Chuck Jackson: I Like Everything About You
From Arrives! (Motown, 1968)
The Byrds: Fido
From Ballad of Easy Rider (Columbia, 1969)
Lincoln Mayorga: Peace Train
From Missing Linc (Sheffield, 1972)
Jackie Jackson: Is It Him Or Me
From S/T (Motown, 1973)
Sassafras: Boxcar Hobo
From Wheelin’ ‘n’ Dealin’ (Chrysalis, 1975)
Ah, the liberating power of the combing through your record collection while moving is the figuring out, “hey, why the hell have I collected drum breaks over the years? I don’t even make beats…” With that bit o’ revelation, I pretty much sifted out 2/3rds of my “breaks” section and put ’em out for sale. If you want to rock Tommy Roe’s “Dizzy” drums, you’re quite welcome to it.
That said, sometimes, a good drum break can open up into a far better song or other times, the break is just so damn good, you’re willing to forgive that it might be surrounded by 48 other bars of wacktivity. The two Jackson cuts – by Chuck and Jackie respectively – are cases of the former. They come from very different soul eras but I like how each song is executed (Jackie’s song is especially great) and the little breaks at the beginning of both is just an added bonus.
With “Fido” and “Boxcar Hobo” – the rock songs themselves aren’t bad at all – “Fido” has a nice, uptempo groove to it but it’s all dress rehearsal for the main attraction here: that ridiculous 12 bar drumbreak in the middle that comes flying in from nowhere. More cowbell! (I cannot listen to this song and not have Schooly D pop into my head). Likewise, “Boxcar Hobo” kicks off with a nice steady four bar break that slips into an unexpectedly funky Afro-Latin groove. The whole song holds up nicely (more so than a lot of other rock songs with ace breaks).
Lastly, we have Lincoln Mayorga’s cover of Cat Stevens’ “Peace Train”: one of those songs where the drum break seems totally incongruous with the rest of the song given its flamenco feel but all things considered, it’s rather listenable (I’m biased though: I kind of like harpsichord).
Back to packin’.