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Watch the Straight Eights Or Not online guitar lesson by Walter Broes from Rock, Billy, & Boogie Guidebook

The “swing against straight eights” is the thing that separates “rock and roll” from “rock." For some great examples, listen to the rhythm guitar on Chuck Berry’s “Almost Grown,” on which he plays straight eights against the drummer’s triplet swing feel on the high-hat and cymbals. Little Richard’s music on the Specialty label is another killer example of this phenomenon at work; he'll play straight eights on his piano against drummer Earl Palmer’s swing beat. Jerry Lee Lewis’ Sun recordings often have this feel too, and once you start paying attention to it, you'll notice how addictive and exciting it is.

The drummer in the Sun Records house band, Jimmy van Eaton, had a way of putting this feel in tunes where you don’t expect it. It’s not that hard to rock, but adding that “roll” to it is what makes it authentic and typical!