100 Great Guitar Moments – #90 to 81

Time for another 10 in the list – an eclectic mix ranging from jazz through rock to psychedelia.

The Shadows – The Savage: There’s nothing wrong with a simple job well done, but sometimes, musically, it can be a tad lacklustre. That’s how I normally feel about the Shadows, but this track is an exception. Employing a strange, rather percussive tone, Hank Marvin plays his socks off on this track and takes a fantastic solo at 0.55. The rest of the band is great, too – especially Bruce Welch’s rhythm playing.

 

 

Martha and the Muffins – Echo Beach: This was the first song I ever knowingly heard with a chorus effect on guitar, and the fretted and open string riff that opens and punctuates is one of those ‘That’s nice – how did he play that?’ moments. It’s simple, but effective, and just one of those things that encapsulates 1980 for me, when you still had punk attitude, but the music was getting a little less basic.

 

Jimmy Smith – Who’s afraid of Virginia Woolf?: Hammond magnificence from the late Jimmy Smith set against a superbly-arranged (much kudos to Oliver Nelson) backdrop of horns and a rhythm section. This includes some sterling rhythm work from guitarist Quentin Warren which could well have been played on a Stratocaster as the live video posted here shows him playing one. Unusual in jazz, especially in the early 1960s. Warren kicks the whole thing along really well with a lot of funk feel and choppy chords.

 

 

Magic Sam – Lookin’ Good: A bit of an obscure one, this. Magic Sam Maghett was a young blues guitarist hotly tipped for fame when he died soon after his breakthrough appearance at the Ann Arbor Blues Festival in 1969. If you want to hear the original of this, then you’re on your own, as it’s not on YouTube or Spotify. However, YouTube does have a similar and equally brilliant version of this tune at 2:40 in. It’s like John Lee Hooker on speed and played on a borrowed guitar – the late Earl Hooker’s who was, coincidentally, a cousin of John Lee…it gets incestuous, don’t it?

 

Charlie Christian – Solo Flight: Seminal stuff, this. Although it might sound a tad ‘polite’ to those raised on rock and distortion, Christian’s playing is both raw and adventurous, with his melodic but bluesy lines charting the transition from swing to bebop. Also of note is the way he plays across the rhythm and leaves plenty of space inside and between his lines. It took a long time before jazz guitar re-emerged from the blandness that followed Christian and regained its freshness and vibrancy, even though the price it largely paid was selling out to ‘fusion’.

 

The Cars – Tonight She Comes: A pop band with rock and punk sensibilities but also a true grasp of melody. Eliot Easton is a very tasty player indeed and his solo in this song both soars and twists with some particularly fine use of the whammy bar at 2:00 in on the video below. Nice to hear the ‘idiot stick’ used to add to a line, rather than dominate it gratuitously.

 

 

David Grissom – Video end titles music: You’ll have to go on YouTube for this as it’s taken from the end of a tuition video that Grissom made several years ago. OK, it’s just a jam but, with that tone and feel, he could record nursery rhymes and they’d sound fucking fantastic. Very bluesy, but with country flourishes, he’s another player who makes you ask, ‘What the fuck did he do there???’ A descending lick at about 0:55 in the first video below is the first of many such moments. Also, listen to the chords Grissom uses – lots of open strings.

 

Davy Graham – Angi: Ask people who wrote Angi and most will say Bert Jansch or, perhaps, Paul Simon. However, it was Davy Graham and this is the original version, played by the composer. Simple – it’s not the most challenging piece – but effective and it’s all down to the execution of the composition. Here, Graham gives it a bittersweet quality by combing the melodicism inherent in the chord structure with a very bluesy feel.

 

The Lemon Pipers – Through With You: Obscurity time again, with the band most famous for ‘Green Tambourine’ playing perhaps the best song the Byrds never wrote or recorded, and stretching out into a 9 minute raga rock piece with wah-wah 12 string electric guitar, delay effects and panning. Add to that vocals which sound very like Keith Relf of the Yardbirds and you have something very special indeed.

 

Pantera – Walk: The late Dimebag Darrell could be a very quirky player and his solo in ‘Walk’ is one of my all time favourites. It’s just plain loopy, but in all the right ways, played with great skill, feel and an almost classical sense of melody, with that diminished run towards the end.

 

Well, 20 down…80 to go…

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8 Responses

  1. AArgh! My IE crashes when I try to play Jimmy Smith and Magic Sam, and the Davy Graham is blocked on copyright grounds in the UK, apparently……………

  2. Damn…the Magic Sam, in particular, is worth a listen. I’ve never heard anyone play a boogie quite like that.

    I’ll see if I can find some other versions.

    Which Jimmy Smith is the problem? Both?

    Copyright? That’s odd. It’s normally the other way round – not playable in France…

  3. […] 100 Great Guitar Moments – #90 to 81 (steveshark.wordpress.com) […]

  4. The second Jimmy Smith

  5. Hmm…There doesn’t appear to be another version on YouTube. I wonder why it crashes? You could try watching it in YouTube. Actually, Jimmy Smith is a good way of getting into jazz – likewise Kenny Burrell, who’ll be along shortly in the series. Kenny is really just blues a lot of the time – just slightly more subtle than most and, of course, he plays in a jazz context.

  6. Hope you’ve got room in here for one of the world’s true eccentrics, Wilko Johnson. His chops on “She does it right” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rrSx700tJ5Q make any guiarist hearing it for the first time ask if it’s overdubbed – surely there’s two guitars there? The man has an economy of style that he adapted from listening to Johnny Kidd & the Pirates’ guitarist Mick Green and made his own. Dr Feelgood formed the transition between pub rock & punk and hence deserve a special mention, I think! Great vid of Wilko showing how to “Do It Right”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mPg9P1q2icA

  7. Good call there!
    Yes, Wilco will be making an appearance for sure.
    That combination of lead licks and rhythm is a real speciality of his.
    But which Feelgoods track…?
    Wait and see!

  8. […] 100 Great Guitar Moments – #90 to 81 (steveshark.wordpress.com) Advertisement GA_googleAddAttr("AdOpt", "1"); GA_googleAddAttr("Origin", "other"); GA_googleAddAttr("theme_bg", "111111"); GA_googleAddAttr("theme_border", "515151"); GA_googleAddAttr("theme_text", "eeeeee"); GA_googleAddAttr("theme_link", "428ce7"); GA_googleAddAttr("theme_url", "428ce7"); GA_googleAddAttr("LangId", "1"); GA_googleAddAttr("Tag", "blues"); GA_googleAddAttr("Tag", "earl-hooker"); GA_googleAddAttr("Tag", "blues"); GA_googleAddAttr("Tag", "earl-hooker"); GA_googleFillSlot("wpcom_sharethrough"); Like this:LikeBe the first to like this post. […]

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