Buzz's Blog

Saturday, 28 November 2015

Who’s That Again?

Interesting memory test in Rollling Stone’s 10 Singer-Songwriter Albums … You’ve Never Heard.  Forgive me if I abbreviate the ridiculously long title.

Anyway, the 70’s was the heyday of the singer-songwriter, and I remember a lot of it - some good, some angst-ridden cheddar.  But I guess I didn’t notice it all.

I remember Hoyt Axton because I remember Three Dog Night.  I remember Thank You For Being A Friend, but not Andrew Gold.  I remember Tony Joe White because Polk Salad Annie was a fun tune.  Jesse Winchester?  Vaguely remember the name is all.

Elliott Murphy?  Steven Grossman?  Wendy Waldman?  Randall Bramblett?  David Forman?  Rory Block?  I gotta believe my FM station played all these artists, because they were pretty diverse.  But sorry, don’t recall them.   Goes to show our memories make us all smaller over time.

Thanks for the homework, RS.

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Friday, 20 November 2015

Long Long Long

When we think about longevity, images of wrinkly Rolling Stones or half The Who come to mind.  And that makes sense, especially from a performance standpoint; some acts just keep on trucking.  The Stones, especially, give the air of having some kind of record for surviving the longest.

But if you examine the question from the perspective of recording new music, they haven’t/didn’t last so long – at least in my iTunes library.

Here’s the ranking of the artists who have had the longest careers in terms of their earliest and latest recordings (again, in my iTunes library – yours will differ).

Earliest Recording
Latest Recording
Number of Years
Ringo Starr
Paul McCartney
B.B. King
Bob Dylan
Steve Winwood
Eric Clapton
George Harrison
James Taylor
Robert Plant
Joe Walsh
David Gilmour
Mark Knopfler
Bruce Springsteen
Tom Petty
Rolling Stones

OK, the Ringo thing is a bit of a fluke.  I finally saw him live in 2012, and was so happy about it that I bought the tee-shirt and the CD.

I don’t buy everything these folks release, but it’s wonderful that they’re still making great music – the ones that are alive anyway.

Speaking of which, I wonder if Hendrix or Lennon …. oh nevermind.

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Friday, 13 November 2015

Reelin’ In the Ears

Great songs hook you quickly, and reel you in.  This is nicely illustrated by Guitar World’s The 20 Best Guitar Intro’s of All Time.

Day Tripper, Sunshine Of Your Love, Smoke On The Water, Heartbreaker, You Really Got Me …  Hendrix, Van Halen, Chuck Berry, Hetfield, Keef …   Some of the best riffs of all time courtesy the greatest riff-meisters of all time.

Most great songs have a ‘hook,’ something that grabs you, catches your attention, somehow makes you feel like you already know the song even when you’re hearing it for the first time.  Sometimes that hook is a riff, but not always.  Sometimes the hook doesn’t show up until part way through the song.  But looking at GW’s list, I’d have to say the winning formula has got to be to snag ‘em right away.

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Friday, 6 November 2015

In His Blood And In His Bones

How many genres can you pack into one song?  I dunno, but Mark Knopfler managed to jam quite a few into In The Gallery.

Blues, rock, country, R&B, a bit of psychedelic maybe?  What do you hear?

A good song should sound like an old friend on first hearing.  The more genres the songwriting – and arranger -  can draw on, the deeper the listener can mine for familiar sounds.  It can’t be a sloppy pastiche, of course.  Everything has to fit together.  And when it does, as with In The Gallery, what you get is one rich song.

Pretty tasty guitar work by Knopfler, too.

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Thursday, 29 October 2015

Blown On The Steel Breeze

It’s what notes you play, not how many of ‘em, as aptly illustrated by Guitar World’s Top 10 Slow Guitar Solos.  The list features masterful, expressive, passionate solos from greats such as Clapton, Page, Beck, Gilmour, Knopfler, SRV and Gary Moore.

With the exceptions of George Harrison and B.B. King, all these guys are revered for being able to tear it up, but this list shows they also knew how to make their guitar cry and sing.  They knew a guitar solo should make the song better.

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Friday, 23 October 2015

Rock This Country

I don’t what geniuses decided to move Rock ‘n’ Roll over into Country and hide it there so’s they could keep it alive, but bless ‘em.

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Friday, 16 October 2015

Let Me Roll It

Imagine one of those cheesy TV commercials that sell a product of dubious worth applied to Paul McCartney (whose worth is anything but dubious, just to be clear).

Paul McCartney!  Legendary partner of John Lennon!  Cornerstone of the greatest rock band of all time!  One of the best bass players in the history of music!  Inspired songwriter!  Iconic singer!  Idol to generations!  Excellent pianist!

But Wait!  There’s more!  Paul McCartney was also a gifted guitarist!

Check out these gems from Guitar World’s McCartney’s Top 6 Guitar Solos with The Beatles.

Yep!  Paul had some pretty good chops on the guitar too.  One talented dude.

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Friday, 9 October 2015

Hopefully Enough

Happy birthday, John.
Baby's In Black, Shea Stadium

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Friday, 2 October 2015

Well I Know What’s Right

I have no moral objection to shredders, and some of my favourite guitarists have put down some lightning fast licks.  But have a listen to the guitar solo in Tom Petty’s I Won’t Back Down.

What additional notes would improve that solo?

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Friday, 25 September 2015

Paying The Cost To Be The Boss

Imagine a world without Hendrix, Cream, Santana, Paul Butterfield, The Allman Brothers, Johnny Winter, Fleetwood Mac, ZZ Top, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and Robert Cray.

Hard to imagine, isn’t it?  Not something you’d want to imagine, is it?

Well, according to Rolling Stone’s 10 Legendary Acts That Wouldn’t Exist Without B.B. King, all that magic would not have happened were it not for B.B. King.

That’s 10 more thankyous we owe to B.B..

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