As we approach midweek, of a short holiday week, here in the States no less, I’d like to shout out my man Jason Perlmutter from Carolina Funk fame once again for putting out a superb Guest Mix. I have one more guest mix next week, and hopefully a special one from a heavy hitter to follow sometime shortly after. Let’s just say the guy is busy. I’m keeping my fingers crossed. So to keep things moving along this week, I have a little something different than my usual. I think you all might agree. Here’s a recent acquisition, Sandy Nelson with a cover of Lou Donaldson’s “Alligator Boogaloo” on Imperial Records.
Sander L. Nelson, drummer extrordinaire was born in Santa Monica, California in 1938. Attending high school with such notables as Jan and Dean and Phil Spector, he would start out with Kip Tyler and the Flips alongside future Beach Boy Bruce Johnston. They recorded sides for the Challenge and Ebb labels. He worked his way up to an in demand studio drummer, and eventually would play on the Phil Spector produced hit by the Teddy Bears: “To Know Him Is To Love Him”. His playing with Gene Vincent and “Crazy Times” was commendable, but he is more well known for his “Teen Beat” record he put out on the Original Sound Record Label in 1959. He’s also put out “Let There Be Drums”, and “Drum Are My Beat” shortly thereafter. What’s so unusual about this string of hits is that these songs were all instrumentals, a difficult and unusual feat at the time. Instrumentals generally didn’t chart high. He still continued on as a session drummer, playing with the likes of the Coasters, Ernie Freeman, and Duane Eddie among others. His playing helped the Hollywood Argyles ( written by Dallas Frasier ) score a chart topping hit for with “Alley Oop”. He signed up with Imperial records in 1961 and would release a series of all instrumental cover records, that are shall we say, drum heavy that covered Funk, Soul, Rock, Boogaloo, and more. Unfortunately, Nelson was involved in a motorcycle accident, which would result in the partial loss of his leg and entire right foot. That did not stop him, and he pushed on through the 1970’s, and as he approaches his seventh decade, still records a bit today from his home base in Nevada.
He has literally hundreds of cover songs. This particular cover came from an all Boogaloo only Lp, and since Mr. Nelson decided to cover the great Lou Donaldson, it was a no brainer for me to pick this side. I am a great fan of Lou, who is a great fan of Johnny Jazz over in Red Bank, NJ. Johnny Jazz’s grocery store has been on the West Side of that town forever. He once played me a tape of Donaldson live in Newark, NJ giving him a shout out about his pork chops! Classic Jazz story, and true as hell. Nelson would enlist the help of fellow session musicians Steve Douglas (sax), Ernie Freeman (piano), and Rene Hall (guitar) to do the myriad of cover records that included some lackluster originals as well. Well versed in Surf, Rock, and able to interpret other styles like Funk and Soul, Sandy Nelson held up to his amny Lp titles, but I think one fits him the best: Super Drums. See you on Friday with some more heavy shit. Keep Diggin’!