Watch the mercury rise with Mr Dave!

After my mammoth 100 favourite albums blogfest last year, here’s another act that fell through the net.

Of course, my top 100 has changed, so this guy could well have been in the running when I drew up the list, but no matter – he’s worth a considered listen if you enjoy American roots music with a twist.

David_Lindley_Knuckleheads_Saloon

David Lindley is what you might call a musician’s musician. He’s the session player and sidesman of choice for many famous acts.

His incredible discography is here and it reads like a bible of quality rock recordings. His live work is no less an exercise in namedropping.

Multi-instrumentalist David Lindley performs music that redefines the word "eclectic." Lindley, well known for his many years as the featured accompanist with Jackson Browne, and leader of his own band El Rayo-X, has long championed the concept of world music. The David Lindley electro-acoustic performance effortlessly combines American folk, blues, and bluegrass traditions with elements from African, Arabic, Asian, Celtic, Malagasy, and Turkish musical sources. Lindley incorporates an incredible array of stringed instruments including but not limited to Kona and Weissenborn Hawaiian lap steel guitar, Turkish saz and chumbus, Middle Eastern oud, and Irish bouzouki. The eye-poppingly clad "Mr. Dave’s" uncanny vocal mimicry and demented sense of humor make his onstage banter a highlight of the show. His web site has a nice description of his eclectic approach to music:

Here’s ‘Mr Dave’ blasting away on lap steel with a version of ‘Mercury Blues’:

 

There are a few versions of Lindley playing this available on YouTube, and all worth a look.

One of my favourite collaborations involving Lindley is his live work with another US great, Ry Cooder.

Here’s the pair on ‘Mercury Blues’ (again!) – crap video but there’s not much available:

 

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And here’s Lindley with Jackson Browne on ‘Mercury Blues’ once again:

 

Not that Mr Dave can’t play anything else.

How about some classic Warren Zevon ska stylee?

 

Or some reggae?

 

Cajun anyone?

 

And that’s just some of what Mr Dave can do.

Ah, and he’s probably Mrs Shark’s favourite musician and she has excellent taste.

My favourite albums – 61–70

Well, here goes with another batch of my 100 favourite albums…

#70 Al diMeola – Scenario: Forget his recent albums – you might as well listen to Kenny fucking G – but when Al had some fire in his belly he was pretty bloody good! This album is a particular favourite of mine with a good variety of material ranging from Beckish jazz rock to flamenco-style acoustic pieces and not a duff track to be found. I used to listen to a lot of jazz fusion when I was younger and this album from 1983 has stuck with me.

#69 Bob Marley and the Wailers – Natty Dread: Again, I’m going for early material and this appeared just as the buzz about Bob was really building. It contains the original version of ‘No Woman No Cry’, which beats the better-known live version into a cocked Rastafarian hat. Hardly a bad track to be heard and ‘Lively Up Yourself’ and ‘Rebel Music’ sparkle as brightly now as they did 36 years ago.

#68 ELO – Out of the Blue: ELO used to be a very good pop band, which a lot of people seem to have forgotten. Jeff Lynne was clearly a Beatles fan and my favourite track on this rather bloated double album is the very Beatlish ‘Mr Blue Sky’ which has one of the best bass lines ever. It’s the last track of ‘Concerto for a Rainy Day’ which took up a whole side on the original vinyl release. It still holds up today – have a listen!

#67 Amadou and Mariam – Dimanche a Bamako: World music from Mali that has a relentless groove with simple but effective guitar work. Joyous stuff which always has an uplifting effect on me. ‘La Realite’ is a great track with lovely guitar, whilst other tracks have a sort of John Lee Hookerish boogie feel to them. Their other albums are worth checking out, but this one is the most consistent and a little more rock than the others.

#66 Davey Graham – Folk, Blues & Beyond: The late DG was possibly the most influential folk guitarist that there’s ever been. He cut across jazz, classical, traditional and world music at a time when you just didn’t do that kind of thing. Bless him, he couldn’t sing but his stellar guitar work makes up for it. He popularised DADGAD tuning and established a school of British acoustic guitar playing that had a wide ranging influence on, amongst many others, one James Page of Led Zep. Get the expanded version for the extra tracks which include the original version of ‘Anji’ – now a folk guitar standard.

#65 David Lindley and El Rayo-X – Win This Record: Another relatively unknown artist although if you’ve ever heard Jackson Brown’s version of ‘Stay’ you’ll have heard Lindley – singing in a very high voice. It’s as a guitarist that he excels though and his talent sprawls right across this album. Combine this with a great band and an inspired choice of material and you have a great ‘fun’ album. New Orleans meets reggae meets rock…’Make it on Time’ is a good track to start with – a high octane rush boogie with great distorted lap steel guitar.

#64 ZZ Top – Eliminator: Yes, they made some great records before this mainstream breakthrough album but nothing quite so relentlessly shiny and downright nasty. Gibbons has a monster tone and is on top form and the tracks are all good, with the usual quirky subject matter such as ‘TV Dinners’. It contains all the singles you liked at the time, but check out the lesser-known tracks such as ‘Under Pressure’.

#63 The Faces – Long Player: I’ve only just recently got back into the Faces and it’s a pleasure to become reacquainted with their sloppy tightness. Rod and the band was a marriage made in heaven and they were second only to the Stones with that certain style of rock ‘strut’. Ronnie Wood impresses on lead, but everyone else isn’t too shabby, with the late Ronnie Lane a forgotten bass hero. ‘Had Me a Real Good Time’ just about sums the band up.

#62 Sir Millard Mulch – How To Sell The Whole F#@!ing Universe To Everybody, Once And For All!: Totally uncategorisable…it’s chamber rock, heavy metal, Zappa-style satire…It’s available here FREE! How can you not admire a guy who records a song called ‘The Boy With The Perfectly Square Butthole Strikes Back’? His YouTube videos are pretty funny, too. Seriously, check this guy out – a neglected genius!

#61 Focus – Moving Waves: I just keep coming back to this album and it still seems as fresh as when I first heard it. Jan Akkerman’s guitar and Thijs van Leer’s keyboards, flute and yodelling predominate and at times it veers towards the artsy-fartsy but it has some balls-out rock, ethereal textures and great ensemble playing that mostly lifts it out of the self-indulgent. They seemed to like the title ‘Focus’ for their compositions and ‘II’ here doesn’t disappoint. Focus are still around, but without Akkerman who’s still a phenomenal player.