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.