Monday, February 1, 2016
Fred Below (1926 –1988) was an American blues drummer, best known for his work with Little Walter and Chess Records in the 1950s.
Below was born in Chicago, and started playing drums in a high school jazz band. After being conscripted into the United States Army, he joined the 427th Army band, where he played with Lester Young. After war service, he played in nightclub in Germany before returning to the United States in 1951.
Back in Chicago, Below joined a group called The Aces, comprising Junior Wells and brothers Louis and Dave Myers. Little Walter had just left Muddy Waters' band to pursue a solo career, Wells taking over Walter's role on harp in the Muddy Waters band and Walter commandeering the Aces (Myers brothers and Below). As Little Walter and the Nightcats, they became one of the top electric blues bands in Chicago.
He continued to play on Little Walter's records, as well as hit records for Muddy Waters, Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, Jimmy Rogers, Elmore James, Otis Rush, Junior Wells, Howlin' Wolf and others.
Amongst his more famous work was playing on Chuck Berry's 1957 hit single, "School Days".
Below died from cancer on August 14, 1988 in Chicago at the age of 61.