As a kid, I had no idea that the same bunch of geniuses were playing on all of my favorite records. I mean they were on different labels- Specialty, Aladdin, Imperial, Atco, Chess, Argo. I had never heard the term, studio musician. I'm not really sure that the term had been coined.
Over a couple of decades I began to recognize something about drum fills. That just had to be the same guy on the Little Richard record who was playing on Fats' new hit. Don't try to tell me that the guy playing tenor on that Clarence "Frogman" Henry side isn't the same one on the Lloyd Price song!
In 1977 I arrived in New Orleans for the first time. I was there to see the King Tut exhibit at the New Orleans Museum of Art.
While the bellboy was waiting with his hand out, I was flipping through the phone book from the bedside cabinet. With no order in mind, I flipped through the pages.
Everybody was there. Everybody.
Domino. Toussaint. Byrd. Battiste. George. Neville. Tyler. Bartholomew. Goodman. Lee.
Right there in the goldarned phonebook- gods! All the gods. Of course I didn't call any of them. What would I say?
Funny thing is that the first one who gave me the clue, Earl Palmer, wasn't in there. He had packed his drums and his bags and headed for Los Angeles in 1957. He had continued to play on my favorite records. Sam Cooke. Eddie Cochran. Larry Williams. Ritchie Valens. Bobby Day. The Beach Boys. The Righteous Brothers.
I've never been to LA. I'll betcha' ol' Earl was never in the phone book.