Saturday, 27 September 2014

Give The Drummer Some

As you know, I love everything in the world, with the exception of three things. One of those things that I love is drum solos (of the 1970s).

The response to my last blog about my favourite drum solos of the 1960s was entirely non-existent. So here, in chronological order, are my top 5 drum solos of the 1970s!

1. Good Lovin' - Grateful Dead (Bill Kreutzmann and Mickey Hart) February 1970

Grateful Dead appeared in my top 10 drum solos of the 1960s, and it's safe to assume they'd also feature on my '80s and '90s lists if I could be bothered to write them. This version of Good Lovin', recorded at the Warehouse in New Orleans, includes a typically wild drum solo (duet?) from Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann. The Dead had just been busted for drugs and had to post bail, so this gig was held as a bust-fund benefit, which saw the band joined on stage by Fleetwood Mac's Peter Green. And what do we get in 2014? Kings of Leon joined on stage by Chris Martin. That's what. 

2. Friday Night, August 14th - Funkadelic (Tiki Fulwood) July 1970

Speaking of drugs, Funkadelic's Friday Night, August 14th is an unbelievably cool slice of '70s funk that closes with a superbly (psuperbly?) psychadelic drum solo from Tiki Fulwood, from their awesomely titled 1970 album Free Your Mind... and Your Ass Will Follow. According to bandleader George Clinton, the album was an attempt to "see if we can cut a whole album while we're all tripping on acid." It turns out that they definitely could.

3. One Word - Mahavishnu Orchestra (Billy Cobham) March 1973

One of the world's greatest living drummers, Billy Cobham rose to prominence as drummer for Miles Davis and went on to redefine jazz drumming in John McLaughlin's Mahavishnu Orchestra. A particularly fine example of Cobham's fusion drumming comes at the end of One Word, from the classic album Birds of Fire. He still performs at the age of 70, just like your grandparents don't.

4. This All Too Mobile Home - Steely Dan (Jeff Porcaro and Jim Hodder) May 1974

No one combined jazz and rock quite like Steely Dan, and the rarely heard This All Too Mobile Home proved the perfect closing number for this London show. Each member of the band exit the stage one by one until just the two drummers remained, leaving Jeff Porcaro and Jim Hodder to end the show on an electrically energetic closing jam. "Sweet dreams my brothers, goodnight."

5. Fire - Ohio Players (James "Diamond" Williams) November 1974

Fire by the Ohio Players is one of my favourite funk songs, which I first heard on a That '70s Show CD but is also apparently the theme song to Gordon Ramsay's reality show Hell's Kitchen. That obviously spoils it a bit, but not enough to ruin Diamond's groovy percussion break, which intertwines with Sugarfoot's funky guitar and Merv, Pee Wee and Satch's cool horns. Oh yeah, they all had amazing names, huge afros and white capes. The '70s were unbelievably good.