Ubiquitous Drums 101 – ‘Sing A Simple Song’
August 29, 2008, 4:04 pm
Filed under: Breaks

Sly & The Family Stone – ‘Sing A Simple Song’
taken from Stand! (Epic, 1969)

OK, you’re gonna have to bear with me a little here party people because getting back into this blogging game after three weeks or so off ain’t easy. What always strikes me during my holiday periods away from screaming children and mounds of paperwork is that despite having all the opportunity in the world to do all the things I want to do, the vast time I have in which to do them often means that they don’t get done very swiftly, if at all. Ultimately, I need to be squeezing things into my daily routine to actually get anywhere with them, otherwise the potential to simply loaf about and do nothing often takes a hold. Anyways, I’m back to work next week so there’s no doubt that my game will be back on big style, as avoiding the work that I’m actually meant to be doing is one of my most finely-honed personality traits. Just don’t tell my boss. She’s a little bit scary.

I’ve been toying with the idea of another series of posts for a while now, and the light bulb above my head beamed brightly when I stumbled across Sly & The Family Stone’s Stand! whilst doing the digital rounds in France. For the readers amongst you who have even a passing familiarity with prominent drum breaks then the discovery of ‘Sing A Simple Song’ will seem like a complete no-brainer, but it’s new to me (as is the vast majority of material that features in beat deconstructions and the like around these parts) so I felt it was worth sharing. It also seems like a decent jumping-off point into other drum breaks that although widely-used, don’t seem to have quite the same legendary status as ‘Blind Alley’, ‘Impeach The President’ and the like. Hence, a series of posts is born: sometimes this game comes easy.

Check in at the 2.11 mark for the point at which the break begins and you’ll be on instantly familiar ground. What I really like about the way that these drums get flipped is that they often include remnants of some of the horn stabs which provides a layer of intricacy to the beat in which they have been employed. For proof of the importance of this particular combination of snares, kicks and hi-hats then check everybody’s favourite resourcefor a generous overview of its usage, although I have little doubt that this probably covers less than half of the instances in which they can actually be found. Keep your ears to the ground speakers people…

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