Category Archives: Waffle

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

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).

The Small Screen In Music

Often successful television shows spawn successful hit singles from their theme songs. This post is not about any of them. This is about television programs mentioned in the lyrics of songs. It was most popular during the eighties decade but began much earlier.

One of the earliest examples is of course The Beatles. They released the track “Good Morning Good Morning” on their revered 1967 album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. In the lyrics it mentions the program Meet The Wife as suitable tea time fare. The program was a BBC sitcom that ran from 1963-1966.

beatles

The Beatles enjoyed British sitcoms at tea time

In 1970, a mere three days before her death, Janis Joplin recorded her a capella track “Mercedes Benz”. In it she asks for a colour TV, as she thinks Dialing For Dollars is trying to find her. Dialing For Dollars was a syndicated Milwaukee television game show that ran from 1967-1980. Hosts Howard and Rosemary Gernette, would announce a password to the audience at the beginning of the show and then randomly pick a phone number from those sent in by viewers, and call it. If the person answering the call knew the password, they would win the cash prize.

joplin

Janis Joplin tried to win cash by watching TV

In 1978 Kate Bush released “Wow” on her album Lionheart. It was released as the second single from the album in early 1979. Kate lamented one of the song’s protagonists acting skills by stating “he’ll never make The Sweeney“. The Sweeney was a very popular fictional police show in Britain made by Thames Television which ran from 1975-1978.

kate bush

Fan of The Sweeney, Kate Bush

Ramones decided to go the whole hog and namedropped several music television shows during the song, “Do You Remember Rock ‘N’ Roll Radio?” in 1980 from their album End Of The Century. These included Shindig!, Upbeat, Hullabaloo and the Ed Sullivan Show, all of which were successful music programs from the 1960s.

Ramones

60s pop lovers, Ramones

Billy Joel released “Pressure” as a single from his 1982 album, The Nylon Curtain. In it he asks the question, “Sesame Street, what does it mean?”. According to Billy, as with everything else in the song, it means pressure! Long-running children’s show Sesame Street has been airing since 1969.

Joel_and_matlin_l

Billy on the Sesame Street set with Marlee Matlin

In 1986 the late Prince Rogers Nelson sang “You don’t have to watch Dynasty to have an attitude” in his song “Kiss”. Dynasty ran for 9 seasons from 1981-1989 and starred Joan Collins, John Forsythe and Linda Evans.

prince

The late Prince, Joan Collins fan?

Was (Not Was) released “Walk The Dinosaur” as a single from their album What Up, Dog? in 1988. Miami Vice was watched by the singer as “I felt a little tired”. Maybe Miami Vice wakes you up with its exciting story lines or Don Johnson’s acting chops? It screened from 1984-1990 which was way longer than I remembered.

kinopoisk.ru

Don Johnson fan club members, Was (Not Was)

Barenaked Ladies revealed their love of “The Smoking Man” character from The X-Files during their song, “One Week”, released in 1998. Most fans liked either Mulder or Scully, so its an unusual choice.

barenaked ladies

Barenaked Ladies, looking out for the Smoking Man

Another act not content with only referring to one television program is Gym Class Heroes. During their song “Guilty As Charged”, from 2008, they refer to both Judge Judy and a character from the police drama, The Wire. The Wire, which examined the Baltimore drug scene, ran for 5 seasons between 2002 and 2008 and Judge Judy is still on air after first commencing broadcast in 1996.

gym class heroes

Gym Class Heroes, fearing Judy’s judgement

 

 

 

 

So Long S’Long Song

When I first commenced my radio program, The Sunday Smorgasbord, it was “our” not “my”. I originally had a co-host who stuck with me for a couple of years and for that, Mark “Knackers” Corlett, I thank you. Since going out on my own I’ve found I like not having too much of a blueprint before I enter the studio. I tend to just “wing it” on the night with the intent to mix it up as much as possible and only have about half a dozen songs in mind for a two-hour show. I know, crazy right?

Over the years I have developed some regular segments whilst retaining my original intention of mainly “winging it”. The last couple of years or so I have ended my show with a segment I dubbed the S’Long Song. This was an opportunity to duck out early whilst playing lengthier tracks that wouldn’t often get an airing on radio. It was my way of saying “so long” each week. Of course some of the more obvious musical acts turn up when you intentionally pick performances longer than 10 minutes. Pink Floyd being the most obvious.

pink floyd

Pink Floyd, not scared of the odd lengthy track

With tracks like “Rime Of The Ancient Mariner” from 1984’s Powerslave album, “Isle Of Avalon” from 2010’s The Final Frontier and the epic “Empire Of The Clouds” from last year’s The Book Of Souls, Iron Maiden were also an obvious choice.

Iron-Maiden

The kings of epic metal tracks, Iron Maiden

Other obvious acts you would expect to hear epic tracks from also turned up such as Led Zeppelin, Meat Loaf, Deep Purple, Dream Theater, The Doors, Therion, Neil Young, Nightwish and King Crimson. What I found interesting was some of the less likely artists that also released lengthier tracks. These included Gillian Welch, Boz Scaggs, Eagles and Chuck Berry!

chuck

Concerto B. Goode anyone?

Seeking out new lengthier tracks also provided me the opportunity to hear artists I hadn’t heard before, or in some cases, artists I’d never even heard of. These included Roy Harper, Titus Andronicus, The Seeds, Comus and Chantel McGregor.

chantel

A happy discovery, singer-songwriter-guitarist Chantel McGregor

This Sunday night’s show, 29 May 2016, will be the last to feature the S’Long Song segment. I will introduce a new segment to end my show the following week. If you’re interested you can tune in to The Sunday Smorgasbord Sunday nights from 8pm on 98.9 TYGA FM here in the Derwent Valley, Tasmania, stream online from our website at http://www.tygafm.org.au or listen on your mobile device with the TuneIn app.

In me-Moore-iam

gary-moore-04

Legendary Irish guitarist Gary Moore

Often, people are remembered on the anniversary of their death. In the case of musicians, I’m more likely to think of them when I hear their music. I was reminded of just how great a performer Gary Moore was, after playing a track on my radio show last weekend.

He started his career with a band called Skid Row where he first met a young Phil Lynott. He would go on to have an on again-off again relationship with Lynott’s band Thin Lizzy during the 1970s. However, he only appeared on one studio album as a fully-fledged member of the band, the magnificent Black Rose from 1979.

black rose

The classic Thin Lizzy album, 1979’s Black Rose

I can’t remember when I first heard Gary Moore solo but I remember obtaining his 1985 album, Run For Cover,on vinyl based on the strength of the single he performed with Phil Lynott, “Out In The Fields”. I wasn’t disappointed.

run for cover

Run For Cover released in 1985

He was a very technically gifted guitarist and during his early solo albums he concentrated on a hard rock sound. He had success in the UK, and to a lesser extent in Australia, but he was idolised in Japan. He released a live album recorded in Japan in 1983 and seven studio albums during the course of the eighties. The most successful of these was 1987’s Wild Frontier and featured a cover version of the Easybeats track, “Friday On My Mind”.

Wild Frontier

1987’s Wild Frontier

In the 1990s he reinvented himself as bluesman, by returning to the kind of music that inspired him in his youth. “Still Got The Blues”, released in 1990, turned out to be the most successful album of his career and featured two legendary bluesmen in Albert King and Albert Collins.

still got the blues

Still Got The Blues released in 1990

His next studio album, After Hours,  featured another blues legend in B.B. King before he formed a supergroup of sorts, with Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker of Cream fame. They called themselves BBM (Bruce-Baker-Moore) and released one album, Around The Next Dream in 1994.

bbm

1994’s Around The Next Dream by BBM

Moore would return to the blues on his tribute album to Peter Green, Blues For Greeny, released in 1995. Peter Green, founding guitarist of Fleetwood Mac, was an idol of Moore’s and he had sold Moore his 1959 Gibson Les Paul after Moore got to play support for Green with his first band, Skid Row. Blues For Greeny was recorded using that very same guitar on material composed by Green and originally recorded during his tenures with Fleetwood Mac and John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers.

blues for greeny

Blues For Greeny released in 1995

Moore then chose to modernise his sound on his next studio album, the excellent Dark Days In Paradise, released in 1997.

dark days

1997’s Dark Days In Paradise

In the 21st century Moore once again focused on the blues, releasing another five studio blues albums between 2001 and 2008.

If you’ve never considered owning any of his albums there are plenty of compilations available for you to sample his wares, or you could dive right in with both feet and get hold of some of the albums featured in this blog post.

What better way to remember a musician then by playing their material?

Fifties Guitar Masters

The 1950s was a time of upheaval in the music world with the development of electric blues leading to the birth of rock ‘n’ roll, groundbreaking recording techniques, studio equipment and effects pedals and the like. This blog post aims to briefly examine just some of the guitarists whose work made a large impression on other musicians, and in turn, popular culture.

Muddy Waters

Muddy Waters

No examination of guitarists in the 1950s  can ignore the plethora of talented blues guitarists. Although Muddy Waters first began recording in the 1940s it is his work when joining the Chess record label in Chicago in 1950 for which he is most remembered. His use of amplification was also said to be hugely influential on other guitarists and was essential in the development of rock ‘n’ roll. His band members have included a variety of famous bluesmen particularly during his time with Chess.

Choice Pick: check out his “Rollin’ Stone” from February 1950

Les Paul

Les Paul

Les was a guitarist capable of playing jazz, blues, country and rock ‘n’ roll. He was also an inventor, songwriter and an innovator in studio techniques such as overdubbing, multitrack recording and the use of phasing effects.

Choice Pick: His work with Mary Ford is a career highlight particularly “How High The Moon” from January 1951.

Chet Atkins

Chet Atkins

Chet Atkins is a key proponent of the fingerpicking guitar style and his work has influenced many, most notably Mark Knopfler. His music played an important part in developing a smoother country style that came to be known as the Nashville sound and helped bring country music to a wider pop audience.

Choice Pick:Galloping On The Guitar” released in January 1953 is a good place to start.

Scotty Moore

Scotty Moore (with some other chap called Elvis or something)

Scotty Moore made a name for himself as part of Elvis Presley’s band for many years was a key player in his sound. His pioneering rockabilly style was a key influence on musicians such as Bruce Springsteen, Keith Richards and Jimmy Page, to name just a few.

Choice Pick: It’s hard to go past their Sun debut together on the Presley version of “That’s All Right” released in July 1954.

Chuck Berry

Chuck Berry

Chuck Berry chalked up numerous hit singles all of which feature his signature guitar style. However, upon closer examination you could almost credit pianist Johnnie Johnson for his sound, as Chuck’s licks appear to mimic Johnnie’s piano lines.

Choice Pick: The debut single “Maybellene“, originally released in July 1955, is a classic example of the style Chuck would use throughout his entire career.

bo diddley

Bo Diddley

Bo Diddley not only created his first guitar himself out of an old cigar box, but he also designed numerous others throughout his career. He also developed a signature beat and used it often in his songs, which in turn has also been used often in other people’s songs.

Choice Pick: One of my favourite tracks from Bo, and a good one for any casual fan to start with, would have to be “Who Do You Love?” released in March 1956.

Hubert Sumlin

Hubert Sumlin

Hubert’s guitar prowess quickly earned him a place in Howlin’ Wolf’s band after Wolf convinced him to move from Memphis to Chicago in 1954. He remained in his band for the majority of his career from that time on.

Choice Pick: If you haven’t heard it before get hold of the definitive Howlin’ Wolf track “Smokestack Lightnin’” to demonstrate Sumlin’s skills.

b b king

B.B. King

Riley “Blues Boy” King was fortunate enough to have Bukka White as a second cousin, who no doubt taught King a thing or two and is alleged to have given him his first guitar. No one plays like B.B. and he never taught himself chords. Yet he still managed to have a career that spanned six decades.

Choice Pick: There are so many to choose from, but his treatment of “Sweet Little Angel” from August 1956 is well worth tracking down.

Link Wray

Link Wray

Link’s work was built around his distorted guitar sounds and he is credited with the popularisation of the power chord. He is often credited with paving the way for punk and hard rock due to the sounds he was able to wrangle out of his guitar and amp.

Choice Pick: His debut single with his Ray Men, “Rumble“, released in April 1958, changed the musical landscape forever!

Duane Eddy

Duane Eddy

Eddy developed a “twangy” sound by playing on his guitar’s bass strings to produce a low, reverberant sound. This became his signature sound and was used throughout his career. Check out his album discography and you will find the word “twang”, or its derivatives feature most prominently in many of the titles.

Choice Pick: His second single, and one of his biggest hits, “Rebel Rouser” from May 1958, is an excellent example of his “twangy” sound.

Albums of the Month

It’s now been just over 12 months since I commenced my feature “Albums of the Month” on my community radio program The Sunday Smorgasbord as heard on TYGA FM. The idea behind the feature was to provide listeners with several tracks from one of my favourite albums each month with the aim of giving a better indication of what an album is like. Hopefully those liking what they have heard would then obtain the album for themselves. It harks back to why I got involved in community radio in the first place. To share my music with others. I felt I had no choice but to begin with one of my favourite albums of all time, Layla And Other Assorted Love Songs by Derek and the Dominos.

A personal favourite, Layla And Other Assorted Love Songs released by Derek & The Dominos in 1970.

A personal favourite,
Layla And Other Assorted Love Songs
released by Derek & The Dominos in 1970.

I’ve always been a big fan and supporter of Australian music so I’ve made certain to include some classic Australian albums as well, not just those from international artists.

INXS's Shabooh Shoobah, released in 1982.

INXS’s Shabooh Shoobah,
released in 1982.

Each of the albums I feature also have to have resonated with me on some level in the first place. In some cases I can even remember the circumstances of where and when I first heard them. There is only ever one first listen.

The 1971 album from the Stones, the seminal Sticky Fingers

The 1971 album from the Stones,
the seminal Sticky Fingers

Australia’s musical landscape has always heavily featured both US & UK artists, as well as our own, so it was inevitable that my “Albums of the Month” would too.

Cold Chisel's 1982 album, Circus Animals

Cold Chisel’s 1982 album,
Circus Animals

The classic Darkness On The Edge Of Town, released by The Boss in 1978

The classic Darkness On The Edge Of Town,
released by The Boss in 1978

I’ve always believed that most music-lovers like to hear a little bit of everything, the whole modus operandi of my radio program. I always advise listeners if they don’t like what’s playing, just wait five minutes, because the next one will be different. Hopefully, over time, the artists I’ve featured in my “Albums of the Month” will also illustrate the diversity of my taste.

Human Frailty, a classic Hunters & Collectors album, released in 1986.

Human Frailty, a classic
Hunters & Collectors album,
released in 1986.

Blood Sugar Sex Magick, the 1991 album from the Red Hot Chili Peppers

Blood Sugar Sex Magick,
the 1991 album from the
Red Hot Chili Peppers

I’ve also tried to feature albums from different eras and different genres. But ultimately we are limited by our own experiences. Some albums featured will be ones I grew up with, whilst others I will have discovered later in life due to either their release date or when I eventually became aware of them.

Daisies of the Galaxy, an album released in 2000 by Eels

Daisies of the Galaxy,
an album released in 2000 by Eels

When January rolls around my first show of the year always features my favourite music released in the previous 12 months. I call it my “Year In Review Special”. Consequently I decided to make the January album of the month my favourite one released the previous year. For 2014 that was the one released by Slash featuring Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators.

World On Fire from Slash, featuring Myles Kennedy & The Conspirators. My pick of 2014.

World On Fire from Slash,
featuring Myles Kennedy
& The Conspirators.
My pick of 2014.

I can remember some Regurgitator fans being disappointed with their change in sound on their second album. The band embraced their reaction in advance kicking off the album with the hilarious I Like Your Old Stuff Better Than Your New Stuff. Personally, I thought Unit was brilliant.

Regurgitator's second album, Unit, released in 1997.

Regurgitator’s second album, Unit,
released in 1997.

Some albums also indicate a change in direction for an artist or hint what is about to come. Hunky Dory did this brilliantly, bringing together the musicians that would become The Spiders From Mars as well as demonstrating that David Bowie’s songwriting had reached another level since The Man Who Sold The World album.

The album that culminated in the formation of The Spiders From Mars, David Bowie's Hunky Dory released in 1971.

The album that culminated
in the formation of
The Spiders From Mars,
David Bowie’s Hunky Dory
released in 1971.

This brings me to this month’s “Album of the Month” from Queen. Although they would release another two studio albums before his death, A Kind Of Magic would be the last studio album to be accompanied by a tour from the Freddie Mercury era of the band. The tour ended up leading to some of their finest live performances, none better than their performance at Knebworth, thankfully captured on film for posterity.

A Kind Of Magic by Queen, the unofficial Highlander soundtrack, released in 1986

A Kind Of Magic by Queen,
the unofficial Highlander soundtrack,
released in 1986

So there we have a baker’s dozen of albums I’ve featured on the program. So to quote Molly Meldrum, “Do yourself a favour”, add some of these to your music collection, you won’t regret it.

Don’t forget you can listen to my program 8pm Sunday nights on 98.9 TYGA FM here in the beautiful Derwent Valley, stream online at http://www.tygafm.org.au or listen with your mobile device via the TuneIn app.