Monday, September 22, 2008

Earl Palmer - Honky Tonk Part II (Liberty 55356)

Honky Tonk Part II


"He was my right hand. He was a professor of music... it's like I died myself." - Dave Bartholomew

Earl Palmer joined Bartholomew's band in 1947, and it was his drums on Fats Domino's 1949 breakthrough record, The Fat Man, that essentially created Rock & Roll. As the number one session man at Cosimo's J&M Studio there on Rampart Street, the big beat he laid down on seminal records by Fats, Smiley Lewis, Lloyd Price and, of course, Little Richard changed the face of American music forever.

In 1957 he was lured to the west coast by Eddie Mesner of Aladdin Records. Once he got there, he found as much work as he could handle, continuing to cut Domino's big hits for Imperial, and working with the newly 'crossed-over' Sam Cooke. Within a few years, he had established himself as the 'first call' stick man in Los Angeles, recording with everyone from Sinatra to The Beach Boys... Count Basie to Tom Waits. He was an integral part of Phil Spector's 'wall of sound', and that's him playing on songs like You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling and River Deep, Mountain High. The list of soundtracks he worked on for both film and television out in Hollywood are too numerous to mention, but included personal favorites like The Flinstones and Mission Impossible.

This cool single we have here is taken from Drumsville!, a 1961 album he cut for Liberty Records. It was produced by the label's A&R man, Snuff Garrett, the guy who had 'discovered' Buddy Holly down in Texas, and gave Brill Building hack Phil Spector his first job out on the coast. That's fellow New Orleans transplant Plas Johnson blowing that wild sax and, even though it's a little too heavy on that sixties bachelor pad vibe for me, Earl's drums are right there in the pocket.

Just like they always were.

May He Rest In Peace.


Blogger Private Beach said...

Palmer's autobiography, Backbeat, is essential reading, covering every aspect of his life from tap dancing in vaudeville as a child to accompanying Sinatra at a White House bash.

2:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Right on, Red

Mister Earl was one of the greatest drummers of modern times. He practically invented R&R drumming.
It's amazing all the things he played for the first time in music history.
I bet The Lord has a very special place arranged for him in Drummers Heaven.

Who's gonna stand in his footsteps and bring R&B drumming to the next level?

Paul Pollmann. Amsterdam

3:09 PM  
Blogger The Uber Sonic Sonar Radar said...

Your Blog is so good.
there are some treasures on here that i would never have got a chance to listen to.

thank you

10:57 AM  

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