Friday, July 15, 2011

Fat Friday Feature: The Brothers Johnson

So today begins a feature wherein each Friday a bass player/sweet bass part is showcased.  Let's begin, shall we?

Dig the fashion.  Dig the Gibson bass.  Dig that bad ass bass line.  Dig on the Brothers Johnson covering Shuggie Otis' "Strawberry Letter #23". Any good funk tune fill one or more of the following requirements:
  • It must be about sex.
  • It must be repetitive as hell.
  • It doesn't make any sense lyrically.
"Strawberry Letter #23" fulfills that last requirement big time.  No matter - it's an amazing groove.

Fat Feature Friday DOUBLE SHOT!!!1!!11!!
Some more slapping, this time from Slick Joe Fick and on an upright bass.  I love this - if he played like this on tunes, I'd say it was the sort of selfish, over-the-top playing I despise.  But this is more like a demo reel to me, showing what can be done on an upright using the slap method.  Joe's got some other clips online (he was one of the bass players in "Walk The Line") that are more groove oriented, so check 'em out.


  1. 3 pickup Gibson Marauder w/maple neck!* Ripper bass! A veritable playground of bad 70's Gibsons!

    Good song, but the original is better.

    And speaking of good, how about the BJ's "I'll Be Good to You?"

    * actually an S-1, but pretty much a Marauder with maple neck and 3 single coil pickups.

  2. I actually have a commentary you wrote about "Strawberry Letter #23" and was going to ask you if I could post it as a guest post, but it wouldn't have made sense in the context of this blog (long story). . .


    In this photo, dig the double cut away Yamaha guitar (Les Paul ripoffs that were better than the Les Pauls coming out at the time), and what I believe to be a very early G & L bass.

  4. Great tune! That's an Music Man Sting Ray, pre-Ernie Ball. How do I know? The Sting Ray first appeared in 1976; mine is a '77 or '78. They've been around a lot longer than people think. Look at old AC/DC and Aerosmith (and for that matter, Bruce Springsteen) photos/videos - those guys were early adopters, getting them long before they were made popular by the likes of Flea and Pino Pallidino.

    Clip I submit for evidence:
    Note that Angus's brother (?) is also rocking a Yamaha (possibly a Carvin?) double cut away.

  5. Sorry - Pino Pallidino was also an early adopter.

  6. Thunder Thumbs and Lightning Licks, how could anyone not love the Brothers Johnson?! Listen closely and you can hear Quincy Jones at work.

    AND if you rent SemiPro, you'll hear their classic "Get the Funk Outta my Face" on the soundtrack.