Sandy Nelson Boogaloo Beat LP (Imperial, 1967)
You see his records around, but do you buy them? Do you even know who Sandy Nelson is? In the Fifties and Sixties, he was one of the big names in session musicians. He appeared on the Hollywood Argyles' Alley Oop and the Teddy Bears' To Know Him is to Love Him. Phil Spector used him a lot. In 1959, he had a top ten hit with Soul Drums and two years later scored another top ten with Let There Be Drums. In 1963, he got in a motorcycle accident and lost part of his leg, but a year later he was back drumming. By the time Boogaloo Beat came out in 1967, Nelson had released 25 albums under his own name.
I first started buying Sandy Nelson records because they were a buck or two and the titles were promising - Soul Drums, Cheetah Beat, Beat that Drum, etc. Later on, I'd pick up his records because I'd get a brain cramp and mistake his name for Sandy Bull, the guitarist who made some great albums on Vanguard. I would go home and drop needle and was always disappointed. There was nothing soulful or wild about the records. In some ways, they remind me of Chet Atkins records, the exception being Chet Atkins records have Chet Atkins on them, so while they are not wild, the guitar playing is insanely great. Sandy Nelson is a drummer and the tame instros don't really take off due to his thumping. In fact, his records are boring. So the rule became: No Sandy Nelson records, no matter how cheap.
Well, sometimes a rule is canceled out by another rule. In this case the No Sandy Nelson rule was superseded by the Buy Any Record With Boogaloo In The Title rule. So I am in record store and stumble upon Boogaloo Beat. I pick it up and think, "It's Sandy Nelson." But the song listing shows five songs with "boogaloo" in the title and there are covers of Funky Broadway and Get On Up, so it might be good. Plus how can you pass up a record with a song called Karate Boogaloo on it. I put five buck in the record man's hand and go home and put it on.
Fuck. This is funky. Sandy Nelson is funky. How the fuck did that happen? Pick up the needle and drop it on another song. Still funky. Taste another. Funky. Again. Funky. Funky. And funky. What do you know, Sandy Nelson actually made a funk record and a good one at that. I pick up the phone and call my friend Dennis. I say, "Guess who this is?" and hold the phone up to a speaker. I return to the phone. "Do you know?" "Damn, I have no idea." "Sandy Nelson." "You're shittin me! Sandy Nelson?" "Yeah, Sandy Nelson!"