‘World’s Most Sampled Drummer’ at Mary’s Place March 30: Clyde Stubblefield laid down beats for James Brown’s biggest hits

StoryImage( ‘/Images/Story//Auto-img-11745002532808.jpg’, ‘Photo courtesy of www.drummerworld.com‘, ‘Clyde Stubblefield, who laid down the beat for many of James Brown’s greatest hits, will play at Mary’s Place at 9 p.m., Friday, March 30.‘);

Drummer takes stage of Rockford’s oldest bar at 9 p.m., Friday, March 30

“The World’s Most Sampled Drummer” is about to sample the culture at Rockford’s oldest bar.

Clyde Stubblefield, who laid down the beat for some of James Brown’s biggest 1960s hits, earned the moniker as his classic stick work began popping up in more recent rap and R&B hits.

When Stubblefield sits down on his throne Friday, March 30, at Mary’s Place, he will bring with him a well-earned reputation as one of the most influential beat smiths of the last four decades. Stubblefield kept the tempo for Brown hits like “Say It Loud (I’m Black and I’m Proud),” “I Got The Feelin’,” and “Funky Drummer,” before leaving the band in 1970 to pursue a more relaxed lifestyle.

Widely acknowledged as a confident, but soft-spoken, person Stubblefield settled in Madison, Wis., and has enjoyed his space outside the spotlight ever since. He enjoyed it so much, in fact, that it wasn’t until 2004 that he finally released his first solo album, The Original, which garnered plenty of applause from music critics, but went largely unnoticed by fans.

Stubblefield, a product of Chattanooga, Tenn., spent his childhood enthralled by the idea of drumming so intensely that he spent countless hours banging on tin cans and buckets.

“When I was a kid, going downtown with my mom, I walked in time,” Stubblefield told Modern Drummer magazine in a 1999 article. “I’d hum a song while I was walking, and I think that’s how I got into the rhythm of drums.”

Rather than tour or write new material, Stubblefield has instead spent his 30-plus years in Madison doing what he’s done since he was a child: just playing. The beat keeper has kept busy free-lancing with local artists—including alt-rockers Garbage—as well as regular gigs with the reconstructed JBs and drum clinics with comrade John “Jabo” Starks. He even worked with Starks on Soul of the Funky Drummers, an instructional video featuring the percussion prowess of him and his former bandmate.

When in Rockford, Stubblefield will be joined by Henry “The Major” Hamberlin and Freddie Crawford. Hamberlin is a local legend of sorts, having played piano in the Rockford area for more than four decades and lending his prowess of the ivories to groups such as The Rhythm Kings and The Daze and Knights. Crawford will help set the rhythm in motion with his famed seven-string bass. His résumé includes work alongside Eric Clapton, Mick Jagger and Stephen Stills.

Mary’s Place is at 602 N. Madison St. in Rockford. Showtime for the Friday, March 30, show is 9 p.m. You must be 21 to enter. For more information, visit www.marysplacebar.com.

from the March 21-27, 2007, issue

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