Saturday, August 20, 2005

Mel Taylor: Bang Bang Rhythm (Warner Brothers 5839)


Here we have the drummer of The Ventures stepping out on his own on one of a handful of things he recorded for Warner Brothers (and maybe a few other labels that I'm not aware of). Taylor's powerful drumming helped give Don, Bob and Nokie a real edge on hits like "Walk, Don't Run," "Lullaby of the Leaves" and, my personal fave, "The 2000 Pound Bee, Parts 1 and 2." (Technically, that last one only made the lower reaches of Billboard's Hot 100 in 1962, but what the hey? That's close enough to being a hit for me.)

Taylor definitely keeps a steady beat on this mover, letting go with several rapid-fire drumrolls throughout. But what's strange is that the girlie chorus who sing the lyrics are not credited anywhere on the record. I mean, mostly instrumental artists like Al Casey, Duane Eddy and Dick Dale usually had a girl group credited whenever they had lyrics on their songs. For some weird reason, Mel does not. Also notable is that someone named Blaine is credited as a co-writer. Could that be master session drummer Hal Blaine by any chance?

Anyway, the song itself is quite a mover. As I said earlier, Taylor propels the beat along as a loud racket of horns and fuzz guitar pound out the melody. And the uncredited girls sing lyrics like this:

He's gonna bang, bang, bang
on that drum
He's gonna bang, bang, bang
till he turns you on.

And:

Hear him on the radio
See him on a TV show
BEAT IT!
BEAT IT!
LOUDER!
LOUDER!
LOUDER!
LOUDER!
(followed by a machine gun drumroll)

Yep, you can just picture the chickies in their mini-skirts and go-go boots wiggling to this one alright!

Mel Taylor is, doubtless, one of rock 'n' roll's all-time greatest drummers in my book, so it's interesting to hear one of his solo attempts. That it's as good as it is is a pleasure. He takes his place with folks like Sandy Nelson, Hal Blaine and Ronny Kae in the pantheon of drummers who made great 45s on their own. And, of course, his Ventures work will always shine through.

Whoever had this promo copy before I did wrote "No" on both sides. Must've been some station manager. He's probably retired or dead by now anyway.

1 comment:

Phil said...

He also released a great instrumental in early 1966 called "Young Man, Old Man", b/w a decidedly MOR instrumental version of "I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm". On this 45 (WB 5690), the artist credit is Mel Taylor and the Magics.