this until this Friday... but I didn't want you to wait a day longer to hear the story about the bass player in KC & The Sunshine Band.
Of course, if I'm sending this today (Wednesday) then do I write another one for Friday, two days from now? Or do I wait until next Wednesday?? But then would they always come on Wednesdays??? Or should I skip this Friday and send the next one on Friday, the 29th?????
Aw... I can't take the pressure........ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh.....................................
Anyway, here's last Friday's Email Special, delivered the way old fashioned mail was... a few days late.
I love the Email Special! All questions are answered!!
Last week I mentioned that the bass line in KC & The Sunshine Band's "That's The Way (I Like It)" is so significant that the bass player should have gotten partial writing credit. When you listen to the song your foot taps with the drums, but your head bobs with the bass line. The songwriters listed on "That's The Way" (and for that matter, all of the Sunshine Band's hit songs) are Harry Wayne "KC" Casey and his songwriting and producing partner, Richard Finch.
An hour later I got a reply from Email Special reader Rick M. in Florida. Rick knows KC's cousin, Jim Casey. So he called him, and asked who played bass on that song. It turns out that the bass was played by co-writer, co-producer Richard Finch. So the bass player DID get writing credit! He co-wrote the song!
The Email Special readers can answer almost any question!! Thanks, Rick!
Meanwhile, here at Email Special headquarters we received lots of replies about bass playing. And they fell into three categories: Favorite bass parts, favorite "lead" bass players, and favorite bass "slides" as per last week's comments.
Here is a sample of the links we received:
Favorite bass parts:
"Bernadette" or anything played by James Jamerson for Motown
"Mayor Of Simpleton" by XTC
"Cool Jerk" by The Capitols
"Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds" or anything played by Paul McCartney
"Shotgun" by Junior Walker & The All Stars ***** (see below)
"Give It Away" or anything played by Flea (also: great slide at 0:10)
Favorite lead bass players:
... and someone half their age...
Email Special reader Jukka A. was inspired to play bass by Finnish bassist, Pekka Pohojola
"Dancing In The Dark" by Pekka Pohojola
Favorite bass slides:
"Under My Wheels" by Alice Cooper (0:08)
"Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic" by the Police (0:35)
"Peg" by Steely Dan (0:06) (1:36) (a great bass line in general!)
And, of course, the ultimate bass song:
The link that slowed me down... and by that, I mean I had to turn up the volume and listen to it loud several times!... was Jr Walker's "Shotgun." What a song!
It opens with a short solo, and then the chorus. You can hear the bass player get the groove going. Then, in the first verse, he starts hitting staccato notes on the "1" and "2," to give the song a funky feel. (at 0:37) (And it sounds great!) Then... and here's where most drummers play the song wrong... in the chorus (at 1:03) the drummer starts playing 1/8th notes on the bass drum (if you were counting, it would be "1-and-2-and-3-and-4-and"...) At that point, the bass player hears what the drummer is doing and smooths out his pattern. He plays the same notes, but not as staccato-like on the first two. He changes it to a slightly smoother groove. And you know why? Because these were two human beings playing at the same time! Yeah, that's how they used to record!
After the chorus, the bass drum pattern switches back, and the bass player does the same. When the next verse comes up, it's just as funky as the first. Actual musicians play together like that. It's a magical thing.
(And it's an eye-opener... or rather ear-opener... when you first hear those bass drum 1/8th notes. Once you know they're there, you'll really love this song!)
See you soon,
PS: Last week I mentioned a new documentary about The Wrecking Crew, a group of west coast session guys who played on hundreds of records. This movie is not in general release, but will have a one-time-only showing at Duquesne University on Sunday, July 24th, at 6PM.
I am so looking forward to seeing this! From a rock & roll history perspective it's a must-see film.
Here's the trailer.
Since this is a Duquesne University presentation, there are different prices for students, and outsiders (i.e. the rest of us.) Student tickets are $15, and non-student tickets are $25. But I know that a lot of our customers want to see the movie, so we've made a special deal with Duquesne to offer student-priced tickets through Pittsburgh Guitars. (After all, we are rock & roll "students"!!)
We should have the tickets this week. Stop down and get some. (Since all of the money goes to Duquesne, the ticket sales are 'cash only.')
PPS: Customer of the week: Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band