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  #1  
Old 11-06-2018, 05:24 PM
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Default Under Rated or Fairly Unknown Drummers

There's another thread on here that has kind of devolved into the subject of what constitutes "good" drumming, and that immature drummers tend to screw things up by over-playing, adding unnecessary fills, and that kind of thing. Out of that discussion, one of the names that popped up as a drummer who played great time without adding a bunch of superfluous nonsense is Roger Hawkins.

Roger who? I'd go out on a limb and say that many people have no idea who he is or what he drummed on, but he is, IMO, one of the great unsung drummers of the 20th Century. He was part of the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section, known as the Swampers, and played on such hits as:

Old Time Rock & Roll - Bob Seger
I'll Take You There - The Staples Singers
Chain of Fools - Aretha Franklin
Respect - Aretha Franklin
Land of 1000 Dances - Wilson Pickett
When a Man Loves a Woman - Percy Sledge

This is of course not by far an inclusive list, but it illustrates that Roger Hawkins is one of those drummers who isn't well known, even though his session catalog is well known.

There are a lot of other less-known drummers out there too - Hal Blaine is probably one of the most obvious ones most of us know, but who isn't really known of outside of musician's circles.

Who are some other drummers who come to mind - guys like country legend Lonnie Wilson, John "JR" Robinson, or Russ Kunkle - guys who have worked with just about everyone. List some of your favorite unsung drummers and some of what they've played on. I'd love to dig in to some more of that.
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Old 11-06-2018, 05:39 PM
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Default Re: Under Rated or Fairly Unknown Drummers

Josh Dion

This guy kills me:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bwpx3_kovLA
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Old 11-06-2018, 06:00 PM
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Default Re: Under Rated or Fairly Unknown Drummers

I think we should just talk more about how insanely over-rated Ringo and Bonham are. Followed by some spirited big kit versus small kit debate and finish up with some chops versus groove discussion.
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Old 11-06-2018, 06:10 PM
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Default Re: Under Rated or Fairly Unknown Drummers

Gene Chrisman, the house drummer at Chips Moman's American Sound Studio.
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Old 11-06-2018, 06:15 PM
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Default Re: Under Rated or Fairly Unknown Drummers

I think Danny Seraphine is highly underrated and not well known.
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Old 11-06-2018, 06:51 PM
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Default Re: Under Rated or Fairly Unknown Drummers

Quote:
Originally Posted by trickg View Post
There's another thread on here that has kind of devolved into the subject of what constitutes "good" drumming, and that immature drummers tend to screw things up by over-playing, adding unnecessary fills, and that kind of thing. Out of that discussion, one of the names that popped up as a drummer who played great time without adding a bunch of superfluous nonsense is Roger Hawkins.

Roger who? I'd go out on a limb and say that many people have no idea who he is or what he drummed on, but he is, IMO, one of the great unsung drummers of the 20th Century. He was part of the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section, known as the Swampers, and played on such hits as:

Old Time Rock & Roll - Bob Seger
I'll Take You There - The Staples Singers
Chain of Fools - Aretha Franklin
Respect - Aretha Franklin
Land of 1000 Dances - Wilson Pickett
When a Man Loves a Woman - Percy Sledge

This is of course not by far an inclusive list, but it illustrates that Roger Hawkins is one of those drummers who isn't well known, even though his session catalog is well known.
Yeah, Roger Hawkins is wonderful. In addition to the tunes you listed, I especially like the stuff he did with Paul Simon, e.g., "Kodachrome," "Take Me to the Mardi Gras," and "Still Crazy After all These Years."

Speaking of Paul Simon, another lesser known drummer who is amazing is Winston Grennan--he played the amazing drum track on "Mother and Child Reunion." I don't know that much about him, but from what I've read he was one of the main innovators of reggae drumming. I think he played a ton of sessions on tracks coming out of Jamaica in the 60's and 70's, but (like so many other session musicians of that era) he doesn't get a lot of credit on album covers for the tunes he played on.

I don't know how underrated Al Jackson, Jr. is, but I'll mention him here because he's my favorite. He's on almost everything by Otis Redding and Sam and Dave, as well as great tunes by Wilson Pickett ("Midnight Hour"), Aretha Franklin ("Oh Me Oh My"), Albert King ("Born Under a Bad Sign"), Bill Withers ("Ain't No Sunshine"), Eddie Floyd ("Knock on Wood"), and Donny Hathaway "Giving Up").
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Old 11-06-2018, 07:00 PM
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Default Re: Under Rated or Fairly Unknown Drummers

I'll toss a few out: Larry Mullen Jr and Bill Berry. Drummers in two of the biggest bands of the 80s/90s, so not exactly toiling in obscurity, but I don't think either gets (these days) the props they deserve.

Neither were ever monster technicians but both were inventive, had great feel, and were extremely reliable—in fact, according to Brian Eno, Mullen's sense of time was almost supernatural. Most of all, both drummers played to the song brilliantly. I don't think I've ever heard either guy play something I couldn't play but I've heard each guy play stuff that really hit me as absolutely perfect for the song in question and, in the case of Mullen, at least, came up with a part that I never would have thought of.
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Old 11-06-2018, 07:08 PM
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Default Re: Under Rated or Fairly Unknown Drummers

Good stuff! I've now got some solid stuff to listen to and dig into.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr_Watso View Post
I think we should just talk more about how insanely over-rated Ringo and Bonham are. Followed by some spirited big kit versus small kit debate and finish up with some chops versus groove discussion.
You may be right - it may yet devolve, especially into a "big kit vs. small kit" debate because a lot of these session guys didn't use big kits, or if they had them, they kept things pretty simple.

I got to hear Danny Seraphine and his band CTA at the Modern Drummer festival about 10 years ago. I thought he was really solid - not only did he play great time with a great feel, but he could mix it up without sounding like he was over-playing. IIRC, they opened up with an instrumental version of "Make Me Smile" and he just slayed the whole song. It was pretty cool.
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Old 11-06-2018, 07:44 PM
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Default Re: Under Rated or Fairly Unknown Drummers

Quote:
Originally Posted by trickg View Post
There's another thread on here that has kind of devolved into the subject of what constitutes "good" drumming, and that immature drummers tend to screw things up by over-playing, adding unnecessary fills, and that kind of thing. Out of that discussion, one of the names that popped up as a drummer who played great time without adding a bunch of superfluous nonsense is Roger Hawkins.

Roger who? I'd go out on a limb and say that many people have no idea who he is or what he drummed on, but he is, IMO, one of the great unsung drummers of the 20th Century. He was part of the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section, known as the Swampers, and played on such hits as:

Old Time Rock & Roll - Bob Seger
I'll Take You There - The Staples Singers
Chain of Fools - Aretha Franklin
Respect - Aretha Franklin
Land of 1000 Dances - Wilson Pickett
When a Man Loves a Woman - Percy Sledge

This is of course not by far an inclusive list, but it illustrates that Roger Hawkins is one of those drummers who isn't well known, even though his session catalog is well known.

There are a lot of other less-known drummers out there too - Hal Blaine is probably one of the most obvious ones most of us know, but who isn't really known of outside of musician's circles.

Who are some other drummers who come to mind - guys like country legend Lonnie Wilson, John "JR" Robinson, or Russ Kunkle - guys who have worked with just about everyone. List some of your favorite unsung drummers and some of what they've played on. I'd love to dig in to some more of that.
I get this. OTOH I thought you were gonna talk about drummers nobody knew at all. Because on the one hand, yes, you can be underrated, but they were already rewarded with getting to play on hit songs. So industry people know who they are, but the average radio listener has no clue.
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Old 11-06-2018, 09:02 PM
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Default Re: Under Rated or Fairly Unknown Drummers

Hmmm.. 'unknown' to who though is difficult to judge For example, I would have thought Roger Hawkins was a household name on this site...a collection of drummers who pass around names all the time.....Kinda like James Gadson, Gary Malaber. These folks are on many records people know but only drummers know who they are, because they caught on to or tried to cop their beats and licks.

"Under-rated" to me seems a little more tangible. One can really go down a rabbit-hole here. I'd say Mick Fleetwood, Roger Pope, Nigel Olsson....all under-rated (and English!). Sound simple but they are not.
Clive Bunker (Tull), Topper Headon (Clash), Jerry Shirley (Humble Pie).
Allan Schwartzberg...look him up.....originator of the disco beat but few know his name (I think) and he is on tons of well known 70's records.
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Old 11-06-2018, 09:07 PM
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Default Re: Under Rated or Fairly Unknown Drummers

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I get this. OTOH I thought you were gonna talk about drummers nobody knew at all. Because on the one hand, yes, you can be underrated, but they were already rewarded with getting to play on hit songs. So industry people know who they are, but the average radio listener has no clue.
I'll give you one almost no one knows, but he's one of the best drummers I know or that I've worked with, and that's a friend of mine named Cliff Darrow, who played in a Reggae Rock band called Colouring Lesson.

Cliff's time is literally metronomic, yet he doesn't come across as sterile or mechanical. On recordings, he's unbelievably consistent. I've heard stories about him where in the studio they'll cut the click in his headphones, but leave it going in the control room, and he literally never comes off of it.

Unfortunately the band has been defunct for a good bit now, and this is the only studio recording of them I could find on Youtube.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_mFuwz2yzwo
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  #12  
Old 11-06-2018, 10:06 PM
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Default Re: Under Rated or Fairly Unknown Drummers

Pretty much just Meg White; everyone else is fairly-rated.
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Old 11-06-2018, 10:09 PM
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Sandy McKee of cold blood was a really amazing drummer that doesn't get a lot of recognition anymore, my uncle told me about him and I've ever only heard his name one other time in a steve Jordan interview. Some of the fastest and cleanest fills I've ever heard
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Old 11-06-2018, 11:29 PM
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Default Re: Under Rated or Fairly Unknown Drummers

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Originally Posted by trickg View Post
Good stuff! I've now got some solid stuff to listen to and dig into.


You may be right - it may yet devolve, especially into a "big kit vs. small kit" debate because a lot of these session guys didn't use big kits, or if they had them, they kept things pretty simple.

I got to hear Danny Seraphine and his band CTA at the Modern Drummer festival about 10 years ago. I thought he was really solid - not only did he play great time with a great feel, but he could mix it up without sounding like he was over-playing. IIRC, they opened up with an instrumental version of "Make Me Smile" and he just slayed the whole song. It was pretty cool.
Danny has always been one of my all time favorites for sure. I saw CTA for the third or fourth time a few months ago outside of Orlando. His band is tighter than ever and even had his former Chicago band mate Bill Champlin on keys, vocals and some guitar! Danny had a tendency to "overplay" by many people's standards perhaps but the early Chicago tunes allowed for that and it really enhanced the music; not so much when the sappy love ballads became their norm. Since he came back to playing around 11-12 years ago, he has seemed to focus more on the groove. Even at 70 he is still a great talent!
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Old 11-07-2018, 01:05 AM
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Default Re: Under Rated or Fairly Unknown Drummers

I have two contributions from the UK.

The first is Ralph Salmins. Amazing drummer in both the worlds of jazz and pop. A lot of emotion in his playing and a groove to die for. Wonderful drummer and person (I've been lucky enough to have him as my drum teacher the last few years). Here's him playing with The Waterboys, it's brilliant stuff: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ff9OX1letxU

And the second is The 1975's George Daniel. What an absolute monster, I really do consider him to be one of the best pop/rock drummers ever. Endless creativity, groove and taste in his playing. I love the way he uses chops but only exactly the amount the music needs. Also his use of electronics and sampling is exceptional too. Just check out pretty much anything from this live show to see what I mean: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5kiY87XLahk
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Old 11-07-2018, 01:19 AM
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Roger Earls of Foghat was on my radar for many yrs. I've always thought that his drumming fit the music perfectly. I have a 90 min. cassette tape of nothing but Foghat that I played along to for many yrs. also. I think I have 8 albums of theirs. One of the things that impressed me about my wife when I met her in 77 was that she had a Fool For The City eight track and she was old enough to buy beer. 18 back then.
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Old 11-07-2018, 03:21 AM
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Default Re: Under Rated or Fairly Unknown Drummers

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Hmmm.. 'unknown' to who though is difficult to judge For example, I would have thought Roger Hawkins was a household name on this site...a collection of drummers who pass around names all the time.....Kinda like James Gadson, Gary Malaber. These folks are on many records people know but only drummers know who they are, because they caught on to or tried to cop their beats and licks.

"Under-rated" to me seems a little more tangible. One can really go down a rabbit-hole here. I'd say Mick Fleetwood, Roger Pope, Nigel Olsson....all under-rated (and English!). Sound simple but they are not.
Clive Bunker (Tull), Topper Headon (Clash), Jerry Shirley (Humble Pie).
Allan Schwartzberg...look him up.....originator of the disco beat but few know his name (I think) and he is on tons of well known 70's records.
Allan Schwarzburg was a huge deal throughout the 80s. That man has done alot of stuff.

I think drummers especially should know who's out there, and if you know about them, then they aren't overrated or overlooked. There's ALOT of players out there. If you're hearing anybody's name, it's because they were able to get out in front. Like people should know Larry Bunker, Joe Porcaro, Emil Richards, Jim Gordon, Earl Palmer.....it's ironic to see that in Los Angeles, there's only maybe SIX percussionists that do everything. I suppose NYC is the same way. There's a reason their names always pop-up. Whether or not they're underrated is a different discussion.
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Old 11-07-2018, 07:52 AM
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Default Re: Under Rated or Fairly Unknown Drummers

Pick Withers, who played on Dire Straits albums up to (and including) Love Over Gold.

I'd always known that Pick Withers was a bit of a special drummer, but until I started playing the drums myself, I didn't realise just how good he was, and how much special sauce he brought to the Dire Straits sound.
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Old 11-07-2018, 11:07 AM
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Whoever recorded the drums to Snot's only album!
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Old 11-07-2018, 04:33 PM
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FWIW, I think that Josh Freese is amazing too. I got hooked into him on Chris Daughtry's breakout album. (Phil Xenidis - AKA Phil X too - he did all the guitar work on that record, except for Slash's solo, obviously)
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Old 11-07-2018, 10:16 PM
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Richie Hayward of Little Feat - great drummer RIP
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Old 11-07-2018, 10:28 PM
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Pentti (Whitey) Glan - who played with Lou Reed and Alice Cooper mid 70's, and other session work. Also the drummer on The Rose film. Buddy Rich on the Tonight Show once mentioned him as this 'great new kid from Canada'.
Its actually the 1st anniversary of his death today.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zwuC...eature=related
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Old 11-07-2018, 10:44 PM
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Richie Hayward of Little Feat - great drummer RIP
Love Richie as well; pretty darn good on backing vocals too!
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Old 11-08-2018, 05:47 AM
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Pentti (Whitey) Glan - who played with Lou Reed and Alice Cooper mid 70's, and other session work. Also the drummer on The Rose film. Buddy Rich on the Tonight Show once mentioned him as this 'great new kid from Canada'.
Its actually the 1st anniversary of his death today.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zwuC...eature=related
Yes, he was a fantastic drummer, I love his drumming on Reed's "Sally can't dance". I thought he was from Finland but I may be wrong, don't want to argue with Buddy, do I?
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Old 11-08-2018, 04:45 PM
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Here's another one - John Molo. He played with Bruce Hornsby and the Range. Great feeling groove drummer.
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Old 11-08-2018, 05:15 PM
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Default Re: Under Rated or Fairly Unknown Drummers

A few of mine:
Art Gore - Cincinnati drummer, played with Lonnie Liston Smith
Son Ship - LA drummer, played on McCoy Tyner's The Greeting
Joe Dukes - drummer for Brother Jack McDuff
James Black - New Orleans drummer
Dougie Wright - British session drummer who played on some Serge Gainsbourg records
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Old 11-08-2018, 06:36 PM
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Default Re: Under Rated or Fairly Unknown Drummers

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Originally Posted by opentune View Post
Pentti (Whitey) Glan - who played with Lou Reed and Alice Cooper mid 70's, and other session work. Also the drummer on The Rose film. Buddy Rich on the Tonight Show once mentioned him as this 'great new kid from Canada'.
Its actually the 1st anniversary of his death today.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zwuC...eature=related
Wasn't that the movie where the kick drums were pointed up and not out?
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Old 11-08-2018, 07:07 PM
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Wasn't that the movie where the kick drums were pointed up and not out?
Yes, the whitish Camco's...but he didn't always play like that. Mostly had an old Rogers kit.
Blinky, Glan is originally from Finland but grew up in Toronto.
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Old 11-08-2018, 07:10 PM
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Pentti (Whitey) Glan - who played with Lou Reed and Alice Cooper mid 70's, and other session work. Also the drummer on The Rose film. Buddy Rich on the Tonight Show once mentioned him as this 'great new kid from Canada'.
Its actually the 1st anniversary of his death today.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zwuC...eature=related
I met Whitey several times when he played for Danny B and the Sons of B's in Toronto. Bought him a beer each time and he was more than happy to sit and chat. A very kind fellow.

Last time I saw him was about 4 years ago. He was, as each time I met him, in good spirits, and seemed to be in good health.

Always considered him to be one of the few drummer's drummer that I know.

I didn't know that he passed on. Sad news, indeed.

RIP Whitey.
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Old 11-29-2018, 04:50 AM
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Alexandr Murenko, check this guy out!
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Old 11-29-2018, 05:43 AM
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I think Danny Seraphine is highly underrated and not well known.
Danny at one time was the schitz among drummers drummers.
Another in the same ilk was Bobby Colomby.

Vince Colaiuta pretty worshiped at their drum stools back in the day.
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Old 11-29-2018, 05:59 AM
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Ralph Salmins. Amazing drummer in both the worlds of jazz and pop. A lot of emotion in his playing and a groove to die for.
Indeed, he, Neal Wilkinson and Ash Soan, first call drummers in the UK. All have amazing time.

I'll mention Clem Cattini, one of the earlier UK session legends. Played on 44+ number 1 singles. Kinks, Tom Jones, Gene Pitney, Donovan, Jeff Beck, Georgie Fame, Lulu, Bee Gees, Marc Bolan, Joe Cocker, McCartney, his list is endless.
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Old 01-13-2019, 01:04 AM
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I think the two drummers below might be known by name to other drummmers, but definitely lost on the public.

But I find these guys extremely unique in their style and how they compliment the songs

Gerry Conway - Cat Stevens. Good lord, Cat Steven songs have some amazing time signatures

Bob Siebenberg - Supertramp. Again, a drummer who so musically compliments rather unique structured songs.
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Old 01-13-2019, 01:35 AM
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James Gadson. Love his work with Bill Withers, Herbie Hancock, etc.
Stan Lynch of the Heartbreakers. He gave them a unique feel.
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Old 01-13-2019, 01:58 AM
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Default Re: Under Rated or Fairly Unknown Drummers

I'm sure most of you from "local" or "regional" areas will probably have your own list of "unknown" musicians, who never had major recordings or concert tours emanating from or sponsored by the hegemonic centers of popular music like NY, LA, Nashville, London, etc.

For example, in my country there are revered drummers like Tony Velarde who was a major figure in the Philippine jazz scene from the 50s onward and gained quite a reputation in and around the Asia/Pacific region. There is also sessionist Jun Regalado who played on practically all the pop hits of the 70s and 80s as part of a local "Wrecking Crew" we called the "Sindikato" (colloquialism for syndicate).

Last edited by makinao; 01-13-2019 at 02:32 AM.
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Old 01-14-2019, 01:21 AM
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Default Re: Under Rated or Fairly Unknown Drummers

plus 1 on Roger Hawkins

One of the guys I was into as a teenager (aside from Bonham) was Don Brewer, I still throw in a couple of his "American band" fills from time to time

While Benny Benjamin is certainly revered, how about the other 2 main drummers for Motown, Uriel Jones, and "Pistol" Allen?
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Old 01-14-2019, 06:30 PM
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Default Re: Under Rated or Fairly Unknown Drummers

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Originally Posted by Vandalay View Post
While Benny Benjamin is certainly revered, how about the other 2 main drummers for Motown, Uriel Jones, and "Pistol" Allen?
VERY much revered, and they remain just as known as Benny. Most of Motown post - 1969 was all Uriel and Pistol. Marvin Gaye's 'What Going On', some of the heavier early 70's Temptations stuff for example.
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Old 01-14-2019, 06:35 PM
Lennytoons Lennytoons is offline
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Default Re: Under Rated or Fairly Unknown Drummers

Stevie Wonder. I saw him live twice and he is an absolutely fabulous drummer. If you listen carefully to his recordings where he plays drums he has a very unique and distinctive style that is hard to mimic.
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Old 01-14-2019, 06:40 PM
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Default Re: Under Rated or Fairly Unknown Drummers

Denny Carmassi
Andy Parker of UFO
Nigel Glockler of Saxon

Last edited by Armor of Light; 01-14-2019 at 06:54 PM.
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Old 01-14-2019, 08:17 PM
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Default Re: Under Rated or Fairly Unknown Drummers

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Originally Posted by Lennytoons View Post
Stevie Wonder. I saw him live twice and he is an absolutely fabulous drummer. If you listen carefully to his recordings where he plays drums he has a very unique and distinctive style that is hard to mimic.
Check out Sammy Davis Junior or Mel Torme.
Both are surprisingly good for singers.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7bYvZEpHEMA

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=USxvJFfKXrE
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