As a kid, I saw pictures of James Brown on stage with two drummers. That was cool, and it let me off the hook when I couldn’t play the grooves from the records. I figured, “If I can get close to the original using only four limbs, that’s pretty good.”

Turns out it was four limbs playing those grooves. Clyde Stubblefield’s four limbs.

I wasn’t the only one fooled. When “I Got the Feelin’” dropped, drummers everywhere retreated to their basements.

It’s Clyde’s marksman1 left hand that makes him sound like two drummers.

His groups of three 16th notes on the snare are funky and righteously difficult.

Trying to make his grooves happen — even at slow tempos — takes time, repetition and repetition.

Nov. 1, 2011

Clyde Stubblefield