Saturday, October 27, 2012

Drum & bass - a Top Five rhythm pairings

Music Mike was talking about drummers last month, and that got me to thinking about some of the great rhythm sections - drummers and bass players who were not only technically excellent individually but were especially formidable in combination.

So, for this week's musical treat, we have...

A Top Five Great Drum and Bass Combinations

5)  Keith Moon and John Entwistle of The Who
Mike will doubtless carp at my only putting these boys in at No. 5 - which is the main reason I'm doing it! The numbering here isn't really significant: there's no choosing between these guys. Here's a fantastic live performance of Won't Get Fooled Again.

4)  Ginger Baker and Jack Bruce of Cream
Some might argue that Cream was an uncomfortable alliance of rogue individualists rather than a really together band, and Jack and Ginger had a notoriously volatile relationship which eventually tore the group apart. But individually they are two of the most outstanding exponents of their instruments, and when they were in a groove together it was awesome. Here they are doing the George Harrison song Badge, accompanied by a photo montage of the band in their heyday. [You can also try this live version from one of their 2005 reunion shows.]

3)  Mitch Mitchell and Noel Redding of The Jimi Hendrix Experience
Jimi's pyrotechnics on lead guitar can easily overshadow his backing men, but this was an absolutely outstanding band. Here they are doing Fire (not sure when or where, but it's a great live video).

2)  John Bonham and John Paul Jones of Led Zeppelin
The more I listen to Zep these days, the more I find myself enjoying the intricate interaction between the two Johns and paying less attention to those Jimmy Page guitar riffs that first captivated me. This is Fool In The Rain (unfortunately, I can't find a live performance of this; but I'm going to post it anyway, as it's one of my very favourites of theirs).

But in the top spot I put....

1)  Mick Fleetwood and John McVie of Fleetwood Mac
The understanding between these two is unparalleled. Not so overtly virtuosic as my other picks, but damn, they work well together! They've been playing together, in a variety of different styles, for over 45 years now - but they were tight right from the beginning. Well, tight in an unconventional way: I read once that a distinctive characteristic of their playing is that they're not classically tight, that they tend to be ever so slightly out-of-sync with each other, McVie just a little ahead of the beat and Fleetwood infinitesimally behind it. Well, at least they're consistent about it. And it somehow contrives to generate a driving tension in their playing. Here's Gold Dust Woman, from a 1977 concert in Japan (poor picture quality, but good sound).

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