Saturday, May 23, 2009

Richard Bailey: Credit Where Credit is Due




I received an email a few days ago from Richard Bailey, requesting that the record be set straight re: who did the drumming on Jeff Beck's seminal jazz/rock fusion album, Blow by Blow (1975, Epic/Sony Japan). Simple. It was Richard Bailey. Seems that a rumor has been making the rounds on various blogs and print outlets that the wonderfully intricate, high-octane work on tunes like "Scatterbrain" was actually done by another great drummer from that period, Billy Cobham. This is patently untrue. As Bailey said in his email, he was "the one and only drummer on Blow by Blow", that esteemed work that influenced so much of the rock, jazz and jazz/rock fusion that followed, as well as two other tracks for Beck's subsequent jazz/rock monster, Wired(1976, Epic/Sony Japan) -- the Mingus tune "Goodbye Pork Pie Hat" and "Head for Backstage Pass".

Bailey's versatility has made him a first-call kitman for four decades. In addition to the work he did with Beck, he's recorded with ex-Rolling Stone Mick Taylor, Steve Roach and Brian Eno. More recently he has been an integral part of Steve Winwood's two important return-to-form recordings, 2003's About Time (Wincraft) and last year's Nine Lives (Columbia), and he regularly performs and records with the excellent acid jazz/rock/soul fusion collective Incognito.

8 comments:

Norm Brunelle said...

In my humble opinion, Richard Bailey is unsurpassed in Fusion music. Musical approach (perfecto)
Ass kickin stuff.
Norm Brunelle

Anonymous said...

I was just listening to Air Blower off Blow by Blow and was wondering who was doing that amazing drum work - did a Google search and voila!

Amazing, amazing stuff.

Anonymous said...

I just learned that RIchard Bailyr was ONLY 17 YEARS OLD when he recorded Blow by Blow. My Gawd, this is a monster album, and is not only y favorite guitar album of all time but is also one of my favorite drum albums of all time!!! The groove and the feel throughout the album is unsurpassed just about anywhere...how do they go from absolute in-the-pocket funk to wailing ballads, to straight out hard-rock-fusion...seamlessly, all with hyper-syncopation and yet maintaining the smoothest feeling, like they aren't breaking a sweat. Thank you Richard Bailey and the rest of the Blow by Blow crew!

Anonymous said...

Richard Bailey's work on 'Blow by Blow' won my heart and mind.

As a drum enthusiast, this recorded work defines many of my personal standards. Only after years of daily, part-time persistence can I achieve my own style derivations with the bare-minimum authenticity/feel/smoothness.

Richard is a pillar of modern drum society.

Marcus Gerakos said...

Agreed on all the above comments. Richard is one of the
unsung heroes of the mid-seventies fusion era and it is truly astounding to read that he was just seventeen when he recorded "Blow By Blow". Incredible maturity and feel---he was as important to the success of that record as Harvey Mason and Mike Clark were to the success of Herbie's timeless "Headhunters" and "Thrust" albums.

Dropkic said...

I've been listening to Jeff Becks' Blow by Blow for the last 2 or three years and never knew who the hell had laid down those drum tracks. I finally sat down and did some research and land on Wikipedia Jeff Beck's page. It also list Bernard Purdie as a drummer on that album. So what gives? Either way, phenomenal drumming and is one of my favorites along with Simmon Phillips, two very different styles with unique styles. Awesome!

Scott Cunningham said...

Bailey is the only drummer on BbB. Carmine Appice originally played on several tracks but his parts were not in the final cuts as there was a dispute between his mgmt and Becks. Pity. Bailey's work is fantastic although it was like a millstone - artists would want him to duplicate that free style on their less inspired work.

Carl L. Hager said...

Thank you, Scott. Somehow I missed your comment last April, but it is published now. The historians and scholars of jazz/rock thank you. :-)