This blog is my tribute to the rhythm section.
I am very well aware that in a blog about rock grooves, that you would expect lots of Rage Against The Machine, Led Zeppelin’s John Bonham or Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Not in this blog. This blog lists my personal favorite grooves.
It’s a collection of performances I’ve seen or heard through the years, which are rhythmically so solid and grooving, that I found myself regularly coming back to these particular performances.
Like for example: there’s tons of videos of David Bowie performing “Ashes To Ashes” live, but the performance in the below video to me grooves harder than any “Ashes To Ashes” performance I’ve ever seen.
These are the rhythm sections I would dream off having my back on stage, or on my albums.
- Heart Of The Sunrise (Yes)
I’m referring here to the section where the mellotron comes in at 37seconds.
Unfortunately, bassist Chris Squire breaks the groove when he goes into some lead lines on bass.
On the album version, he very disciplined and steadily keeps the groove going.
I couldn’t find a live version where he keeps the groove going throughout the whole section.
Crank your stereo to 11… time to rock out.
- Move On Up (Lettuce’s performance of this Curties Mayfield track)
Lettuce (funny name for a band), plays a fantastic cover of Curtis Mayfield’s “Move On Up”
This is one of the best Lettuce live performances I could find of this song.
If you have a chance to hear Lettuce’s album version, you will find that the album version is more tight, and rhythmically more hypnotizing than in this live video.
- Feel Good, Inc (Gorillaz)
I ALWAYS loved this song.
This is the perfect hiking or work out song. The groove is infectious and energizing.
- Kansas City Shuffle (J Ralph)
Joshua Ralph, an instrumentalist session guy in NY, wrote this song for the movie Lucky Number Slevin.
When I first heard this song in the ending credits of the movie, I immediately went to iTunes to buy the track. Must have listened to the song hundreds of times since.
- Il Jouait Du Piano Debout (France Gall)
This performance always moves me, especially the amazing groove at the end of this performance.
The song is written about Elton John. The lyrics are amazing.
But above all: it’s the rhythm section and more specifically the ridiculously awesome bass player in this particular live performance who keep me wanting to see this video over and over again.
- Ashes To Ashes (David Bowie)
This bass player and how he carries the groove, blow my mind.
- Life’s What You Make It (Talk Talk)
The whole song is built on a piano ostinato.
Notice the pocket created by Mark Hollis’s behind the beat piano playing.
- Umbrella (Rihanna)
The live band is rocking this song.
- Knock Yourself Out (Jimi Hendrix)
It’s funny how one of my all time favorite Jimi Hendrix songs, is actually not a Hendrix song.
This is not only one of my favorite Jimi performances, I always felt that his soloing in this song is more ferocious than anything I have heard from him.
Notice the rhythmic drive and pounding energy throughout the whole song.
- Raggamuffin (Sela Sue)
I wanted to conclude this list with an artist from back home in Belgium.
This band so has IT!
There’s so many live performances of this song on YouTube, but none groove quite as hard as this performance.
I could not finish this blog without mentioning following 2 honorable mentions.
The groove in Richie Kotzen’s “Hot Rails” (from his “Electric Joy” album), at 2:04 into the song, is absolutely mind blowing.
I still have not managed to figure out what the hell the friggin time signature is on this.
If you figure it out… by all means do let me know in the comments section below. 🙂
The groove in Jimi Hendrix’s “Have You Ever Been (To Electric Ladyland)” is one of the most free flowing grooves I ever heard.
I wonder how many takes they had to do of this song to get the feel exactly the way they wanted it.
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