Journal: News & Comment

Monday, July 29, 2002
# 12:38:00 PM:

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Stay on the scene

A few days ago, I wrote about James Brown's stupendous song "Sex Machine" (which I thought was from 1971, but is apparently a 1970 recording). I was listening to it again a minute ago, and just after the bridge, there's a little bit of drumming genius.

Right after Brown calls out "Hit it like you did on the top? Hit it now!", the band pumps out ba-dap-bap-bap-bap-bap-bap-bap, and the drummer, John "Jabo" Starks, does a tiny one-handed press roll on the snare drum before they drop back into the main groove (it's around 2:48 on the track -- give it a listen). It's the only time he does it in the song. You can hardly hear it, but it holds the bridge out just a fraction longer, stretches it before the song locks back into the verse. It's like releasing the clutch on a manual car transmission at the exact moment you crest a hill and snap into gear. Perfection.


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