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Standing In The Shadows Of Motown: The Life And Music Of Legendary Bassist James Jamerson

4.53  ·  Rating details ·  258 ratings  ·  12 reviews
Guitar BookBassist James Jamerson was the embodiment of the Motown spirit and groove the invisible entity whose playing inspired thousands. His tumultuous life and musical brilliance are explored in depth through hundreds of interviews, 49 transcribed musical scores, two hours of recorded all-star performances, and more than 50 rarely seen photos in this stellar tribute to ...more
Paperback, 194 pages
Published June 1st 1989 by Hal Leonard Corporation (first published May 1989)
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Don Inman
Jun 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Hi, my names Don and I'm a music nerd.

I'm here to disabuse you regarding the Barry Gordie myth. Barry Gordie did not grow Motown's catalog. The Fun Brothers did. And James Jamerson was the beat that drove the Funk Brothers, literally and figuratively. Yes he was an addict, a drinker, a womanizer and all those other evil nasty things attributed to black musicians. He was also the greatest bass player, yes I said greatest. Yes I'm willing to defend that. So don't be hating on me for being willing
Gabriel Monticello
Jan 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A must read for every Bass guitarist. James Jamerson is one of the most important musicians in the instruments history.
The book is in three parts
1. Biography- exceptional. Well written and full of details about the man, and the funk brothers. Great information for everyone.
2. Technical information- includes analysis of his sound, discography, listing of all funk brothers, and a Chromatic exercise that James would do. The exercise is good for bassists the rest is great for anyone.
3. Excerpts o
Jason Das
Jan 11, 2015 rated it liked it
5 stars for existing and shining its light how and when it did. And for the 1980s, a pretty impressive multimedia effort.

But there's a lot of room for improvement when/if there's ever market or passion enough for an updated version. This is the kind of book that deserves to be superseded in the best possible way: building something better on the original's foundation/blazed trail.

Licks has passion and understanding, and I understand that some of the research done for this book is important, bu
Adam Rynczak
Apr 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
As a musician, aspiring bass player, and general fan of music (especially when it's heavy on the low end) this is probably one of my favorite books and I generally don't read non-fiction. Give this a read if you love music (history), Motown, bass, or James Jamerson. I think this an enjoyable and great read for anyone, musical background or not unless, of course, you don't enjoy this sort of music. If you like funk though I can almost guarantee you'll like this book and appreciate the genius of t ...more
Bjm Index
Jul 20, 2012 added it
Shelves: music
Thomas Ray
Jul 29, 2019 marked it as to-read
Shelves: music
There's also a terrific documentary of the same name, featuring the surviving Funk Brothers and outstanding singers such as Joan Osborne and Bootsy Collins, singing their hits while the band plays. Awesome music. ...more
Rolan Velasquez
Mar 30, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Essential for any bass player student and teacher alike. Some of the best bass lines that come out of the US that are still influencing music to this day. A must have.
Barbara Washington
Feb 25, 2009 marked it as to-read
This is a book that I have not read yet,but as soon as I get the
chance to I will.I am interested in this book because,of course I
love music,James Jamerson has been hailed as one the greatest bass
of all time,he has played on some of the most memorable songs that we
hear all the time,and he is from North Carolina.
Aug 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Jamerson is magical.
Earl Schlubb
Feb 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book was published in the 1980s and the layout design and the quality of the photos (b/w) leave a bit to be desired. The concept, however, is a real treat. The reader is presented initially with a simple biography of Jamerson, which of course will appeal to those who are interested in learning about a musician who was tremendously influential but who remained nameless to most listeners. The book then moves into a section of specially recorded song versions with bass in the left channel and ...more
Jan 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Inspirational story of one of the most important musicians in history and a great resource.

Some reviewers have criticised the recordings of Jamerson's work by other top bass players which are included in this book. Although I've rarely listened to/used them - preferring instead to use the original recordings with Jamerson, or the isolated tracks available on youtube - it is interesting to hear other legendary players have a go at playing Jamerson's parts. A few even sight read the transcription
John Tarves
Feb 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
Interesting book about one of the best bass players ever - who put his imprint on so many of the hits of Motown records. Lots of primary sources recounting the stories of Jamerson's life and his music.
Really neat feature of a link (provided on title page) of a link to many of the top bassists in the world playing his lines. Great bonus! Would especially be of interest to any bass guitar players.
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