Top 10 albums that influenced me when I was young by the Magic Bands’s John ‘Drumbo’ French

Captain Beefheart

The brilliant Captain Beefheart is so much part of my musical make up that I'm thrilled that the Magic Band made up of various musicians who played with him over the years are back ver touring the UK!

 

Last time they were stunning…these shows are vital!

 

Tour dates and tickets below…

 

Fri 1st Mar
The Magic Band

Concorde 2
Brighton

Sat 2nd Mar
The Magic Band

Colchester Arts Centre
Colchester

Mon 4th Mar
The Magic Band + The Blood Choir

The Fleece
Bristol

Tue 5th Mar
The Magic Band

The Robin 2
Wolverhampton

Wed 6th Mar
The Magic Band + Dean McPhee + John French + Rockette Morton + Denny Walley

The Continental
Preston

Thu 7th Mar
The Magic Band

Band On The Wall
Manchester

Sat 9th Mar
The Magic Band

The Arches
Glasgow

Sun 10th Mar
The Magic Band

The Picture House
Edinburgh

Mon 11th Mar
The Magic Band

The Cluny & The Cluny 2
Newcastle upon Tyne

Wed 13th Mar
The Magic Band + Edgar Jones

Eric's Club
Liverpool

Thu 14th Mar
The Magic Band

The Duchess
York

Fri 15th Mar
The Magic Band

Sub89
Reading

Sat 16th Mar
The Magic Band

Under The Bridge
London

 

 

1. Carousel Sound Track

 

My first introduction to the stage musical was this album, bought by my parents through a record club. I wore this out listening to it and the melodies still come to mind. It was a magical era in the history of US Music.

 

-2. Sandy Nelson – Let There Be Drums

 

Hanging out at my best friend’s house with his neighbor friend, who put this album on. I had never really cared much for drum solos because of the over-use of the snare, but when I heard this guy, I was enraptured by his use of tom toms and his phrasing: so much so that I retrieved an old set of drumsticks my older brother had left behind, and haven’t been able to put down drumsticks since.

 

 

 

 

 

3. The Best of the Big Band Drummers:

 

I used to baby-sit for my neighbors. The father’s name was Ron, and he was a bit of a hipster-type, had a really good Elvis style haircut and always dressed very “cool” in the fifties tradition. When he found out I was interested in drums, he gave me several albums, the best of which was this. It introduced me to some of the greats: Buddy Rich, Gene Krupa, Louis Bellson, Chick Webb, Max Roach, Roy Hanes all come to mind when I think of this album, which is now only available on cassette!

 

 

4. Dave Bruebeck Live at Carnegie Hall

 

My cousin gave me “Time Out” which was a good introduction to odd-time signatures, but this live double-album was a four-hour-a-day listen during the Summer between my Sophomore and Junior years in high school. By the end of Summer, I was able to play along with a lot of Morello’s solo in Castilian Drums – a 5/4 piece in a faster tempo than Take Five. My girlfriend got stolen away because of my neglect of the relationship, but I found something that couldn’t be stolen away that Summer.

 

 

 

5. For Your Love — The Yardbirds

 

A friend gave me this album for my sixteenth birthday. I was completely blown away by Jeff Beck monster guitar sound. Listening back, it sounds a little weak in perspective, but it was the strongest statement yet at the time. Still love Jeff Beck to this day and I think he is the founder of Heavy Metal.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6. Ray Charles – Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music

 

I had heard Bill Medley of the Righteous Brothers sing “Georgia on my Mind” and then I heard the guy he copied – Ray Charles. Ray became my new hero, and when I started singing, “You are my Sunshine” was my first soulful piece. Ray pulled me into the black culture and I began listening to folks like Jr. Walker and the All Stars, James Brown, and Wilson Pickett.

 

 

7. Howlin’ Wolf – Moanin’ in the Moonlight

 

My first conversation with Don Van Vliet was after a “Battle of the Bands” at the Antelope Valley Fairgrounds. I asked him what had influenced him to sing as he did and he told me about “Howlin’ Wolf.” I ordered and had the album within a week. This was a whole new world for me, and was like walking into an Egyptian tomb in terms of discovery. I immediately started emulating “The Wolf.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

8. Sound of the Sitar: Ravi Shankar

 

Another person Don mentioned to me in the same conversation was after I had told him about hearing a sitar in “Norwegian Wood” was Ravi Shankar. I bought this album immediately. If you listen closesly, you can hear the bridge to “Abba Zaba” in there…

 

 

 

 

 

 

9. Coltrane “Live” at the Village Vanguard.

 

Upon joining Beefheart’s group, Van Vliet put this album on after one of our meetings. I was immediately entranced. Never having been very interested in saxophone, Coltrane made it one of my favorite instruments: particularly the soprano. Don used to say “He’s not playing notes, he’s playing brain-waves.”

 

 

 

10. Revolver: The Beatles

 

Still my favorite Beatles album, I was entranced by this album the first time I heard it. The production was amazingly good and the sound quality superior to anything out at the time. George’s implementation of the sitar and his eastern-style guitar solos mesmerized me as I sat in my parent’s basement listening to this at high volume through our band PA system. I loved the use of horns and string. I still enjoy an occasional listen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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