Sing A Song

From Drum Charts

Sing A Song - Drum Chart_000001

Earlier this week I began an Artist Spotlight series on Earth, Wind & Fire front man Maurice White by looking at his drumming on the song “Can’t Hide Love”. Today I will be focusing on his playing on one of my all time favourite recordings “Sing A Song” from the same 1975 album Gratitude.

Composed by White himself with his writing partner Al McKay this R&B classic has all the features that propelled the band to chart success: a joyful and energetic groove, infection horn hook and catchy melody. White demonstrates how to “take care of business” with a simple but effective beat.

As is often the case with R&B grooves this can look deceptively simple. Although its a straight forward beat it’s important to make sure the drums lock-in with the other instruments in the band, especially the bass guitar. Here White demonstrates how to play exactly what the song needs: No ego, just pure groove. If you take a look at the first two measures of the verse notice how the groove effectively begins on beat 3 of the second measure. Listen to how this works with the emphasis in the bass part at the same place. It’s almost the exact same drum groove as The Emotions massive hit “Best Of My Love” penned by the same song writing pair, just displaced by two beats.

Another feature I like is the short “Building 8ths” fill that White repeats throughout the song. It really gives the drum part a sense of identity and the listener the impression the fill has been composed rather than improvised each time. Again this shows great maturity and is a lesson on how to “play for the song”.

The third instalment of this series will look at his playing on the Fontella Bass song “Rescue Me”. See you soon…

Sing A Song – Drum Chart

Can’t Hide Love

From Drum Charts

This month I will be taking an in depth look at the drumming of singer-songwriter, arranger, record producer, band leader and drummer Maurice White. He was founder and lead singer of the band Earth, Wind & Fire and one of three incredible drummers for the group along with younger brother Fred White and Ralph Johnson. White’s drumming also appears on many R&B classics from earlier in his career as a session musician for Chess Records, and on nine recordings with the popular jazz group the Ramsey Lewis Trio. An incredible drummer, musician and producer, Maurice White has had a profound influence on soul and pop music over his illustrious career.

Can't Hide Love (EW&F) - Drum Chart_000001

I will begin this Artist Spotlight series on Maurice White by taking a look at his drumming on the Earth Wind & Fire classic “Can’t Hide Love” from the 1975 album Gratitude. A cover version of a song originally recorded by Creative Source in 1973, this demonstrates White’s incredible arranging skills.

Although this is a ballad tempo at just 77BPM, White propels the band with incredible energy and excitement. He plays 16th notes on the hi-hats accented on every beat giving the groove a tremendous forward motion and the syncopated bass drum part locks in perfectly with the funky bass guitar part at various points in the song. As ever with White it’s a classic “less is more” approach and he really holds back until unleashing some terrific fills during the repeating out-chorus.

The shaping of this song is outstanding, from the beautifully orchestrated horns and strings, the inventiveness of White’s groove in the introduction, and the perfectly executed form of the song (note White shaves off 4-bars from the beginning of the second verse) he takes the listener on a soulful journey.

I’ve included a drum chart and full transcription so you can see how the song form works but also learn from White’s fantastic ensemble playing in the chorus and outro. Enjoy, and trust me… it’s harder than it looks!

In the next part of this series I will be looking at White’s drumming on his own composition “Sing A Song”, see you then!

Can’t Hide Love (EW&F) – Drum Chart

Uptown Funk

From Drum Charts

Uptown Funk - Drum Chart

Here is a drum chart for the song “Uptown Funk” by Mark Ronson. Not only does Bruno Mars feature as vocalist on this recording, he lays down some PHAT drums as well! Also check out the FUNK in Jamareo Artis’s bass lines… Beautiful. I’ve made an “Essential Fills” sheet for this as well as a “Notebook” with some ways to approach the outro groove and more fills transcribed from the recording. Enjoy and let me know how you get on….

Uptown Funk – Drum Chart
Uptown Funk – Essential Fills
Uptown Funk – Notebook