April – 2004 – Musicology – Prince
Apart from the fantastic “Rainbow Children“, this is the only other really magnificent album the Purple One has released since Diamonds and Pearls in 1991. A great collection of fresh funk, jazz and pop grooves. It was orignally, like all Prince albums in the past 20 years, to be his big comeback album and in my opinion, it succeeded. He has of course gone downhill again since Musicology, but you never know with Prince, just when you think he’s lost his touch something like Musicology comes along.
March – 1972 – Just Another Band From LA – The Mothers
This great album starts off with a 25 min track consisting of Zappa´s usual hilarious crazy commentary about a mountain named Billy whose wife was a tree which growed off his shoulder called Ethyl!! Brilliant. The album´s rock virtuosity isn´t as good as some of the other Mothers and Zappa stuff, but still a classic in my eyes. my fav trck though has to be “Dog Breath”, a perfectly flowing piece of music with a fantastic rock guitar solo to boot.
I love compiling lists,so I thought this would be a good one to do. It’s not based on anything except my own opinion…
A great guitar player who is always overlooked, probably just because he’s in Bon Jovi, He makes my top 10 for his solos alone, his virtuosity is undeniable, showing that he is more than just part of a cheesy rock band with his incredible work on Bon Jovi’s ’95 album “These Days“.
An unquestionable force, Grammy award winner Carlos Santana’s blend of salsa, rock, latin blues and jazz fusion puts him up there with the legends of the guitar. Listening to his stunning album “Moonflower” for the umpteenth time, its still makes the hairs on my arms stand up with his sweeping guitar and use of his trademark feedback sustain.
A pioneer of funk, Eddie Hazel’s innovative style is most regonizable in his work with Parliment/Funkadelic, their album “Maggot Brain” contains Eddie’s defining moment, with a ten minute solo in the title track, apparently George Clinton told him to “play like your momma just died” during recording and Maggot Brain was the result.
The legendary Jimmy Page is a master of the trade, starting off with The Yardbirds before shooting to super stardom with Led Zeppelin, he’s been described as one of the most versatile guitarists of all time. Page has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice with his respective bands.
Aswell as enjoying a highly successful career with rock legends Pink Floyd, Gilmour has had a notable career as both a record producer and solo artist. His haunting, mesmerising style has produced some of the most recognizable guitar solos of all time.
Probably the first European jazz musican to have an influence on American musicians. Belgian born Reinhardt used inventive melodic improvisation on acoustic guitar and mixed it with gypsy-guitar. Along with violinist Stéphane Grappelli he founded the Quintette du Hot Club de France, one of the earliest and most significant jazz groups in Europe.
4) Ry Cooder
Ranked number 8 on Rolling Stones’ “The 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time”, Cooder’s solo work has been an eclectic mix, taking in dust bowl folk, blues, Tex-Mex, soul, gospel, rock, and almost everything else. He has collaborated with many important musicians, including The Rolling Stones, Van Morrison, Earl Hines, Little Feat, Captain Beefheart, The Chieftains, John Lee Hooker, Pops, Mavis Staples, Gabby Pahinui, Flaco Jimenez and Ali Farka Touré. He formed the Little Village supergroup with Nick Lowe, John Hiatt, and Jim Keltner.
Unknown to too many, the late great Rory Gallagher was one of the most gifted live performers of all time. The Irishman, noted by Brian May’s (among many others) as one of his biggest inspirations, collaborated with many greats including Muddy Waters and Jerry Lee Lewis. His solo albums have sold in excess of 30 million copies worldwide.
Prolific and sometimes controversial pop legend Prince always seems to be overlooked when it comes to actual guitar skills, which, to me, are up there with the very best. Rolling Stone ranked Prince #28 on their list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time. From his early material, rooted in R&B, soul and funk, Prince has expanded his musical palette throughout his career, absorbing many other genres including pop, rock, jazz, new wave, psychedelia and hip hop. Some of his primary influences include Sly Stone, Miles Davis, Jimi Hendrix, Joni Mitchell, James Brown, Parliament-Funkadelic and Carlos Santana.
1) Jimi Hendrix
What can be said about this man that hasn’t already? There is simply no greater example of a guitar legend. He was one of the most innovative and influential rock guitarists of the late ’60s and perhaps the most important electric guitarist of all time.
While browsing for videos of classic tunes, I was reminded of the brilliant show I used to watch on late nights on BBC2, The Old Grey Whistle Test, an influential television music show which featured many of the greats over its 16 year lifespan. It was created by BBC producer Rowan Ayers.
First aired on the 21st September 1971, the name came from Tin Pan Alley, old greys were acetates of songs and the big test was if you could whistle the tune. The most notable host was the distinctive, soft-spoken Bob Harris, who’s style of presenting showed his great affection and avidity for the music and musicians.
The show itself focused more on the serious rock side of music rather than the glitter of showbiz chart toppers and featured many minor acts who are now music legends in their on right, like Billy Joel and Lynyrd Skynyrd.
In 1978 Bob Harris was replaced by Anne Nightingale after it was felt the program needed a revival after failing to embrace the punk era.
Here’s some of my favourite performances….
Febuary 1981 : Brian Eno and David Byrne – My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts
This was a ground-breaking collaboration, first released in ’81, then reissued in 2006 featuring extra tracks and with a more balanced sound quality than its original vinyl, David Byrne and Brian Eno recorded Bush of Ghosts in 1979-80 completely unaided by computers or digital equipment. Not a conventional work, it displays diverse audio experimentation and sounds like it was recorded a lot more recently than ’81. In many ways it feels like a documentation of some sort of tribal adventure and some tracks take a strange approach that baffles me but still exhibit a deeply addictive atmospheric sound. Definitely not the conventional album of the ’80s.
So I’ve just discovered vodpod and added the widget to the blog, see right! I think this will come in very handy, I will update it regularly with my favourite tracks.
January 1973 : Aerosmith (Self-titled)
Over the years Aerosmith have produced hit after hit with some fantastic albums and while not their best, “Aerosmith” is quite good. This is a straight up rock record pure and simple, it was just the right platform to kick off a blistering career for these four guys from Boston. The recording itself wasn’t flawless and Tyler’s trademark screech was quite a way from being perfected but it was raw and full of energy. It opens with the catchy “Make It”, then of course there’s the well known “Dream On”, one of the first ever power ballads, not to mention “Mama Kin”, probably the best track on the album, truly classic rock and roll. The record finishes with a cover of a particular favourite of mine, “Walking The Dog” by Rufus Thomas.