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Bill Church - "Jackie Wilson Said (I'm In Heaven When You Smile)"

As featured on St. Dominic's Preview by Van Morrison
Warner Records, 1972

St. Dominic's Preview

Though Van Morrison's Saint Dominic's Preview was released fresh on the heels of 1971's Tupelo Honey, the two albums inhabit very different stylistic universes. Whereas Tupelo Honey rings with warmth and contentment, Saint Dominic's Preview is a more abstract affair, with pop classics such as "Jackie Wilson Said," sitting alongside such unorthodox tracks as the 11-minute "Listen to the Lion" and "Almost Independence Day."

The album's opening track "Jackie Wilson Said (I'm In Heaven When You Smile)," is a rollicking R&B classic that showcases Morrison's ability to craft a catchy pop tune from very basic materials. It also demonstrates Bill Church's rhythmic flair, big ears and awareness of the jazz idiom.

As for the transcription..."What no chords?!?" I hear you protest. Ah, well, now...there's a good reason for that. Van Morrison and his legal team are notoriously sharp at clamping down on even the tiniest issues that might jeopardize Van's artistic rights and income, which is fair enough. I've no particular wish to bring the full weight of the Morrison corporation crashing down upon me. So here -- for educational porpoises only -- is my "interpretation" of Bill Church's sterling bass part.

Besides, if you're capable of reading the notation, you're more than capable of figuring out that the key is firmly rooted in G major, with the A, D and G sections based on a II7-V7-I progressions in said key. After that it's merely a matter of figuring out what chords are used for the rhythmic punctuations in the B, C, E and F sections. Though I've heard folks just use octaves or even root-fifth "power" chords here, these sections actually comprise a series of shifting sus4 chords., i.e. root, 4th and 5th (sans seventh).

That's about it really, except to say that the bass part fits the song like a glove (as all good bass parts do), proving that Bill Church wasn't just a straight-eighths rock dude, as many likely suspect in light of his long association with mainstay stadium rocker Sammy Hagar.

If you dig Church's playing on this album, then Tupelo Honey is also highly recommended.

Transcription © Stevie Glasgow 2010