Alabama Shakes – American Epic

There’s a new music film series comin’ up. It’s called American Epic and judging by it’s personnel (Jack White and T-Bone Burnett as it’s executive producers) and the promo vids uploaded till now it’s gonna be epic for sure.

Live performances, one mic re, true vintage-correct gear. What more can you ask?

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John ‘JR’ Robinson is messing with my brain

It was clearly about time I would take serious notes on John ‘JR’ Robinson‘s discography. Obviously, the starting point of the obsession was this following video (I bet most of you already know it).

After you experience that a lot of things start crossing your mind. Things like”Dude, how many 80s tracks I ‘ve considered cheesy music with good drum machines?” or “how ignorant am I to NOT know this song has a live drum take of this caliber in it”. Anyway, I get pretty sentimental with trivia like that.

The research led me to start listening to all the Rufus feat. Chaka Khan records but particularly the ones they recorded with JR behind the drums (79-83). Masterjam is probably my favourite one until now. The album kicks off with the following track:

Yeah I know, Quincy Jones is the Midas of pop but before we give him the credit for the whole thing just check out this drum take. I was out taking a stroll while listening to it, feeling it and grooving with it. And then… the 2.54 mark hits me like punch.

Some drummers just need less than a quarter note to make themselves legendary in a track. I honestly don’t know how do you keep your composure while knowing you CAN do that but it inspired me deeply to follow that method in every way I can.

 

 

Andy Newmark -The Space Between

Along with the infamous Mike Clark (standalone post will be done later), Andy Newmark is for me one of the most iconic musicians of funk discography. He’s the drummer on ‘Fresh’ by Sly & The Family Stone, a record that has made funk history.

I was never aware of his session career until I made a careful listen to Roxy Music‘s ‘Avalon’ (1982). There are numerous songs with special grooves in there but the one that really stands out for me is ‘The Space Between’.

The drumming here brings out a  darker ‘JR Robinson’ vibe with a tendency to small artistic intricacies rather than serving a strict pattern. All in a ‘one take’ kind of attitude.

Russ Kunkel – Edge Of Seventeen

When it comes to major hits you can’t go much better than this. “Edge Of Seventeen” has immortal status on radio airplay. But let’face it, the true reason for this post is that verse.

Russ Kunkel is the drummer here. He was a guy deeply involved in the singer/songwriter heydays that conquered the US during the 70s.

I don’t know yet whose idea that verse beat was but it’s so odd it actually works. By accenting the offbeat he’s givin the song a sense of anticipation that really blends well with the vocal part. Needless to say, it holds a lot more the ground for that straight 16th hitmaking chorus.