Classic Rock Bottom

Bongos, not exactly the first thing that comes to mind when you think about Classic Rock and Roll. Maybe if you think about Santana then yes, but who else other than comes to mind? I bet Ted Nugent didn’t even come within 10 miles of your thoughts. Yet here he is batting cleanup on a Bongos playlist! Whodda thunkit?!

Most sources on Afro-Cuban cultural history argue that the bongo derives from Central African (Congo/Bantu) drum models, noticeable in the open bottoms. Also a Santería influence from Yoruba culture in the symbolic "twin" drum is assumed. The strong historical presence of Africans from the Congo/Angola region in Eastern Cuba (where the bongo first appeared) makes such an influence probable. Moreover, Central African/Congo influences are also documented in the Cuban son music genre, including changüí, and initially the development of the bongo drum went parallel with these genres. From such conceptual African drum models, the bongo developed further in Cuba itself, and some historians state that the attaching of the two drums was a later invention that took place in Cuba.

Who knew!

Your task? Name some more Classic Rock tracks that have easily discernable bongos on them… Go ahead … give it try!


Louisiana's LeRoux
Louisiana's LeRoux

1 - Slow Burn

In 1977 several former members of a group called the Levee Band, who had been playing as backup players for Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown and Clifton Chenier, signed a deal with Capitol Records as The Jeff Pollard Band. Leon Medica, the band's producer and bassist, had presented a demo tape to Paul Tannen at Screen Gems-EMI while doing a session in Nashville and making trips to Colorado to contribute bass parts to a Nitty Gritty Dirt Band album at William McEuen's Aspen recording Society Studios. McEuen, Tanney, and Attorney John Frankenheimer helped Medica secure the contract with Capitol.

By early 1978, they had changed their name to Louisiana's LeRoux, which refers to roux, a Cajun gravy base used to make gumbo. The band was originally composed of Jeff Pollard (vocals, guitars), David Peters (drums, percussion, backing vocals), Leon Medica (bass, backing vocals), Tony Haselden (vocals, guitars), Rod Roddy (vocals, keyboards, synthesizers), and Bobby Campo (horns, percussion, violin, backing vocals). All of the songs on the self-titled 1978 debut album were sung and written by Pollard, except "New Orleans Ladies", which was written by Hoyt Garrick with a contribution by Medica. It reached #59 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the summer of 1978.

Molly Hatchet
Take No Prisoners

2 - Power Play

Take No Prisoners is the fourth studio album by American southern rock band Molly Hatchet, released in 1981 (see 1981 in music). This is the second and last studio album released with lead singer Jimmy Farrar and the last one with original bass player Banner Thomas, who left the band in 1982. "Respect Me in the Morning" is a duet between Farrar and Joyce "Baby Jean" Kennedy of Mother's Finest. The album is also notable because actress Katey Sagal appears as a backup singer.

Molly Hatchet blazes across the face of rock & roll with another Southern/hard rock set, even paying homage to 1950s rock & roll with a cover of "Long Tall Sally." Still, the band doesn't seem able to recreate the intensity of its first couple of releases.

Pat Nebatar

3 - Painted Desert

Note (8/12/16 12:10pm EST):  Jon found a typo in the album title and I addressed it for future listeners.  You see I omitted the last letterof the album title, and then added an "a", which then warranted another response, so I realized this second mistake, so I double checked the actual album and then confirmed it is to be an "o".  All cardinal errors in the classic rock fans eyes, I will atone soon for such sinful behavior....  Thank you Jon for the assist!

On Tropico, Pat Benatar began refashioning her sound, moving toward a more middle-of-the-road sound as evidenced by the hit single "We Belong." The change in direction revitalized the singer, resulting in her best album since Precious Time.

It peaked at No. 14 on the U.S. Billboard 200 album chart and produced the Grammy-nominated Top Five Pop hit "We Belong". Other well-known songs from the album include "Painted Desert", "Outlaw Blues" and "Ooh Ooh Song" (also a Top 40 hit). A Spanish version "Ooh Ooh Song" was on the B-Side of the US single and appeared also on her 1999 compilation, Synchronistic Wanderings. Tropico was Benatar's sixth consecutive Platinum-certified album in the United States. During the filming of the video for the single "Painted Desert", Benatar and husband Neil Giraldo discovered they were expecting their first child

Ted Nugent
Cat Scratch Fever

4 - Live It Up

Despite becoming one of the rock's biggest concert attractions, Ted Nugent needed that one album and single that would break through in a big way, and the 1977 album and single of the same name, Cat Scratch Fever, did the trick. Cat Scratch Fever matched the focused ferocity of Nugent's excellent 1975 debut (due to singer Derek St. Holmes' re-entry into the band), featuring another first-rate set of brash hard rockers. While the title track is a certified classic anthem (the only solo Nugent single to crack the Top 30), other tracks are just as delightful, such as the oh-so-subtle "Wang Dang Sweet Poontang." Further standouts include such underrated compositions as "Live It Up," "Workin' Hard, Playin' Hard," and "Out of Control," plus the exquisitely melodic instrumental "Home Bound," which the Beastie Boys would sample on their 1992 mega-hit album Check Your Head (the track "The Biz vs. the Nuge"). A Top 20 release, Cat Scratch Fever was the last Nugent release to feature his original solo band (St. Holmes, along with bassist Rob Grange, left for good in 1978). And while he enjoyed further chart success with such titles as Weekend Warriors and Double Live Gonzo, many consider Cat Scratch Fever to be Nugent's finest hour.

Bonus points if you can spot the nod to Beavis and Butthead in this post...

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Matthew Mcconaughey comes to mind.....

The first, who comes to my mind is Mickey Finn from T-Rex. Not that he was any good, though. Probably the reason why I thought of him.

L's L: Never heard of these dudes. It sounds okay, even though the style is too funky or whatever. Occaisionally it suits me fine, and apparently it suits me fine right now, because I dig it Nice bass!! A good riff too!!

MH : I can't remember if I ever bought a MH-album, but I remember those cool album-covers in the 70's I think, thinking it was heeeaayy.....but it wasn't really. This sounds nice. Classic rock, but it doesn't really sound like it's from 1981. More like 1978. I like it. 2 out of 2!!!

I'll bet, I won't like this one, though:

PB:  I was right.

TN: Yeah well, it's okay, a little bit boring, but nice solo's, off course. I didn't hear that much Nugent back in the day. Do I regret? No really.

2.5 out of 4 is what I can give you.

As usual a very good idea, though.

I think The Beatles used bongo's on "An I Love Her"?! And Sympathy For The Devil, one of my absolute favorite RS-songs.

my firs thought when I lead off with LeRoux was "Niels will hate this one"...  so Im pleasantly surprised!

Glad that you posted a song off an L/F album that was posted less than a year ago. Running out of ideas and needed my help (like you did with the one and only original spectacular one-of-a-kind bestest truest rulling above all others post of greatest closing album tracks of all time)? I mean I'm glad to help you out, but throw something my way, ya know?

And then it just goes downhill with a track off of Pat Benatar's "Tropic" album WHICH DOES OT EXIST!!!!!! Where are you pulling this stuff from?

I'm not mad at you, I'm just........disappointed.

I can now only sigh in exasperation.

That LL song is funky to the max. Forget the bongos, I'm digging the peeano solo!

That Nugent cover must have scared quite a few parents because he looks so, well, scary. The more I look at it, the more freaky it is. Wonder who's idea that was. Would make a nice Halloween mask.

You didn't mention Ricky Ricardo. I think every song he did had bongos. Maybe not, I hated that show. But he looked like a bongo guy.

Peeano solo coming up again!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


I actually did recall your MH post of yore, and it did bring up fine memories indeed!  Thank you sir...  And that typo find?  Great catch!  I will fix it ASAP!

I must admit to being surprised that the LeRoux track went over as well as it did...  They are a cool band!

So you "fixed" it......

....and yet, it's still wrong.

that's what I get for working and reading this site at the same time!  I stand corrected...  And this is an album I really like to!  Pat would be mad at me...


the 'a' is struck through - its called truth in editing...

So is mine. Sheesh.

Lighten up, Francis.


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