Top 10 Countdown “The Singing Bassist” # 10 (Jim Dewar)

Authored by Dale Nickey:

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Take a second and try that schoolyard trick of patting the top of your head while rubbing your tummy. After the expletives have died down, you can better appreciate the challenges of being a Lead Singer/Bassist. We discussed in previous posts the unique’ challenges of the “Singing Drummer”.  However, the Lead Singer/Bassist is another unique brand of musician that deserves a little extra combat pay. Singers who play guitar have the option of coasting, or burying their mediocrity in the mix. However, the Lead Singer/Bassist is always on high alert. The Lead Singer/Bassist is the center of attention AND the center of gravity in the band dynamic. One false step adversely impacts the people on stage as well as the audience. No surprise then, that in successful bands, the Lead Singer Bassist shows a distinct predilection for control freakery. Here then, is my top 10 list of the greatest down-low multi-taskers; The Lead Singing/Bassist.

james dewar - trower 1975 live

Jim Dewar (Robin Trower Band, Stone The Crows)

Probably the least impressive instrumentalist on the list. However, just because Dewar played within his limits, doesn’t mean he wasn’t an awesome presence in The Robin Trower Band.  Dewar was “the voice” of the hugely successful ex-Procol Harum guitarist during his heyday in the 70’s. Dewar’s voice had soul, grit and nuance.  Dewar’s bass playing gave Trower the thick uncluttered black canvas on which the guitarist could splash his bluesy, psychedelic, hendrixian colors. Later albums saw Trower add a more musically adept bassist to the band in order to free Dewar to concentrate on vocals.  However, this move failed to boost the band’s fortunes and only underscored the fact that chops can’t replace soul; a commodity Dewar had in abundance.


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