Detroit friends and fans of the late Bob Babbitt, bass player extraordinaire, are hosting a memorial and musical tribute to him at 5 p.m. Aug. 26 at the UDetroit Media Cafe in Harmonie Park (live streamed on udetroit.com & hosted by Bob Bauer). Babbitt, who died July 16, played bass on classics including "Signed, Sealed, Delivered" (Stevie Wonder ), "Ball of Confusion" (the Temptations ), "Mercy, Mercy Me (The Ecology)" (Marvin Gaye ) and many outside-of-Motown hits.
Born in Pittsburgh, Babbitt moved to Detroit in the late '50s and joined the Royaltones , with Dennis Coffey and George Katsakis . He played on many sessions in and out of Detroit, including "Little Town Flirt" (in New York) for Del Shannon , before work at Motown started up. He moved to Nashville in the 1980s.
Drummer Spider Webb , who played with the Funk Brothers, is organizing the tribute along with bassist Ralphe Armstrong . "Eddie Willis (of the Funk Brothers) is coming up from Mississippi," Webb said. " Martha Reeves and Mary Wilson will take part, as well as Rare Earth ." Musician friends who want to be involved should call Spider at (313) 244-5907.
R.I.P Bob Babbitt
Bob Babbitt, a bassist for Motown Records and key accompanist to some of the recording studioâ€™s biggest stars, including Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye and the Temptations, died July 16at a hospice near his home in Nashville. He was 74.
Bob Babbitt (born Robert Kreinar; November 26, 1937 - July 16, 2012), was an American bassist, most famous for his work as a member of Motown Records' studio band, the Funk Brothers, from 1966 -1972, as well as his tenure as part of MFSB for Philadelphia International Records afterwards. Also in 1968-1970, with Mike Campbell, Ray Monette and Andrew Smith he formed the band Scorpion. Babbitt traded off sessions with original Motown bassist James Jamerson.
The Pittsburgh-born Babbitt's most notable bass performances include"Signed, Sealed, Delivered I'm Yours" (by Stevie Wonder), "War" (by Edwin Starr), "The Tears of a Clown" (by Smokey Robinson & the Miracles), "Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)" and "Inner City Blues" (by Marvin Gaye), "Band Of Gold" (by Freda Payne), "Ball of Confusion (That's What the World Is Today)", and Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me) (by The Temptations). He participated in hundreds of other hits, including "Little Town Flirt" by Del Shannon, "I Got a Name" by Jim Croce, "Midnight Train to Georgia" by Gladys Knight & the Pips, "Scorpio" by Dennis Coffey & the Detroit Guitar Band, and "(The) Rubberband Man" by The Spinners. He played on the Jimi Hendrix album Crash Landing. He accepted an offer from Phil Collins to perform on his album of Motown and 1960s soul classics Going Back and also appears in Phil's Going Back live concert DVD. He appeared onstage in an episode of American Idol, backing up Jacob Lusk's performance of "You're All I Need To Get By" for AI's Motown Week in March 2011.