Sounds Visual Radio
Sounds Visual Radio
Episode 159: Clarence Alonzo Oliver

Drummer, singer and songwriter Clarence Alonzo Oliver has played with/for five artists currently enshrined in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: Etta James, The Dells, Solomon Burke, Hank Ballard and Grand Master Flash. Oliver also recorded and toured with Ray, Goodman and Brown (The Moments), First Class, Brook Benton, Jack McDuff, and was also signed as a recording artist with The Rimshots.

The Rimshots also served as the house band at Joe and Sylvia Robinson’s All Platinum/Stang label family during the ’70s, and also released their own records, mostly on the latter imprint. Over the next couple of years, the Rimshots released high-quality, non-LP singles that cemented their future standing as a reliable source for hip-hop samples. By 1975, singles like “Do What You Feel, Pt. 1” and “(7-6-5-4-3-2-1) Blow Your Whistle” were beginning to move the Rimshots into smoother disco territory, and 1976’s “Super Disco” and “We’ve Got You Singing” solidified the transition.

Additionally, Oliver has shared the stage with artists including Whitney Houston, Chaka Khan, Aretha Franklin, James Brown, Michael Jackson, New Birth, Gladys Knight & the Pips, Cameo, Freddie Jackson, and Earth, Wind & Fire.

His drums have been sampled dozens of times by hip-hop artists, perhaps most notably his opening drum break on the song “Dance Girl” by the Rimshots (later sampled by Nas, Pete Rock, Jay Dee, Del tha Funky Homosapien, and several others.)

Supplemental bio information courtesy


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