It's a pity that Paul McCartney and Phil Collins didn't become close friends. The music would have been fantastic.
Thursday, 1 December 2016
Thursday, 24 November 2016
Eric Clapton was the face of blues rock for more than a generation. Steve Winwood stood tall within the pantheon of prog rock immortals.
Yet they gave us Can’t Find My Way Home, a haunting, rapturous, achingly beautiful folk song.
Good work, fellas.
ps – yes, I’ve written about this song before. It’s just that kinda song, ya know?
Thursday, 17 November 2016
Thursday, 10 November 2016
Thursday, 3 November 2016
Udiscovermusic doesn’t apologize for giving you an alphabetical – instead of a ranked – listing of The 100 Greatest Blues Albums, saying that would be nigh on impossible, and I don’t blame them.
I don’t pretend to be on intimate terms with every album or artist on the list, but I’ve heard enough of them to believe everyone that should be there is there. And I sure wouldn’t want to rank ‘em.
The inclusion of so many white folks – especially from the wrong side of the Atlantic Ocean – may rankle a few blues purists, but not me. In terms of respect for the music, not to mention influence, they belong.
Tuesday, 25 October 2016
The other night, I had the pleasure of attending a Donovan concert in Toronto.
His voice isn’t what it used to be, but he’s such a good storyteller, and his songs practically sing themselves anyway, so it was all good.
What was especially heartwarming is that not everyone in the audience had white hair. I was amazed at how many people under 30 were there – and they weren’t casual listeners. They knew him. They were fans.
Donovan himself described his music’s timeless appeal as hopeful melancholy. He confronts that madness of our species, and shares his sadness at our willful self-destructiveness, but he celebrates the wonders of the world around us with an enduring spirit of hopefulness.
He is the hurdy gurdy man, singing songs of love.
Thursday, 13 October 2016
Thursday, 6 October 2016
Guitar duos are still the thing, man. Ain’t nothing better than to listen to two cats play off one another: John and George, Hammett and Hetfield, Allman and Betts, Trucks and Haynes, Ronnie and Keef, Jimmy Page and himself …
But go way back to 1959, and have a listen to John Lee Hooker and (I think*) Eddie Taylor jam their way through I’m In The Mood.
* I know there are multiple versions of this track. They’re all terrific, but hopefully I’m referencing the right one.
Tuesday, 27 September 2016
Prog Rock is an interesting genre. Sometimes a band (or song) can blow you away with its imagination and musicianship. Sometimes a band (or song) can leave you feeling, “What are they trying to prove?”
And reactions tend to be both extreme, and extremely personal. One person’s “Man, this is so good,” can be another’s “How can you even listen to that?”
My favourite bit of self-indulgent showing off is Thick As A Brick by Jethro Tull. You may agree, laugh uproariously, or hurl as you see fit, but for me it’s an amazing tour de force, as complex as any classical symphony or opera.
The transitions from section to section (and there are a lot of them) are seamless. The intricacy of the arrangement is impressive. And the tightness of the band is second to none.
Perhaps what’s most impressive, though, is that those cats played the entire piece live (I saw them do so in 1973), and they were just as tight as the record.
Love it or hate it, the one thing prog rock will do is impress you with the skill of the musicians.
Thursday, 14 July 2016
Well, he wasn’t Jimi Hendrix or Stevie Ray Vaughan, but it should be no surprise that George Harrison continued to show his superior guitar skills after The Beatles went bust, as illustrated in Guitar World’s George Harrison’s 10 Greatest Guitar Moments After The Beatles.
It’s little wonder that the cat who gave us the 12 String guitar solo and the sitar should have invented his own style of slide guitar, or that he could hold his own on a blues song.
But session guitarist for Belinda Carlisle? Now that was a surprise.