I Need Your Lovin’ (Recorded Nov. 11, 1968)
So after a long hiatus from posting to this site, I am finally back from a wild adventure of diving deep into the work of James Jamerson. To kick things off I am going to post a full transcription of one of my favorite Jamerson lines from a track called “I Need Your Lovin'” — a hidden gem off the Temptations Cloud 9 album. This track is important in that it demonstrates Jamerson’s ability to develop a bass line and maintain energy throughout a song based on a very common I-vi-ii-V chord progression (G, Em, Am, and D). One thing that strikes me right away when I listen to this track is how Jamerson masterfully exploits and stretches the range of the instrument. For example, in bar 5 the bass line plunges from the open G into the bottom register of the instrument ending on low E. Although this is the lowest note of the instrument, in bar 6 he returns to low E in a way that (to my ears) makes it sound even lower. I believe he achieves this by placing greater emphasis on the second low E. For example, the low E in bar 5 occurs in passing, whereas in bar 6 the low E is approached by a rake from the open D and A strings and sustained for a greater duration. Furthermore, the low E sticks out even more in bar 6 because it is held out as a dissonant non-chord tone under the D chord played by the guitar. The low E in bar 6 is actually an emphasized passing tone that helps chromatically connect D back to G (V to I). The emphasis placed on passing non-chord tones is pointed out by Anthony Jackson as a highly characteristic feature of Jamerson’s style (SITSOM, p. 93) that creates tension and opportunity for release. That is release from a non-chord tone to (in most cases) a root chord tone. Range is also exploited in bars 7 and 8 where Jamerson stretches his line nearly two octaves from the low E to the 7th fret high D. It is important to point out that Jamerson never loses sight of his supportive role as a bassist. Although the line moves into the upper register, he keeps the low end intact by bouncing to and from the open strings as he ascends the neck. I hope you all will enjoy and gain from studying this track.