Thursday, 28 November 2013

Giving the Finger

Now here’s a list that’s close to my heart: Gibson’s 10 All Time Great Finger Pickers.  Why?  Cause that’s mostly how I play.  I may have been weaned on rock ‘n’ roll, but my wanderings into classical and folk made me drop the pick.

Here’s the list: Merle Travis, Davy Graham, John Fahey, Martin Carthy, Jerry Reed, Reverend Gary Davis, Tommy Emmanuel, Jorma Kaukonen, Leo Kottke, Chet Atkins.

I can’t pretend to know all of these guys, but I would have added Mark Knopfler, probably the most successful finger picker in rock.  And Bruce Cockburn, for my money, one of the best acoustic guitarists of all time.  And where is Robert Johnson, the guy with titanic influence over most genres, the guy whose licks we’re still trying to figure out, the cat that made one guitar sound like three?

Anyway, hats off to the finger pickers.  They might not get as much energy into the strings as the plectrum crowd, but they can pull off some tasty licks.

Monday, 25 November 2013

The Hypnotized Never Lie

Was any song ever more prescient than The Who’s Won’t Get Fooled Again?

The change it had to come.  We knew it all along.  But the parting on the left is now the parting on the right.

Are the morals that we worship all gone?  How long before we’ll be fighting in the street with our children at our feet?  Will our families be left even half alive?  Did the shotgun always sing the song?

Townshend always made it clear he would never be drawn into choosing sides between “us” and “them,” and, although a lot of stuff has gone down in the last forty years, he proved himself right.  History ain’t changed.

Nothing in the street looks any different to me either.

Meet the new boss.  Same as the old boss.  No wonder Daltrey blew out his vocal chords with that scream.

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Hoochie Coochie Man

Q: What do Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Cream, Led Zeppelin, The Doors, Steppenwolf, the Allman Brothers, Otis Rush, Gary Moore, Koko Taylor, Canned Heat, the Stones, Steve Miller, the Animals, Tom Petty, Sam Cooke, Little Walter, Bo Diddley, Elvis, and the Everly Brothers all have in common?

A: Willie Dixon.  They all recorded Willie Dixon songs, per Gibson’s 10 Great Willie Dixon Songs.

Oh, and Paul Butterfield, Savoy Brown, Ten Years After, Etta James, the Pointer Sisters, Jeff Beck, James Cotton, Hendrix, Megadeth and the White Stripes.

That’s quite a list.  A hall of fame, who’s-who, Desert Island, best-ever-playlist kind of list.

You can make your case for Robert Johnson, or Muddy or B.B. as the most influential blues musician of all time, but when it comes to blues songwriting, no one else comes close.  It’s Willie Dixon that make the world wanna know what this all about.