Monday, November 28, 2016

The Very Best of Sandy Nelson

The Thanksgiving weekend allowed me to pull out and play some vinyl, something that I don't get a chance to do very often. I randomly ended up in the "N" section and realized that I hadn't played this one in ages.

Sandy Nelson is, of course, a drummer and band leader responsible for innumerable session work as well as a fairly prolific solo career. He had a number of instrumental hits in the 60's and this LP has some of his best.

His tom-heavy propulsion on "Teen Beat" is immediately identifiable and gives a real distinction to this groovy, surf-y number. "Big Noise From the Jungle" has a swingin' baritone guitar line, "Honky Tonk" was a hit for Bill Doggett but Sandy gives it a cool, danceable reading,he really drives "All Night Long" with snappy snare work and short solos (the honkin' sax and calls of "all night long!" are frantically fun, as well) and side one concludes with "Drums Are My Beat", a melodic number that is still based on the rhythm and Sandy does more swingin' here.

As you might imagine, "Let There Be Drums", one of his bigger hits, follows in his drum-heavy style, but with a cool surf/horn section over it all, "Land of a Thousand Dances" is the famous number, done instrumentally, kinda with a Booker T. vibe, "Drums a Go Go" is kind of a take off on "Peter Gunn", "The Stripper" is a pretty traditional take on the famous song, and the closer is another groover, sounding like a jazzy spy movie theme with more great drums breaks.

This vinyl is all too short, but gives a great overview of some of this man's coolest work.