Friday, 18 December 2015

The Bad, The Ugly & The Good

When you’re listening to a song and it comes to the guitar solo, do you ever think to yourself, “Boy!  What a bad guitar solo, but it’s good.  I like it?” 

I’m not talkin’ about uninspired or lame.  I’m talkin’ awful, as in, “What’s he doin’?”

For me, a prime example would be Eight Miles High by the Byrds.  Every time I hear it, my initial reaction is, “Sheesh!  That’s the worst good guitar solo ever.”  But by the end of the solo, I’m thinking, “I dig it.  It really fits.”  Which is the ultimate compliment for a guitar solo.

Neil Young’s also excels at being not so good in a compellingly good sort of way.  As does Robby Krieger of the Doors, Dave Davies, John Lee Hooker, and a cat named John Lennon.

It’s a taste thing, of course.  But it’s interesting how we can embrace music that falls short of our personal standard of what constitutes “good.”  One more of the many mysteries of music.

Friday, 11 December 2015

Twice The Fun

The guitar is a wonderful instrument.  In the right hands, it can be strongly emotive, awe inspiring, gobsmacking.  Unfortunately, sometimes there can also be a bit too much look-at-me-look-at-me-look-at-me, as Guitar Player points out in Top 10 Guitar Tandems.

Two guitarists can keep that impulse in check.  And the bi-play between them can take a song to a whole new level.  Allman and Betts, Tipton and Downing, Angus and Malcolm, Keith Richards and whoever … some pretty good bands have decided that two guitars are better than one.

Nothing wrong with Guitar Player’s list, but there are lots of other acts you could add:  Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac, Humble Pie, Wishbone Ash – and, oh, this little band out of Liverpool called The Beatles.

Friday, 4 December 2015

Two Of Us

Not that he hasn’t worked damned hard to overcome it, but Paul McCartney is forever destined to be remembered as John Lennon’s partner.  A little unfair maybe.  After all, he only spent 13 years with John.  And he’s given us a lot of great music and memories over the last 45 years as a solo artist.

Then again, maybe he’s never given up trying to replace John.  Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, Elvis Costello, David Gilmour, Dave Grohl, Kanye West …  it’s a pretty impressive list of collaborations.

Or maybe Paul just digs music, is a fan like the rest of us, and understands that at bottom music is a shared experience.