Why no Motown drummers on Drummerworld?

opentune

Platinum Member
There is a certain fill that I always refer to it as the “Motown fill”.
It starts off either on a snare or a high tom, but then rattles a snare roll of some sort, some are single strokes.
The best examples I can give are the intros to “This old Heart of Mine“ by The Isleys and “Its the Same Old Song” by The Four Tops.
Nonetheless, it is distinguishing and to me an overlooked aspect of the Motown beat.
'the Motown pickup' ...3 different ways...laid out here by the master, go to 0:15 .
 

Vandalay

Member
Based on what I've read, Benjamin was a "busier" drummer, "Uptight" being a prime example, Pistol Allen's forte' was shuffle grooves (How sweet it is,) while Uriel Jones was sort of a combination of the two, with his "four on the floor groove" that you can hear on "Ain't to proud to beg"
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Yes that High tom tone is what I’m referring to, it is so striking yet pausing, you knew a fill explosion was to ensue.
That "Motown fill" you speak of...it's the pickup, right? The one that starts "Ain't to Proud to Beg"? (fill, then "I know you want to leave me"...

If that's the one, WhoIsTony? informs us that that's a 6 stroke roll. One note on the high tom and the other 5 on the snare is the variation I default to.

Whoops, a little late.
 

Ransan

Senior Member
That "Motown fill" you speak of...it's the pickup, right? The one that starts "Ain't to Proud to Beg"? (fill, then "I know you want to leave me"...

If that's the one, WhoIsTony? informs us that that's a 6 stroke roll. One note on the high tom and the other 5 on the snare.
Yessr that’s the diddy laid out in plain sight!

I gave some examples above as well.

The key point as you mention, is that gorgeous high tom sound.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
I wonder if it's him playing "Heat wave". Seriously cool shuffle in that song.
I don't know the answer to that. But my gut feeling is that's it's 100% for sure Benny Benjamin. I'm not sure if Pistol was even there at Motown when "Heatwave" was recorded. Not sure. That track...whoever played it....is one great high energy shuffle. Really, it makes the whole song. It just jumps right out of the record grooves.

Sadly, there's not much info at all on the internet about Benny Benjamin.

I like how Uriel stated in that article that Benny would sneak in and steal and pawn Motown's drums.

Wow what a story.
 

cdrums21

Gold Member
I don't know the answer to that. But my gut feeling is that's it's 100% for sure Benny. I'm not sure if Pistol was even there at Motown when "Heatwave" was recorded. Not sure. That track...whoever played it....is one great high energy shuffle. Really, it makes the whole song.
It was recorded in 1963 and from what I've read, Pistol started there around that time too. Who knows?
 

opentune

Platinum Member
I don't know the answer to that. But my gut feeling is that's it's 100% for sure Benny Benjamin. I'm not sure if Pistol was even there at Motown when "Heatwave" was recorded.
Yes Heatwave is pure Benny, so too is Get Ready....from what I've read.
I agree with you about the hi tom sound, it is signature. These guys played Detroit jazz clubs before signing up with Gordy and I think that kind of tuning was natural to them. Unfortunately, some of the drums are way down in the mix of Motown tunes....at least those in the 60's. The early 70's Marvin Gaye and Temptations stuff features drum sounds well.

Has anybody ever heard of any of Motown mixes being remixed/ remastered? That usually does great service to listeners of the low end.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
The Motown hi tom sound is the only drum tone from someone else that I've purposefully tried to replicate on my own kit.

It's funny reading how they never tuned them, the heads were stained with ketchup, they were all second hand mismatched drums. Yet that hi tom sound continues to have an affect on my entire musical life. It's imperfect by today's standards, but there is so much beauty in imperfection.
 
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cdrums21

Gold Member
Has anybody ever heard of any of Motown mixes being remixed/ remastered? That usually does great service to listeners of the low end.
There are several youtube videos that have extended versions and isolated tracks of many of the popular songs by the Supremes, Four tops and Temptations. Pretty cool to hear vocals and stuff by themselves.
 

cdrums21

Gold Member
What a monster bassist. "Reflections" is my favorite bass part that he came up with. So outside the box compared to what anyone else would have played.
 

Ransan

Senior Member
Here's some isolated JJ bass tracks:



Yessr!
Bernedette is one of the most intense songs out there, and I’m a rock/metal head.
They say he played using only one finger on the picking, so graceful.
This one will get you by the boo boo as well.
 

Vandalay

Member
Berry Gordy knew how important Jamerson was, he reportedly wouldnt allow him to go on the Motortown revue tours, because he wanted Jamerson available for session dates.
 

hawksmoor

Senior Member
Am I right in remembering that Marvin Gaye's What's Going On album was the first time the musicians were credited?
 

Yamaha Rider

Well-known member
Once tried to find out which songs Stevie Wonder drummed on.
Apparently he credited other drummers so they'd get paid, and Signed, Sealed (one of my all time fave drum parts) allegedly has him and another drummer on it. Odd, cos it sounds like just one to me.
 
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