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Carol Kaye From The Wrecking Crew - What Motown Tracks Did She Play Bass On?

All About the SOUL Ian Dewhirst

 
Posted (edited)

Mmm. Interesting topic this. Greg Wilson mentioned this to me earlier today so I said it would be worth posting on S.S. to see what extra knowledge could be gleaned from any Motown experts.

Here's what Greg just sent me:-

"The book I mentioned is 'Good Vibrations - The History Of The Record Producer' by Mark Cunningham. It criticises Nelson George for not mentioning that there were sessions in the early to mid-60's in LA (once Berry Gordy had bought property there) with the Wrecking Crew. These were supposedly recorded by Armin Steiner and brought back to Detroit for the vocals to be added. The musicians apparently didn't know the titles of the songs they were recording, but recognised some of them later, when issued by Motown.

Carol Kaye says she has a letter on Jobete Music stationary saying she played bass on a number of Motown recordings between 63-69. She claims that these include 'Reach Out, I'll Be There', 'Standing In The Shadows Of Love', 'Bernadette', 'Baby Love', 'You Keep Me Hangin' On', 'You Can't Hurry Love', 'I Was Made To Love Her', and 'My Guy'.

This would be quite a revelation if true, given that 'Reach Out' is considered to be one of James Jamerson greatest basslines, although her claim to have played the bass on this track doesn't seem to backed up by other Wrecking Crew musicians who would have been on the same session, so would surely have made similar claims..

Found this, which discusses the subject:

My link

And this is from Carol Kaye's website:

My link

Any thoughts anyone?

Ian D :thumbsup:

Edited by Ian Dewhirst

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No Motown specialist me but surely she must have played on 'that' song by 'that' producer considering the dates.

There is a Motown book I read (can't remember the title but it's orange with the UK Tamla Motown logo on the front) & its implied that she played on most of the West coast productions during the mid 60's.

Mick

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Mmm. Interesting topic this. Greg Wilson mentioned this to me earlier today so I said it would be worth posting on S.S. to see what extra knowledge could be gleaned from any Motown experts.

Here's what Greg just sent me:-

"The book I mentioned is 'Good Vibrations - The History Of The Record Producer' by Mark Cunningham. It criticises Nelson George for not mentioning that there were sessions in the early to mid-60's in LA (once Berry Gordy had bought property there) with the Wrecking Crew. These were supposedly recorded by Armin Steiner and brought back to Detroit for the vocals to be added. The musicians apparently didn't know the titles of the songs they were recording, but recognised some of them later, when issued by Motown.

Carol Kaye says she has a letter on Jobete Music stationary saying she played bass on a number of Motown recordings between 63-69. She claims that these include 'Reach Out, I'll Be There', 'Standing In The Shadows Of Love', 'Bernadette', 'Baby Love', 'You Keep Me Hangin' On', 'You Can't Hurry Love', 'I Was Made To Love Her', and 'My Guy'.

This would be quite a revelation if true, given that 'Reach Out' is considered to be one of James Jamerson greatest basslines, although her claim to have played the bass on this track doesn't seem to backed up by other Wrecking Crew musicians who would have been on the same session, so would surely have made similar claims..

Found this, which discusses the subject:

http://www.bassland....ooks-n-mags.htm

And this is from Carol Kaye's website:

http://www.carolkaye...library/faq.htm

Any thoughts anyone?

Ian D :lol:

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they could've done them but when the tapes got to detroit the funks proberly re recorded them in there style as the motown logs state they were recorded in detroit and HDH state the funks played on the tracks mentioned ,another thing as well jamerson played with his finger where as kaye used a pluck .

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Actually I just realised that the links in the first post didn't work due to me being a buffoon of the highest order. All now fixed folks so please check 'em to get more background on this fascinating story.

To be honest, I haven't had time today to do the sort of in-depth research that I enjoy with stuff like this. When Greg rang me at lunchtime to ask me what I thought, I'd just eaten a massive pizza and was still nursing a king hell b*stard hangover from the night before plus was walking back to the office with a guy I'd just had a meeting with.

But then I started thinking about Frank Wilson who was West Coast based and who Motown must have recruited circa '64 or thereabouts after he'd already had a smash with the Frank Wilson & The Cavaliers record ("Just Kissed My Baby" I think). Which meant that Motown had a West Coast presence probably from '63 or thereabouts. Because all the books obviously tend to focus on Detroit, there's a tendency for most writers to either miss or kind of ignore the West Coast Motown office. I really know nothing about it at all but I'm not a Motown scholar so I'm sure someone on here can dig up some info about this Los Angeles outpost of an independent black-owned Detroit company. Who ran it? Who was A&R? What tracks were recorded there and by whom? How many Motown sessions were done on the West Coast and who were the L.A. players? Where was the office? Etc, etc, etc.

I think it's entirely plausable that Carole Kaye did play bass on those tunes. She has no need to make it up as she's probably the most commercially successful session bassist in the world with the most hit records. Plus she handled Phil Spector pretty well. She was boss and acknowledged for being better than the guys, so it's not like she needs to bullshit anyone.

As Mick Howard pointed out, it's entirely possible that the Wreckin' Crew backing tracks were shipped to Detroit and then sweetened and overdubbed with strings and vocals etc, but you'd be kinda nuts to remove a Carole Kaye bassline. No point.

She's pretty insistent that those basslines are hers.

I reckon that it all made perfect sense for Berry Gordy. He was working the Funk Brothers to the max by '64, probably 24/7 in the Snakepit in Detroit and he probably wanted another crack team to keep everyone on their toes, preferably far away and in nicer climate. We know he bought property in L.A. in '63, recruited Frank Wilson, a young L.A. Black guy who'd already scored a national hit in '64 and now we know he used the Wrecking Crew as early as '65. I never really made the connection or thought about it before today, but now I'm wondering how many of the hits did the Wrecking Crew play on?

Berry Gordy was a consumate operator and a PR genius - he invented both Artist Development and 'The Charm School' as just two great examples. When his ex-secretary, Elaine Jesmer wrote a book called "No.1 With A Bullet" - a thinly-veiled and highly contentious novel about a black-owned U.S. record company, he had it pullled off the shelves within 48 hours and bought the film rights for perpetuity. Try finding it now LOL...His PR focus and spin-doctoring always focused on Motown being a Detroit company so he probably didn't shout about the L.A. operation that much because it didn't suit a company that was named after the motor city so why muddy the story? So I find it fascinating that he had a hit-making operation on the West Coast as early as '65 using the same musicians that Phil Spector used. Yet those West Coast recordings sound just like they were made in Detroit. He basically managed to replicate the Detroit sound in L.A. with a completely different bunch of musicians and different studios which is some feat believe me. Fascinating stuff and I've now sorted my reading material for the next couple of weeks. I've got the Orange Motown book but never bothered reading it 'cos it looked like tough going but I'm sure glad I kept it. I knew it'd come in handy at some point. Similarly I've also got that massive Master Recordings book so I feel some serious research time coming up.....

Having written all this it occurs to me that there's experts out there who will probably know every single West Coast Wrecking Crew Motown recording and if there are, then please whack up a list if poss. It makes sense when you listen to stuff like "My Sugar Baby", a Frank Wilson produced West Coast brilliantly authentic Motown soundalike.

In fact, was THAT the Wrecking Crew I wonder?

Ian D :lol:

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Posted (edited)

they could've done them but when the tapes got to detroit the funks proberly re recorded them in there style as the motown logs state they were recorded in detroit and HDH state the funks played on the tracks mentioned ,another thing as well jamerson played with his finger where as kaye used a pluck .

So are there any Motown logs for the California recordings then? It's be interesting to compare them to the Detroit recordings log. It might be that the logging system was based in Detroit so every tape that came in was automatically logged as Detroit recording wherever it was recorded. I'm sure someone can clear this up.

Also I think Carole Kay covers the finger and pluck situation (sounds vaguely obscene doesn't it?) on the website link above. I mean she LOVED James Jamerson, so as the world's top session bassist at the time, why would she need to try and steal credit from a fellow musician? I just can't see why she'd need to do that. Most musicians I know can recognise their own playing and someone at Carol Kay's level wouldn't risk harming her reputation with other musicians by bullshitting about records she never played on would she?

It's real interesting though and reputations are at stake here. This arguement has been raging within the bass playing community since 2004. Essentially we have a white female bassist from L.A. (and arguably the best bass player ever) claiming that she played the Funk Brothers basslines on some key Motown records.

Where's Tony Rounce when we need him........?

Ian D :D

Edited by Ian Dewhirst

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Posted (edited)

*

Edited by simon t

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Baby Love rec 29-Oct-64

My Guy' rec 24-Aug-65

Reach Out, I'll Be There 27-Jul-66

You Keep Me Hangin' On rec 01-Aug-66

You Can't Hurry Love rec 11-Sep-66

Standing In The Shadows Of Love rec 06-Nov-66

Bernadette rec 24-Jan-67

I Was Made To Love Her rec 31-Mar-67

OK, we've got the dates but does it say where they were recorded?

If these turned out to be L.A. recordings then it turns the whole myth of 'the Motown sound' and the company's Detroit history on it's head because I would have pegged every one of those as being vintage Detroit recordings. If they were actually West Coast Wrecking Crew recordings then that tells a vastly different story to the one I know.

I mean, it's kind of unbelievable that the backing track for a record like "Reach Out, I'll Be There" was recorded on the West Coast by a bunch of white musicians isn't it? If any record sounded like an archetypical Funk Brothers recording, then "Reach Out, I'll Be There" would probably have got my vote for sure.

Also, I'm wondering if there's any tell-tale differences between the West Coast recordings and the Detroit recordings? Are there any subtle little L.A. session tricks that differentiated the L.A. stuff from Detroit? Was the L.A. stuff 'cleaner' than the Snakepit stuff? Was it better recorded?

I mean Berry moved the whole company over to L.A. in '72 and the story that's painted in "Standing In The Shadows Of Motown" is that Berry ripped the guts out of the Detroit music scene virtually overnight when Motown left. But it now looks like he'd been building the foundations for a West Coast operation over the previous 9 years. Plus Stevie was doing all his recording there, Marvin and Diana probably already lived there, Berry was getting involved in films and Detroit was just too f*ckin' COLD in Winter so it probably made sense. Who wouldn't want to sip a glass of chilled wine at the Playboy Mansion in February whilst everyone in Detroit was freezing their arses off?

This also made me wonder whether Motown ever had a New York office in the 60's and whether any New York recordings were commissioned?

Ian D :D

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These claims have been going on for years, there's no doubt Carol played bass on some tracks but many are disputed. It may be that some tracks were cut several times (some as demos) and there is confusion about which version(s) she actually played on.

Paul

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*

Edited by simon t

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These claims have been going on for years, there's no doubt Carol played bass on some tracks but many are disputed. It may be that some tracks were cut several times (some as demos) and there is confusion about which version(s) she actually played on.

Paul

Yeah, for sure Paul, but I'm interested in which tracks she claims she played on and which ones were recorded in L.A. with her and the Wrecking Crew and whether there's any way of differentiating 'em from the Detroit recordings. I actually had no idea at all that the Wrecking Crew did the backing track for "Reach Out, I'll Be There" 'cos that sounds like a vintage Snakepit recording to me. However, the seperation and clarity of that recording does stand out from other stuff. It's crystal clear, beautifully recorded and the bass cuts through beautifully. It's not a million miles from the level of clarity that Phil Spector achieved on his L.A. recordings from the same period. It now makes sense if "Reach Out, I'll Be There" was recorded by the same musicans in possibly the same studios that they did the Spector stuff in. It's just a piece of Motown history that I'd never assimilated before now.

This all kinda dovetails with the Frank Wilson connection though. Frank could obviously do the Motown Sound to a tee as Connie Clark's "My Sugar Baby" and "Double Cooking" prove, so it makes sense that a few months down the line, the Wrecking Crew were suddenly cranking out tons of Motown sounding recordings that were 100% on par with the Detroit recordings if not better.

Any 'confusion' as to who did the recordings and where they were recorded was probably to Berry Gordy's advantage.The main story was always

about the Motown/Detroit success story not about what came through the L.A. office.

It'd be fascinating to have a musicologist study the recordings. A spectrum analyzer would probably sort it out in no time. :D

Ian D :lol:

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Posted (edited)

Hello Ian,

I don't remember exactly which tracks she claimed she played on but she did try to sue someone who disputed her claims (and the case was dropped).

I think the separation and clarity is down to different recording and mixdown enginers and whatever limitations they faced (having to bounce tracks etc). Some Motown tracks are more narrow and compressed than others and of course you'd have to compare the original mixes (not remasters) to be accurate. Most recent remasters will of course be compressed to the max anyway.

I just compared old stereo versions of 'Reach Out' and 'Bernadette' and the frequency spectrums are almost an exact match - for both tones and levels. There are also similarities in the way things were positioned in left and right channels.

So I reckon 'Reach Out' is a Detroit recording ...unless Carol also claims she played on 'Bernadette' (!)

:D

Paul

Edited by Paul Mooney

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I've been trying to think of some way that these contradicting claims could be explained for years and I basically came up with two possibilities.

Martha & the Vandellas' 'Wild one' is recorded over an alternative backing track to 'Dancing in the street'. Maybe Motown recorded alternative backings to some of their songs featuring both sets of musicians.

There's also JJ's notorious drinking. I know his friends claim that it never affected his playing, but maybe it did, on mixdown, sound somewhat substandard, so the tapes were quietly shipped off to the West coast where Carol added a JJ-alike bass line. That happened to me once. The record in question went on to hit number one and I got thirty quid for it.

B@$#@rds :D

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Posted (edited)

Carol Kaye is prone to exaggeration/selective memory, as many who have interviewed her down the years will confirm.

She did play on several Motown tracks during the mid 60s, but she has selective memory over which ones she played on and only remembers playing on hits, whether she did play on them or not.

Motown did not start overdubbing West coast musicians on Detroit-recorded rhythm tracks until around the time of 'Reach Out' (which she does not play on - you can't miss Jamerson's work here, it's as much of a stand out part of the record as Levi's vocals) and 'Love Is Here And Now You're Gone' (which she possibly did play on - most of the backing track was cut in L.A.)

She quite probably played on all or most of the west coast recordings that Frank Wilson and Marc Gordon produced.

There is no way on God's earth that she played on 'Baby Love' and 'My Guy',

I am not knocking her achievements - she played on many of my favourite records of all time, from the Crystals' 'Then He Kissed Me' to the Beach Boys' 'The Little Girl I Once Knew' But her signature style is as recognisable as James Jamerson's, and it only takes a listen to any one of a thousand Motown tracks that Jamerson played on to pick him out as the record's rhythmic anchor.

She's been laying false claim to his work for years, and it's really about time she stopped taking credit that she doesn't deserve for his brilliance...

Edited by TONY ROUNCE

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Yeah, for sure Paul, but I'm interested in which tracks she claims she played on and which ones were recorded in L.A. with her and the Wrecking Crew and whether there's any way of differentiating 'em from the Detroit recordings. I actually had no idea at all that the Wrecking Crew did the backing track for "Reach Out, I'll Be There" 'cos that sounds like a vintage Snakepit recording to me. However, the seperation and clarity of that recording does stand out from other stuff. It's crystal clear, beautifully recorded and the bass cuts through beautifully.

I don't have my copy of standing in the shadows of motown to hand, but the book does mention that Jamerson's basslines were much clearer after the detroit studio acquired an eight-track mixing desk. That was the first time Jamerson had a track to himself, rather than being buried amongst the other instruments with the two-track mixer that had been used up to that point.

There's some interesting reading here, with lots of info from Allan Slutsky (standing in the shadows). Skip down to the section titled Who Played Bass on Stevie Wonder's "I Was Made To Love Her"?

http://www.bassland.net/jamerson.html

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So I reckon 'Reach Out' is a Detroit recording ...unless Carol also claims she played on 'Bernadette' (!)

:thumbsup:

Paul

http://www.carolkaye.com/www/library/sounds/index.htm

:lol:

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...Oh no, she does claim to have played on 'Bernadette' !!!

:lol:

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great post ,now lets examine frank wilsons do i love ,it fooled the lot of us back in the day we never thought it was a motown track until it was uncoverded ,so to me anyway you can tell the difference between west coast and detroit tracks ,also the funks played on most detroit tracks out with motown ie ric tic/golden world/groovesville/revoilt etc and you put them up against any west coast recording at that time there tracks are rawer(?) than the polished west coast tracks .

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A good example of a non-Motown Jamerson bass line is 'Higher And Higher'.

I hope Carol Kaye hasn't claimed that too.

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Hello everybody -

My second drummer, Spider Webb, who played on my Detroit/Bandtraxs recordings was once married to Carol Kaye. Please read his book for his comments on this subject:

http://www.bankhousebooks.com/books/music-related/spider-webb-untangled.html

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When I found out about this thing I got really mad. I'm serious. As Tony said, it's time she stops taking credit for the works of the greatest bass player of all time. You have to be fooking deaf to think someone other than James Jamerson played on Reach Out.

Also, I thought HDH liked to supervise recording sessions for all their tracks, so we can be pretty sure all HDH tracks were recorded in the snakepit.

I respect Mrs. Kaye, but making such claims is an insult to Jamerson's memory.

PS The Cavaliers' Frank Wilson who recorded Last Kiss was called J. Frank Wilson and is not the LA Motown songwriter / producer.

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Hello everybody -

My second drummer, Spider Webb, who played on my Detroit/Bandtraxs recordings was once married to Carol Kaye. Please read his book for his comments on this subject:

http://www.bankhousebooks.com/books/music-related/spider-webb-untangled.html

Yes, but, Carl by the time we've bought the book, read it, made a judgement, the immediacy of the question will have subsided!

For my twopenneth I'm with te James Jamerson played on Reach Out, as ex-bass player, fingered playing is what I hear, and Caroles playing as mentioned before and on Pet Sounds is using a plectrum, and fed through the mixing desk, which gives a less harsh sound. If that makes any sense

?

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The pedant in me would like to point out that Frank Wilson wasn't involved in Double Cooking, it was a San Francisco recording

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Posted (edited)

The pedant in me would like to point out that Frank Wilson wasn't involved in Double Cooking, it was a San Francisco recording

The pedant in you beat the pedant in me to that by about two mnutes, having just re-read the whole thread! :thumbsup:

Edited by TONY ROUNCE

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Its appearance on the G***mine Northern Soul Of LA may have clouded the issue!

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Well, the vote seems to be pretty unanimous. What gets me is why on earth would she make the claims? She's certainly the most successful female bass player of all time with numerous major hits to her credit so why besmirch the reputation of a fellow musician? What could she gain. Just plain weird.........

May 1995

In light of half-a-dozen magazine articles by Carol Kaye in the last few years and the distress they caused the Jamerson family, I find it necessary to state the following information about the ongoing debate. I've remained silent for the last five years but I think it's time to step forward with some hard facts. I hope it helps to clear up the issue.

Allan (Dr. Licks) Slutsky

"Who Played "I Was Made to Love" Her?

The Carol Kaye-James Jamerson Enigma"

He was dead, buried, and forgotten. Even 99% of the bass players in the world had no idea who he was. But in the last seven years, his life and music have been center stage amidst an explosion of newspaper and magazine articles (more than 350 worldwide), a long overdue biography, and an upcoming film documentary. The Fender custom shop has made a signature bass in his name, flat wound strings have begun selling again, and in the last two years, the recording company that had employed him for a decade and a half finally gave him official recognition in the liner notes of 3 recent historical CD box sets.

After three decades of obscurity, musicians and music lovers throughout the world were discovering the holy grail of the bass world-James Jamerson, the tormented genius whose earthquake-heavy bass lines fueled the Motown hit machine through the '60s and early '70s. Even though it was posthumous, he was finally getting his long overdue recognition.

And everyone lived happily ever after, right? Not exactly. As Jamerson rose in prominence, his reputation was given a serious challenge through the media by another icon of the bass, Carol Kaye. Well aware of her claims through the years about her recording sessions with the Supremes, Four Tops, Stevie Wonder, and other stars in Berry Gordy's stable, I contacted her in 1987 when I first began my research for STANDING IN THE SHADOWS OF MOTOWN: The Life and Music of Legendary Bassist James Jamerson. This was done out of the highest regard for Carol's monumental achievements and contributions to the bass, and popular music in general. My intention was to find out first-hand what she had played on so I could avoid stepping on her toes.

I had expected her to name a few significant hits but was floored when she laid claim to "Bernadette", "Reach Out", "Baby Love", "I Was Made to Love Her", "Ain't No Mountain High Enough", "Dancing In the Streets", "Can't Help Myself", and dozens of others Motown classics-in short, the majority of James Jamerson's signature performances.

At that point I decided to rethink the entire project. If I could substantiate Carol's allegations, I would write the book about her instead of Jamerson. I expected my research to turn up pros and cons for each player's position, along with the usual grey areas you can expect when researching multiple claims to the same material. Instead, what I found was overwhelmingly conclusive evidence that James Jamerson played the tunes in question. Here are the facts that my research turned up:

1) The songwriting-production team of Holland-Dozier-Holland attested to the fact that James Jamerson played on almost every one of their productions, and they never allowed others to produce songs that they had written. Brian Holland signed a notarized affidavit categorically stating that "Bernadette", "Reach Out", "Can't Help Myself", "Keep Me Hanging On", "Standing in the Shadows of Love", "Reflections", "Baby Love", "Back In My Arms Again", "Come See About Me", and "Can't Hurry Love", (all tunes claimed by Carol) were in fact, played by James Jamerson. Most damning was his statement that he had never even heard of Carol Kaye.

2) Smokey Robinson who wrote or produced probably 30-40 percent of Motown's biggest hits also denied that she had any major role in the Motown story, and had no part at all on the songs in question.

3) The performance credit that Carol has pursued with the greatest tenacity over the years is the bass part on Stevie Wonder's "I Was Made to Love Her". Hank Cosby who co-wrote, produced it, and who, in his own words, "was there every step of the way from the writing of the song to the day the 45's were shipped", vehemently denied any participation by Carol Kaye on this recording. Cosby added, "Fifty percent of the song was James Jamerson's bass line. No one played like that but Jamerson." Cosby also signed an affidavit similar to Brian Holland's attesting to Jamerson's performance.

*********Point-Counterpoint: Carol's Side of the Story**********

1) The Politics of Race and Gender-Carol contends that Motown was afraid to admit that a white female bassist was the driving force behind some of their biggest hits. They wanted to push a black male agenda.

There are two faults with this argument. First of all, when it came to musicians, Motown had no racial or gender bias. They were all faceless cogs to them. Regardless of whether they were black, white, female, male, or Martian, they weren't going to get any recognition-period! It was a star driven phenomena and the company never gave the slightest thought to publicizing background figures. In addition, the Motown studio band (which was called the Funk Brothers) was not exclusively black. Guitarists Joe Messina and Dennis Coffey, percussionist Jack Brokensha, arranger Dave Van dePitte, and bassist Bob Babbit, who also played quite a few important Motown dates, were all white.

2) Improvised vs. Written Parts - Her claim to "Reach Out" is based upon her contention that "discerning musicians can hear that the parts weren't improvised. It was a written part". James Jamerson regularly improvised and sight read parts of that complexity. Part of his genius was that he could take a written part and make it sound as if it was his. Regardless of this argument, I have a photocopy of the original Union contract from the "Reach Out" session. It's dated July 6, 1966 (the year of the tune's release), it lists James Jamerson as the bassist (for which he received the princely sum of $61.00), and Detroit's Hitsville studio is indicated as the place where it was recorded. Carol herself admits that she never recorded in Detroit.

3) The West Coast Connection-Carol maintains that a great deal of Motown's output was being cut on the West Coast in Los Angeles.

That is true, but don't forget that Motown also had acts like Tony Martin, James Darren, and Soupy Sales signed to their label. There were also various Broadway and Las Vegas style orchestrated albums produced like the the Temptations in a Mellow Mood and The Four Tops on Broadway, not to mention the constant demand for filler material on albums. There was plenty of work to go around and Detroit could not possibly handle all of it. Frank Wilson who produced hits for Motown in both Detroit and Los Angeles supports Carol's claim that she worked numerous sessions for the company. However, he qualifies it by stating, "They used her a lot but not on the hard core R&B stuff. That stuff came out of Detroit. They didn't like her sound for R&B because she played with a pick. It didn't have that fat round sound that Jamerson got with his fingers."

4) "I Was Made to Love Her"-According to Carol, this tune was recorded at Armin Steiner's studio and she recalls "I didn't like the final written riff that I played high up in unison with the horns. You can also hear where I was scuffling a bit with open strings a couple of times".

Now it starts to get complicated. First of all, the detailed studio log that Carol kept does not support her position. The log lists every date she played from 1963-1971. She painstakingly listed artists, studios, record labels, contractors and arrangers on each date. "I Was Made to Love Her" was released in 1967 which means it was cut in '66 or '67. There are no listings for a session at Steiner's or a Stevie Wonder date during that time span.

As far as "scuffling" around, the performance is perfect. Don't trust my ears. Trust the auditory ability of one of the world's most highly regarded bassists-lifelong Jamerson devotee, Anthony Jackson. He couldn't hear what she was talking about either. The "final written riff played in unison with the horns" argument also is problematic. "I Was Made To Love Her" is rhythm section and strings. There are no horns on that record.

5) Ask My Friends-Carol asked me to talk to Gene Page, Jerry Steinholtz, Earl Palmer, and some of the other studio musicians who played the West Coast Motown sessions with her. She felt they would back up her story.

I didn't just call a few of them. I talked to every one she recommended, naming the songs in question and telling them about Carol's claims. Arranger Gene Page immediately burst out laughing and said, "She said that? No way . . . never. That stuff was all Jamerson". Percussionist Steinholtz remembered playing Motown sessions with Carol but that was as much as he could remember. The closest I got to her viewpoint was with veteran R&B session drummer Earl Palmer who bristled at my suggestion that perhaps they played the demo versions of the songs in question. "Hell no!", he countered. "We weren't playing demos. We were playing hits". The only problem was that he also couldn't remember any song titles.

Now we all know that studio musicians live by their reputations, so remembering hits that they played on is of paramount importance. If they had even remembered one title-just one-I would have had something to pursue, but as it stood, they gave me no material at all to back up her story. Back in Detroit, In stark contrast to my California research, the Funk Brothers remembered everything- song titles, intricate details, times, dates, and fellow musicians on the session and it all revolved around James Jamerson.

6) The Great Cover-Up-Carol has accused many of Motown's producers of conducting illegal non-union, under scale sessions, and in efforts to cover their backs, they refuse to admit working with her.

First of all, if the sessions were illegal, why was a union musician like Carol playing them in direct violation of union rules? Secondly, the Motown story is full of lawsuits and union problems but that doesn't exactly strike fear in their hearts. It's just business as usual. James Jamerson certainly played under scale Motown sessions at different times. Why do these same producers admit working with him?

7) Demos That Became Hits-Amidst the thousand of studio dates in Carol's logs, quite a few are marked as demos and many of those were with Motown. According to her, the company misled the musicians because many of these sessions became the actual records.

Carol may have a legitimate grievance in this instance but not in regard to the songs in question. When the recent Platinum CD Box set The Hitsville Singles Collection was produced two years ago, most of the songs in question were pulled from the vaults and re-mastered. Motown's filing system lists whether the songs were recorded in Detroit or Los Angeles (and in a few instances in New York) on each storage box. All the disputed songs were listed as being cut in Detroit.

During the sixties and seventies, Carol Kaye contributed more to popular music than most musicians, including myself, could hope to equal in several lifetimes. By all accounts of people who know her well, she is also a wonderful, warm, loving person. I have no desire in any way to hurt her or ruin her reputation, but as James Jamerson's biographer, I do have a responsibility to him. James died a brokenhearted alcoholic, tortured by the lack of recognition for his part in the Motown story. It took the world thirty years to find out and appreciate exactly what he did and I intend to further that recognition to the best of my abilities. If that includes defending him in the face of unfounded attacks on his life's work, so be it.

I'm still open to any information which would change the story and support Carol Kaye's version but so far, I've yet to find a single shred of evidence. I'd even go as far as to say that I wouldn't doubt that somewhere out there, there is some evidence that would support her claims on a few disputed songs.

She has my humblest apologies for the few that I may have missed. But when you're talking about "Bernadette", "Reach Out", "Baby Love", "I Was Made to Love Her", "Ain't No Mountain High Enough", "Dancing In the Streets", "Can't Help Myself", Standing In The Shadows of Love", "You Keep Me Hangin' On", and dozens of others . . . Sorry Carol. That magical legacy belongs to someone else.

Ian D :lol:

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My old roommate in the early eighties, Tony Newton, who was a part of the Funk Bros., told me that there were often two bass players employed on certain Motown songs.   He himself, a bassist, would sometimes play the octave up from the Jamerson foundation note.  I have no reason to disbelieve him.  I have worked with a couple of other Motown legends.  I don't want to name names here, as these would be hard to trace down, speaking of these anecdotes, but I have no reason to defend or attack the Carole Kaye accounts here, vis-a-vis Motown lines, but this "two basses" might help explain some of the "implausibilities" presented. (Or it might not, especially which tracks were recorded where).  I don't know about the Hollywood connection.  Bob Babbit has also spoken about the "two bass players" idea.

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The Wrecking Crew certainly worked with more than one bass at a time, although I think that was only on 'Wall of sound' recordings.  I'm not an expert on Gold Star Studios I'm afraid...

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