The Strange 1972 TV Appearance of Buddy Rich

SKF NOTE: Starting with the album cover, continuing with the opening sound of Buddy Rich’s sticks on his hi-hat cymbal bell(s) on Side 1 Track 1’s “Space Shuttle,” Buddy’s 1972 “Stick It” album is excellent. I bought the album when it was first released, and it remains a favorite. Buddy’s drumset is recorded very well.

That’s why a YouTube post of Buddy’s 1972 on The Tonight Show caught my attention. But what a crazy show. Whenever Buddy was a guest on Johnny Carson’s tv show, the two friends always threw verbal barbs back-and-forth. But this show takes the barb throwing to new heights — including some censoring before air time.

Grady Tate is in The Tonight Show Orchestra drum chair. Using Tate’s drumset, Buddy sits in with the band for a number — likely the oddest performance I can remember. It’s an extension of the barb tossing to the bandstand until bandleader Doc Severinsen and the whole band are in on the act.

Finally, I am at a loss to explain why Grady Tate’s drums sound awful. On acoustic jazz records especially, Tate always has beautiful sounding cymbals and drums. Buddy is visibly uncomfortable with the drums. Maybe Grady was deferring to the wishes of the tv sound engineer.

Quite a piece of Buddy Rich memorabilia.

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