James Taylor and His Big Bad Drum Machine

I grew up listening to James Taylor. I remember the times when me and my sister would be on a weekend drive going to Cavite with our Dad to spend time with our Mom (who at that time was fully immersed into running a garments factory). The music that would accompany us during those Friday night or Saturday morning drives would come from a tape of James Taylor’s greatest hits. Stuff like “Fire and Rain”, “Steamroller”, “You’ve Got a Friend”, “Sweet Baby James”, “Don’t Let Me Be Lonely Tonight” and all of that acoustic singer-songwriter stuff that he has always been known for.

In a sort of attempt to catch up with postmodern times, James Taylor sort of gave in, after touring with so many drummers, and got on the drum machine trend. However, this is not the kind of stuff you would hear from a Roland TR-808 or FLStudio. Still being true to his roots, James Taylor’s drum machine is acoustic:


More in line with the sort of stuff that Pat Metheny used (the Orchestrion), James Taylor’s drum machine is a little bit more rudimentary. Instead of a real kick drum, this rig uses a wooden platform with heavy posts slamming into it, kinda like the feel of stomping on stage or on a wooden panel while singing. Anyway, that big, bulky thing affectionately called “Big Foot”, is awesome. You can’t really replicate the kind of impact it has with a TR-808.


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