Friday, January 13, 2012

Larry Graham's Ten Funkiest Bass Lines

Larry Graham's slap-and-pop technique revolutionized modern bass playing. The legendary musician is a pivotal figure in the bass world because of his phenomenal bass-playing skills and innovations on the instrument. He has influenced a generation of bass players, and his influence can be heard everywhere today in various music genres. The funk master has created a number of great bass lines over the years as a member of Sly & The Family Stone and later with his band Graham Central Station. I put together a list of my ten funkiest Larry Graham bass lines. Starting with number ten, here they go:

10) It's Alright - Graham Central Station

Larry's slingshot bass line catapults the groove to its funkiest capacity.

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9) Hair - Graham Central Station

Larry was always coming up interesting and unique bass lines, and this is one of his most creative riffs. And if you're a bass player, it's a blast to play.

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8) Thank You For Talkin' To Me Africa - Sly & The Family Stone

Larry puts some extra stank on this nasty groove with an incredibly funky bass line.

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7) Earthquake - Graham Central Station

A bass-playing extravaganza where Larry rocks out as hard as he funks.

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6) Turn it Out - Graham Central Station

Larry and GCS drop three megatons of funk on this explosive groove.

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5) It's the Engine in Me - Graham Central Station

Larry goes on the warpath on this massively funky slap-and-pop workout.

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4) Pow - Graham Central Station

Learning to play this bass line has sort of become a rite of passage for aspiring funk players. As a teen I spent many hours trying to learn it and had the blisters to prove it. I never quite got it totally down pat, but it wasn't for lack of trying.

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3) Hey Mr. Writer - Graham Central Station

Funky ode to none other than Mr. Sly Stone. Larry's powerhouse bass line sounds like the engine of a funk locomotive.

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2) The Jam - Graham Central Station

Larry delivers yet another ridiculously funky bass line on this appropriately titled track. Each GCS member gets a solo on this one. I heard this cut played everywhere back in the day. It's one of the band's most recognized grooves.

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1) Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin) - Sly & The Family Stone

Well, here it is, the granddaddy of all slap bass lines. This is the one that started it all. There's no telling how many people decided to pick up the bass after hearing Larry lay down this new innovative, extremely funky style of playing. This groove set off a new era in funk music, and players everywhere started slappin' and poppin'. Thank you indeed Sly and Larry.

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