Rock'n'Roll Drum Beat contains 30 songs Nelson did for Imperial in the early 1960s taken from singles and LP tracks. One might logically assume from that that this should be a satisfactory best-of album, but hold on there -- although it does have one of his two big hit singles, "Let There Be Drums," it doesn't have the other one, "Teen Beat" (which was done for Original Sound), and any Nelson best-of collection that's worthy of the name must offer both of the two hits. For that matter, it doesn't even have his only other Top 40 single "Drums Are My Beat" (1962), which was recorded for Imperial. As for what is here, the material is routine, early-1960s, session-man rock, despite the presence of top session musicians like saxophonists Steve Douglas and Plas Johnson, pianist Ernie Freeman, and guitarist Rene Hall. There are a lot of dull covers of rock hits of the time, like "Willie and the Hand Jive," "All Shook Up," and "Yakety Yak." The rest sounds like musicians with good chops going through the motions to kill time between sessions with artists that had much more chart potential. A more important drawback is that Nelson rarely goes crazy on the kit, as he did on "Teen Beat" and "Let There Be Drums" (and later on the 1965 single "Casbah"). The style which helped inspire fledgling drummers (such as, in all probability, Keith Moon) is largely muted here, except of course on "Let There Be Drums" and to a lesser degree on "Alexis" and "The Flip."
Share this page