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Groove Of The Month – March 2017

“Cold Sweat” – James Brown – 1967 – Clyde Stubblefield – 112bpm

On February 18th of this year the world lost one of the great magicians of the drumkit when Clyde Stubblefield, drummer for James Brown, and most possibly the most sampled drummer of all time passed away at the age of 73 from renal failure.

I can say honestly that any of the James Brown songs that Stubblefield played on would be perfect for Groove of the Month, which made choosing one very hard. At the heart of this series is the idea that you are going to take these songs and share them with your students. When I first started listening to James Brown it was obvious that the drum beats were way above my head. I had neither the technique nor the aesthetic to understand what was really going on. His touch and tone, along with his great feel in improvising around his grooves made deciphering what he was doing nearly impossible to decipher. My doorway in, the one that was manageable for me as a young drummer, was this month’s groove, “Cold Sweat”

The crux of this two measure, running eighth note, 2 and 4 backbeat groove is the displaced backbeat from the first 4 to the 4&. There are ghost notes on the first 2a, and the second 1e, 2a, and 3e. There are kicks on the first 1, 3, 3&, and the second 1, 3,3&, and 4&. Stubblefield adds in hihat openings on the first 3&, the second 2&, and the second 3&.


For the second half of the verse he adds a snare on the first 1 to match the horn hits.

(Embedded Grooves powered by mikeslessons.com Groove Scribe)

What’s your favorite Stubblefield track? Let us know in the comments below or send us a tweet @musiciansnotes with the hashtag #gotm. If you want to go back and play through the previous grooves of the month, you can do so with our Spotify playlist, embedded description below. As always check back frequently for new content, and make sure to like, comment, and subscribe, all that stuff. Let’s hit it.

avatar Otto (120 Posts)

Jeremy Otto wears many hats. He is a music educator, composer, performer, recording engineer, and hack writer. He holds a Bachelor of Music in Music Education from Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan. When he's not teaching you can find him doing any of the other aforementioned activities.