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I am wondering what peoples thoughts are about The Shadows original bass player Jet Harris  

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Cliff Richard porked Jet's missus.

He seemed quite a personable bloke when I met him.  He appeared teeny tiny, although im 6'5".  A tidy player too, bit of a pioneer of the precision bass in the UK.

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Jet had some interesting, obviously jazz influenced lines on those Shadows records.  Sounded great with both Shadows drummers he played with too (Tony Meehan and Brian Bennett).  Apparently had the first P Bass in the UK too.

A couple of his solo/duo (with Tony Meehan) tunes are pretty good too, lead instrument is often a Fender Bass VI or  downtuned guitar. 

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Had one of the first electric bass solos with Nivram IIRC.

I had to learn Apache years ago for a wedding. There's a lot more going on in the bass department than I realised.

 

Edited by Hobbayne
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I name my dogs after famous bassists.  I've  had a Geddy, and currently have a Lemmy, and my next dog will be Jet.

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43 minutes ago, Bassfinger said:

I name my dogs after famous bassists.  I've  had a Geddy, and currently have a Lemmy, and my next dog will be Jet.

You need to keep Bees, then you could name one 'Sting'.....

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9 hours ago, Hobbayne said:

I had to learn Apache years ago for a wedding. There's a lot more going on in the bass department than I realised.

 

There is. At 25 seconds in his cigarette is in danger of burning his headstock, by 1:26 it has grown a fair bit, by 2:33 it is down so much there is only room for one puff before he puts it out.

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I love The Shadows, not just for their music as we perceive it now, but that they were probably pretty badass back in the day. Given that Rumble by Link Wray was being banned left, right, and centre for it's violent theme and brooding yet vicious, distorted riff, I think there may have been a time when The Shads were the heaviest band in the mainstream. As far as aggression has been taken in music now, there was often a driving quality to the rhythms, that bold, brassy guitar tone, and plenty of minor keys. I remember Brian May saying that at one point, if you wanted the hard stuff, Apache was about as mean a piece of rock'n'roll as you could easily get your hands on.
That and Be Bop a Lula, which starts with a laconic menace, the ever-creeping tempo raising the energy to something akin to a fight brewing, all for me feed into the nascent heaviness which continued to grow from then on. Of course Wagner and Liszt amongst others made some pretty imposing music way back, but it think it was the 'beat combo' which was able to combine musical power, menace, and darkness with a visceral and raw aggression.

Not that heavy is the be-all and and-all, but it is a part of music I find fascinating... and I'm clearly a bit of a nerd about it! 😄

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Jet was one of the names the erstwhile Mrs Black rejected for my boy. 

See also Pitch and Squidgy. 

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Jet Harris was a great bass player. The bass lines on the early Shadows tunes have a lot more to them then people realise. I agree, underrated.

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Viv Prince (pretty things) used to run a basement dive in Soho Square (Knuckles),

I bumped into Jet there - he was too spaced out to notice - Viv told me his name.

😎

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2 hours ago, stewblack said:

So what tracks would you JH aficionados recommend to showcase his style? 

Shadows - Man of Mystery - Jet walks his way around the chords through the whole thing.

Shadows - Apache - tastefully, musical and interesting (certainly for 1960)

Jet Harris & Tony Meehan - Diamonds - though not a bass track. Jet on lead "Barritone", actually a guitar tuned to DGCFAD by all accounts.

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A kind of tangential Jet Harris story.  My brother-in-law is a huge Shadows fan and occasionally logs into a forum just like this where they discuss the minutiae of Shadows music.  One frequently discussed topic is 'which guitar did Hank use on X song?'  On one occasion, I forget which song it was now, the consensus was that he played it on a strat.  There was one guy who insisted it was played on a Burns as he had analysed the sound and found it was impossible to make that sound with a strat.  He was insistent.  Jet Harris used to post occasionally and he piped up and said it WAS a strat.  He was there when the recording was made and remembered it well.  The guy said he was mistaken, he had proved it couldn't be  strat.  A nice little vignette of forum life,. I thought.

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1 hour ago, Paul S said:

The guy said he was mistaken, he had proved it couldn't be  strat. 

Goodness, that really does illustrate the age of the Internet Expert! 

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25 minutes ago, stewblack said:

Goodness, that really does illustrate the age of the Internet Expert! 

Armchair experts have existed since before there were armchairs. The problem and danger these days is their nonsense can reach millions.

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Xmas 1961, I and my elder and younger brother got a Portadyne record player between us. 1st single was Apache and 1st LP was:

image.png.07bb44839e00852fc81883bf9619019c.png

It got played to death. My my elder brother still has it.

Soon after our 1st EP was by the Ventures.

image.png.fbd82a8efc42c33d96ce510c667ae12f.png

My elder brother still has it.

The early 60's had quite a few instrumental groups, The Chantays, The Spotnicks, etc. That electric guitar sound was new and exciting and the Shadows were front runners in the UK and of course we knew the names of Cliff Richard's band members. So Jet was the first bass player I could put a name to other than maybe Charles Mingus, (yes I listened to Jazz even back then). After that then McCartney and Entwistle and other bassists would become names. But Jet, was probably the first bassist not to be just 'at the back'.

Every other pub had music on at the weekend and guitar bands boomed. My elder brother and his childhood friend learned rhythm and lead and had limited success until like many others they got married and settled down. I just learned a few chords and riffs but mostly carried their gear to get in free and under-aged to chat up the birds.

Fast forward to my 50th birthday in 1998 and, in my back garden, elder brother, good friend and myself chatted about our youth and strummed some of the soundtrack on a couple of acoustics. Then the fatal words were uttered, "we should get together and start a band - you can play bass".

And so with a loaned no-name P bass I was once again the little brother tagging along. A drummer was found and a singer and for the next 15 years or so every weekend was practice/gigs in pubs and WMCs. With a playlist of 60s & 70s pop. Our audiences were of a similar age to ourselves we did quite well as weekend warriors around the Black country. Our Shadows and instrumental repetoire was always popular. The tunes were in our heads having played them to death in our teens.

Apache, FBI, Walk Don't Run, Perfidia, Shadoogie, Nivram, Kon-Tiki, Wonderful Land, Flingel Blunt, Atlantis, Theme For Young Lovers, Riders In The Sky, Sleepwalk, Blue Star, etc.

The first few guitar shows at the NEC were called 'Mad About Guitars' if I remember correctly. Anyway we went to one. Hank was doing a workshop and I was loitering in the walk-way having a fag by a bin when who should come across to join me but Jet Harris. We had a great conversation, me telling him it's his fault I've recently taken up bass playing and him telling me to practice my scales. My brother and friend joined us and continued chatting for several minutes. He was very congenial and we watched him do an exhibition with his band afterwards and then the Hank workshop.

There are a few tribute bands and Shadows clubs around the country. I've attended one or two. Mostly the members play lead to backing tracks as they all want to be Hank Marvin. Also there is Shadowsmania, until recently an annual Shadows-fest with Bruce Welch at Lakeside Frimley in Surrey. A popular tribute guitarist to Hank Marvin, I think called Alan Jones, was present at one such club meeting. He had a drummer and my brother played rhythm and I bass for him as all the other members only knew Hank's lead to a few tunes. So that was a good night.

So, Jet, well with his looks & his P Bass and with the Shadows, he set the scene really.

Edited by grandad
Apostophe error
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36 minutes ago, chris_b said:

Armchair experts have existed since before there were armchairs. The problem and danger these days is their nonsense can reach millions.

Can even get them elected! 

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1 hour ago, chris_b said:

Armchair experts have existed since before there were armchairs. The problem and danger these days is their nonsense can reach millions.

I would imagine that since the invention of armchairs, there are more of them. Presumably there are armchair armchair experts, on armchairchat.co.uk?

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2 hours ago, Woodinblack said:

I would imagine that since the invention of armchairs, there are more of them. Presumably there are armchair armchair experts, on armchairchat.co.uk?

But a real expert on the armchair who pontificates from an armchair is more than just an armchair expert surely.

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