A clinic in the effective use of hand claps from the Sonics

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The Sonics in their 1960s heyday - JINI DELLACIO
  • Jini Dellacio
  • The Sonics in their 1960s heyday

The other night I was talking to a friend about the way a properly deployed hand-clap pattern can make a good pop or rock song great. There are countless gems out there with well-placed claps—"Hey Ya!" by Outkast, "I Want to Hold Your Hand" by the Beatles, "Stuck in the Middle With You" by Stealers Wheel—but the tune I always turn to first to make this point is the 1966 stomper "Shot Down" by Seattle protopunks the Sonics. It deploys staccato sixteenth-note claps synchronized perfectly with an insistent note hammered out on a broken-down piano. When the chorus charges in, the rhythm shifts and the claps dramatically slow down into quarter notes, emphasizing a classic rock 'n' roll swing. It never gets tired, and it's today's 12 O'Clock Track.

Today's playlist:

Lene Grenager, Smilodon (Aurora)
Albert Mangelsdorff Quintett, Folk Mond & Flower Dream (Nektar)
Mats Eilertsen, Rubicon (ECM)
Oumar Konaté, Maya Maya (Clermont Music)
Nicola Benedetti, Shostakovich/Glazunov: Violin Concertos (Decca)

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