Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Sandy Nelson - Let There Be Drums / Drums Are My Beatdotdotdot
artworkSandy Nelson is one of rock 'n' roll's enduring stories. He played on many hit sessions, and had a few bona fide Billboard hits in his own right, beginning with "Teen Beat" in 1959. His guitar player of choice was often Richard Podolor.
Picks: Slippin' And Slidin', Tequila, My Girl Josephine, Big Noise From Winnetka, Let There Be Drums, Bouncy, Birth Of The Beat, Quite A Beat, Get With It, Drum Roll, My Blue Heaven, Hawaiian War Chant, Twisted, Caravan, Drums Are My Beat, Day Drumming, Drum Stomp, Hum Drum, Topsy, The City

Track by Track Review


Slippin' And Slidin' dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Little Richard's wailing song is the basis for this infectious blues jam. Energetic and bouncy, with a pumping piano and thumpy bass line, and a solid drum solo.

Tequila dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

A sorta big band arrangement modeled on Cozy Cole's "Topsy II," the drums are rhythmic and so cool. It's a long ways from the Mexican cool of the Champs, but Sandy Nelson's drums sure do rock!

My Girl Josephine dot
Rock (Instrumental)

Fats Domino's suave song finds a pale presentation here. The sax work is not inspired...

Big Noise From Winnetka dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Aside from catchy drum work, this is just a moderately interesting interpretation of Bob Crosby's "Big Noise From Winnetka." Lotsa fun though.

Let There Be Drums dotdotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

"Let There Be Drums" was the first track released after Sandy Nelson lost his foot. It is an infectious thing with a rolling rhythm and great drums. The formula was a cross between "Wipe Out" and "Rebel Rouser." Nelson's drums are solid, and Richie Podolor's guitar work is excellent too.

Bouncy dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Sandy Nelson wrote "Bouncy," which is a riff rocker for sure. Kinda relentless, but rhythmic and party cool.

Birth Of The Beat dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

This slowly evolving drum masterpiece shows off a healthy nod to Cozy Cole and Gene Krupa. Tribal like a forties big band rocker, this drum solo is very powerful. It's drums solos that best show off how important a really good sounding and well tuned drum kit really is.

Quite A Beat dotdotdotdot
Near Surf (Instrumental)

Richard Podolor plays guitar and co-wrote "Quite A Beat" with Sandy Nelson. It's patterned like many of his drums singles, with lots of drums and chord progressions on guitar setting off different verses. Richard Podolor's guitar plays an Indian thing. This grows on you.

Get With It dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Richard Podolor's cool reverbed guitar chops under the dry riff lead as Sandy Nelson plays restrained drums. Similar in some ways to a softened "Let There Be Drums," "Get With It" is an infectious percussion track.

Drum Roll dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

This sounds almost like a demo, with dry sound and less distinct ambiently captured drums. Perhaps it's from earlier sessions. It's a rocker, with little focus or hook value.

My Blue Heaven dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Cool piano and fifties studio rock and roll sound. Pumped up, but not particularly catchy.

Hawaiian War Chant dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Sandy Nelson's drums amp up this traditional Hawaiian number in a big band format. It's fun, but not particularly remarkable.

Twisted dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

A rock solid drum beat opens this fifties style studio rock cut. Aside from Sandy's kit, there's nothing to really set this apart. It is quite energetic.

Caravan dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Duke Ellington's "Caravan" is a natural for a drum record. It's so rhythmic. This is a very cool version of this venerable song. Very exotic.

Drums Are My Beat dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

"Drums Are My Beat" sports a fun little riff carried on piano and bass against guitar. It's pretty simple, but very cool. As always, the drums are focus.

Day Drumming dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

"Day Drumming" is another Sandy Nelson composition. There are no players adding to the song. It's all drums and almost eight minutes long.

Drum Stomp dotdotdot
Near Surf (Instrumental)

"Drum Stomp" employs a Richard Podolor vibrato shimmered progression to lead the drum fest. Kinda country, kinda surfy, and rooted in the fifties.

Hum Drum dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

With a simple riff inspired slightly by "Istanbul," this is a rhythmic and tribal track with solid energy. It's also a bit like "Let There Be Drums."

Topsy dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

"Topsy" opens with the middle section in brass before giving way to lead xylophone. It's an interesting concept, but is not as hard driving as the Cozy Cole hit.

The City dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Steve Douglas' nasty sax and Sandy Nelson's tribal thunder work wonders on this track. The guitar riff is highly repetitious, but the back ally mean streak comes through clearly, coupled with a Vegas runway giggle.