Dave's Bass Land Blog

Special Kaye 

Hey everyone welcome back

Continuing on with “The List” of my most influential bass players, it's no coincidence that it just happens to be Women’s History month and I bring to you the one and only Carol Kaye! 

I was first introduced to Carol as a young child listening to 45's on my parents jukebox in the basement. This was well before I ever picked up an electric bass. Not really having any childhood friends left me to spend hours in that basement listening to the same dozen 45's over and over again. While some may find it a sad existence, that jukebox and those early records were my world.  It would be several more years before I officially met Ms. Kaye while taking bass lessons at my local music store.  Still wasn't doing much better in the “friends” department in case you're keeping track :)

My dad taught me early on how to read music. My bass teacher was a bit surprised that I could get through Mel Bay's book one for bass rather quickly.  So, at one lesson my teacher comes down with “Electric Bass Lines Book One” by Carol Kaye.   We start going through the material. Page 1, Page 2, page 3 etc. and the teacher (Greg Piontek was his name) stops me and asks me “Do you have this book? How are you picking this up so fast?”

So, I tell him that I have heard all of these songs before, These are all on my parents jukebox. Mr. Piontek laughs and tells me that my dad has good taste! 

So, who is Carol Kaye?

Carol Kaye started as a session musician for Capitol Records in 1963. The legendary Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys described Carol as “The best damn bass player in the world”. 

Carol Kaye was the house bass player for the Legendary Wrecking Crew

Just to give you an example of some of the “Hits” and musicians that Carol recorded bass for;


Beach Boys, Ray Charles, TheRighteous Bros., Johnny Mathis, Nancy Sinatra, Sam Cooke, Glen Campbell, Lou Rawls, Jan & Dean, Henry Mancini, The Lettermen, Paul Revere & Raiders, Monkees, Buckinghams, April & Nino,Sonny & Cher, Chris Montez, Andy Williams, Quincy Jones, Joe Cocker, Ike &Tina Turner, Mel Torme, Bobby Darin, Frank Zappa, Wayne Newton, Herb Alpert, O.C. Smith, Don Ho, Al Martino,

Numerous movie and TV credits including MASH, Mission Impossible, Brady Bunch, Addams Family, Cannon, McCloud, Room 222, 1st Bill Cosby, Ironside, Kojak, Hawaii 5-O, Wonder Woman, Soap; Thomas Crown Affair, Sweet Charity, Airport,In The Heat Of The Night, Plaza Suite, The New Centurions, Pawnbroker, Guess Who's Coming To Dinner, Change Of Habit, Le Mans, Walk Don't Run, On Any Sunday to name a few.

(There are so many recordings that I had to change font size!)

Whipped Cream - Herb Alpert
Spanish Eyes - Al Martino
Good Vibrations, Help Me Rhonda, Sloop John B, I Get Around, Wouldn't It Be Nice (dano), Calif. Girls, God Only Knows, Pet Sounds lp, Heroes & Villains, Caroline No, Surf's Up, Child Is The Father Of The Man, Do You Like Worms?, Smile lp, Cabinessence, Fire sessions, I Was Made To Love Her, Let Him Run Wild - Beach Boys
Little Green Apples, Hickory Hollar - O.C. Smith 
Goin' Out Of My Head/Can't Take my Eyes Off Of You medley, Hurt So Bad, Shangrila, 

When I Fall in Love, More, Theme from Summer Place, etc. - Lettermen
Something Stupid - Frank & Nancy Sinatra 
Boots, Sugar Town, You Only Live Twice theme, etc. - Nancy Sinatra 
Feelin' Alright - Joe Cocker 
The Way We Were - Barbra Streisand 
Tell Her You Love Her, The World We Knew (OD dano fuzz on "World"), How Do You Keep The Music Playing, etc. - Frank Sinatra 
Hold Me Thrill Me etc. - Mel Carter 
Godfather Theme, Love Story, Can't Take My Eyes Off Of You, etc. - Andy Williams 
In The Heat Of The Night, I Don't Need No Doctor, America The Beautiful, Eleanor Rigby, I Chose To Sing The Blues, Here We Go Again, Don't Change
On Me, Feel So Bad, Understanding etc. - Ray Charles 
Romeo & Juliet Theme (A Time For Love), Willow Weep For Me, Godfather Theme, others & Doc Severinson lp etc. - Henry Mancini 
Mercy Mercy Mercy etc. - Buckinghams 
Indian Reservation etc. - Paul Revere & Raiders

Light My Fire - The Doors

and so much more.

If I could meet Ms. Kaye today, I would kindly say thank you for being my friend and keeping me company in that basement. Hats off to you and the entire Wrecking Crew! 

Yes, the picture below is indeed the original jukebox with the old 45's still in it







If it walks like a Duck 

Hey everyone! Welcome back to my little world of bass. 

I wanted to take some time and reflect on my early influences on the electric bass.  I guess a better title for this post would be "If it Grooves Like A Duck" !  I mean, we all knew that Ducks were cool but did you know they were pretty groovy too?

Let's get started.

If you haven't guessed, I'm talking about Donald "Duck" Dunn.

Donald "Duck" Dunn who left us on May 12, 2013, was an American bass guitarist, session musician, record producer, and songwriter. Dunn was notable for his 1960s recordings with Booker T. & the M.G.'s and as a session bassist for Stax Records. At Stax, Dunn played on thousands of records, including hits by Otis Redding, Sam & Dave, Rufus Thomas, Carla Thomas, William Bell, Eddie Floyd, Johnnie Taylor, Albert King, Bill Withers, Elvis Presley and many others. In 1992, he was inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Booker T. & the M.G.'s.

Dunn was born in Memphis, Tennessee. His father nicknamed him "Duck" while watching Disney cartoons with him one day. Dunn grew up playing sports and riding his bike with another future professional musician, Steve Cropper.

Dunn was known for his legendary bass lines that did one thing "Groove"

Legendary hits such as;

"Green Onions" - Booker T. & the M.G.'s

"Respect" - Otis Redding

"Hold On I'm Comin" - Sam & Dave 

"Stop Draggin' My Heart Around" - Stevie Nicks & Tom Petty

Dunn played behind Dylan, George Harrison, Eric Clapton, Tom Petty, Stevie Wonder, Sinead O'Connor, Eddie Vedder and Neil Young at Dylan's 30th Anniversary concert at Madison Square Garden, Young would later recruit Dunn and the rest of the M.G's as his touring band. 

Plus, who can forget The Blues Brothers! (My personal favorite movie of all time!) Dunn had one line in the movie where he described the Blues Brothers Band "We had a band powerful enough to turn goat piss into gasoline!" 

True indeed Duck.

I still practice Ducks bass lines from the Sam & Dave Records as well as The Blues Brothers.

If you want to really learn how to "Groove Like A Duck" start with Donald "Duck" Dunn! 


See you in the practice room.

Being Thankful 

Life can be hard. Life can be cruel. When times are difficult, you really need to search for the things that you are thankful for. However, when you look, you will find them.

For me, one thing that I am thankful for is my fellow band members in McCarthyizm. It's a family. One big dysfunctional family and I would have it no other way. Thank you Joe, Joe, Sally and Greg.

I am also thankful for every single one of our (I won't call them fans,) they are our friends. You are the ones that keep McCarthyizm going after all these years. You come out to the shows, wear the shirts, dance and sing. You make every show an event and every event a moment for us.   That's what matters the moments we make and the moments we keep.

Thank you

Getting Back to Gettin' Back 

Hey everyone!  I hope you are all safe and well.

So, McCarthyizm is getting ready for some February and March shows. Just the other night in the practice room the topic of the recent  Beatles "Get Back" documentary came up in conversation. The observation was made that not much has changed in the band practice room from back in "the day" with John, Paul, George and Ringo to the way it is today.

A group of folks sitting or standing around each other just trying to create music, coming up with ideas, jamming and trying to get the sounds in your head to come out through your instrument. Some ideas flourish. While others get tossed aside for maybe a later time or to never see the light of day.  

What was amazing (to me) was that someone decades ago had the foresight to record on camera the magic that took place in that studio over those 21 days. Was there magic in the McCarthyizm practice room the other night?  Sure, we like to think so. Beatle Magic?  Well....let's not go there!  lol.....

What do your band practices look like? Do you just run set lists? Or, do you try write at every rehearsal?

Looking forward to seeing you all soon!

Cheers for now!


Bass Greats 

Hey All! 

Where would all of us "Low Enders" be without the bass masters of the Motown era? Some of my favorites (in no particular order) have to be Carol Kaye, Donald "Duck" Dunn, Bob Babbitt and of course James Jamerson.   They all  dazzled us with brilliant bass lines, syncopation and FEEL!  Some recorded a "thousand" notes in a song. While others proved that yes, you can write a memorable bass line in 2 notes.  Ahem, the song  "My Girl" comes to mind.

Who are your greats? Please chime in, I would love to hear from you.

See you in the practice room...



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