Buzz's Blog

Friday, 17 April 2015

I Don’t Need No Marshall


I agree with Slash that “there’s no lying with an acoustic guitar,” but I’m not quite convinced that all the songs on Guitar World’s 25 Greatest Acoustic Songs in Hard Rock share an ‘elemental simplicity.”

Stairway To Heaven doesn’t strike me as simple.  Sparse, maybe – at the beginning – but not cowboy chord, sing-around-the-campfire simple.  Anyway, it doesn’t stay very acoustic for long.

The same could be said for More Than A Feeling, or Pinball Wizard, or Feel Like Making Love.  I mean, in the last case, do you even remember the acoustic guitar, or do you just think about the rhythmic, power chord hook in the chorus?

Dust In The Wind, Wanted Dead or Alive – ok, got it.  These are great songs built around an acoustic guitar.  But many of the songs listed – while being fantastic tunes – don’t really jump out at you as being acoustic guitar songs.  Rather, they are hard rock songs that happen to have acoustic guitar in them.

Speaking of hard rock, while Extreme might have been a hard rock band, More Than Words, as terrific as it is, sure isn’t a hard rock song.

By the way, are we sure Eddie Van Halen even owned and acoustic guitar?

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Saturday, 11 April 2015

Up Around The Bend


I know Dylan made his reputation as a folk singer, and then famously embraced rock, but he sure had a feel for the blues.  In my book, Slow Train Comin’ is a great example, and one of his best songs, and, given his enormous catalogue, that’s saying something, right?

A mournful groove supporting righteously indignant lyrics, smacking you in the face for eight verses until you moan, “Alright!  You’re right!  Have mercy!”  It leaves you angry  - at someone – and feeling guilty (maybe even ashamed), all at once.

The enemy I see wears a cloak of decency.

Yep, that’s Dylan all right.

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Thursday, 2 April 2015

Forever Young


If he had never made another record after Nashville Skyline, Bob Dylan would still be regarded as one of the most important artists in the history of music.

But has Rolling Stone Readers Poll of Bob Dylan’s 10 Best Post-60’s Songs nicely proves, he had a lot more to say.  And if the list had been expanded to 40 songs, every one of ‘em would be a powerful tune.

Tangled Up In Blue, Hurricane, Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door … every song on the list is a masterpiece.  And, unlike a lot of 60’s stars, he didn’t just drift into the 70’s and then peter out.  Time Out of Mind was one of the best albums of the 90’s and easily rivals Blood on the Tracks or Highway 61 Revisited (or Freewheelin’, if you prefer) for the title of Best Dylan Album Ever.

Five and a half decades into his monstrously large career, the man is still going.  I hope he never stops.

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Wednesday, 25 March 2015

The Simplest Things Set Me Off Again


Have a listen to My Brave Face.  What a great, catchy pop tune.

Maybe with a little help from Elvis Costello, but Paul still had it as late as 1989. 

Check that.  Listen to No Other Baby.  He still had it as late as 1999.  Ya, I know he didn’t write the tune, but he still knew how to rock and roll.

No wait!  Listen to Dance Tonight.  Pure joy, in 2007.  And with or without Kanye’s help, the man still has it.

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Friday, 6 March 2015

You’re So Bad


I can’t decide which is worse about Rolling Stone’s 20 Wildest Censored Album Covers: the holier-than-thou attitude of the censors, or Rolling Stone’s insistence that it should treat Spinal Tap as a real band when it compiles its lists.

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Friday, 27 February 2015

Jump In Let’s Go


Hey, go have a listen to Sheryl Crow’s Every Day Is A Winding Road.

A vintage Stones groove, dripping in Beatles psychedelia.  Clever lyrics.  Catchy melody.  A pop tune can’t get much better than that.

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Friday, 20 February 2015

All Shook Up


The hips, the hair, the snarly smile … oh, and the voice, the energy and the music.  Elvis was, in the beginning anyway, a monumental force, arguably the biggest weapon of mass seduction ever to explode onto the music scene.

So it wasn’t surprising that Rolling Stone conducted a Readers Poll on the 10 Best Elvis Presley Songs around about the time of (what would have been were it not for all that pie) his 80th birthday.

Not surprised to see Heartbreak Hotel, Love Me Tender, and Jailhouse Rock on the list, and I’ve always loved Suspicious Minds.  Maybe I’d feel differently if I’d seen him live, but it’s disappointing to see An American Trilogy on the list.  It just seems to exemplify the sad caricature he devolved into.

And I know it’s a readers poll, so we don’t get a panel of experts assessing his impact and legacy, but it’s still kinda strange not to see the likes of Hound Dog, Don’t Be Cruel and All Shook Up on the list.  It was those early, bluesy rockers that set Elvis apart.

But what do I know?  I’m just a Canadian kid who discovered music in the 60’s, when it was, sadly, all over but for the black velvet paintings.

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Friday, 13 February 2015

Move It To The Left


A lot of folks think The Rolling Stones became silly and pathetically commercial in the 80’s when they did stuff like, oh, say The Harlem Shuffle.

To which I say: The Stones were an R&B band.  Remember?

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Thursday, 5 February 2015

Groundbreakers


Hey, Rolling Stone!  What’s with these lists delivered as advertisements?

You need to work at Rolling Stone’s 40 Most Groundbreaking Albums of All Time to get to the detail, but it’s more or less worth it.  Probably.

Well, Kanye West should pleased to be included on a list featuring Woody Guthrie and Frank Sinatra.

And Perrey and Kingsley – whoever they were - should be mighty proud to be on a list that includes Bob Dylan, Ray Charles and Dave Brubeck.

Are we surprised to see pioneers like Nirvana, The Ramones, The Allman Brothers, Paul Butterfield or James Brown on such a list?  Of course not.  Or masters such as Michael Jackson, Marvin Gaye or Carole King?  Nope.

Nor, though I’ll never understand it, can we be surprised to see The Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds, The Velvet Underground’s Nico, The Mothers of Invention, or Sabbath.

This couldn’t have been an easy list to assemble.  It covers every major music genre over seven decades.  And I know I’m just a rabid fan, which in no way qualifies me as an expert, but I do wonder why there are so many entries on the list that I have never heard of.  I mean, I have been paying attention and all.  And while it’s nice to see The Beatles with two entries, how can such a list omit Elvis, Buddy Holly or Chuck Berry?  I’m just sayin’.

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Friday, 30 January 2015

Before The Dawn


I don’t know: maybe all the protest songs have already been written.

Have a listen to Long Time Gone by Crosby Stills and Nash.  Sure, it’s about the assassination of RFK, but it’s about more than that right? 

Turn any corner
Hear what the people say
You know that something is going on around here
It surely, surely, surely won't stand the light of day

Speak out, you got to speak out against the madness
You got to speak your mind
If you dare

RFK spoke out against racism, inequality, a stupid war …  Wow!  That sounds like today.

But why use a 45 year old song – as compelling as it is - to talk about today?  How can that work?  Old fogeys like me will hear it and think about the 60’s.  Younger folk don’t listen to CSN(Y).  Who is singing out about today’s issues?

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