RON E BECK is a name probably not that familiar to too many, but avid sleeve readers will know something about the Omaha-born drummer. He‘s worked and recorded with plenty of big names – like Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis Jr., Bobby Womack, John Lee Hooker, Thom Bell, Sylvester and 2 Tons of Fun, Bill Withers, Dr. Lonnie Smith and Fred Wesley. Most famously, maybe, he was with Tower of Power between 1976-78. He played drums and percussion, sang BVs and took occasional leads. He recorded 2 LPs with the Oakland boys and was there on their 40th anniversary long player.

Ron now works out of North California where he runs the Ron E Beck Drum Institute (ReBDI) while still playing live and recording. Right now he’s busy putting the finishing touches to  his sixth solo album, ‘Still Grinding (The Best You’ve Never Heard).’ Like his previous release (‘DNA’), ‘Grinding’ features members of his immediate family.

The album’s first single is ‘Rainbow’ – a welcome summery vibe at this time of year. It’s percussive (as you’d expect) and there’s a definite Caribbean vibe – why it even features steel drums and some rapping/toasting! It’s a call to the floor and Ron’s vocal is splendid and soulfully laid back.

There are plenty more optimistic notes on the album including the jaunty ‘Start It up’ and the two-parter that is ‘Hit And Run’. Ballad wise ‘Touch You’ channels a  sort of Ron Tyson-led Temptations sound – clever us of vocoder here too! Elsewhere ‘Accident’ is down and dirty with a funk undertow married to a Caribbean vibe and some Snoop Dogg style rapping – interesting! What holds it all together is Ron’s world weary voice – properly soulful in that lovely old fashioned way! The album’s out soon!