I watched a few more of the videos tonight, and one of them contained this quote from Bobby about Jim Gordon:
"What a great, great drummer. A magnificent drummer. At one time we (Delaney & Bonnie, with whom Bobby first worked with as a trio) had a pretty serious band, and Jim Gordon was the engine that drove that whole thing."
Yes, Jim plays "like" a studio drummer. In fact, JUST like a studio drummer, for the studio is where he did most of his playing. Another studio drummer beloved in the same way as Gordon is Roger Hawkins, also a Southern boy (Alabama). Hawkins was the house drummer at Fame Studios in Muscle Shoals, and is heard on Aretha’s Atlantic recordings, and on Boz Scaggs’ debut (along with Duane Allman). Jim Keltner (Dylan, Lennon, Ry Cooder, Bill Frisell, Randy Newman) said in a Modern Drummer interview that he wished he played more like Hawkins. Easier said than done ;-) .
Jim Capaldi, himself a wonderful drummer, loved both Gordon and Hawkins, and at one point hired both to play in Traffic---at the same time! Now THERE’S a band I would like to have seen and heard live!!
The Rock drummers I have seen and heard live include a lot apparently preferred by most here to Gordon and Hawkins (and perhaps Keltner), including Keith Moon, Ginger Baker, and Mitch Mitchell. But the "best"---and by a country mile---was Earl Palmer, the inventor of Rock ’n’ Roll drumming. Listen to his playing on Little Richard’s "Keep A Knockin" to learn from where Bonham "borrowed" his intro to Zeppelin’s "Rock And Roll".
Throughout the 1990’s Earl’s Jazz trio played at Chadneys, a restaurant in Burbank (directly across the street from the NBC studio in which The Tonight Show is filmed) two blocks from my then house. I and numerous other drummers sat at the bar and listened to him play, some traveling from far-off lands. He played like no one else, impossible to duplicate. Bonham tried, but failed. Earl played slightly ahead of the pocket ("leading the charge", as they say), Bonham way behind. Sluggish, like Charlie Watts, though not as severely.