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The R&B/Soul tune, "Supernatural Thing", by Ben E. King was first released as a single back in 1975 where it reached #1 on the R&B charts. This single version of the tune, with Jimmy Young on drums and Carlos Martin on congas, is typically referred to as "Supernatural Thing - Part 1". The LP version of this song, entitled "Supernatural Thing - Part 2", appears on the Atlantic Records album, Supernatural, King's ninth album (eighth studio album).

Besides the 1975 version, I've also notated the reissue version "Supernatural Thing" as heard on the Teddy Pendergrass & Friends album, Soul Box (1997).

Both grooves have a similar New Jack Swing feel with only slight differences in the Hi-Hat part and backbeat voicings. I've notated the swung sixteenths as dotted rhythms for the ease of reading, however the actual swung feel is closer to a sixteenth-note triplet.

Supernatural Thing

In the original 1975 recording (LISTEN), the backbeat on two and four is with the Snare drum and a (mounted) Tom Tom. In the 1997 reissue recording (LISTEN), only the Snare plays the backbeat on Beat Two while the backbeat on Beat Four is with the Snare and a Floor Tom. The open Hi-Hat only appears in the reissue version, while in the original recording the swung sixteenths start up again after the backbeat on 4. Also notice the slight weight emphasis on the upbeats within the Hi-Hat part, especially right after the backbeats.

Whatever version you choose to play (you should actually be working on both), this is a great drum groove and certainly one that should be in every versatile drummer's rhythmic vocabulary.

Bart Elliott

Bart Elliott is a degreed professional musician with a Bachelor of Music in Percussion Performance, and Master of Music post-graduate work. His 40+ years in the music and entertainment industry, over 100 album recordings to his credit, as well as an exhaustive understanding of contemporary and classical music makes him a complete and skilled master musician.

Bart continues to work as an active drummer, percussionist, composer, producer, music arranger, director, comedian, MC, educator, writer and visual artist. He is the owner and creator of DrummerCafe.com, which he founded in December of 1996.