Best blues drummers

eddypierce

Senior Member
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.
Both Fred Below and Odie Payne studied at the Roy Knapp School of Percussion in Chicago, so they were both "schooled" drummers (incidentally, Hal Blaine studied at this school as well, probably around the same time).

About a year ago I got an Aces album called Chicago Beat. It's got some great playing by Below, and since it was recorded in the 70's, the recording quality is a bit better than on his classic 50's and 60's recordings:

http://www.amazon.com/Chicago-Beat-Aces/dp/B000066CDW/ref=sr_1_1?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1293592310&sr=1-1

Ed Pierce
 

imadrumma

Junior Member
Both Fred Below and Odie Payne studied at the Roy Knapp School of Percussion in Chicago, so they were both "schooled" drummers (incidentally, Hal Blaine studied at this school as well, probably around the same time).

About a year ago I got an Aces album called Chicago Beat. It's got some great playing by Below, and since it was recorded in the 70's, the recording quality is a bit better than on his classic 50's and 60's recordings:

http://www.amazon.com/Chicago-Beat-Aces/dp/B000066CDW/ref=sr_1_1?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1293592310&sr=1-1

Ed Pierce
Below did study & played formally in the military as well. I found this bio. http://www.answers.com/topic/fred-below-1
 

ginoca

Junior Member
Ken Johnson
James Cotton Band.

DRUMMER for acts including Ike & Tina Turner, the Steve Miller Band, Kenny Neal, and bluesmen James Cotton. Known for chomping on his trademark Juicy Fruit chewing gum and keeping the cymbals high to accommodate his long arms, Johnson was respected by musicians for his ability to drive a band. He died of complications from diabetes in Jonesboro, Georgia on March 19, 2005. RIP
 

tamadrm

Platinum Member
A Canadian drummer named Skip Prokop who played with Mike Bloomfield,and a guy who doesn't get nearly enough mention .......Richie Hayward,mostly for his work with Little Feat..great blues,and just a nasty mean shuffle.Steve Ferrone now with Tom Petty and formerly with Clapton can hold down a great blues backbeat,and a pretty mean shuffle.

You can't leave out Frank Beard in this discussion.His work with ZZ Top is a case of "how to" in ghost notes,and how many ways are there to play a shuffle.

For British electric blues,I would have to say Bonham,Mitch Mitchel(Hendrix did a lot of blues,especially live) and Charlie Watts.

Steve B
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
I like Mark Trexiera, (sp?) Duke Robillards drummer. His fast double shuffle is so refined...a thing of beauty. The modern blues drummers are a different breed from the traditional blues drummers. I think the game is much more stepped up now, in terms of cleanliness. Plus the recorded sound of the drums is better these days compared to blues drummers from the 70's and back.

Actually in my mind a double shuffle should be called a triple shuffle, because 3 limbs are shuffling, not 2.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"

Mad About Drums

Pollyanna's Agent
Sorry a little sidetrack, I have to mention this. Here's a link to the bass player in my main band at the Namm show. (she is an Agular amplifier endorsee) She is a Tal Wilkenfeld parallel. Short, cute, talented, and she definitely resembles Tal.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-QJ0pPGs84&feature=related
Now Larry, I'm REALLY jealous of you, I'm in love...(with the bass playing stuff, of course, what else)

Another link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=endscreen&NR=1&v=J7OFg0BnYFw
 

?uesto

Silver Member
Hate to drop his name so much but my uncle, Lee Finkelstein has been the drummer for the Blues Brothers for the last nine or ten years, subbed for Tower of Power for a few nights, and has recorded for Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles, and Isaac Hayes as well as countless others.

Not saying he's the best, but he's my uncle and I gotta represent..
 
A

Anthony Amodeo

Guest
Hate to drop his name so much but my uncle, Lee Finkelstein has been the drummer for the Blues Brothers for the last nine or ten years, subbed for Tower of Power for a few nights, and has recorded for Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles, and Isaac Hayes as well as countless others.

Not saying he's the best, but he's my uncle and I gotta represent..

Lee is a fantastic player
 

Drumolator

Platinum Member
Chris Layton (SRV, Storyville, etc.)
Matt Abts (Gov't Mule)
Tom Brechtlein (Robben Ford)
Ted McKenna (Rory Gallagher)
Yonrico Scott (Derek Trucks Band)
Jeff Sipe (Susan Tedeschi)
Tyler Greenwell (Susan Tedeschi, Tedeschi Trucks Band)


Peace and goodwill.
 

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
Tony 'T.C.' Coleman. Has been with BB King since 1987. Saw him in a clinic a few weeks ago and he is smooth.
"Blues is the Roots, The rest is the Fruits."
 

drumrbaer

Junior Member
There have been some great drummers mentioned in this thread. Blues drummers (and blues drumming) don't always get the most recognition, but it's a nuanced style of playing and great music to play.

Some great drummers not mentioned:

"Killer" Ray Allison (Buddy Guy, Carey Bell, James Cotton)

Casey Jones (Albert Collins and appears on tons of Alligator stuff with Johnnie B.Gayden)

Definitely guys worth checking out.
 

motleyh

Senior Member
I don't know that there's a "best," but I have to cast my vote along with the other Sam Lay fans. Played on everything and with everybody, brought blues drumming to mass audiences, and helped set some standards. Also a real gentleman who encouraged a young drummer (me) by letting him sit in for an unimportant part of an Otis Rush gig about 40 years ago..... :)
 

bonzolead

Platinum Member
the obvious come too mind Bonham,Mitchell,Paice,Ward,Watts & others but I also admired Butch Trucks & Jai Johnny Johanson from the Allman Brothers & also Reg Isidore Robyn Trower's drummer on "Bridge of Sighs" great heavy rocking blues there.

Bonzolead
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Tal Bergman, Joe Bonnamassa's drummer, aint too shabby at blues. I like Jeff Sipe's playing a lot as well, as mentioned by Mark, from Susan Tedeschi's band.
 
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