James Jamerson: “Bernadette” Isolated Bass

This wouldn’t be much of an “isolated bass week” without including the legend, James Jamerson.

So here’s a (mostly) isolated bass track from the 1967 Four Tops hit, “Bernadette”. There’s some disagreement about whether this is the bass on the actually released single, or if it is an out-take from the Motown vault. Doesn’t matter to us… it is still great.

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Share your thoughts

  1. This is great! Jamerson was and is the man!

  2. Young players these days forget the melody!

  3. master sideman that created a sound for us…

  4. How do you make these isolated bass tracks?

    • Ed P

      This comes from the soundtrack of “Standing in the Shadows of Motown”

      • If it’s from the Standing in the Shadows CD set the bassist playing this is none other than Chuck Rainey. Not too shabby!
        The CDs that go with the book feature amazing bassists like Chuck, Bob Babbitt, Will Lee, Ready Freddie Washington, Marcus Miller and Gerald Veasley playing James’ basslines. Highly recommend this book!

    • eddie.

      They’re taken from the multi-track master tapes. The bass was usually recorded straight into the desk to it’s own separate track but here it’s been bounced together with some other parts.

  5. I listen to James and I think oh yeah, that’s where I got that riff from. He’s right at the heart of my playing.

  6. Jamerson the Foundation for any bass player.

  7. That is what you call TRUST! In Your Bass and Dead Strings! Nobody today can recreate that sound OR that Feel! True OLD SCHOOL! :)

  8. after all this years we are still learning from him… #legend

  9. The man. The Man Motown has so many great players the funk brothers. and not just Motown track, But others studios as well.

  10. This is really great,I’m glad I hit the button and heard this for myself…WOW I’m now a BIG FAN to NO TREBLE!!!

  11. Matt

    Can we get some McCartney riffs–like from “Rain”?

  12. Lee J. DaVito

    Still way cool!!!!!!! JJ didn’t slap…. pop.or tap…No fancy effects….nada…..and never even changed his strings…Completely unheard of today…….He got right down deep in that groove and nailed it…They dont make bassists like him anymore……Truly a bassists bassist!!!

  13. For me he was the best!

  14. Ari Gorman

    I love me some Jamerson as much as the next guy, but it is CAROL KAYE who actually plays bass on this track! I took lessons from her and she gave me photocopies of her handwritten transcriptions to this bass line, along with firsthand accounts of her bitter struggle to retain her rightful legacy to songs that she was not credited with.

    • marc

      Carol is a great bassist but she is delusional about this. It’s possible that a version on Bernadette exists with her playing bass but everything about the hit version including Mowtown session notes screams Jamerson. Style, Touch, fingers not pick, first hand accounting from the other session players.
      Same with made to love her. There’s a Beach Boys version she plays on that I believe she has confused with the Stevie Wonder sessions. Listen to that version and the Wonder version back to back and it’s easy to identify the difference in their styles. Not only the obvious pick vs fingers sonic signature but Jamerson’s swing vs her more straight playing on the 16ths.