Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Off the Cliff with Ronny Kae

A recent email exchange with Debbie D. of WFMU ICHIBAN got me curious to know more about rock & roll drummer Ronny Kae...who the heck was this nutty guy?  Ronny (sometimes spelled "Ronnie") Kae (sometimes spelled "Kaye") pounded the skins in a group called the Saints & recorded a bunch of singles for Band Box Records (out of Denver, CO), circa 1960s.  Kae's solo sides were usually (or always?) instrumentals, along the same lines as drummer Sandy Nelson's records (one of Kae's single sides is a cover version of Nelson's "Let There Be Drums").  A typical Ronny Kae single generally follows this formula:  A gravelly male voice (presumably Kae's) growls out the title of the track, then the music begins.  The songs are pretty simple, straightforward rock instros, with drums & guitar prominent in the mix...the gravelly voice may or may not repeat the song's title at intervals, or might add other brief enthusiastic exclamations ("Go-go-go, go, everybody!" etc.)  What's curious about these records is the sometimes inexplicable choice of "subject matter"...Kae's "Drums Fell Off (a/the) Cliff" is a fine example.  Where did this idea come from?  Perhaps Kae was inspired by instrumental guitar star Duane Eddy, who recorded a tune titled "Twisting Off a Cliff".  But while Eddy's song makes some sort of sense--we hear the agonized screams of distracted dancers going "over the edge"--Kae's single makes no reference whatever to disaster, other than the voice repeating some variation of the song's title.  Check it out for yourself:

Ronny Kae - DRUMS FELL OFF A CLIFF (YouTube)

Duane Eddy - TWISTING OFF A CLIFF (YouTube)

Ronny Kae - SWINGING DRUMS (YouTube)


Ronnie Kae - DRUMS ARE BACK (YouTube)

Ronny Kae discography at 45 CAT 

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