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LISTEN: Remembering Tulsa drummer Jimmy Karstein

This is our tribute to Jimmy Karstein, a drummer who toured and recorded with JJ Cale, Gary Lewis and the Playboys and the Red Dirt Rangers. He died in Tulsa on Sunday, March 27 at the age of 78.

Along with JJ Cale, Leon Russell, David Gates, Chuck Blackwell, Junior Markham and others, Karstein was one of those Tulsa musicians who went to California in the late 1950s and early 1960s to make it big in the music business. He even lived in Leon Russell’s famous house in the Hollywood Hills — Skyline Mansion.

He was the drummer for Gates' Tulsa band The Accents, toured with Gary Lewis & the Playboys, and recorded and performed with folks like Joe Cocker, Eric Clapton, Delaney & Bonnie and Buffalo Springfield. He also played on Cheech & Chong’s 1973 top 20 hit “Basketball Jones.”

Karstein is probably best known for his longtime work with JJ Cale, whom he drummed for almost four decades. He also had a long stint with Red Dirt Rangers.

The segment originally aired on April 1, 2022.

Ryan LaCroix is the Director of Content and Audience Development for KOSU.
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