Underappreciated - But Outstanding for Decades
by Fred P.
(Sterling, VA - USA)
Ed "Cass" Cassidy should be considered on the list of top 100 drummers. He is often overlooked because the group he played with for several decades never achieved the same prominence as many others: Spirit.
Cass was an accomplished drummer, playing with such jazz luminaries as Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Cannonball Adderley, Gerry Mulligan, Taj Mahal and Ry Cooder. After moving to California he formed the group Spirit with his stepson, Randy California (nee Wolfe).
Cassidy influenced a number of rock drummers, including John Bonham of Led Zeppelin. If one listens closely to his work on such pieces as "It's All the Same" one will find the intricate, ever-changing (ironic for a song with that title) patterns that still held the steady rhythm the tune demanded. His extended solo on "Live From Germany" showcases his bare-handed technique that was also unknown at the time.
Individual solos on pieces such as Spirit's "Elijah" also sparkle. Never bombastic, Cassidy's work was always the tight, intricate and jazzy style of his roots.
Playing well into his eighties (he was born in 1923), Cassidy has been referred to as "rock's oldest drummer."