In the realm of studio drumming and hit records, Buddy Saltzman is best-known for the type of records where many listeners don't even notice the drums. This was quite often an aspect of a folk-rock hit, an irony since one of the so-called revolutionary aspects of the style was adding a drum set to a folkie combo. Saltzman was the guy asked to bring his, setting up his drums on records by artists such as the Cyrkle, Peter, Paul & Mary, and Ian & Sylvia. His sensitive style, friendly in the dynamics department, was also just what was needed for the unique, haunting works of some of the best singer/songwriters from the '60s and '70s, including Janis Ian, Tim Hardin, and Laura Nyro. All in all, despite a background that also included R&B hits by the Coasters, Saltzman's reputation could be summarized as more of a groovy drummer than a big-beat man.
This description might be withdrawn in light of the revelation that he recorded on bongos more than once. If that isn't enough to take back a "groovy," it was also Saltzman, along with peers such as guitarists Hugh McCracken and Dave Appell, bassist Chuck Rainey, and fellow drummer Gary Chester, who provided the instrumental backup on records by the Archies. Chester is another studio drummer whose career overlaps with Saltzman, and students of rock drumming can try to figure out which one of the two is playing on sides by the Monkees. When it comes to the Four Seasons, however, Saltzman seems to have been a favorite of the group's creator, Frankie Valli. The subsequent string of hits features the drummer's most aggressive and bombastic work, inspiring the following description of Saltzman over cyberspace: "God as a drummer." The point is well-taken. If God played drums, he most certainly would be sensitive to dynamics.