Best blues drummers

imadrumma

Junior Member
Willie "Bigeyes" Smith..... check out Im A Man on Muddy Waters / Johnny Winters album, Hard Again. Also, The prior thread on Pinetop.... that was most likely Bob Carter, or me, Eddie Kobek I was Willie Bigeyes Smiths drummer for many years. Willie blew harp on a Bo Diddley cut back in the day and he has returned to harmonica as his instrument of choice. I toured for years with Willie Smith, Hubert Sumlin, Pinetop Perkins, etc.... I also have worked with Sam Lay (he now plays guitar as well). I could go on for hours on this subject, Ive been a Chicago Blues drummer for 25 years now, the list of greats also contains those hard working club drummers that may have never made it on to wax.
My Discography:
Lil Arthur Duncan - Chicago Blues Today at the Herold Washington Library - 2001
Dusty Brown - Chicago Blues Today at the Herold Washington Library - 2001
Rob Stone & The C Notes - Just My Luck - 2003 Earwig Music Company Inc.
Chris James & Patrick Rynn - Stop and Think About It - 2008 Earwig Music Company Inc.
Chris James & Patrick Rynn - Gonna Boogie Anyway - 2010 Earwig Music Company Inc.
Big Pete Pearson - 2009 Southwest Musical Arts Foundation Records / VizzTone label Group
Dave Riley - Lucky To Be Living - 2009 Blue Witch Records
I share tracks with Sam Lay & Willie Hayes (Jr. Wells drummer), also the piano on many tracks is played by Henry Gray (Howlin Wolf's piano man and Chess records session player).
PS - I was given a pair of sticks...... from SP Leary, he was a wonderful man.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
It's a privilige to have you here Mr. Kobek. I'd love to hear some inside stories on Hubert Pinetop and Willie, not looking for dirt, just insights.
 

imadrumma

Junior Member
Heres some inside track on Pinetop, Willie and Hubert - the bass player is Bob Stroger. Bob's background is with Fenton Robinson, Sunnyland Slim......and many more. He is the key to making the groove real and genuine. Sure it sounds like Hubert Sumlin or Pinetop Perkins, but the groove under it all is Stroger. I always kept it real, my own style was sure to be in the music, however, when "Bigeyes" is on the bandstand, or Hubert Sumlin.... your always aware of where this music started from. Put down a root to the musics origin and let the music play its self.
 
N

nhzoso

Guest
Love the Blues, is it just me or the genre but to me the Blues is the only Genre I love to listen to Live and in person but seems to lose something on recordings? I can't put a finger on it but I have always felt this way even before I started playing drums. I wish there were blues clubs around here in NH but no such luck.

I been listening to some of your work on youtube Mr.Kobek and man that is some smooth playing.. I am still learning but the hardest part to me is always leaving space. Thanks for joining us here on this site and turning me on to some new stuff to listen too..
 

Michael McDanial

Senior Member
I have to go with Sam Lay for sure. That first album by The Paul Butterfield Blues Band is one of my all-time favorite albums, no matter what genre.
 

Aeolian

Platinum Member
Sam Lay, all over Chicago's finest records.

Current traditional blues drummer who really gets it, June Kore (Little Charlie and the Nightcats, currently with Musslewhite). Guy swings like no tomorrow and has the most amazing left hand I've ever seen. June plays the old styles like he invented them. No affectation, just grooving like a mother.

More modern in background and approach but with a great connection to tradition is Randy Hayes (Chris Cain: Live at the Rep, Unscheduled Flight, with Coco Montoya for the last several years). Randy has some of the best ears and anticipation of anyone. He always seems to be a step ahead of the rest of the guys. You can hear him playing blues rock really well by looking up WHaT or Wedemeyer (the guitarist) on YouTube.

Ron E. Beck was the guy that took Garabaldi's place in Tower, but he can really do the blues. Almost a Zigaboo kind of feel underneath things. There's an album out called Blue Monday with Cliff Coulter, Chris Cain and Danny Hull that's a great mix of blues and R&B.

Steve Jordan lets Mayer get his blues fix and does his grooving thing. He's really killer on the dead slow things where his sense of space and ability to keep time over such long gaps really brings the drama of a slow blues.
 

brady

Platinum Member
Heres some inside track on Pinetop, Willie and Hubert - the bass player is Bob Stroger. Bob's background is with Fenton Robinson, Sunnyland Slim......and many more. He is the key to making the groove real and genuine. Sure it sounds like Hubert Sumlin or Pinetop Perkins, but the groove under it all is Stroger. I always kept it real, my own style was sure to be in the music, however, when "Bigeyes" is on the bandstand, or Hubert Sumlin.... your always aware of where this music started from. Put down a root to the musics origin and let the music play its self.
Glad to have you on the forum too.

I saw Willie and Pinetop a few years ago back in Seattle. I have always been a fan of Muddy Waters and it was a pleasure getting to spend some time with Willie just to let him know how much I appreciate his work. I would love to hear more about these gentlemen who don't get nearly the respect they deserve.

Random trivia fact: Pinetop and Willie can be seen in John Lee Hooker's band in ''The Blues Brothers" movie.
 

mattsmith

Platinum Member
Every drummer mentioned on this thread owes at least some part of his blues playing to Jo Jones, who people forget played blues about 80% of the time. The blues genre as we know it today wasn't modernized in Chicago first. That happened in Kansas City...and the king of that crowd was Jones.
 

con struct

Platinum Member
Every drummer mentioned on this thread owes at least some part of his blues playing to Jo Jones, who people forget played blues about 80% of the time. The blues genre as we know it today wasn't modernized in Chicago first. That happened in Kansas City...and the king of that crowd was Jones.
Sorry, Matt, but that's not at all true. It was the migration of hundreds of thousands of black workers, share croppers and such, and their families to the north, mostly Chicago, in the thirties and forties of the last century that is responsible for electric blues and its offshoots, the most obvious one being rock 'n roll.

I very much doubt that any of the southern blues players who relocated to Chicago had ever heard of Jo Jones, although I guess it's possible. But jazz had little if any influence on blues music when it was first being played in the Chicago south side bars. It was pretty much the same raw and visceral music that had been played in Mississippi, and it stayed that way for a long time.

It's true that Fred Below, the drummer for Little Walter's band The Aces, got interested in the drums after hearing Chick Webb. But the truth is that it was the guitar players who coached the drummers on what to play back then, for the simple reason that drums were a relatively new addition to the music.
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
Soko Richardson is someone you never hear mentioned here. I saw his playing with John Mayall many moons ago and he was a blues powerhouse.
 

Chermen

Member
Nor one song, more in the pocket than: “What kind of woman is this” by Buddy Guy, unfortunately, I don’t know the name of drummer.
And don’t forget about Matt Abts, one of the few white guys, who playing blues correctly.
 
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Frost

Silver Member
I also love Bonham.

+1 to Aeolian though for mentioning the very brilliant, very under-rated Steve Jordan, from John Mayer Trio, he has also played with a ton of renowned artists like Stevie Wonder, The Stones and on the Blues Brothers album.
 

Kenny Allyn

Senior Member
Speaking of the "Blues Brothers" ... you still see Willie Hall playing around here some nights down on Beale street.

Someone earlier mentioned the blues of Memhis own Eric Gales, he played with a guy named "Hot" Cleveland who is one badd mofo. Lots of the local cats around here can really lay down some nice blues in all its forms some of the first call guys are Dennis Falanga, Tony Adams, Big Harry Peel and WC Garrison ... if your in Topeka catch Steady Kevin Eddy or in Saint Louis maybe Jo Meyer

Oh and I gotta mention Calep Emphrey BB Kings drummer for many years (now lives in Jackson MS) and Rod Bland Bobbys son who is seen around here a lot locally and with his dads band.

Here is a little Eric Gales for ya ...

Eric Gales guitar
Jason Foree guitar
Robert Kessling … Berklee College of Music in Boston grad on drums
Kenny Allyn on bass ... hey that's me

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jg-Pf3hrOvM
 

imadrumma

Junior Member
Sorry, Matt, but that's not at all true. It was the migration of hundreds of thousands of black workers, share croppers and such, and their families to the north, mostly Chicago, in the thirties and forties of the last century that is responsible for electric blues and its offshoots, the most obvious one being rock 'n roll.

I very much doubt that any of the southern blues players who relocated to Chicago had ever heard of Jo Jones, although I guess it's possible. But jazz had little if any influence on blues music when it was first being played in the Chicago south side bars. It was pretty much the same raw and visceral music that had been played in Mississippi, and it stayed that way for a long time.

It's true that Fred Below, the drummer for Little Walter's band The Aces, got interested in the drums after hearing Chick Webb. But the truth is that it was the guitar players who coached the drummers on what to play back then, for the simple reason that drums were a relatively new addition to the music.
Here is a conversation I had with a very good friend, Dave Myers, on Fred Below. Dave was the Aces guitar / bass player. -
Fred Below was a military educated drummer. That could mean formally a drummer in the military or learned from a military trained drummer while in the service. Im leaning toward the latter. When he returned to Chicago in 1951, it was Dave and Lewis that picked him up first, forming the Aces. In the early days of Belows development as a Chicago blues drummer, his style wasnt so quick to catch on. That military rigid style took some time to soften up. Lil Walter told Dave that Below wasnt gonna work out. Dave would reply "hold on for just a little while longer". If you watch Below play, he remained "stiff" however put enough grease in it to make it work. So in part your right, it was the guitarists, Dave and Lewis that brought Below along. Whats important to know is that The Myers brothers were educated musicians, as was Below. Together they worked it out. Side note, Dave Myers played the first electric bass in the city of Chicago, that being one of the first electric basses to be played publicly. (see Bass Player magazine, the one with Bootsy on the cover) That wasnt well received at first either, but when it was, along with Belows playing, the club scene went crazy for that sound.
As for the jazz influence. Little Walter couldnt stay out of the jazz clubs in Chicago, he loved that sound.
I recorded with Dave Myers on an Earwig Records release - Rob Stone & the C - Notes Just My Luck - 2003 Earwig Music Company Inc. He was a very close personal friend.
 
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Aeolian

Platinum Member
Toss Panos does great work with Michael Landau.
I absolutely love the live Landau albums with Toss on drums. But for blues, check out his work with Robben Ford. He's only on one formal release that is a live album, but you can find a ton of youtubes. Toss has the most amazingly greasy groove, and he sits back tastefully playing the blues with very little embellishments. I've seen him with Robben a bunch of times and he rapidly became one of my favorite drummers. He and Travis Carlton are a killer rhythm section.

Speaking of Robben, the greasiest shuffle I've heard is Charlie Drayton on Lateral Climb from Robben's Truth album. Most of the rest of the album is Vinnie who played a lot with Robben back in the day. I was fortunate to catch Vinnie playing with Robben on a blues tour (prior to the Jing Chi fusion thing) and afterwards was hanging out. Robben turned to some of us and said "You know, I haven't played with him in years (referring to Vinnie) but there's that 'thing' again". Vinnie wasn't blowing chops on this gig, he was swinging shuffles and playing the blues the way they're meant to be played.

Of course, you can't talk of Robben, blues, and drumming without mentioning Tom Brechtlein who has his own way with shuffles. Things like Misdirected Blues where he plays a double shuffle on the ride and snare while doing a flat tire shuffle on the hat just blow my mind. Or the brush work on Start It Up.
 
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