Thursday, March 31, 2011

just when you least expected

just when you'd given up all hope


!!!!!!Solos: the Return's Return!!!!!!

first some stragglers from the mailbox
then a few late-occurring from yours truly


Kevin Pearce shatters the ethnocentrism with these righteous suggestions which he says may trigger a smile or two for their sheer "showmanship and zest"

Derek Walmsley:

"1. Steve Harley And Cockney Rebel, "Come Up And See Me". This nylon string acoustic guitar solo is pure ecstasy, particularly the way half way in it almost seems to 'hear' the strings in the background and shiver. If anyone thinks that guitar solos are insular and masturbatory, this is just the opposite, each part of the music gives pleasure to the others. Did no-one mention this? If so I'm astonished.

"2. Frank Zappa, ""Son of Mr. Green Genes" (from Hot Rats). Again, almost orgasmic, in such a beautiful all-embracing way. Particularly around the four and then five minute mark, when it's almost as if Zappa is so amazed by how the solo has evolved like a free-flowing stream that he starts inserting high-up-the-neck squeals and whelps. It's like he can't believe the joy his hands are creating.

"3. Megadeth, "Hangar 18". No, look, seriously, dude. This fucking shreds. To be more precise, you can sense how all Mustaine's legendary frustration and arrogance is filtered into trying to out-Metallica Metallica with a series of absolutely absurd Eastern-influenced mini solos after the 3 minute mark. The licks are so fluid they're practically almost liquid. Astonishing."

Jon Dale:

"I am LOVING going back through the guitar solos posts but... BUT... Jonny Mugwump, mate - that solo in Talk Talk's "After The Flood" is a variophon, not a guitar!"

Paul Kennedy:
notes that in Top 100 Guitar Solo lists, it is surprising "how highly David Gilmour is rated - mostly for Comfortably Numb and Time. Never really thought of him in the same light as Page or Hendrix, but having listened again to those solos I can understand better now, he's not dextrously flash, but more about texture and tone of simple bluesy melodies. Many of my fave guitarists are also more about harmonic colour and textures/rhythms: John McGeoch, Bruce Gilbert, Barney Sumner, Vini Reilly, Fred Frith were probably some of my formative faves after the even earlier Page/Iommi/George Harrison/Steve Jones/Buck Dharma/Robert Fripp/Syd Barrett basics. Actually, besides The Beatles, the sidelong "Dazed And Confused" off Song Remains The Same was one of my most listened to tunes in my teens. That track is all about wringing varied eerie sounds (some would say masturbatory) out of the guitar!"

James Parker:

informs that over at Hilobrow he and his chum Tommy are investigating Angusonics
with a "a week-long focus on the great solos of angus young. the
idea is to combine hyperbolic rockcrit froth (me) with musicianly know-how
(him)" -- check out the series here

Samuel Macklin:

"I'm pretty sure The Fall haven't been mentioned [think you're wrong there actually Sam]. I nominate:

^^^Martin Bramah's duelling multi-tracked solos on "Music Scene"
^^^Steven Hanley's extraordinarily nimble fuzz-bass solo on "Lay of the Land"
^^^"Put Away" has a pretty good solo too. Not sure who plays it.

Giancarlo Turra:

"Pete Cosey and (forgot the name: Reggie?) Lucas of Miles Davis incendiary magmatic band of deep '70s: more than their trace in Robert Quine of Voidoids and D. Boon of minutemen (himself another great understated player).

"In the ‘90s Bernard Butler from Suede was a bright axemen and excellent arranger, obviously in the vein of his two mentors, whom he tried to fuse in himself (namely, Ronson and Marr…)

"Cool 50’s riffs: “Suzie-Q”, minimal American rock Creedence took note of.

"Historical tracking: Byrds and Butterfield raga-rock - Television, but purged by blues and the exaggeration of psychedelia (according to punk: “not a single note too much”).

"Fripp aural angular neurotica Vs. conventional blues-derived orgiastic erotica: Fripp on Bowie “Heroes” album (kraut to the nth degree, but…) and disciple Andy Belew on “The Great Curve”: more by this excellent guy (good in let the guitar sound like natural elements of animals!) on the double live “The name of this band is” (preferably the 2-cd expanded version: mind-blowing).

"Funky guys: Dennis Coffey, who’s back with a phenomenal album on Strut these days. He’s the man who introduced hard rock to Motown’s Norman Whitfield's productions: he played distortion, Echoplex and wah-wah on "Cloud Nine", "Ball of Confusion" and "Psychedelic Shack" by The Temptations; also on Edwin Starr's "War”. Clearly, he was from Detroit: where the 2 worlds lived and still live on parallel lines, i.e. the funk soul and the hard rock - Motown and MC5, with guys like Coffey and George Clinton (funkadelic had in line-up ace post-hendrixian Eddie Hazel, who sadly died young) acting as a bridge between the two worlds. Coffey blaxploitation rare groove track “Scorpio” was indeed heavily sampled in hip-hop: Double D & Steinski, Geto Boys, House Of Pain, LL Cool J, Mos Def, Public Enemy, Young MC, Queen Latifah etc. By Rage against the machine and Roni Size, even!

"I remember Levene talking about Steve Howe as one of his fave guitar players on a issue of “The Wire” in 2006, but couldn’t tell as it “wasn’t cool” during punk rock. I guess Johnny Marr took note of Levene sense for minimalism and repetition, joining it on the McGuinn jangle chassis in early Smiths (BUT: studio version of Still ill Vs. the Peel Session version: as a Byrds-ian wave thing Vs. Mersey beat similar treatment). Marr’s texture-delic work on “How Soon Is now” and the wah-wah of “Bigmouth strikes again” is also truly exceptional and rank among some of the best things Smiths ever did. Great influence of wah wah + funk on John Squire from Stone Roses, a guy (and a band) who started off greatly but then got stuck along the way.

"Other: Pops Staples - Ry Cooder, as for the use of slide guitar. If you check Staple Singers “Uncloudy Day”, you may expect Spiritualized analogue synths come up and wooossshhh their way on the scene…

"Always thought Tony Iommi better than Jimmy Page, at least for the fact that Page-y ripped off Wille Dixon, Muddy Waters, Spirit (see the arpeggio intro to Stairway to Heaven…), Bert Jansch (Black mountain side) and others…

"See also that Philips guy from Creation: “how does it feel to feel” sounds like Ride in ’67! Plus he played guitar with violin bow a year before Page… "

Graham Sanford:

had some late-breaking commentary here

and in response to my suggestions that "the black blues dudes would NEVER do--as per Allman Bros--an elongated jam that lasted both sides of an album's side, would they?"

says that's probably correct, but what about "the extended jam of the Chambers Brothers' "Time Has Come Today" (LP version.)" which is "solo/not-solo, morelike. Long jam -- lots of effects, percussion soaked down with a ton of reverb. But there's some guitar in it. Nothing complicated or baroque....but they did throw in a quick melodic quote from "The Little Drummer Boy"!"

Graham also touches on the subject of lead/rhythm hybrids (e.g. Wilko Johnson)and notes that in his book Midnight Lighting, Greg Tate points to "Hendrix's supreme ability to carry both rhythm and lead simultaneously. Apparently Hendrix'd always emphasize the importance of mastering rhythm and lead -- of not neglecting the former for the latter, since one fed off the other."

further to the subject of Jimi

Alberto Piccinini:

"it seems that nobody cites the guitar solo of jimi hendrix in "all along the watchtower", that is like a short enciclopedia of styles and guitar licks"

Piotrek Kowalczyk:

"something wonderful happens at 5.33 in Dungen's - Du E For Fin For Mig

Craig Allen:

"John McLaughlin - he's mentioned but only in passing -- a real heavyweight among guitar players no need to post, the jazz guys are a little off topic i guess, the
solo is the song

"George Benson is badass too but earlier the better, and he's done a
lot of chazz (cheesy jazz) and fuzack"

"i love zappa's playing. perfect combo of virtuosity and just going for
it, like mascis but mascis is just too good now imho"


and a final flourish from moi

Guitar Solos in Dance Tracks

Now I always remember the first guitar solo I really enjoyed as something by Jimi Hendrix -- "Purple Haze", I think it was-- which I heard in must have been 1983 -- I have a distinct and vivid memory of going beyond my usual parameters, into an unknown and (strange as it seems now) forbidden zone of voluptuous sonic excess... up until then solos had really been, for me, something you just waited until they were over and it got back to the real meat of the music

BUT thinking about it some more, I can recall, prior to the Jimi Epiphany,rather enjoying (while still feeling it was somewhat de trop and out of bounds for a proper postpunker like meself) the splurges of noisy lead action on these two songs that were tres hip in certain early Eighties quarters:

the guitar in "Wheel Me Out" is from the dude in MC5 right, Wayne Kramer? Who I once sat across a restaurant table from in Sao Paolo. Pleasant fellow. Don and David Was were old White Panther fellow traveler types I believe. One of the two had been a rock critic. But the guitar aspect on the record was encouraged, maybe even pushed, by Michael Zilkha, if memory serves: it was all part of the ZE Records philosophy of breaking the walls of generic convention. Inadvertently paving the way for "Beat It" and other black meets white, rock meets funk maximum-market-penetration movies. But then again, quite a few 70s disco records had guitar solos on them didn't they? Maybe not quite as noisy and shrill as Mr Kramer's offering here.

But then there is the rather excessive, Santana-scented solo-ing on this New York discofunk 12 inch that John Peel used to play the hell out of...

J.Walter Negro & The Loose Joints! Who the hell were, and where the hell are, they? Probably coming from roughly the same post-Rick James "punk-funk" / "street songs" zone as e.g. Prince Charles and the City Beat Band? But at the same time the vocal, while not quite rapping, felt a little hip hop. This was around the same time as "The Message".