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


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.

Friday, 18 March 2016

Riding With The King

The introduction to Guitar Players 12 Most Influential Guitarists of All Time starts with an apology, as if they were expecting an avalanche of criticism and I know Ive done my share of whinging about lists over the years.

But theyre talkin about influence not whos best or whos the most favoured and I, for one cant find a darn thing wrong with this one.

Who hasnt copped a Chuck Berry lick?  Who hasnt tried to emulate Clapton or Page or Van Halen?  Who hasnt dropped his or her jaw at Hendrix or SRV and said, Howd he do that?  Who doesnt appreciate how large Robert Johnson or Chet Atkins loom over all those cats?  And then theres B.B..

Influential?  You bet.

Thursday, 10 March 2016

True North Strong and Free

Rush notwithstanding; there is such a thing as Canadian rock and roll.  The best Canadian bands seem to be able to retain some of that bar band sound even after theyve made it big.  You know that sound.  When you're digging the band in the bar.  In the bar.  That sound.

The Hip, 54:40, Tom Cochrane, The Northern Pikes, Colin James, The Arkells even Our Lady Peace and The Guess Who.  They all preserved a bit of their roots, remained true.  

Makes em more approachable, dontcha think?

Friday, 4 March 2016

6 Strings in the Shadows

What is it about human nature that renders everything down to a shorter, smaller, more obvious list?  Bad memory?  Laziness?  Brainwashing?

Guitar Player’s 53 Not-Forgotten Guitar Greats and Heroes is a case in point.
“Seminal movers and shakers who were not blessed with massive or on-going pop-culture fame.”  “Players who float just under the popular radar.”  It’s quite an impressive list.

A whole bunch of blues and jazz that have all but faded from memory.

Some “so that’s who that was” players, like Robert Blunt or Jake E. Lee.

Too many “how did I forget those guys?” guitarists, like Tommy Bolin, Michael Bruce and Glen Buxton, Randy California, Terry Kath, and Roy Wood (well not exactly forget, but …).

And quite a few more I need to check out.

Thanks for the public service, Guitar Player.

Thursday, 25 February 2016

Someday He May Get Smart

Every time I listen to Johnny Winter’s Be Careful With A Fool, I smile and think, oh yeah, that’s why I like Stevie Ray Vaughan so much.