Friday, July 15, 2016

Grooves o' the day: three street beats by Fred Staehle

Kicking off a little series on playing New Orleans-style street beats, here are some grooves by Fred Staehle. These are from Dr. John's Gumbo, a very famous album of classic New Orleans tunes, recorded by, hey, the pianist Dr. John, whom Staehle played with for many years. We've got the main grooves and a break from “Big Chief”— here a percussionist is playing the traditional tambourine part— and the complete transcribed drum intro from “Junko Partner”, and the main groove from “Iko Iko.”

The rolls here are all multiple-bounce. I would probably stick the triplet and break on Big Chief RRLR. You could practice every two measures of Junko Partner as individual grooves— except the last two measures which are kind of a tag. And note the optional accent in Iko Iko— sometimes he plays it, sometimes he doesn't. No big deal.

These all swing in a special way, so don't neglect listening to the tracks— actually buy the record, and play it a lot. Variations and fills are fairly few, so they should be easy to hear if you listen as much as you should.

Get the pdf

Audio after the break:


David Hurd said...

Thanks, Todd! I've always thought of this as a foundational record--i.e., if limited to knowing 5 records through and through (like the old-school approach, for guitarists anyway, of knowing 5 or so records really really well) this is one of them for me! Thanks for the nudge! -D

Anonymous said...


I happened onto this post during a New Orleans drumming Google search. By luck I saw Fred playing a duo gig with a piano player named Eddie Zip in a restaurant near the French Quarter many years ago. Playing only brushes, sounded great. Spoke with him during the break, very nice guy. Always loved his work on Gumbo.

My technical question on Junko Partner is this. Would you play the roll at the end of bar 2 as a nine stroke? The roll at the end of bar 4 sounds pretty much like a seven stroke. I am always trying to catch the correct placement for playing this style, and there does not seem to be a lot of material out there.

Thanks again for the post. I really enjoyed it.

Rich Dishman /