Home > Mix CD-Rs, Session Players > The Bernard Purdie Collection Vol. 1

The Bernard Purdie Collection Vol. 1

Few of us who are not drummers are likely to have a favourite drummer, and if we do they are probably a member of a band, say Keith Moon or John Bonham. My favourite drummer is Bernard “Pretty” Purdie, whose contribution to music has been mostly as a session musician. I have no competence to declare Purdie the “best” drummer ever, though he has been massively influential on others in his craft (inluding Bonham).

Purdie 1

Purdie plays on two songs on which I have always loved the drumming in particular: The Five Stairsteps” “O-o-h Child” and Tim Rose”s version of “Hey Joe”, the one that inspired Jimi Hendrix. And from there it”s a short leap to two mixes”¦ Yes, two mixes, since he is the world”s most recorded drummer.

The native of Elkton, Maryland, did overdubs for the album Tony Sheridan recorded with The Beatles (looks like Pete Best didn”t quite cut it), played with James Brown, served as Aretha Franklin”s musical director, backed Gil Scott-Heron and played on a succession of Steely Dan albums. You hear his drumming on James Brown”s “It”s A Man”s Man”s Man”s World”, Hall & Oates” “She”s Gone”, BB King”s “The Thrill Is Gone”, and on Roberta Flack & Donny Hathaway”s “Where Is The Love”.

He is credited with inventing the “Purdie Shuffle” (see him demonstrate it in these two videos: Part 1 and Part 2). At 72 he is still performing. See his website.

Over the two mixes I”ve kept things down to one song per artist, with one exceptions: King Curtis appears in successive songs: on his own version of “Whole Lotta Love” from the Fillmore West live album and on the track by Shirley Scott.

As always, the mix is timed to fit on a standard CD-R. The mix includes home-skinned covers. PW in comments.

1. Bernard Purdie – Soul Drums (1968)
2. The Five Stairsteps – O-o-h Child (1970)
3. Tim Rose – Hey Joe (1967)
4. King Curtis – Whole Lotta Love (1971)
5. Shirley Scott & The Soul Saxes – You (1968)
6. Aretha Franklin – Rock Steady (1972)
7. Nina Simone – Real Real (1967)
8. John Lee Hooker – I Don’t Wanna Go To Vietnam (1968)
9. Bama The Village Poet – I Got Soul (1972)
10. Gil Scott-Heron – The Needle’s Eye (1971)
11. Esther Phillips – Sweet Touch Of Love (1972)
12. David Newman – Captain Buckles (1971)
13. Margie Joseph – Touch Your Woman (1973)
14. Roberta Flack – Sunday And Sister Jones (1971)
15. Wayne Davis – I Like The Things About Me That I Once Despised (1973)
16. Donal Leace – Country Road (1972)
17. Gabor Szabo – Paint It Black (1966)
18. Leon Thomas – Let’s Go Down To Lucy (1972)
19. Ralfi Pagan – La Vida (1975)
20. Brother Jack McDuff – A Change Is Gonna Come (1966)


Previous Session Musicians:
The Roy Bittan Collection
The Larry Carlton Collection
The Hal Blaine Collection Vol. 1
The Hal Blaine Collection Vol. 2
The Steve Gadd Collection Vol. 1
The Steve Gadd Collection Vol. 2
The Steve Gadd Collection Vol. 3
The Jim Gordon Collection Vol. 1
The Jim Gordon Collection Vol. 2
The Bobby Graham Collection
The Louis Johnson Collection
The Jim Keltner Collection Vol. 1
The Jim Keltner Collection Vol. 2
The Bobby Keys Collection
The Ricky Lawson Collection Vol. 1
The Ricky Lawson Collection Vol. 2
The Joe Osborne Collection
The Bernard Purdie Collection Vol. 1
The Bernard Purdie Collection Vol. 2
The Ringo Starr Collection


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  1. halfhearteddude
    July 25th, 2013 at 13:12 | #1

    PW = amdwhah

  2. Patrick
    July 25th, 2013 at 14:46 | #2

    What? No Beatles? ;-)

  3. sonic
    July 25th, 2013 at 15:04 | #3

    Another great collection, Dude. Thank you VERY much.
    Surprised it does not have “Any Major” in the title, though. Don’t lose your brand!

  4. halfhearteddude
    July 25th, 2013 at 15:39 | #4

    Ha, we’ll stick to orthodoxy on that one for now, Patrick.

    Good point about the branding, sonic. Sometimes I just need to shine the spotlight on the subject of a mix.

  5. July 27th, 2013 at 22:08 | #5

    I would like to add “Black Purd’s Theme”. It looks if you hear a band playing: bass, guitar, all kinds of instruments, but in fact it’s just Bernard Purdie playing the drums.

  6. Bo
    July 28th, 2013 at 09:23 | #6


  7. Bill
    July 29th, 2013 at 15:17 | #7

    This is great. I was late in getting into Purdie. This oughta be an education! Don’t forget his record with Albert Ayler, New Grass.–Bill

  8. dogbreath
    July 31st, 2013 at 16:41 | #8

    Another fine collection/selection, for which many thanks!

  9. August 26th, 2013 at 14:39 | #9

    What, no Steely Dan?

  10. halfhearteddude
    August 26th, 2013 at 15:37 | #10

    Steely Dan will come on Volume 2.

  11. March 3rd, 2014 at 08:34 | #11

    BP here too, ruling the sound!

  12. edwin
    March 9th, 2015 at 05:19 | #12

    I came here looking for the drummer of Ooh-child and left with a song list of music to listen to. I have always loved this guys percussion but never knew who he was. Thanks!

  13. halfhearteddude
    March 12th, 2015 at 05:55 | #13

    I hope you checked out both volumes of Bernard Purdie’s music, edwin, and at you took a look around to find some more good stuff.

  14. Jim McKeon
    January 6th, 2016 at 07:58 | #14

    Nice to see that Bernard Purdie is your favorite drummer. You obviously have great taste in drummers. However, Purdie wasn’t the drummer on “O-o-h Child” by The Five Stairsteps. The drummer on that song is Jerome “Bigfoot” Brailey who became the drummer with P-Funk later in the 70’s. Since Purdie is your favorite drummer I thought you’d like to know that.

  15. halfhearteddude
    January 7th, 2016 at 07:09 | #15

    Opinion is very divided on that.

    Purdie has claimed to have played on the song (though Purdie’s memory is said to be imperfect on some claims): see http://funklet.com/ooh-child/ or listen to him talk abiut the session, in some detail, in this interview: http://wfmu.org/playlists/shows/34475

    The great drummer Wally Gator Watson said the drummer was Purdie:

    For Brailey’s involvement we have his own claim and the fact of his links with the Five Stairsteps, an unreferenced wikipedia reference that is repeated verbatim on several websites, and a likewise unsupported reference on the Soul Patrol newsletter: http://soul-patrol.com/newsletter/in/view1.php?id=1041

    There is no clear proof either way that I know of. But the evidence seems to weigh stronger in favour of Purdie, especially since he backs up his claim with some detail about the session which, to my knowledge, has not been refuted by anyone involved, as one might expect if he was lying.

  16. Greg Schaal
    January 21st, 2016 at 08:40 | #16

    Thanks for this and Volume 2. Bernard Purdie is one of the greatest drummers of all time and a fun personality to boot.

    There is only one song that I’m surprised didn’t make Volume 1 or 2, and that is the Melvin Bliss song “Synthetic Substitution” which is one of the most sampled break beats in hip-hop and even pop.

    Something for Volume 3 I hope!

  17. Belafonte Newmon
    March 27th, 2017 at 20:20 | #17

    If Purdie played drums on “O-o-h Child”, do you know who was on bass?

  18. halfhearteddude
    March 27th, 2017 at 22:03 | #18

    I suspect it might have been Keni Burke, who became a useful session bassist, or maybe the group’s dad Clarence, who played bass on some of their recordings.

  19. June 28th, 2018 at 01:45 | #19

    @Jim McKeon

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