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The Greatest Drummers of The Southern Rock Era

by Michael Buffalo Smith


1. Jakson Spires of Blackfoot
   In my opinion, Jakson was the greatest drummer who ever swung a pair of Vic Firth 2-B drum sticks. One of the most intense moments of my life was playing “Train, Train” with Jak, standing three feet away from his bass drum. I was truly afraid a stick was going to break and a shard of 2-B would fly out and impale me. Thunderfoot Spires played with the power of ten men. AT HIS BEST: “Train, Train,”  "Highway Song"

2. Artimus Pyle of Lynyrd Skynyrd
    If ever there was a legendary name in Southern Rock, it has to be Artimus Pyle. While he was not the original drummer for Lynyrd Skynyrd as many folks believe, be came in on the third album and became a legend. An iconic, super talented percussion machine. AT HIS BEST: The entire One More From The Road double LP.

3. Paul T. Riddle of The Marshall Tucker Band
   Truly a jazz drummer with licks that recall Buddy Rich and Gene Krupa, Paul brought his own style into The Marshall Tucker Band, blending with the bands country, r&b and gospel elements to create a whole new sound in Southern Rock. AT HIS BEST: “Ramblin’” (Live), “Last of the Singing Cowboys.”

4. Jaimoe of The Allman Brothers Band
    One of the two legendary Brothers drummers, Jaimoe has always brought solid r&b influenced drums to the table. AT HIS BEST: Live at Fillmore East

5. Butch Trucks of The Allman Brothers Band
   Numbers four and five are truly a tie, considering the fact that together, Butch and Jaimoe make up a machine that hits the note every single time, playing the original, and still the best, double drum kits in music. AT HIS BEST: Live at Fillmore East

6. Robert Nix of The Atlanta Rhythm Section
    The multi-talented Robert Nix, who also wrote many of the band’s biggest hits, is also a rock solid drummer, with a flair for excellent cymbal work and subtle percussive elements. AT HIS BEST: “Champagne Jam,” “So Into You,” and as guest drummer for Lynyrd Skynyrd on “Tuesday’s Gone.”

7. Bob Burns of Lynyrd Skynyrd
   The drummer for Skynyrd's red hot first and second albums, Floridian Bob Burns is another solid beat oriented wailer of the skins. AT HIS BEST: “Sweet Home Alabama,” “Free Bird.”

8. Frank Beard of ZZ Top
   It takes three mighty heavy players to pull off a power trio, and ZZ Top has been doing it for for nearly forty (count ‘em!) years. Beard is rock solid and a true powerhouse on the kit. AT HIS BEST: “Manic Mechanic,” “Just Got Paid,” the entire Fandango record.

9. Tommy Aldridge of Black Oak Arkansas
    Tommy wasn’t the original BOA drummer, but he is a true “Jim Dandy.” (Pun intended.) My memories of him live in the seventies are all great, both as a drummer and as a showman. AT HIS BEST: The entire Raunch n Roll Live LP, especially the epic “Up.”

10. Freddie Edwards of The Charlie Daniels Band
    One of two drummers with the CDB early on, Freddie was always steady and played with near perfect timing. He was a staple at many a Volunteer Jam, and appears on the Volunteer Jam DVD. AT HIS BEST: The Fire On the Mountain record and the first Volunteer Jam album.

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