Tuesday, 27 September 2016

I May Make You Feel, But I Can’t Make You Think


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 persons Man, this is so good, can be anothers 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 its 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 whats 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

All I Have To Do Is To Be Happy


Well, he wasnt 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 Worlds George Harrisons 10 Greatest Guitar Moments After The Beatles.

Its 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.

Thursday, 7 July 2016

Oh What A Feeling


One of the ways I celebrate Canada Day each July 1 is to put on my CanCon (Canadian Content) playlist, which includes my favourite Canadian rock, folk and blues tunes and is, by the way, quite lengthy.

Damn, but we do make some good music here.

Thursday, 30 June 2016

Wait A Minute, Something’s Wrong Here


Im grateful for all his other music and all, but when I hear songs like Red House, I cant help thinking:  Man, I wish Hendrix played more blues.

Friday, 24 June 2016

The Future Ain’t What It Used To Be


Fascinating article in the NY Times a while ago called, Which Rock Star Will Historians Of The Future Remember?

Note the singular Rock Star.  The authors premise is that in 300 years, Rock will have been rendered down to a brief footnote represented by one person.  Given our human propensity for over-simplification, and our attraction to hero myths, this is completely plausible.

Having successfully established that premise, the article goes on to examine and eliminate most of the obvious candidates, arriving at Chuck Berry.

Thats a very good conclusion, eminently argued in the article.  But my money is on John Lennon.  Yes, as the article explains, he was part of the Beatles, and groups dont qualify for the hero myth.  But Lennon has all the attributes ascribed to Chuck Berry and then some.  He also has the advantage of being a martyr, and the past 35 years would suggest that his hero-martyr persona will ultimately relegate the other three Beatles to walk-on roles in the larger Lennon legend.

Its not a stretch. 
John Lennon took a passing American musical fad and, with his band, turned it into an international sensation, defining the music and the culture of the times.  He died tragically, but his influence lived on for generations. 

So says the as yet unwritten music history textbook.

Thursday, 16 June 2016

Let It Ring For Evermore


One of Jeff Lynne’s signatures – as a songwriter, as a singer, and as a producer – is poignancy, his ability to match the melancholy with the sublime.

Have a listen to ELO’s Telephone Line.   I think it’s one the best examples: heartbreakingly sad but so beautiful it’s sweet.

Thanks, Jeff.

Friday, 10 June 2016

Every Single Day Of My Life


Have a listen to The Beatles Got To Get You Into My Life.

9 notes spread over 2 bars;  in 3 seconds George delivers a perfect guitar solo.

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?