I have been listening to Manu Chao for a few years. His music, played with his band Radio Bemba Sound System, is a mixture of many styles including punk, reggae, ska and latin with a splash of gypsy music. The lyrics are equally eclectic being sung in several languages even in the same song.
Manu Chao started his musical career as a street performer and the live show reflects this with a relentless energy and a set that doesn’t stop even to wipe off the sweat.
Joe Crabtree is the drummer with Wishbone Ash and seems to be a jolly nice chap. He offers a great selection of lessons on YouTube covering subjects from the rudimental exercises to musicianship and advanced drum kit technique.
I like his blog too.
I recently discovered this series of videos he made showing a series of solos he played on tour which he filmed and annotated so you can see what he’s thinking about as he plays the solo. The videos contain Joe’s comments about how he’s composing his solo, or not composing it, what ideas he’s trying out and where they came from. This is a brilliant idea and it’s very encouraging to watch someone who’s generous enough to share his experience with us, warts and all.
One doesn’t need to mention he’s rather a good drummer…
Check out this brilliant show on Reprezent 107.3 FM, The Voice Of Young London. I’m slightly biased because one of the presenters is a student of mine but these guys are playing a brilliant selection of music from rock classics to funk masterpieces. It’s a perfect playlist for a fuddyduddy like me and inspires some hope that all is not lost for the youth, some of whom seem aware of the pre-Autotune generation of proper music. No untz-untz stuff here.
I went through a period in my mid-twenties where the music I most loved became bland and two dimensional. I was listening to mostly be-bop and Western classical music of the Romantic period. Then one day, the groovy noodlings of Messr’s Parker and Gillespie lost their allure and the pomp of Beethoven and Mahler just seemed childish. I was in India at the time and I guess the change of context affected my response to music. And it wasn’t a superficial relationship that changed, oh no.
Into the void stepped Mr Zappa. I had a copy of Joe’s Garage and We’re Only In It For The Money and Apostrophe/Overnite Sensation since childhood and was seriously into those records but was unaware of Zappa’s other material. In India and Nepal, you could get an amazing selection of tapes (oh yes, kiddies, you had to buy a tape and put it in your Walkman, back in the day) pretty chealy so I loaded up on Zappa stuff and listened to little else for a good few years.
Then, my taste cycled to Country and Bluegrass (!) Zappa became an occasional treat.
Anyway, last week I stumbled upon a Youtube drum lesson demonstrating Vinnie Colaiuta’s infamous Keep It Greasy groove and it led to me getting in to a bunch of old Zappa videos. Somewhat fortuitously, The Cruise Ship Drummer Blog’s latest offering is a transcription of Don’t Eat The Yellow Snow off Apostrophe. So listen to some Zappa here, and the go over to Todd’s site and learn how to play some sevens!
Cosmik Debris is up first, a live performance with Ralph Humphrey on drums. The song is on Apostrophe/Overnite Sensation which had Tina Turner and the Ikettes singing BVs. George Duke is oooowie! on here.
Another track from the same record, a different band, Chad Wackerman drums here.
Here is a performance from one of my fave Zappa bands with Chester Thompson on drums, Ruth Underwood laying percussion and Napoleon Murphy Brock on vocals and far outness. Don’t know how well I’d do being attacked by a man in a gorilla suit…
Director Jacob Hatley’s intimate documentary finds Mr. Helm at home in Woodstock, NY, in the midst of creating his first studio album in 25 years. Shot during the course of two-plus years, this highly anticipated film focuses in on the four-time Grammy winner and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member after his 2007 comeback album, Dirt Farmer, brought him back to the spotlight.
I’ve just discovered Terry Keating, a guy with unlimited energy when it comes to giving drum lessons or talking about drums and cymbals. His Youtube channel, www.youtube.com/user/bonzoleum, with Led Zeppelin related lessons is an amazing resource for people wanting to learn about John Bonham’s drumming.
In addition to the Zep stuff, there are several brilliant videos discussing drums, cymbals and even an introduction to drumming for beginners. Infact, if you wanted to find out if you are a true, died-in-the-wool drum obsessive, watch one of Terry’s 45 minute videos on cymbals and when it gets to the end, if you find yourself looking to cue up another one of his talks, you’re one of us.
Mr Keating has recently created a new channel for non-Zep stuff and one of the videos is a very followable guide to Steve Gadd’s drum part on the verse of 50 Ways To Leave Your Lover by Paul Simon. This is a groove every drummer should know how to play. When I found this video, I took the opportunity to learn it myself.
Before we watch Terry’s video, let’s watch Mr Gadd himself demonstrate:
Our Steve seems very, ummmmm, relaxed, in this video. The lesson that follows is played alot heavier. I would recommend trying to soften up and try to emulate Gadd’s feel and dynamics once you’ve learned the part.
I’m never far away from a bit of Lowell George, one of the greatest singers and songwriters in the universe.
Here is a fantastic track from his only solo album, Thanks I’ll Eat It Here which is a mixed bag, something typical of the great man’s recorded output. The album has an incredible line up of the who’s who of 70′s session cats. The drummers include Jims Keltner & Gordon, Richie Hayward, Floyd Sneed and Jeff Porcaro who is laying down a very laid-back and economical groove on the following track, Honest Man. Porcaro is also credited with guitar on the album, if Wikipedia is to be believed.
Meanwhile, I am soaking up the tunes on Ariya Astrobeat Arkestra’s self-titled album in preparation for some posts about Afrobeat grooves. Sankofa is painfully funky. Ariya’s drummer, Eddie Hick is capable of playing many many notes, as anyone who’s heard his jazz playing will know, but never overplays here. A lesson in good taste and a loose yet solid sense of time, if ever there was one.
Ooh, this stuff is home, the old stuff, the best stuff. Right?
I needed to remind myself what a proper shuffle feels like. Something you hear and don’t hear unless you’ve been listening for a very long time. These are some of the songs on which I suckled, the origins of my relationship with music courtesy of my dad’s singles collection which disappeared in the mists of time or during a move, perhaps.
A lot of this old stuff is covered often but doesn’t groove in the right way. All you rock n’ rollers, listen well and learn.
Here’s Clarence Frogman Henry with a very tight number – Ain’t got no home.
Jesse Hill’s Ooh Poo Pah Doo has a beautiful lilt to it thanks to an upfront tambourine and loose drummer.
And on Ernie K Doe’s Mother In Law there is a lovely “In between the cracks” (as Stanton Moore calls it) shuffle which is a bugger to master. In one of my favourite moments from a drum video, the great Levon Helm attempts to demonstrate the feel but it doesn’t quite work, “It doesn’t seem to want to come very easy right now…”. (On Levon Helm Teaches Classic Rock, Country & Blues Drumming.)
Sneakin’ Sally Through The Alley is a Robert Palmer record released in 1974. I was introduced to the record by legendary sound engineer Phill Brown who recorded it.
The title track is one of the funkiest things ever committed to tape. It’s something I get my students to play along to as an introduction to funk drumming. This is a beautiful recording which reminds us what a phenomenal time for music the Seventies was (Let’s face it, by the end of the decade, recorded music took a turn for the worst and never really recovered). Anyway, the feel is greasy and laid back even as the drums are kind of pushing it, the quirky bassline creates a solid foundation that cleaves a path right through the track. Surrounding the drums and bass are an array of keys, a clav, a Whirly (?), a clean guitar, a harp comping bits and whatnot. Glorious!
I had it in mind that the drums here were played by Zigaboo Modeliste and was thinking how interesting it was that he seemed to have stepped out of his usual lilting feel and broken patterns for this track and how it was a testament to his versatility as a drummer to have such a distinctive style and at the same time slip into something that feels very different. Before writing this I checked the personnel on the album and, to my surprise, this unbelievably cool bit of funk playing is from the hands and feet of Simon Phillips who I know of as Toto’s drummer and a generally “chopsy” and “proggy” sort of a guy. Who’d ha’ known it?
Meanwhile, Mr Modeliste did perform on Lee Dorsey’s original recording and plays a cool groove.
Greasier than a bag of chips.
Check out the record. I think I might save waffling on about the other tracks for another post. It’s got the Meters on it including Zig plus Bernard Purdie and Lowell George and Steve Winwood and Jim Mullen. Quite the line up.
I just finished work on the website for Brighton Guitar Workshop. If you need any guitar repairs, setups or servicing done in the Brighton area, get in touch with them.They produce Bowler Custom Guitars and do fine work on electric and acoustic guitars and basses. They also sell spares like guitar strings & picks and have a selection other useful new and used bit’s and bobs, whatever it is you guitarist chaps need.