Edisto Island bass player gets honor for music contributions – Charleston City Paper

The intersection at S.C. Highway 174 and Steamboat Landing Road on Edisto Island has a new name, a tribute to James Jamerson whose one-finger style of playing the bass guitar powered the soulful low end for a string of Motown hits.

Jamerson, an Edisto native, played with the Funk Brothers, an ensemble of studio musicians whose uncredited rhythms made household names out of the Jackson 5, Marvin Gaye, the Four Tops, Stevie Wonder, the Supremes and Smokey Robinson.

The S.C. General Assembly in May approved a resolution that authorized the intersection’s designation on Edisto, a sea island south of Charleston. The S.C. Department of Transportation installed a sign naming the crossroads the James Lee Jamerson Memorial Highway.

A long road to recognition

For decades, Jamerson’s first cousin, Anthony McKnight of Charleston, has pushed to bring attention to Jamerson’s contributions to music. McKnight unveiled the sign during a recent ceremony that included a sold-out musical tribute at the Edisto Island Civic Center.

For two decades, McKnight said, he has tried to get Jamerson inducted into the South Carolina Hall of Fame. He is frustrated that Jamerson has not received the recognition given in 2020 to Darius Rucker, he said.

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