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Earl Palmer – From Blues to Rock & Roll and Beyond (Part IV)

Earl Palmer – From Blues to Rock & Roll and Beyond (Part IV)

An Artist Retrospective by Dave Kropf

Part IV – Closing Remarks

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Earl Palmer’s list of artists with whom he’s recorded reads like a blues, R&B, and rock & roll Hall of Fame inductee list. Artists include Pat Boone, The Beach Boys, Roy Brown, Charles Brown, Ray Charles, Rosemary Clooney, Priscilla Coolidge, Elvis Costello, The Everly Brothers, Dizzy Gillespie, Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Jan & Dean, King Pleasure, B.B. King, Peggy Lee, Smiley Lewis, Little Feat, The Mamas & the Papas, Amos Milburn, The Monkees, Johnny Otis, The Platters, Lou Rawls, Diana Ross, Shirley & Lee, Frank Sinatra, Barbra Streisand , Roosevelt Sykes, Big Joe Turner, T-Bone Walker, Dinah Washington, and many, many more. Although this list of artists is impressive, what’s most important about Earl Palmer is his place in music and percussion history. Read more

Earl Palmer – From Blues to Rock & Roll and Beyond (Part III)

Earl Palmer – From Blues to Rock & Roll and Beyond (Part III)

An Artist Retrospective by Dave Kropf

Part II – The Music (Continued)

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Session greats don’t become “greats”unless they have an ability to blend into any musical landscape. Palmer is no exception to this ideal and Sam Cooke’s 1958 cut “You Send Me”is a perfect example of how a good drummer holds down the pocket and does only what the music requires. This is a true testament to Earl Palmer’s outstanding musicianship. This track, while not Palmer’s first non-R&B cut, symbolizes a departure from the drummer’s New Orleans influences in the studio. Pop tracks such as these were popular during the same time that Little Richard and Fats Domino were dominating the charts, but the fact that artists such as Same Cooke had hit singles demonstrates the diversification of the mainstream market. In regards to the percussion, the parts are very out of the way and in the background – a huge difference from Palmer’s usual backbeat-heavy work. The track contains a light backbeat played using brushes with a subtle 12/8, eighth-note ostinato throughout. What’s important to note during these sessions is how Palmer did only what was musically necessary. There’s no flash, no vanity, no conceit – just simple, perfect parts that demonstrate Palmer’s excellent versatility. Read more

Earl Palmer – From Blues to Rock & Roll and Beyond (Part II)

Earl Palmer – From Blues to Rock & Roll and Beyond (Part II)

An Artist Retrospective by Dave Kropf

Part II – The Music

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Recorded in 1949, “The Fat Man”by Fats Domino is one of Palmer’s earliest recorded works. The song is a typical 12-bar blues and features interesting vocalizations by Domino where he seems to imitate a trumpet. In this recording, the drums are almost inaudible, but what can be heard is Palmer’s use of a continued half-open hi-hat and his incorporation of a strong backbeat – a snare drum accent on beats 2 and 4 of a measure. This is an early indication of the drum patterns later used in rock and roll. Because the piano is carrying much of the rhythm, Palmer’s simple drumset rhythms stay out of the way nicely and provide rhythmic support only. Palmer’s use of the New Orleans,’ snare-driven, second-line drumming is more subdued in this cut than in later ones to come, but the New Orleans influece still remains. The shuffled, train-like chugging of the rhythm is unmistakable. Some rhythmic tendencies of this track borrow more directly from shouter blues such as the swung/triplet-based feel being driven by the piano. Read more

Earl Palmer – From Blues to Rock & Roll and Beyond (Part I)

Earl Palmer – From Blues to Rock & Roll and Beyond (Part I)

An Artist Retrospective by Dave Kropf

Part I – A Brief Biographical Sketch

Earl C. Palmer was born October 24, 1924 in New Orleans, Louisiana to a vaudevillian mother, and as early as the age of four he was exposed to the lifestyle of an entertainer. As a singer and dancer, in his childhood he toured with many well-known vaudeville blues artist including Ida Cox. The performance exposure of the vaudeville circuit ultimately led him to discover the drums, where it he took to them easily, having learned a sense of rhythm from his tap-dancing childhood. After a three-year stint in the army from 1942-45, Palmer returned to New Orleans and began his percussion career learning bebop and jazz; however, it was ultimately the blues and R&B that “paid the bills.”Beginning in 1947 he joined Dave Bartholomew’s band in New Orleans and started to make a name for himself in the New Orleans scene. Read more

JABB

DVD review – Steve Smith’s Drum-set Technique/History of the U.S. Beat

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This dvd is kind odd in the sense that it accomplishes two very distinct goals as opposed to one vague one. The first dvd in the set is like a clinic with general drum technique in mind. The second one is like a themed showcase concert, the theme being the history and development of the U.S. beat. I’m extremely satisfied with the set as a whole but the second dvd is the thing that makes me glad I bought it. I personally think people of all sorts need to know at least something about their history, drummers are no exception. So I’d like to thank Steve and the guys at Hudson for making this a two disk, two subject set. I say this because they very well could have just shot the first disk and sold it for half price. The first disk can stand on its own but I don’t think that the second one would sell by itself. Good thinking, Hudson. Read more

Drummer Talk 07/08/2007 – All About Setups

We cover drum kit setups on todays show – from Baby Dodds to Bozzio! Plus the return of Rudiment of the Week and the MMMBop MMMoment! Show Notes

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