Author Archives: The Slabthrower

Top Ten Gigs

Over the last week or so I have attempted to write down a list of artists I have seen perform live. My memory is not what it used to be, but I managed to recollect over 140 gigs by more than 80 different artists. No wonder I suffer from tinnitus!

I decided I would list ten of my favourite live gigs and then realised how hard it would be to narrow it down to ten! Regardless, here is my attempt, but I made it easier on myself by listing them in no particular order.

B.B. King

B.B. King performing live December 12, 1989 in Paris.

I was fortunate enough to see B.B. King perform live at the Canberra Theatre on 7th February 1989. I was 20 years old. A colleague in his early 60s was there as were many young women and men in their late teens/early 20s. This was an eye-opener for me in that a musician could appeal to such a diverse audience. His performance was sublime and he was generous in his distribution of guitar picks to the crowd.

hunnas june 86

A promotional photo of Hunters & Collectors, June 1986.

Hunters & Collectors performed live at the ANU Bar, a venue that no longer exists, on 25th May 1986. I was under-age at the time but the people on the door at this gig weren’t overly vigilant on checking ID so luckily I managed to sneak in. A fantastic live performance from a band I would go on to see live another 6 times. They were ably supported by Cattletruck, a band I really enjoyed as well and I have their one and only album on CD these days, after originally owning it on cassette.

u2

Zoo TV was recorded live in Sydney in 1993 and I was there!

I grew up listening to U2’s music, and I found it enjoyable despite Bono’s over-the-top personality and ego. For me, it was always about the music. Getting to be there on the night they broadcast their Zoo TV gig around the world via satellite, 27th November 1993, was a truly memorable experience.

Concert ad

I have been a Pink Floyd fan for decades and was grateful to have the chance to see him live on 10th February 2018 in Melbourne. It was a gig my brother-in-law quite rightly dubbed “an almost religious experience”, as we were treated to 4 or 5 from his latest solo album dispersed amongst classic Pink Floyd tracks.

springsteen

Bruce Springsteen, live in Sydney 2003.

I am grateful I got to see the classic lineup of the E Street band perform live on The Rising tour with Bruce Springsteen on 22nd March 2003. Particularly as saxophonist Clarence Clemons and organist Danny Federici have since died. The performance that night was electric, despite the power cutting out four times, and we got to see a show that ran for more than three and a half hours. Brilliant!

Kiss

KISS performing live on their reunion tour, 1997.

Getting to see the original lineup of KISS perform live on 6th February 1997 on the Reunion Tour was a life-long dream come true. I have seen them live a couple of times since, with varying lineups, but nothing compares to the original lineup, despite what Gene and Paul would have you believe.

Iron_Maiden

Iron Maiden live, 2011.

I have seen Iron Maiden live in concert three times. They were actually the first band I ever saw perform live! Their best performance, of the three, was at the Sydney Entertainment Centre on the Final Frontier Tour on 24th February, 2011. They were absolutely amazing and Eddie was in fine form too!

clapton

Eric Clapton live at the Royal Albert Hall in December 1990.

Another of my favourite artists of all time is Eric Clapton. I remember cueing up early to get tickets on the Saturday morning they went on sale, this was in the days before online booking. The line went back a block and a half and I got there two hours early! I had previously spent many hours sweet talking the sales person at the ticket outlet and had managed to reserve myself a concert poster. It still has pride of place in the hallway of my home. The gig date was 10 November 1990 at the Royal Theatre in Canberra and I didn’t get to see him live again for another 20+ years!

albert

The Master of the Telecaster, Albert Collins

I managed to see another blues legend live in concert at the Canberra Theatre on 7th September 1992. My hopes beforehand were very high in regard to the quality of his performance and needless to say, he exceeded my expectations. Infamous for his walks through the crowd with an exceedingly long guitar lead, Albert Collins did exactly that. I will never forget seeing the “Master of the Telecaster” live in concert. Phenomenal!

gabriel

Peter Gabriel performing live on the Secret World Tour

I was in Adelaide for the WOMADelaide festival of music and dance in 1993. On the Friday night, 19th February, I was witness to Peter Gabriel’s first ever live Australian performance. A rehearsal performance that went for over an hour, 24 hours ahead of the full performance on the Saturday night. It felt intimate, warm and just musically complete. The following night’s performance was equally as good. It was about 12 months later, 1st March 1994 to be precise, when I saw the same band perform at the Sydney Entertainment Centre with the full show as the multimedia experience it had become. Although still a great show, it was a completely different experience and I think I preferred the more intimate WOMADelaide gigs. The whole WOMADelaide expperience was wonderful and Peter Gabriel was one of many fantastic acts I saw perform during the festival.

Well that’s ten of my favourites, but I’m sure if you asked me another time I’d probably think of a different ten!

 

 

 

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21st Century Guitar Masters

After a long hiatus I have returned to post my list of guitar masters of the new millenium. As with previous blog posts of different eras there are many that have been omitted as I have limited myself to only ten in no particular order.

Emppu

Emppu Vuorinen, founding Nightwish guitarist live in action.

Nightwish remain one of my favourite bands despite now featuring its third lead singer. But founding guitarist Emppu Vuorinen, has been there through all of the band’s incarnations and remains an integral part of their sound. Although primarily focusing on rhythm parts he has contributed many melodic solos to Nightwish tracks.

Choice Pick: For me, it has to be “Dead Gardens” from their 2004 album Once, the last studio album to feature original lead singer Tarja Turunen.

bellamy

Lead vocalist, principal songwriter and guitarist extraordinaire for Muse, Matt Bellamy

Anyone who cites Jimi Hendrix and Tom Morello as influences is always going to be prepared to be less conventional than other guitarists. Not scared to use effects to make his guitar sound more “electronic” is evidence of his eccentric nature.

Choice Pick: I could have chosen any number of tracks but I have always had a soft spot for “Knights Of Cydonia” from Muse’s fourth album, Black Holes & Revelations.

trucks

Derek Trucks in full slide playing glory with the Tedeschi Trucks Band

Derek Trucks, nephew of Allman Brothers Band drummer Butch Trucks, has had both the skill and good fortune to enable him to play with the likes of Eric Clapton, Buddy Guy, Herbie Hancock and in his uncle’s band too. He recorded seven studio albums with his own band before merging it with his wife’s band to become the Tedeschi Trucks Band.

Choice Pick: His sublime playing on “Midnight In Harlem” from the 2012 live album Everybody’s Talkin’.

Orianthi

Australia’s own virtuoso guitarist, Orianthi

Orianthi moved from acoustic to electric guitar at 11, played for Steve Vai at 15 and jammed with Carlos Santana at 18.  Not a bad pedigree for someone still in her teens! She then went on to commence her solo career, play with Carrie Underwood, Michael Jackson and Alice Cooper. Now in her early 30s, it will be interesting to see how her career continues to develop.

Choice Pick: “Highly Strung”, an instrumental piece performed with Steve Vai from her 2009 album, Believe.

clark

Capable of fusing blues, rock and hip-hop – Texan Gary Clark Jr.

Gary Clark Jr has shared the stage with B.B. King, Eric Clapton and the Rolling Stones. Unsurprisingly, he has also won a Grammy for Best Traditional R&B performance in 2014 after having received a nomination for Best Rock Song the previous year. While players like him still exist, the blues will continue to thrive.

Choice Pick: Released on his 2015 album The Story Of Sonny Boy Slim, my pick would have to be “Grinder”.

tremonti

Lead guitarist with Creed and Alter Bridge and his own band too, Mark Tremonti

I was never a fan of Creed. Most likely due to not liking the lead singer’s voice, song lyrics and his on and off stage persona. The same band with a different singer in Myles Kennedy, is an entirely different beast. I love Alter Bridge and Tremonti’s guitar playing is a contributing factor. His own band, Tremonti, aren’t difficult to listen to either.

Choice Pick: The undeniably brilliant title track from Alter Bridge, 2007’s “Blackbird”.

stockdale

Wolfmother guitarist Andrew Stockdale. Australia’s Ritchie Blackmore?

When Wolfmother came to prominence in 2005, many pundits made comparisons to Deep Purple and Black Sabbath, often in a disparaging way. Personally, I believe most musicians are a sum of their influences so I found them a breath of fresh air on the Australian music landscape at the time.

Choice Pick: “Joker & The Thief”, from their 2005 debut album.

homme

Queens Of The Stone Age founder and guitarist, Josh Homme

Josh Homme has quite an extensive body of work having commenced recording at 16 with Kyuss. He has also recorded with Queens Of The Stone Age, Iggy Pop, Eagles Of Death Metal and the supergroup, Them Crooked Vultures. I personally found it quite amusing to see such a large man sharing the stage with someone as diminutive as Iggy Pop.

Choice Pick: With such a diverse range of tracks to choose from it was a difficult choice, but I had to go with Them Crooked Vultures and “Bandoliers”.

bonamassa

Prolific guitarist and live performer, Joe Bonamassa

Bonamassa is something of a child prodigy having opened for B.B.King when he was 12. He is also incredibly prolific. Since 2000 he has released 12 solo studio albums, 16 live albums, three studio collaborations with singer Beth Hart and four studio albums with supergroup Black Country Communion. You do the math!

Choice Pick: Black Country Communion’s signature tune, “Black Country”.

white

Jack White in full flight

Jack White’s unique guitar stylings were what drove the success of his band, The White Stripes. He has also been quite prolific having recorded six albums with his former band, two with the Raconteurs, three with the Dead Weather and three solo albums.

Choice Pick: “Seven Nation Army”, from the studio album Elephant, released by The White Stripes in 2003.

 

 

Nineties Guitar Masters

Another of those difficult lists where you leave off many great musicians but I only limit myself to ten and in no particular order. Except this time I am going to start with a few who narrowly missed out on the eighties list.

moore

Blues-rocker Gary Moore doing what he does best

Gary Moore blew me away from the first time I heard him play. A case could be made for him to have appeared on either the seventies or eighties list but I decided to deposit him here. This is because in 1990 he released the most successful album of his career in Still Got The Blues. Featuring the likes of Albert King, George Harrison and Albert Collins, this album is predominantly a bunch of blues covers with some originals thrown in for good measure and is still well worth a listen today.

Choice Pick: The classic title track “Still Got The Blues”

vai

Vai holding a guitar that he can undoubtedly play

Steve Vai did make a name for himself in the eighties playing with Frank Zappa, Alcatrazz and David Lee Roth and releasing his debut studio album, the inventive mess that was Flex-Able. But when he released his second studio album in 1990, Passion and Warfare, he really took the world by storm.

Choice Pick: “The Audience Is Listening” from Passion and Warfare.

hammett

Metallica axeman and former Satriani student, Kirk Hammett

Although Metallica had success in the eighties they conquered the world in the nineties becoming one of the decade’s most successful bands. The eponymous fifth album, known simply as “the black album” was enormously successful.

Choice Pick: The epic riffery of their successful single “Enter Sandman” is hard to go past.

frusciante

Red Hot Chili Pepper, John Frusciante

John Frusciante’s guitar work became integral to the successful sound of the Red Hot Chili Peppers as is evidenced not only by the success of the seminal nineties album, Blood Sugar Sex Magik, but also by their renewed success upon his return to the band after a five year hiatus in 1999.

Choice Pick: Absolutely anything off 1991’s Blood Sugar Sex Majik or 1999’s Californication

jones

Tool’s Adam Jones

Tool are one of my favourite band’s ever, largely due to the virtuoso skills of drummer Danny Carey and guitarist Adam Jones. The riffs and licks from Jones and the metronomic playing of Carey led to the band being described as math rock in some circles.

Choice Pick: “Forty-Six & 2” from their 1996 album, Ænima

yeomans

Quan Yeomans, front man for Regurgitator

Australian music in the nineties would have been a lot more boring without the Gurge! Quan’s singing, guitar playing and songwriting are all key elements of Regurgitator’s sound and the way they virtually reinvent themselves each album has made their career interesting.

Choice Pick: “! (The Song Formerly Known As)” from the 1997 album, Unit.

greenwood

Radiohead’s inventive guitarist, Jonny Greenwood

Jonny Greenwood’s guitar playing could only be described as inventive and intriguing and as a player he is clearly determined to achieve success on his own terms without compromise. OK Computer is one of the most pivotal albums of the nineties and Jonny’s playing is definitely a contributing factor to its success.

Choice Pick: Check out “Paranoid Android” from OK Computer as a great taste of his unique style

morello

Rage Against The Machine’s Tom Morello

Tom Morello is yet another guitarist who’s playing could only be described as innovative. He’s been known to even tap the strings with an Allen Key to play slide. What a legend!

Choice Pick: Hard to go past my favourite Rage Against The Machine track, “Killing In The Name”, from their self-titled debut in 1992. If you have not heard this, make sure you track down the uncensored version otherwise you miss the whole point of the song!

reid

Living Colour’s Vernon Reid

Living Colour surprised everyone with the success of their debut album, Vivid, in 1988. But they weren’t one-trick ponies and really showed a diversity of styles on their follow-up, Time’s Up, in 1990. Their sound continued to evolve on 1993’s Stain before breaking up in the mid-nineties only to reform in 2000 and resume their career. A career built largely around Reid’s playing and Corey Glover’s vocal talents.

Choice Pick: The “Love Rears It’s Ugly Head (Soul Power Mix)” single reveals Reid’s mellower, funkier side.

thayil

Kim Thayil, lead guitarist with grunge exponents Soundgarden

Q: Where would Soundgarden be without the guitar talents of Kim Thayil?

A: Nowhere.

Despite the vocal talents of Chris Cornell and the other talented musicians in the band, it is Thayil’s riffery that defines them.

Choice Pick: “Spoonman” from 1994’s mega-successful Superunknown

Eighties Guitar Masters

Yep. Another blog post requiring difficult decisions. Please note there is no order of merit in this list.

thorogood

The man in front of the Delaware Destroyers – the inimitable George Thorogood

I remember being totally enamoured by his hit “Bad To The Bone” the instant I heard it. Even more so after seeing the music video with Bo Diddley. For my eighteenth birthday I received a copy of his album George Thorogood Live as a gift. I loved it. After realising most of the tracks were covers, I made it my mission to track down the original versions. So thanks to George I ended up discovering all these fantastic blues artists from the fifties and sixties.

Choice Pick: I’m still enamoured by 1982’s “Bad To The Bone”

satriani

Virtuoso guitarist and one-time guitar tutor, Joe Satriani

Any Satriani fan owes a debt to Steve Vai. When Steve Vai signed with a record label he asked them to check out his guitar teacher, leading to a recording contract for Satch as well. Aside from Vai, other former Satch students include Larry LaLonde from Primus and Testament’s Alex Skolnick. Apparently the last guitar lesson he gave, for the princely sum of $20, was to Metallica’s Kirk Hammett.

Choice Pick: Hard to go past 1987’s “Surfing With The Alien” 

gambale

Canberra export, Frank Gambale

Canberra-born jazz fusion guitarist Frank Gambale, remains largely unknown in his home country outside of jazz circles.Yet the twenty-album veteran is world renowned for his sweep picking and economy picking techniques. As well as a solo career he had a six year stint with the Chick Corea Elektric Band. Worth tracking him down if jazz fusion is your bag.

Choice Pick: “Credit Reference Blues” from his debut album, Brave New Guitar

knopfler

Fingerstyle guitarist, film composer and songwriter extraordinaire, Mark Knopfler

When Dire Straits burst onto the scene in the late seventies no one could have predicted how meteoric their rise would be. The 1985 album Brothers In Arms would be a massive worldwide success on the back of singles “Money For Nothing”, “Walk Of Life” and “So Far Away”. Mark has had a successful solo career since the demise of Dire Straits releasing solo albums and composing film soundtracks. I still think the album before Brothers In Arms, 1982’s Love Over Gold, is an absolute masterpiece, overshadowed by the success of its follow-up.

Choice Pick: The epic “Telegraph Road” from Love Over Gold

marr

Influential guitarist, Johnny Marr

Cutting his teeth co-writing and performing with Morrissey in The Smiths, Johnny Marr’s career has been as diverse as it has been influential. Since leaving The Smiths he has performed with The The, Electronic, Modest Mouse and Neil Finn’s 7 Worlds Collide project as well as releasing solo material.

Choice Pick: The eerie-sounding guitar work on “How Soon Is Now?” by The Smiths

moss

Guitarist with a penchant for playing barefoot, Ian Moss

Ian Moss has had a very successful career with Aussie legends Cold Chisel. Taking a break from music after the breakup of Cold Chisel in 1984, he returned with a vengeance in 1989 launching a successful solo career with his debut solo album, Matchbook. His playing was integral to Cold Chisel’s sound and this was once again evident after their reformation in 1998.

Choice Pick: The self-penned “Bow River” from the classic album Circus Animals

malmsteen

Swedish metal guitarist, Yngwie Malmsteen

Yngwie Malmsteen made an impact right off the bat, performing on albums with Steeler and Graham Bonnet’s Alcatrazz in 1983 when he was only 20 years of age. He released Rising Force the following year launching a solo career based around his neoclassical metal style of guitar playing. His playing has influenced many others since, but his own influences include Queen’s Brian May and 19th century composer Paganini.

vaughan

The late Stevie Ray Vaughan

Stevie Ray Vaughan, with his band Double Trouble, reinvigorated the blues rock scene in the eighties. His style was unique and heavily influential on his peers. He was much sought after as a session musician appearing on material by David Bowie, Jennifer Warnes and James Brown. He was also one of the few guitarists he could successfully cover Jimi Hendrix without sounding like a pale imitation.

Choice Pick: “Cold Shot” from 1984’s Couldn’t Stand The Weather

slash

Lead guitarist with Guns ‘N’ Roses, Slash

Guns ‘N’ Roses seemed to come out of nowhere in 1987. You can thank Saul Hudson, aka Slash, for the large part he played in their success. The sublime riff from “Sweet Child o’ Mine” contributed to high-rotation airplay on radios and televisions all around the world. The fact he has also had success with Slash’s Snakepit, Velvet Revolver and with his solo material, is testament to his talents.

Choice Pick: The aforementioned “Sweet Child o’ Mine” from Appetite For Destruction

the-edge

U2 guitarist, The Edge, aka David Evans

Never one to rest on his laurels, Irish guitarist The Edge, has kept himself busy outside of his work with U2 by contributing to various human rights and philanthropic causes, collaborating with other musicians and contributing to the soundtracks of theatre musicals. Despite all the musical style changes U2 has gone through over the years, The Edge’s playing has been continually at the core of their sound.

Choice Pick: “Sunday Bloody Sunday” from U2’s 1983 album, War

Seventies Guitar Masters

The hardest thing about these posts about guitar masters is limiting myself to only ten. I can pick my preferred ten and then easily pick another ten if required and each list would be equally noteworthy. So I just have to accept that some notable guitarists will be glaring omissions for some, including myself!

black-sabbath-011

Tony Iommi rocking out with Ozzy in the 70s

Tony Iommi’s guitar playing style and sound would help define heavy metal. Losing the tips of his middle and ring fingers on his right hand during a factory accident as a teenager affected his playing style and he is the only continual member of Black Sabbath throughout all its incarnations. Never did a guitar sound more ominous than in his hands.

Choice Pick: The 1970 album Paranoid is a master class in hard rock riffery and there is no better example than the classic “Fairies Wear Boots”.

blackmore

Ritchie Blackmore, lead guitarist of Deep Purple and Rainbow

Another guitarist that contributed to defining the sound of heavy metal was Deep Purple founding member, Ritchie Blackmore. He later left Deep Purple to form Rainbow then rejoined Deep Purple for a second stint. In recent years he has formed a folk-rock duo with his girlfriend Candice Night called Blackmore’s Night.

Choice Pick: Hard to go past the obvious “Smoke On The Water”, still being mastered by learner guitarists today.

bolin2

Underrated or forgotten by many, Tommy Bolin’s guitar playing was exceptional and well worth seeking out

Tommy Bolin replaced Ritchie Blackmore in Deep Purple in 1975 to form their much-maligned Mk III lineup. He had previously worked in bands Zephyr, Energy and The James Gang. Despite this impressive pedigree his most outstanding work is on his two solo albums. His debut Teaser, provided examples of the different styles he could play, and the second more cohesive album, Private Eyes, really showcased his development as both a guitarist and a songwriter. Sadly, he died of a drug overdose at a mere 25 years of age during the subsequent promotional tour.

Choice Pick: The 9 minute epic “Post Toastee” from Private Eyes.

gilmour

Pink Floyd’s lead guitarist, David Gilmour

Was there ever any doubt David Gilmour would turn up in this list? His playing is simply sublime and he was an integral part of Pink Floyd’s sound in the post-Syd Barrett era. His solo albums don’t quite reach the peak of his work with Pink Floyd yet they’re still worth a listen.

Choice Pick: Hard to limit myself to one outstanding track, but if forced I would have to choose “Comfortably Numb” from 1979’s The Wall.

townshend

The Who’s Pete Townshend in full flight

Although Pete Townshend kicked off his career in the sixties, for me his most stellar performances were in the seventies. Renowned for his unique windmill playing style, the rarity of playing solos, his propensity to jump in the air whilst playing and his obsession with rock operas, he is a guitarist like no other.

Choice Pick: “The Real Me” from the The Who’s second rock opera, the double album Quadrophenia released in 1973. In my opinion a superior work to the much more famous Tommy.

angus

AC/DC’s Angus Young

From his schoolboy appearance to his duck walks everyone knows Angus Young. His sound defines AC/DC’s sound along with the outstanding rhythm playing of his older brother Malcolm. Without him there would be no AC/DC.

Choice Pick: “Jailbreak” from their third Australian album Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap released in 1976.

duane_allman

Slide guitarist extraordinaire, Duane Allman

Although he died far too young, at age 24 in a motorcycle accident in 1971, he is still remembered as one of the greatest slide guitar players ever. His work with his brother Gregg and friends in the Allman Brothers helped define their sound. His performances with Eric Clapton as part of Derek and the Dominos were integral to the Layla And Other Assorted Love Songs album released in 1970.

Choice Pick: The Derek and the Dominos performance “Bell Bottom Blues” from the aforementioned album is impossible to ignore.

eddie_van_halen-650x400

Eddie Van Halen displaying his guitar prowess

Eddie Van Halen’s guitar playing blew everyone away when Van Halen’s debut eponymous album was released in 1978. It seems somewhat hard to believe now that Gene Simmons had trouble securing them a record deal with demos he had recorded for the band. I bet someone kicked themselves about not jumping on to that band wagon early enough.

Choice Pick: His exemplary skills are on full display during the short instrumental “Eruption” from their 1978 debut.

rory

Irish guitarist, Rory Gallagher

Rory Gallagher is one of Ireland’s most famous guitarists and deservedly so. After performing with power trio Taste, a band who supported both Cream and Blind Faith in their time, he commenced his solo career with the release of his first solo album in 1971. His solo career went on to last for nearly 25 years before his untimely death from complications after receiving a liver transplant in 1995.

Choice Pick: I’ve always been a big fan of “Tattoo’d Lady” from 1973’s Tattoo.

may

Co-founder and lead guitarist of Queen, Brian May

A technically gifted guitarist, Brian May is also renowned for his work outside music. He was awarded a CBE for his services to the music industry and charity work, attained a PhD in astrophysics, was a science team collaborator on NASA’s New Horizons Pluto mission and has an asteroid named after him. What a legend!

Choice Pick: The standout track from their debut album and Queen’s first single “Keep Yourself Alive”, released in 1973.

 

Sixties Guitar Masters

Welcome once more to my on-again off-again blog. Despite my best intentions to post more regularly, sometimes, sadly, life gets in the way. This post follows on from my post on Fifties Guitar Masters as we move on to the next decade.

The 1960s was a decade of unprecedented development in terms of recorded popular music and an era of constant change. Naturally this was a fertile breeding ground that created a whole new generation of innovative guitarists.

hank-marvin

Hank Marvin

Kicking off the 60s it would be hard to go past the legendary Hank Marvin. With The Shadows he virtually defined the sound of the guitar in the early part of the decade and was an inspiration to many who came after him.

Choice Pick: check out the international chart-topper “Apache” released in July 1960

jimi-hendrix-07

Jimi Hendrix

You couldn’t have a list of guitarists from the 1960s without including Jimi. Renowned for being so extraordinarily gifted that the guitar was considered an extension of his body, his recordings are as exemplary as they are limited. For a career so brief he certainly shone brightly.

Choice Pick: Hard to go past his cover version of  Bob Dylan’s “All Along The Watchtower”  originally released in September 1968. Even Mr Zimmerman considered it the definitive version of his tune.

eric_clapton_1966_large

Eric Clapton

The first of three incredible guitarists to have a stint in The Yardbirds, Eric Clapton’s career has been like no other. The amount of different genres he’s covered during his career combined with his longevity can only lead one to conclude that he is peerless. Just list the bands he’s been in and any one of them would look good on a guitarist’s c.v. The Yardbirds, John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers, Cream, Derek and the Dominos and his solo stuff too!

Choice Pick: For me his finest hour was the Derek and the Dominos period, but his solo on Cream’s live version of “Crossroads”, from 1968’s Wheels Of Fire, is one of the finest ever.

jeff-beck

Jeff Beck

The second Yardbirds guitarist to feature in this list and one who has a very unique playing style. From his faux-slide playing using only his hands and a whammy bar, to doing away with a pick sometime during the 1980s, he has certainly developed his own “signature sound” on more than one occasion.

Choice Pick: “Beck’s Bolero”, the B-side to his 1967 single “Hi Ho Silver Lining”, displays his talents exceptionally well. The recording featured the Who’s Keith Moon on drums and future Led Zeppelin members Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones.It was during the sessions for the tracks that would form Beck’s first solo album, Truth, that Page first heard the term “lead zeppelin”.

jimmy-page

Jimmy Page

Which brings us to Jimmy Page, the third of the guitarists from The Yardbirds to feature in this post. Page formed Led Zeppelin from the debris of The Yardbirds, even to the point of going out on their first tour as The New Yardbirds, to meet some outstanding contractual obligations.

Choice Pick: Hard to go past the blistering “Whole Lotta Love” from Led Zeppelin II, released in 1969.

peter-green

Peter Green

Clapton’s replacement in John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers came with a unique sound and style all his own. He also founded Fleetwood Mac by convincing first Mick Fleetwood, then John McVie, to join him. Sadly, his drug use caused many years of decline during the 70s and 80s, before returning in the 90s better, yet not quite what he was in his youth.

Choice Pick: His work on the John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers track, “The Super-Natural”, released on A Hard Road in 1968, is nothing short of spine-tingling.

frank-zappa

Frank Zappa

Q: Has their ever been a guitarist like Frank Zappa?

A: Yes, his name is Dweezil.

Choice Pick: Hard to go past the 1969 Mothers Of Invention single “My Guitar Wants To Kill Your Mama”.

keith

Keith Richards

Keith earns the nickname Keef Riffhard for a reason. His riffs are second to none. He’s been known to wake in the middle of the night, strum a riff into a tape recorder by the side of his bed, then roll over and go back to sleep. He then listens the next day to decide if the riff is a keeper or not. Its where the riff for “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” came from and many more.

Choice Pick: “Sympathy For The Devil” from 1968’s Beggars Banquet, the beginning of a four-album golden period, in my humble opinion.

santana

Carlos Santana

Carlos built a reputation for himself after his blistering performance with Santana at Woodstock in 1969. The unheard-of band were included as a favour to promoter Bill Graham, who insisted after being called in to help with logistics and planning for the event.

Choice Pick: “Soul Sacrifice” from debut album, Santana, released in 1969, is an excellent example of his work, although the studio version doesn’t capture the wild majesty of the Woodstock performance.

albert_king

Albert King

Albert King was blessed with two things. Precocious talent and the Stax house band, Booker T & the MGs. Recording together on his second studio album, his first for Stax, saw the creation of one of the definitive blues albums of the decade.

Choice Pick: “Born Under A Bad Sign”, the title track from the aforesaid album, released in 1967.

 

 

Albums Of The Month Part 2

I’m pleased about deciding to continue my “Album of the Month” feature on my radio program, The Sunday Smorgasbord. It enables me to play tracks from some of my favourite albums whilst discussing some useless trivia about the album and/or artists. Hopefully it will introduce listeners to something new or let them hear something they haven’t heard for a while. This post covers the second year of the feature.

01 Highway To Hell

AC/DC’s seminal 1979 album – Highway To Hell

I’ve intentionally used the image of  the original Australian pressing of AC/DC’s album Highway To Hell. I think the flames make all the difference in the world to the cover art and find the one used overseas and everywhere today to be rather drab by comparison.

02 Showdown!

The Grammy Award winning album Showdown! featuring Collins, Cray & Copeland

I always advise newcomers to the blues that if they only end up owning one blues album from the 1980s then Showdown! has to be it. The interplay between Albert Collins, Robert Cray and Johnny Copeland is just beautiful to hear.

03 Quadrophenia

The ultimate rock opera, the Who’s Quadrophenia

The Who’s album Tommy may be more famous and Who’s Next , comprising of tracks from their abandoned Lifehouse project, may contain some of their finest moments, but for me the quintessential rock opera is Quadrophenia. I love this album from start to finish (the only way to listen to it).

04 face to face

Face To Face, an essential album for fans of Aussie pub rock

Stalwarts of the Australian pub rock scene, the Angels, hit their straps fairly early on with their career-defining sophomore album, Face To Face, released in 1978.

05 mellon collie

The Smashing Pumpkins reached their peak with Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness

Many pundits will tell you that Nirvana’s Nevermind was the album of the 90s decade. Personally, I always found it a toss-up between Blood Sugar Sex Magik by the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, OK Computer by Radiohead and this masterpiece from the Smashing Pumpkins. To release a double album of this length which remains “all killer no filler” is an amazing achievement.

06 magic box

1967’s Magic Box from The Loved Ones

I was introduced to this album in the late 1980s after hearing two cover versions of their hit, “The Loved One”, by INXS. It’s hard to imagine now how successful these guys really were in their day despite the brevity of their career. The album was also one of Australia’s earliest to be released in stereo.

07 speaking in tongues

Speaking In Tongues, a classic album from Talking Heads

I think I’m showing my age with the amount of 1980s albums creeping in to my album of the month feature. I loved Talking Heads around this time and enjoyed a midnight screening session of their live concert film, Stop Making Sense, only a few years after this album.

08 ok computer

Radiohead’s finest moment, OK Computer

I still listen to this album today despite it now being 20 years old!

09 endless forms most beautiful

Endless Forms Most Beautiful from Finland’s Nightwish

My album of the year for 2015 was Nightwish’s Endless Forms Most Beautiful. If you have a thing for symphonic metal then you need this in your collection.

10 at last

Etta James released At Last! in 1960

Etta James released one the finest debut albums you will ever hear in November 1960. Worth owning if you don’t already!

11 days of innocence

Days Of innocence featuring the mawkish “What About Me?”

I adore this album despite absolutely detesting their hugely successful single from it, “What About Me?”. Proof that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

12 number of the beast

Iron Maiden introduces Bruce Dickinson as their new lead singer on 1982’s Number Of The Beast

I still consider Number Of The Beast one of Iron Maiden’s finest moments.

 

I think anyone who decides to go out and buy these “albums of the month” listed here, and those in my previous post on this topic, will certainly end up with an interesting music collection (in my humble opinion).