Miscellaneous Pop Percussion


Anita Ekberg!

At the core of both "space-age pop" and "exotica" is percussion. In the case of the former, percussion is the most dramatic yet unwearying way to demonstrate channel separation (left channel versus right channel in stereo). Pop percussion uses all manner of drum, bell, gong, block, marimba, etc., often in very non-traditional (experimental, jazzy) arrangements. The standard drum kit may be used too, but usually it takes a back seat to everything else. As a rule, percussionists are treated as secondary to melodic soloists (horns in jazz, guitars in rock, singers in pop), but there is no music without them. Many percussionists are more than capable of expanding beyond the basic time-keeping and complementary duties.

Just as exotica is a form of Latin music, "exotic" percussion is Latin percussion. Latin rhythm has long been the chief way musicians conjure the primitive and push the limits of excitation and daring. It takes little more than a bongo fill to transform a whitebread standard into a haunting, Afro-Cuban mood piece. Whether or not the intent is an exotic mood, the adventurous use of unusual percussion distinguishes good pop from the drum-kit tedium characteristic of most rock and jazz. Sensationalism it may be, but done well it is often fantastic and at least not metronome-monotonous. Besides instrumental records, there are many fine instances of singers backed by ensembles featuring Latin percussion.

A step up and out from the standard percussionist is the inventive striker-of-objects, the weirdbeard who fashions his own instruments. Harry Partch, Moondog (who learned "snake rhythm" from Native Americans), and others have created their own galleries of bizarre percussion instruments. Found objects, industrial refuse, organic materials, and anything else open to the creative mind can be worked into unique "sculptures that sound." Still others have made just the odd percussion device to supply a particular sound or as part of more general musical-instrument making.

Buying: Many pop LPs suggesting "percussion" are nothing special. Look for the albums led by percussionists (such as Bobby Christian & Dick Schory) or with a percussion instrument in the title. Beyond that, it is just a matter of knowing the master percussionists.



Pop Percussion LPs

Rating
6Leo Addeo: The Music Goes 'Round and 'Round; RCA Victor LSA-2353; 1961
5Leo Addeo: Paradise Regained; RCA Victor LSA-2414; 1961
4Leo Addeo: A Sound Spectacular in Total Dynamics; RCA Camden CAS-2276; 1968
7Manny Albam: Drum Feast; United Artists UAS-6079; 1960
6Leo Arnaud & his Orchestra: Spectra-Sonic Sounds!; Liberty LRP-3009; 1955 (partly exotic)
6Leo Arnaud: Marimbita; Liberty LRP-3088; 1957/1959 (reissues LRP-3009 with the even more appealing Anita Ekberg jacket)
7Frank Barber: Sound in the Round--Melodic Percussion; Capitol ST-2794
7The Frank Barber Percussion: Deep Percussion; Polydor 24-4508; 1970
7Hal Blaine: Drums! Drums! A Go Go; ABC/Dunhill DS-50002; 1965
8Hal Blaine: Psychedelic Percussion; ABC/Dunhill D-50019 (stereo DS-50019 but mono is what turns up)
7Clyde Borly & his Percussions: Music in 5 Dimensions; Atlantic/Atco SD-33-195; 1966
8Harry Breuer: Mallet Magic; Audio Fidelity AFSD-5825; 1958
5Harry Breuer: Mallet Mischief; Audio Fidelity AFSD-5882; 1958
4Harry Breuer: The Happy Sound of Ragtime; Audio Fidelity AFSD-5912; 1960
Harry Breuer: Percussive Vaudeville; Audio Fidelity AF-3001
8Les Brown, Jr.: Wildest Drums Yet!; GNP Crescendo GNP-79 (drums/surf/mod soul; breaks)
6David Carroll: Percussion in Hi-Fi; Mercury SR-60003
4David Carroll: Percussion Orientale; Mercury PPS-6002
6David Carroll: Hey, LISTEN Baby--Let's DANCE; Mainstream S-6095
7Jimmy Carroll & the Percussionists: Speed the Parting Guest--Hi-Fi Bull in a Chime Shop 10"; Cook 1041 (Mad Music; Rondo ST-513--stereo 12" w/Reginald Foort)
6Don Catelli & the All-Stars: Passionate Percussion; Premier Directional Sound DS-5009 (Latin percussion; much overlap with Canadian LP: Pierre du Jardin: South of the Border; Canadian Musical Industries, Inc. CMI-115)
8Floyd Darden: Time for Melodies for the Drum; RKMP/HUB 128 (private press/kid funk/percussion/breakbeats/beatnik/Christmas
6Panama Francis: Exploding Drums!; CBS/Epic BN-629/LN-3839 (breakbeat drums/mod soul/dance rock)
6Marty Gold: Skin Tight (w/insert); RCA Victor LSP-2230; 1960
9Dickie Harrell: Drums and More Drums; Capitol ST-1502; 1960 (Gene Vincent's drummer; 2 cuts are on Wild Stereo Drums compilation)
4Kenyon Hopkins: Sound Tour--Hawaii; Verve V6-50003
6The Hollywood "Pops" Orchestra: Motion in Percussion; Sonic Workshop 0100; 1960 (Robert Lowden, D.L. Miller, Irv Cottler, Larry Bunker..)
6Pierre du Jardin: South of the Border; Canadian Musical Industries, Inc. CMI-115 (Latin percussion; Don Martin jacket & insert; much overlap with Don Catelli & the All-Stars: Passionate Percussion; Premier Directional Sound DS-5009)
6Ricardo Juarez & his Orchestra: Happy Time Cha Chas; Grand Award GA-254-SD; 1960
7Phil Kraus: The Percussive Phil Kraus; Golden Crest CR-3004 (jacket may be color or b/w)
Phil Kraus: Conflict; Golden Crest CR-4004
7Phil Kraus/Living Percussion: The Beat Goes On; RCA Camden CAS-2255; 1969 (w/Dick Hyman)
5Enoch Light & the Light Brigade Play I Want to Be Happy Cha Chas; Grand Award GA-222-SD; 1958
3Enoch Light & the Light Brigade Play Happy Cha Chas Vol. 2; Grand Award GA-227-SD; 1958
5Enoch Light & the Light Brigade: Pertinent Percussion Cha Chas; Grand Command RS-814-SD; 1960
7Enoch Light & the Light Brigade: Future Sound Shock; Project 3 PR-5077-QD (percussion/sitar/Brasil/caribeat; "Caravan"; Vinnie Bell, sitar)
4Marimba Chiapas: Marimba Mambo y Cha-Cha-Cha; Audio Fidelity AFLP-1802; 1957
4Marimba Chiapas: Marimbas Mexicanas; Capitol DT-10043
6Roger King Mozian: Spectacular Percussion; MGM SE-3845
5Roger King Mozian: Spectacular Percussion Goes Latin; MGM SE-3921
7Byron Parker & his Percussion Ensemble: Nothing But Percussion Volume 1; Westminster WST-15064
8Harry Partch & the Gate 5 Ensemble: And on the Seventh Day Petals Fell in Petaluma; Composers Recordings Inc. CRI-SD-213; 1967/1966 (w/some jawharp or mouth harp)
8Rolley Polley: Mad Drums; Capitol ST-1454 (bongo/bongo bop/bongo rock/percussion/Latin jazz; "Rolley Polley" pseudonym for Pepe Dominguin)
5Henri Rene: Riot in Rhythm; RCA Victor LSP-2002; 1958
6Milton Rogers: The Ultimate in Percussion; Dot SLP-25319 (with Jack Burger, Roy Harte..)
8Milton Rogers: The Jet Set--Ports of Call; Time S-2202
4Bob Rosengarden & Phil Kraus: Hollywood Sound Stage; Decca DL-74184
6Bob Rosengarden & Phil Kraus: Like--Bongos!; Time S-2025
7Bob Rosengarden & Phil Kraus: Percussion--Playful & Pretty; RCA Victor CSP-113; 1965
6Bob Rosengarden & Phil Kraus: Hot Line for Sound; Project 3 PR-5002-SD; 1966 ("Musical Explorations in Beats...Bongos...Boffs")
6Lani Royal & Diamond Head Band: Percussive Pineapples; Kapp Medallion MS-7516; 1961
3Chuck Sagle: Ping Pong Percussion; CBS/Epic BN-568
5Dick Schory: Music for Bang, Baa-room & Harp; RCA Victor LSP-1866; 1958
6Dick Schory: Music to Break Any Mood; RCA Victor LSP-2125; 1960
4Dick Schory: Wild Percussion & Horns A'Plenty; RCA Victor LSP-2289; 1962
5Dick Schory: Runnin' Wild; RCA Victor Stereo Action LSA-2306; 1961
3Dick Schory: Stereo Action Goes Broadway; RCA Victor LSA-2382; 1961
5Dick Schory: Holiday for Percussion; RCA Victor LSA-2485; 1962
4Dick Schory: Supercussion; RCA Victor LSP-2613; 1963
6Dick Schory: Politely Percussive; RCA Victor LSP-2738; 1963
4Dick Schory on Tour; RCA Victor LSP-2806; 1964
4Dick Schory & his Percussion Pops Orchestra: The Happy Hits; RCA Victor LSP-2926; 1964
5Dick Schory: Carnegie Hall; Ovation 14-10-2; 1970 (2-LP)
7Dick Schory & the Percussive Arts Ensemble: Re-Percussion; Everest 1232 (w/Bobby Christian)
5Mike Simpson: The Opposite Sides of Mike; Concert-Disc CS-26; (c)1956
4Mike Simpson: Discussion in Percussion; Mercury PPS-6004
6Felix Slatkin Conducts Fantastic Percussion; Liberty LST-7150
Terry Snyder & All Stars: Persuasive Percussion; Command
4Terry Snyder & All Stars: Persuasive Percussion Vol. 2; Command RS-808SD; 1959
Terry Snyder & All Stars: Footlight Percussion; United Artists WWS-7508
4Terry Snyder & All Stars: Gentle Purr-cussion; United Artists WWS-7521
5Terry Snyder & All Stars: Mister Percussion; United Artists WWS-8500 (issued also as Unique Percussion, same number)
6Ted Sommer: Percussive Mariachi; Solid State SS-18012; 1967
7Mel Taylor & the Magics In Action!; Warner Bros. WS-1624 (drums/bongo rock/guitar/spy/mod/mod Latin)
9Gerard Trede & his Electronic Instruments: Electronic Sounds/Joe Ufer & his Drums: Phasing Drums & Electronic Sounds; Gema/Southern Selected Sound 9031 (#31) (production/Moog/space/drums)
6Sam Ulano's Conception of Commercial Drumming; Lane LP-142; 1959 (spoken instruction w/booklet "Practical Guide for the Working Drummer")
3West Virginia University Percussion Ensemble: Protest in Percussion; Century 27981
6West Virginia University Percussion Ensemble: Percussion on the Rocks; Century 39523
6West York Area High School Percussion Ensemble: Sound of Percussion; 1965 (York, PA; w/guest conductor Dick Schory)
7Forrest Wood: Music for the Jazz Class; Hoctor HLP-3051 (dir. Bob Audy; Stanley Krell, drums)
6Harry Zimmerman: Bongos/Reeds/Brass Vol. 2; HIFI/Life L-1002 (exotic percussion)
8Various: Wild Stereo Drums; Capitol ST-1553 (compilation; essential cuts from Pepe Dominguin/Rolley Polley: Mad Drums, Les Baxter's Teen Drums, Dick Harrell: Drums & More Drums)


Partly Pop Percussion LPs

Rating
6Vico Anthony & his Percussion Paesanos: Percussion Italiano!
7Hal Blaine and the Young Cougars: Dueces, "T's", Roadsters, & Drums; RCA Victor LSP-2834; 1963
4Russ Case: Fiery Popular Dance Rhythms; Rondolette SA-162
6Russ Case: Dances Wild; RCA Vik LX-1085; 1957/1956
7Jack Fascinato Arranges Things; Stepheny MF-4004 (w/Doris Drew & the Mellowmen)
7Hugo Montenegro: Love Theme from The Godfather; RCA Victor APD1-0001; 1972 ("Stutterology")
7Tito Puente: Lo Mejor de (The Best of, "Fancy Feet"); Tico SLP-1203 (compilation)
7Piero Umiliani: El Corpo ST; Easy Tempo ET-933; 1999/1974 (exotic funk/percussion/Moog funk/Moog/flute)
8Various: Look Who's Surfing Now; King 882; 1964 (rare!; James Brown instrumental "Surfin' Along" otherwise unavailable!; surf/mod soul/drums "Surfin' Beat"/Latin rock)
7Uncredited: Sound Effects; Robert Hall RH-1/2 (production; space/gong/horror)
3Various: The Best of the Great Motion Picture Themes (Frank Barber's Sound-in the Round: "More (Mondo Cane)"); Capitol Creative Products; SL-6601


Pop Percussion 7" 45s/EPs

Rating
8Billy Blackwood: [Billy Plays] Gospel Drums/[Billy Sings] You Were On His Mind; 691219 (percussion, religion)
7Hal Blaine & the Young Cougars: East Side Story/Hawaii 1963; RCA Victor 47-8147
8Bobby Christian, the Man with a Sound: Caravan/Boola; Stepheny SF-1833 (percussion, guitar)
8Jack Fascinato: Diggin' Duggan/Road Runner; Stepheny SF-1827 (LP tracks but worth having for better sound--both formats mono/rare)
5Richard Maltby featuring Terry Snyder: Viberant Percussion; Sesac/Repertory AD-67 (4-cut EP w/vibes & marimba)
7Milt Rogers & his Orchestra: Bakersfield or Bust/Fire in My Heart; Balboa 45-022 (vocal, not percussion)
7Milt Rogers & his Orchestra: Let's Go Trippin'/Lonely Road to Damascus; Dot 45-16296 (surf/percussion)


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