Drum & Percussion Lessons
Drummer Cafe 20th Anniversary
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The groove on Bustin' Loose, performed by drummer Ricky Wellman, is a classic example of 'Go-Go', a subgenre of funk music popularized by Chuck Brown & The Soul Searchers in the Washington D.C. area back in the mid to late 70's.

Although the groove is notated using straight, duple note values, the signature feel of 'Go-Go' is an implied swing with the syncopated figure that we see on beats 3 and 4 of the first measure of the Bustin' Loose groove. An occasional open Hi-Hat is another signature sound to the groove, and in the case of this particular tune, the open Hi-Hat sound is fairly consistent.

Check it out ...

Bustin Loose

The Hi-Hat eighth-notes are straight; the sixteenth-notes in the Kick drum imply a swing feel with a slight lilt. Be sure to find a good pocket by laying the Snare drum backbeats on the backside of the pulse.


Congas are another key ingredient to the 'Go-Go' sound, and in Bustin' Loose, the congas, as performed by percussionist, Gregory Gerran, outline a syncopated, dotted-eighth-note sound, indigenious to the 'Go-Go' music style. Occuring at the beginning of each measure, we can hear this syncopated, dotted-eighth-note sound in the drums as well.

Bustin Loose congas

Remember that even though the notation is written as straight sixteenth-notes, the signature feel of 'Go-Go' has an implied swing feel to it.

An interesting observation is that this conga pattern closely resembles the tumbao used in the Guaquanco, a sub-genre of the Cuban rumba. Thinking along those lines, the conga is outlining the basic tumbadora and segundo drum parts as they would be played in 2:3 rumba clave pattern.

The two accented strokes, at the beginning of each bar, outline (what I call) the 'Charleston' rhythm. Notice that Gerran plays an open-slap on the second note of the first bar. This approach is continued throughout the tune with slight changes, probably by accident, from time to time. So open-tones are used throughout, with exception to the open-slap I mentioned earlier.

With the drum and conga parts on Bustin' Loose, you'll want to get the pattern down first, then begin working on your feel as you listen and play-along to the record. It's a real challenge, playing the same figure over and over again while trying to maintain the proper feel ... for almost 8 minutes!

Be sure to check out that funky cowbell during the drum/percussion breakdown in the middle of the tune.


Bart Elliott

Bart Elliott is a degreed professional musician currently residing in Nashville, Tennessee. His 37+ years in the music industry, over 100 albums to his credit, as well as his understanding of contemporary and classical music, makes him a complete and skilled master musician. A highly sought after drummer and percussionist, both live and in the studio, Bart is widely known as a top music educator, consultant and gifted teacher, appearing as a guest artist and clinician throughout the USA and abroad.

Bart Elliott is the founder and sole proprietor of DrummerCafe.com (f/k/a Drum Ring International) — established in December 1996.


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