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October 16, 2021


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Jeff Rice

Fontella Bass: Rescue Me

Howard Wasserman

Queen, Under Presssure:

The Breeders, Cannonball:

Jeff Rice

Tempts: Ball of Confusion.

The Motown Funk Brothers et all layed down so many unforgettable bass tracks.

John Steele

often considered the greatest country music bass player, Bob Moore's work was iconic. listen to his work on Roger Miller's "King of the Road."

Ben Simmonds

Interesting bit of incunabula: The Doors did not have a bassist. That's a studio musician you hear on "Riders on the Storm". When the Doors played live Ray Manzarek supplied the bass lines on organ.


So many of these are simply not examples of bass lines, but guitar riffs.

And, White Rabbit? Really? A great bass line?

And, no mention of James Jamerson?

Posting what you like from your youth is one thing; but pretending to be a music connoisseur or critic or even a person who understands the basics about this sort of music is another.


for example, a classic premier bass line:


Jeff Rice

anon: James Jefferson was one of the bass players with the Funk Brothers along with Bob Babbit. One or both were likely on some of these cuts. Steve L did not single out many bassists (such as Jack Cassidy or Paul McCartney. I mentioned The Funk Brothers but not anyone by name.



James Jamerson has been widely acknowledged as one of the greatest bass players ever. Steve mentioned " Joe Osborne, Carol Kaye, and Duck Dunn." That sort of showed a basic lack of awareness.

I didn't really intend to comment on your comment, Jeff. But, just as I would say that mentioning "Wings" wouldn't do Paul McCartney justice, mentioning the "Funk Brothers" really didn't single out James Jamerson for his due.

As for Jack Casady, suffice it say that few would rank him among the all time greats. Phil Lesh, maybe.

To be sure, this sort of comparison is a closer question than labeling "White Rabbit" as a great bass line. Jeez ...

Look up the tab for the bass on White Rabbit: it is labeled "beginner."


BTW, not that this is the last word, for sure, but, on Rolling Stone's list of the top 50 bass players of all time, James Jamerson is No. 1.

Jack Casady isn't even on the list.


Ben Simmonds

anon is a bit harsh.

The topic is iconic bass lines; that is, easily recognizeable bass lines, not iconic bass players.

The base line in "White Rabbit" is iconic, even though Jack Casady is not an iconic bassist.



The phrase to which you refer in "White Rabbit" is basically two notes, played repetitively.

That is not an "iconic bass line." Compare it to the classic, "iconic bass line" posted above, played by the great James Jamerson.

But more tellingly, you are simply mistaken in your claim that "the topic is [solely] bass lines [and not bass players]."

I'm sorry you think the truth is harsh, but Lubet said:

"Don't miss the update on great session bassists at the bottom of this post."

You are just wrong that the post did not attempt to identify great session bass players.

The failure to note the No. 1 session bass player in just about everyone's view is telling, Ben.

Combine that with adding a two note phrase that almost all bassists would characterize as suitable for a "beginner" played by a guy who couldn't even make the top 50 bassists and you have a post that is a sadly out of tune pretense to insight.

Nice try to deflect, but really, "White Rabbit"?



Oh, and btw, you and Lubet are misusing the term "iconic" if you think it means "easily recognizable."

Ben Simmonds

My dear anon (if that is your real name)

Some see the world only in black and white; others in kodachrome.


Nice touch, Ben.

Paul Simon: one of the most iconic vocalists of all time!

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