Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Earl Palmer

This is where it started for me. This is where that insane desire to play the drums began to permeate my whole being. This desire has grown exponentially as I get older. Tomorrow, I celebrate my 61st birthday. I practice more than ever....I play more than ever... and it's never enough. But I'm getting ahead of myself.......

I grew up in a solidly middle class neighborhood in Chicago. My parents were not musical. The radio was always turned to the MOR station. Even here, I was fascinated by the drumming that I heard. It wasn't much, but hell, it was music.

I don't remember the circumstances or how it happened, but somehow I became aware of " the Fat Man", the great Fats Domino. This music hit me like a ton of bricks, particularly the drumming on the tunes, "I'm Walkin," and "I'm in Love again." Here was something I could sink my teeth into. From there, I became aware of Little Richard and his drummer, Earl Palmer. I soon realized that it was Earl playing on all those Fats Domino hits.

My older sister could buy 45 rpm records and I became more exposed to "the Beat." I became engulfed by it. And, in many cases, it was Earl Palmer playing the drums on the records. His list of playing credits is stunning. He's the drummer on Little Richard's "Good Golly Miss Molly", "Slippin and Slidin", "Tutti Frutti", and "The Girl Can't Help It". He's the stick man behind Shirley and Lee's "Let the Good Times Roll", Ritchie Valen's "La Bamba", and Eddie Cochran's "Summertime Blues". That's him playing on all of Sam Cooke's records. He's the drummer on the Righteous Brothers hit, "You've Lost that Loving Feeling". The list goes on and on.

The pictured CD is required listening for anyone even remotely interested in rock and roll and rock drumming. It shows Earl in various settings, always playing in the pocket. His sense of timing and rhythm was infectious. Even today, those songs still affect me in the way they originally did. It was Earl who started me on my life's drumming path.....Earl and his Rogers Drums.

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