Philly Soul: The Top 10 Ronnie Baker Bass Lines
This episode of “From the Bottom” is part history lesson, part analysis, part tribute.
I’m digging into one of the great unsung bassists of Soul, Disco, and Popular music: Ronnie Baker. The longtime Philadelphia International Records bassist worked alongside Gamble & Huff, Thom Bell, and others to play bass on some of the most popular songs of the past 50 years, including music by The O’Jays, The Spinners, The Delfonics, Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes, and many, many others.
Here are my top 10 bass lines by Baker, spanning his career as a 20-something in the 1960s, through his time writing and producing at the height of disco in the 1970s.
Paul Thompson has been playing bass professionally for over 30 years, including recording and touring stints with trumpeter Maynard Ferguson and saxophonist Stanley Turrentine. Recent playing credits include Bob Reynolds, John Pizzarelli, Jeff 'Tain' Watts, and Bob James, among others. Currently, he can be seen playing in and around the Pittsburgh, PA area with the THOTH Trio, the Pittsburgh Jazz Orchestra, and many other musicians in the city's rich Jazz community. An educator of over 25 years, Paul currently teaches Jazz Bass at Duquesne University, West Virginia University, and his alma mater, Pittsburgh CAPA 6-12 Performing Arts School.