Royal Drops is an album of 15 sweet soul drum tracks, engineered and performed by Timmy Rickard. Royal Drops takes its reference from the music produced at Royal studio in Memphis during the 1970’s. Home to legendary producer and founder of Hi Records, Willie Mitchell. The tracks are based upon recordings of Hi Record artists Al Green and Anne Peebles, with drummers Al Jackson JR and Howard Grimes providing their unmistakable grooves.
This release incorporates key components found in the classic Hi Records drum sound, including swung bass drum patterns, 8th note emphasis on the hi hats, classically simple drum fills and a few 6/8 drum grooves. A big reason why this drum style is so revered is because of the thoughtful simplicity in which Al Jackson JR and Howard Grimes composed their drum parts. Using that same ethos, Royal Drops will be perfect for a wide range of producers and composers who are looking for timeless grooves to get creative with.
Unlike the one microphone, large open room drum sounds coming out of Motown and Stax in the 60’s/early 70’s, Willie Mitchell preferred a small dry room, often using three or four microphones on the drum kit. To capture the same vibe we used the perfectly suited dry live room at Miloco’s The Square. The concept behind the mic positioning is unique to this release. We used four mic’s, each placed in carefully selected positions around the kit, so each mic captures the drum kit as a whole, meaning you can use any one mic as your drum sound, or you can blend some/all of the mic’s to create your ideal sound.
We used one Coles 4038 positioned between the hi hat and the rack tom, which gives a snare heavy drum sound. The second Coles 4038 was positioned under the ride cymbal between the rack tom and the floor tom, which produces a bass drum heavy sound. The third Coles 4038 was positioned about 4ft behind and to the right of Timmy, on the floor tom side, capturing all the lovely attack sound from the vintage Gretsch kit. The Fourth and final mic used was either a Beyer M160, or an STC 4021 (aka - Ball & Biscuit mic). This was placed in a more conventional overhead position, directly over the snare drum, capturing that classic lofi drum sound. The mic’s went through a Neve 1066 mic pre, two Telefunken V76s and a Calrec PQ1061. Of course like all other Drumdrops drum tracks we recorded on to 2” 16 track tape running at 15 ips to give extra bottom end.
The sound though would not be complete without the right kit. We used Timmy Rickard’s vintage 1960’s Gretsch with a 20” x 14” Kick drum, 13” x 9” Rack Tom and a 16” x 16” Floor Tom. The snares used were a combination of two Gretsch Renown Maple Snares (14” x 6” and 14” x 5”), a Ludwig Acrolite 14” x 5” and a Ludwig 400” 14” x 5”. Cymbals were wonderful dark sounding Bosphorous New Orleans Hi Hats (2 x 16” Crashes), a 20” Ride and an 18” Crash. On a number of tracks we have added shakers, tambourines or congas.
This tribute to the Royal Studio drum sound would not be complete without the signature low pitched snare, muted by Timmy’s wallet. The classic tea towel trick on the toms was occasionally used, as was a chain on the ride cymbal giving certain tracks that jazz flavour. However all these touches would remain obsolete if it weren’t for the fact that Timmy has educated himself to play with a really light touch, mimicking the way these classic drummers played.
- Variant: Multitrack Session
- SKU: DDA6350RDMS
- Product Type: Drum Tracks
- Brand: Drumdrops Samples
1: RYLD 226 SOUL 07
A 12/8 groove on Al Green's 'Can't Get Next To You' is credited as the muse for this pattern. This classic blues beat goes from hi hat's to ride, which brings creative options to the song writing process.
2: RYLD 126 SOUL 02
A homage to the classic slow 6/8 style groove that Willie Mitchell loved to produce. Incorporating different fills, and different groove ideas that are sure to inspire.
3: RYLD 122 SOUL 08
An uptempo Motown tribute by Ann Peebles called 'My Man' takes credit for this pattern. Together with a tambourine, this groove drives with purpose from start to finish.
4: RYLD 119 SOUL 14
Based on the classic Al Green track 'Take Me To The River'. A driving mid tempo drum groove played on the rim of the bass drum together with a cross stick, giving it a unique sonic quality.
5: RYLD 105 SOUL 10
Referencing one of the more recent Al Green tracks 'I'm Wild About You'. This groove starts off with a dark, tribal like tom pattern, which then develops into the more familiar Al Green, boom-bap foot tapper.
6: RYLD 101 SOUL 09
The instantly recognisable 'Let's Stay Together' by Al green inspires this multifaceted drum composition. Kicking off with the classic intro ride groove, which then melts into a driving verse pattern, which is politely interrupted now and then by its classic Motown bridge part. Accompanied by congas throughout, this pattern lays down a classic 70's soul template.
7: RYLD 93 SOUL 01
Inspired by all those simple 8th note heavy grooves that Royal Studios were famous for. Complete with congas backing up the kick and snare, this is a shameless Hi Records rip off!
8: RYLD 92 SOUL 12
Referencing the Ann Peebles track 'Somebody's On Your Case'. This is a mid tempo head nodding groove featuring a hi hat pattern that goes from straight to shuffle, creating an interesting rhythmic movement. accompanied by conga part, creating that classic 'hi records' sound.
9: RYLD 90 SOUL 05
Al Green and John Legend's collaboration 'Stay With Me' was the inspiration behind this unique groove. A rhythm that incorporates swinging hi hats and interesting interplay between a cross stick and the floor tom. A syncopated section using the ride cymbal gives another option.
10: RYLD 84 SOUL 06
If 'What More Do You Want From Me' from Al Green's 2010 release was recorded in 1973, it may have sounded like this. A simple, but groove heavy pattern that has two subtle sections, which are interlinked using tasteful fills.
11: RYLD 83 SOUL 04
A classic Hi Records style mid tempo 16th note hi hat groove. An Al Jackson Jr signature style low pitched snare, muted by a wallet, drives this simple, versatile groove. A breakdown section without the snare and simple fills allow for multiple options.
12: RYLD 79 SOUL 11
The groove heavy 'When I'm In Your Arms' by Ann Peebles was the inspiration for this pattern. A tambourine and congas accompany this 16th note, hi hat heavy syncopated drum groove.
13: RYLD 78 SOUL 13
Al Jackson Jr's classic drum break kicks off Al Green's 'I'm Glad You're Mine', so paying homage to this track was a must. After the quirky break beat comes a heavy classically simple 'Al Green' style groove. A shaker gives the groove an extra percussive element.
14: RYLD 74 SOUL 03
A slow balled style composition, based upon Al Green's track 'Simply Beautiful'. starting with just a kick drum and stepped hi hat, eventually bringing in the cross stick, and then the snare.
15: RYLD 62 SOUL 15
A groove inspired by the Ann Peebles track 'I'm So Thankful'. A slow head nodding pattern with a displaced backbeat. Some tasteful fills and a cross stick section to help with dynamics.