Look, for a guy like me who gets a bit obsessed with stuff like that moments like the one on the 21.00 mark of the following seminar are MIND BLOWING.
I’ve spent months trying to play the Ain’t Nobody groove over the studio version and it was always too fast for me to make the hihat part sound right during the chorus. Now, over this process I’ve learned a million stuff concerning 80s pop drumming and dance music in general. But I’ve never got down the groove 100%.
Now, I know the truth. JR is not any less of a good drummer to me now. To be honest overdubbing a pattern like that is a smart move. I mean, that’s actually how drum machines work in a nutshell. And this beat sounds like drum-machine candy with real drum sounds.
I ‘ll probably keep trying to get the groove down though.
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.