Bass Players – Pino Palladino

Pino Palladino’s resume is a who’s who of pop/rock music – he’s played with The Who, Paul Simon, Jeff Beck, John Meyer, D’Angelo, Erykah Badu, Eric Clapton, Paul Young, Pete Townsend, Elton John, Paul McCartney…the list goes on and on.

Pino is the ultimate sideman, seems able to fit into any style of music YET still express himself.

5 Essential Pino Palladino Tracks

1) Give Blood – Pete Townsend. Most people (wrongly) associate Pino with his 80s style pop/fretless sound (eg Paul Young, Don Henley etc) – but download this tune from iTunes, Pino plays an awesome rock groove. Listening to this it’s easy to see why The Who chose Pino to replace the late, great John Entwistle.

2) I’m Gonna Tear Your Playhouse Down – Paul Young. From the Secret of Association album. There was a TV program on in the UK in the early to mid 80s called the Tube which featured live performances, and I remember seeing Paul Young do a 7 or 8 minute version of Playhouse and Pino was quite simply The Man. I’d pay to get a copy of that footage. Seriously….

3) Shoot Down The Moon – Elton John. A little known track, but a staggering Pino performance. The tune has unusual instrumentation – just voice, piano, strings and bass. A masterclass in bass baladeering.

4) Penitentiary Philosophy – Erykah Badu. See notes on Mama’s Gun below. A deep and righteous groove with Pino’s fretted flatwound sound. A serious must check out.

5) Stop On By. From Paul Young’s Other Voices album, a remake of a Rufus and Chaka classic featuring Chaka on vocals. Another deep, serious groove – a precursor to his work with D’Angelo, Erykah Badu, Morcheeba and Co by nearly 10 years!

Essential CDs featuring Pino Palladino

1) Paul Young – From Time to Time – The Singles Collection

Pino first came to prominence playing with Paul Young and this collection features all of the major hits that Pino played on including Come Back and Stay, Every Time You Go Away, Tear Your Playhouse Down, Wherever I Lay My Hat, etc etc).

2) Paul Young – The Secret of Association. Although some of the tracks are included on the Singles Collection above, you should get this one too. Some of the lesser known tracks feature some terrifically creative fretless work – see Soldier’s Things, Hot Fun, Standing on the Edge.

3) D’Angelo – Voodoo. Pino moved away from the fretless sound that he’d trademarked in the 80s and began playing fretted basses with flatwound strings (Pino’s another Jamerson fan! btw) – he met D’Angelo whilst recording for BB King and laid down some mighty grooves on this new soul classic. Check out Devil’s Pie, Feel Like Making Love and Chicken Grease.

4) Erykah Badu – Mama’s Gun. This was another album recorded in 2000 – the same year as Voodoo with D’Angelo – the album’s worth checking out for the groove on Penitentiary Philosophy alone!

5) John Mayer Trio – Try

Transcriptions of Pino Palladino’s Basslines

For someone who’s played on so many albums there’s surprisingly few transcriptions of Pino’s work around.

Bass Player magazine have featured a few transcriptions down the years, when I get a chance I’ll go through my back issues and amend this page and list what they’ve published.

There’s a Hal Leonard book called Fretless Bass which features transcriptions of ‘Tear Your Playhouse Down’ and ‘Every Time You Go Away.’

According to Pino’s website there was a book published in the mid 80s called Pop Basslines which had transcriptions of ‘Wherever I Lay My Hat’ and ‘Come Back and Stay.’ If old copies of this book are ever available on Amazon they retail for serious sums of money (£70 and upwards).

And that’s about it. If you wanna cop some of Pino’s grooves – and you should – you’re gonna have to use your ears!