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Lefty's Are Special / Sitting In With The Swamp Kings Tonight


Make new friends but keep the old; those are silver, these are gold

- Joseph Parry d.1903

I am the daughter of two left handed parents. It was normal, being

around those opposite-handed to me. It so happens that the two gentlemen

equated in my mind as the drumming buddies are left handed.

Martin Applebaum was walking down an alley one day and heard drumming

from a garage. About 14 at the time, he investigated who was behind the kit.

It was 12 yr old me. Martin had curly hair and a double bass see-through blue

8 piece kit. He was learning Rush's 2112 album and soon after we met,

nailed it. He played right handed, matched grip. His drums were set up right

handed which came in handy as we were co-drummers in a teenaged band.

Martin was very technically proficient, a real student. I was in awe, but he

was so kind and natural I'd no excuse to be intimidated. I on the other hand

had pretty much stopped practicing rudimental things or anything - I just

played. Martin solo'd while I was happy playing a ballad that built to crescendo.

He went on to teach, to study jazz w/ Marv Dahlgren, to ditch the double bass and

(I think) flirt with traditional grip; to record and become a very sensitive musician.

Recently he asked if I would be a tech to a special annual gig he does with Second

Generation. (Which my dear friend Loo is also member of). I was delighted he

asked me! We're still trying to mesh our schedules for a drum jam. Recently Martin

gave me an unused China cymbal and a smaller ride.

Connor Mcrae I met walking into Ellis drum shop about 18 months ago. He called me

"Wendy" and I forgot the name and genre of his band. Months later, I was 'found' by one Tom

Harkness via Facebook (Tom'd played trumpet, and I percussion in elementary orchestra).

Tom was currently heading a band called The Swamp Kings - they did Cajun swamp blues.

"What is THAT?" I wondered and yet it vaguely rang a bell.

Tom urged me to come sit in with them on what happened to be my birthday, last year.

This date will always be to me my official out-of-retirement. I learned that Connor was

the drummer; that The Swamp Kings were a great band, and that Connor

is also left handed. At that gig, Connor moved the snare, floor tom and high hat

around for me.

I had the most amazing experience one year ago because Connor was my new idol,

for lack of a better word, and I hadn't really had one since age 12 in meeting Martin!

When I looked out from his kit, I saw him enjoying his own band and I felt not

one ounce of intimidation. Only great joy in musical friendship, the extended hand

Tom had initially offered, echoed by Connor, bassist Matty Page and

Hammond B3 madman Toby Lee Marshall. In subsequent gig I also had wild

fun playing when accordionist Harry Pulver Jr. was present.

The Swamp Kings

(If you can only listen to one song, I suggest Joie De Vivre)

There are significant similarities in my friend and drummerships with Martin and Connor.

Also with the kind of drummers they are - Martin went on to become heavily involved with

marching corps as an adult and Connor I think must've begun once weaned off the breast!

Both are outstanding technicians.

This summer I've seen Connor regularly at the drum shop because a standing appt for one

of my children is nearby. He always asks about the children (several have been to the shop).

Love for music/drums and a brimming-over kind of zeal is the basis of our friendship, even

as Martin and I chat "like nuns in the kitchen" about our families and our cymbals. Both lefty's

have fixed my gear - repeatedly, LOL!

Sept 3, 2010

I should've noted this previously, but unless credited, any exercises or sticking variations

of standard rudiments or like concept written about are things I've discovered myself -

which (likely) doesn't mean that I created them "first", although it could be so.

Tonight I worked on the 7 stroke roll as mentioned last entry LLLRRRL -- RRRLLLR but played

with a 4 feel -- 1e&ah, 2e& , expanding

on it by alternating with the standard LLRRLLR -- RRLLRRL, but playing with a triplet feel,

working it up to one endless, slow line concentrating on the swing, time and feel. My mind is taken almost

exclusively with swinging every 4 fraction (quarters, 8th's, 16th's) into triplet and 4-ing every


The basis of the swing/triplet from a four-feel it seems to me comes from that standard inverted

paradiddle -- LRRL--RLLR. Related, when you turn a roll backwards, it produces that same kind

of feel -- [7 stroke roll - RLLRRLL--RLLRRLL.

march is a good example of beginning a roll with the accented "last

stroke" (tho it's 5 and 11 stroke rolls have a definite march feel).

Melodic note patterns on the toms w/ these figures took shape and this time I notated the

motifs. I cannot keep up with them - every time I do drills of this sort, it turns into composing.

So no wonder that hours went by like a heart beat. Then I played guitar/sang. Lastly, I got

to the gig where The Swamp Kings were playing.

It was the trio (which I love for multiple reasons). They are always tight, always musical, precise

and swinging feel. Very happy to listen. But Connor caught my eye from onstage and asked via gesture if I

wanted to sit in. Why is it, when we're not wanting or needing, that even better things are offered?

So I got to try out some of the newer drum motifs 1st time live and unrehearsed. I think it went OK.

Connor sang lead (he won't believe me, nor Tom either, when I say the three of us MUST sing

together at some point; I cannot pass from this world w/out hearing our 3 voices). Connor kept

saying "one more" after each tune...the place was emptied by then...little green sparkle 3-piece kit...

man I had a great time!!

Offstage Tom and I laughed about the cares and characters of the world, Connor asked about the children and Matty's flat top was regal.


On my knees thanking God


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