Bass Players Take Center Stage
25 songs 154 plays
A good bass player can make or break a band and this is a collection of some of my favorite players and performances. Here's a quick breakdown of who's who: Jack Casady, who played bass in Jefferson Airplane, Hot Tuna and several other bands, is featured here on 2 of my favorite performances. The first track is from the first live album by Jefferson Airplane. "Other Side Of This Life" is a Fred Neill composition and originally opened the second side of Bless it's Pointed Little Head. Casady opens the songs and creates the sonic platform from which the song erupts. "Voodoo Chile" is from the Jimi Hendrix album Electric Ladyland. Casady is on bass and Steve Winwood plays the organ. An incredible jam. Next is "Family Affair" by Sly with Larry Graham turning in a fine performance on bass. Mr Graham could also sing a little and had more than a few hits as a solo act. Next, John Entwistle nails "Boris The Soider on a BBC radio performance by The Who. Along with Keith Moon, he was the foundation on which the band was built.. On "Born Cross-Eyed" Phil Lesh not only plays bass, he's also responsible for the snippets of trumpet that are heard throughout. 's After Phil, we have Jaco Pastorius performing alongside Joni Mitchell on a live recording of "Goodbye Pork Pie Hat." Jaco was a master and he is greatly missed. Donald "Duck" Dunn plays bass with Booker T & The MG's and his playing is like money in the bank."The Fish" was Chris Squire's showcase on the "Fragile" the breakthrough album by Yes. That's Flea from Red Hot Chili Peppers backing Alanis Morrisette on "You Oughta Know" and doing an incredible job. James Jamerson is the bass player for The Funk Brothers, the anonymous super group that's played on hundreds of Motown classics. His performance on "Bernadette" is a career highlight. I guess you can't put together a playlist of bass players and leave Paulie off so here he is in 1989 doing the medley from Abbey Road. My understanding is that he played all the instruments on the second side of the original album, so I think this live selection is appropriate. "Life Suite" is from Stanley Clarke's first solo album; it's a nice piece of orchestral music centered around Clarke's & company's outstanding performances. "Stir It Up" is from Bob Marley's Catch A Fire album and Aston "Family Man" Barrett turns in a gorgeously subtle performance. Jack Bruce is stunning on bass & vocals on "Politician" from the "Wheels On Fire" set by Cream. Robbie Shakespeare is the bass playing half of "Sly & Robbie," a rhythm section that has backed everyone from Grace Jones to Black Uhuru. This performance of Allen Toussaint's "Yes We Can Can" was a club hit in New York about 30 years ago and still holds it's own. "Jitterbug Boogie" is a Bill Wyman original that finds Bill playing with his Rhythm Kings and handling both the bass and the lead vocal. Phil Lynott was the leader and bass player for Thin Lizzy and this track is from a solo album released in 2006, long after Mr Lynott had left the planet. Mike Gordon is the bass player from Phish. If you didn't know who Phish was and had only heard his solo albums, it would still be an impressive body of work. Willie Dixon played bass, sang, arranged and wrote some of the greatest songs ever recorded in any genre. Here he turns in a fine performance on "Little Red Rooster" a song he wrote that's been recorded more than a few times. Slam Stewart was an amazing bassist who was known for his ability to bow his bass and scat along. It was a unique sound. Carol Kaye played bass on many of the early albums by The Beach Boys and sounds great here on "Caroline No", one of my personal favorites. Greg Lake. You either love him or hate him. I love him, especially from his days with King Crimson. Here he turns in a fine performance on the radio-friendly "Lucky Man." His distinctive voice drives the track as much as his bass does. Mick Karn of the band Japan, passed away last year; he was sadly under-appreciated. He had an amazing tone and made valuable contributions to all of the band's work. Here, covering the Marvin Gaye classic "Ain't That Peculiar" he gives us a small taste of what he was capable of. Japan was a great band. Our lone female bassist is Tina Weymouth and "Genius Of Love" by Talking Heads spin-off The Tom Tom Club shows that the Heads were more than just David Byrne's backing band. Bootsy: "The Pinocchio Theory" If you've never heard it just listen, If you have then you know why nothing more needs to be said. The playlist ends where it began with Jack Casady turning in an intense performance on Jefferson Airplane's "Rejoyce" a jazz inflected tune from After Bathing At Baxter's. Check Jack's playing throughout but especially in the middle section after Grace sings "I'd rather have my country die for me." Amazing.