Bass programme - BBC FOUR: 18th January

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Bass programme - BBC FOUR: 18th January

Postby drakula63 » Fri Jan 11, 2019 4:37 pm

On Bass... Tina Weymouth!
Guitar, Drum and Bass Series 1 Episode 2 of 3

Tina Weymouth of Talking Heads and Tom Tom Club celebrates the extraordinary contribution of bass to popular music, tracing its progress from street-corner doo-wop and the overlooked ‘guy at the back’ in rock ‘n’ roll, via Paul McCartney, the anonymous James Jamerson and Carol Kaye - whose genius bass lines underpinned The Beatles, Motown and LA sound respectively - British jazzer Herbie Flowers’s immortal line in Walk on the Wild Side, the emergence of 70s funky bass stars Bootsy Collins and Chic’s Bernard Edwards, the driving lead bass of postpunk maverick Peter Hook in both Joy Division and New Order, through to the growth of bass culture in reggae, whose sound systems sparked whole new genres in drum and bass, grime and beyond.

With Bootsy Collins, Dizzee Rascal, Ray Parker Jr, Nile Rodgers, Peter Hook, Carol Kaye, Herbie Flowers, Valerie Simpson, The Marcels’ Fred Jonson, DJ Aphrodite and Gail Ann Dorsey.


No mention of Jet Harris. But Shadows associate-member Herbie Flowers (inevitably) is in there!
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Re: Bass programme - BBC FOUR: 18th January

Postby Iain Purdon » Fri Jan 11, 2019 6:19 pm

Thanks for the tip-off Chris. I’ll be recording that.
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Re: Bass programme - BBC FOUR: 18th January

Postby drakula63 » Sun Jan 20, 2019 12:03 pm

Generally, I found the programme very interesting and there were certainly some incredible bass players and bass playing on display. I wouldn't disagree about the inclusion of any of them.

Again, it was told from very much the 'American' point of view... hence no mention of The Shadows or Jet Harris. A shameful omission when one thinks about it. Also, there was a quote attributed to Paul McCartney that went along the lines of: "Before me, there were just fat guys who stood at the back with a double-bass!" If he DID say this, which as the master manipulator of the media, I can well believe, then it shows what an arrogant XXXX he is.

So, yes, a great programme, but a little more true perspective and a little less 'before Paul McCartney there was no-one' rubbish would be appreciated.
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Re: Bass programme - BBC FOUR: 18th January

Postby Iain Purdon » Mon Jan 21, 2019 10:24 am

To be fair to Paul McCartney, let's see the quote in context...

http://ultimateclassicrock.com/paul-mccartney-bass-beatles/
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Re: Bass programme - BBC FOUR: 18th January

Postby Uncle Fiesta » Mon Jan 21, 2019 11:15 am

To be a little more fair, many stand-up bass players at that time didn't really care what notes they played and were happy to get a sort of percussive thump. Then when the electric bass came along and the notes could be clearly heard, the player then had to think about them.
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Re: Bass programme - BBC FOUR: 18th January

Postby drakula63 » Mon Jan 21, 2019 1:18 pm

Fair enough, but the problem is that the programme itself took Macca's words out of context and used them to support and endorse the view that HE was the first significant bass player in the world. Just thinking about that black and white video for Apache that features Jet very prominently...

I wonder how many people, having watched that programme, would be bothered to go online and try to find the quote and see if it had been used correctly or changed slightly to paint a slightly different picture? I think programme makers have a duty to paint things as accurately as possible, thus it might have been fairer to have included something about Jet, especially as I believe he was one of the first pro musicians in the UK to use an electric bass guitar? The programme went off on a strange tangent at the end and these ten minutes or so could have been used more productively.

The point I'm making, again, is just that it seemed to present an 'Americanised' view of things, as opposed to a slightly broader, fairer and truer version.
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Re: Bass programme - BBC FOUR: 18th January

Postby Iain Purdon » Mon Jan 21, 2019 6:40 pm

I've seen it now. The programme was well-made and interesting. It told the story of the emergence of bass into major prominence through innovative playing. James Jamerson was a bass player's hero and inventor of dozens of seminal riffs but he was also, as the programme poignantly observed, anonymous and replaceable: when for purely geographical reasons you move on to work with the brilliant Carol Kaye I don't suppose you're likely to wish you hadn't! Likewise, Herbie Flowers describing the evolution of his Walk On The Wild Side riff showed not only his sheer inventivity but also the ultimate anonymity that comes from it being someone else's record.

Where do you start if you're going to tell that story in an hour? Even the greatest rock'n'roll star of them all, Elvis Presley, was covered simply with Heartbreak Hotel because of Bill Black's memorable upright bass line. In that context if Cliff Richard had been mentioned at all it could justifiably have been with Move It and the driving double bass of Frank Clarke. Yes there was no Jet Harris but likewise there was no Jon Entwistle, no Muff Winwood and so on. Paul McCartney is an exception because he was more than a talented bass player, he was Beatle Paul, front man singer known throughout the world: not a supporting musician playing anonymously at the back.

Members of this forum would love to have seen Jet Harris and, if the Shadows bass development had been chronicled, there would also have been room for John Rostill, the most inventive of the three 60s Shads bassists, and the excellent session men who moved in thereafter. However, that would have been a different programme.

I don't feel I can fault the programme I saw. It was varied, it was fun and I learned a lot from it. Thanks again for the tip-off!
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Re: Bass programme - BBC FOUR: 18th January

Postby RayL » Tue Jan 22, 2019 8:57 am

If any programme time was mis-directed it was the amount given to the Marcels and Blue Moon - hardly a good example of 'bass' on a recording. Just a novelty record really, whereas that same year, 1961, produced one of the 'landmark' bass guitar solos that have stood the test of time - Jet's solo for Nivram.
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Re: Bass programme - BBC FOUR: 18th January

Postby Gatwick1946 » Mon Apr 08, 2019 2:58 pm

"Percussive thump"..........ha ha, I've produced a few of those over the years!!!.

I have not yet viewed the programme, but can't think there was no mention of Jack Bruce?

Perhaps a lot of stuff failed to pass the final edit?

Looking forward to next Friday on beeb4......Rock Island line;The Song that Made Britain Rock......presented by Billy Bragg.

Wonder if the crescent city skiffle group will get a mention(I'll get me coat).

Ps wot about the tea chest bass?.........perhaps they never caught on in the USA?


Then "Chas & Dave:Last Orders"(2200 Beeb4).

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