Monday, July 16, 2012

Funk Brother Bassist Bob Babbitt Has Died

I'm sad to report that Bob Babbitt, the second bassist with the Funk Brothers has died. I knew Bob and worked with him during my days as the head of the A&R department at A&M Records. Here is the complete story from the Detroit News.


Bob Babbitt, a bass player for Motown's studio band the Funk Brothers, died at 7:15 a.m. Monday in a Nashville hospice, according to his son, Joe Kreinar. Babbitt was 74.
Born Robert Kreinar in Pittsburgh, the veteran musician had been battling brain cancer for some time.
"He was a tough man, strong," said his son, Joe. "He could take pain. Right now I miss him deeply, and it's only been a few hours."
Although Babbitt's playing was always known by other musicians, his fame spread to a broader audience after the release of the 2002 film about the Funk Brothers, "Standing in the Shadows of Motown," in which he appeared.
But he was on many memorable recordings apart from Hitsville U.S.A.
That's him on Del Shannon's "Little Town Flirt," on Gladys Knight's "Midnight Train to Georgia," Funkadelic's "I Just Wanna Testify," "Cool Jerk" by the Capitols, "Rubberband Man" by the Spinners and on Dennis Coffey's instrumental hit "Scorpio." His bass line on the latter propels the song so memorably, that, as Detroit musician Ralphe Armstrong once said, every bass player in Detroit had to be able to play it in the 1970s or they couldn't get a gig.
At Motown, Babbitt was used more and more in the label's later time in Detroit. He laid down the unforgettable bass lines on Stevie Wonder's "Signed, Sealed, Delivered," the Temptations' "Ball of Confusion," "Inner City Blues" by Marvin Gaye and Edwin Starr's "War," among many others.
Apart from his son, Babbitt is survived by his wife Ann and two daughters.