Friday, 27 May 2016

After Considerable Thought …


Here’s all I can say about Rolling Stone’s 14 Classic Albums That Flopped When They Were Released.

Yeah, well.

Thursday, 19 May 2016

Different Shades of Blue


One of the things I really dig about Joe Bonamassa is he’s an all-in-one deal.  

Play one of his CD’s and by the time you’re done you’ve had your Cream fix, your Zeppelin fix, your Allman fix …  Buddy Guy, B.B., Gary Moore, Rory Gallagher, Mark Knopfler, Taj Mahal … Humble Pie, Savoy Brown – the list goes on and on.

With Joe, you get all the major food groups in one very tasty blues-rock stew.

Like all great musicians, Joe Bonamassa has his own voice.  But like all great musicians, he’s a superb student of what’s come before.

Thursday, 12 May 2016

So Many Roads


With apologies to the purists, here are the songs that helped me figure out that  The Blues was the thing:
·      Jimi Hendrix - Voodoo Child (Slight Return)
·      Led Zeppelin When The Levee Breaks
·      The Doors Riders On The Storm
·      Canned Heat On The Road Again
·      Cream Crossroads
·      Led Zeppelin Since Ive Been Loving You
·      Elvis Presley Heartbreak Hotel
·      Johnny Winter Highway 61 Revisited
·      The Beatles Come Together
·      Creedence Clearwater Revival Suzie-Q

Yeah, I know but we all get there by different roads.  For me, Main Street was called Beatles Avenue.  Take a right at Rock & Roll Drive, left on Psychedelic Boulevard, left again at Hard Rock Road, slip down a back alley and you find this cool juke joint where theyre all playing:  B.B., Muddy, Sonny Boy, Howlin’’ Wolf, Hooker   all of em.

Does the road matter if we reach the destination?

Saturday, 7 May 2016

Relax and Float Downstream


Heres some Socratic reasoning:  Tomorrow Never Knows by The Beatles is an R&B tune because it has a hypnotic, driving beat.  It is also a folk song because its carried by simple strumming on an acoustic guitar.  But its pretty heavy, so you could argue its a rock song.  Or compromise and call it folk rock. 

Then again its very trippy, so really its psychedelic rock or maybe even early prog rock, since it lifts from other genres and quotes strange modalities.

Or you could say its all of those things, which happens to nicely sum up The Beatles.  Now, if you can say a single song can represent the diverse canon of the best group of all time, then obviously that song is the best song of all time.

Thursday, 28 April 2016

Nevermind the …


According to Rolling Stone, punk is now 40 years old, as celebrated in The 40 Greatest Punk Albums of All Time.

Sure, you could call the release of The Ramones a start.  Or you could go back to the 60s with MC5 or The Velvet Underground.  Or you could look at pictures of The Beatles in Hamburg and marvel that the same guys played on Ed Sullivan wearing suits.  Then theres Elvis, or Eddie Cohcrane, or

Lets face it:  Rock and Roll has an edge.  It has attitude.  It has barely contained and badly channeled rage some of it sexual, some of it social.  Its for kids who have energy and excitement but no power.

Sometimes that music is raw and unnerving.  Sometimes its subjected to more refined production.  But the edge is always there.

Personally, I prefer well-produced music, but that doesnt mean I dont get (or enjoy) it when I hear whats come to be called Punk.  So rock or punk on, people.

Thursday, 21 April 2016

I Stick Around For More


Theres no way you could argue Bonnie Raitts Spit of Love, recorded in 1998, is an R&B tune.  Its got a classic hook, a hypnotic groove, and a solid, driving beat.

So how come Ive got it on my Psychedelic playlist?

Thursday, 14 April 2016

Love


With the recent death of George Martin, Rolling Stone inevitably published a list of his Top 10 Albums.

The entry for America’s Hearts, and in particular the hit single Sister Goldenhair, got me thinking that he was really trying keep the Beatles sound alive.  I mean, can’t you hear The Beatles doing that song?

Then again, maybe that’s what they were all doing.  Let Me Roll It could be Paul doing a John song from the White Album.  John's Starting Over could be on Abbey Road.  So could George’s All Those Years Ago.

Not surprising, I guess, that they would all continue to share what they had learned from each other.

Lucky us.

Thursday, 7 April 2016

I Feel As Though You Ought To Know


Rubber Soul.  The best Motown album not released by Motown Records.

Friday, 1 April 2016

Jimi vs. Stevie


Many (possibly most) people consider Jimi Hendrix to be the greatest guitar player of all time, and, while I don't agree, I get it.  But listen to Stevie Ray Vaughan's version of Little Wing and tell me that isn't how Hendrix should have sounded all the time.

Friday, 25 March 2016

Heart Like A Wheel


Sometimes you just like you a band or artist because they fit in with your preferences.  Sometimes because they remind you of someone else you dig.  Or maybe for reasons that arent even related to music.  Sometimes especially if they dont necessarily fit your mould you cant quite put your finger on it.

Linda Ronstadt was always one of those last cases for me.  I mean, very talented, but not terribly original, and maybe a tad on the commercial side.  I mean, she was certainly not Led Zeppelin.  So I couldnt figure out what it was I liked so much.

But I think I finally have:  she was so great because she was the whole American thing: country, rock and roll, rockabilly, blues - oh, and a little gospel.  Punk too.  She could deliver in each style with unassailable conviction sometimes mixing in more than one of em in the same song.

And then for good measure she went and got Peter Asher, friend and protégé of The Beatles, to be her producer.  Pretty hard to miss with all that jammed into a record.