Tag Archives: Pink Floyd

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!

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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”.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

I’m Back In The Ring To Take Another Swing

Yes I am back. I have decided to finally post something in my on-again off-again blog. Thanks to those that follow the blog for waiting so long. I’ve deliberately chosen a quote from AC/DC’s classic You Shook Me All Night Long as the title for this post as I believe it sums it up really well. As 2014 has just drawn closed it is timely to reflect on older artists releasing new recordings throughout the year.

I recently did a 2014 Year in Review Special on my community radio program, The Sunday Smorgasbord. The playlist for that program is available at this URL, 7tyg.radiopages.info/the-sunday-smorgasboard/2015-01-04. Although it featured new releases from a diversity of artists here are some of those released by older artists. Some making a return to recording after many years in the wilderness, so to speak.

In January Bruce Springsteen released High Hopes as he continues in one of the most prolific periods of his career. High Hopes is his eighth studio album this century. The real surprise in January was the release of Croz, by David Crosby, his first studio album in twenty years!

David Crosby's "Croz" released January 2014

David Crosby’s “Croz” released January 2014

February saw the release of Paul Rodgers’ studio album The Royal Sessions, a collection of Blues, R&B and Soul covers and his first studio album since 2000. Also returning to the music racks in February after an 18 year absence was none other than Neneh Cherry, with her fourth studio album, Blank Project.

Neneh Cherry's first studio album in eighteen years, Blank Project.

Neneh Cherry’s first studio album in eighteen years, Blank Project.

Mike Oldfield chalked up his twenty-fifth studio album in March with Man On The Rocks. It was his first entirely song-based album with no long instrumental passages since 1989’s Earth Moving.

Mike Oldfield's 25th album - Man On The Rocks

Mike Oldfield’s 25th album – Man On The Rocks

In April Australian singer-songwriter Russell Morris released his second album in as many years with Van Diemen’s Land. Blues journeyman Robert Cray also churned out yet another studio album in April with In My Soul, his seventh since 2001. He has also released two live albums in this period.

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Blondie released their second studio album in five years in May with Ghosts Of Download. It was made available with Blondie 4(0) Ever, a compilation of re-recordings of their biggest hits for their fortieth anniversary.

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Scottish rockers Nazareth released their twenty-third studio album in June. It was the last with singer Dan McCafferty, who left before the album’s release. It was called Rock ‘N’ Roll Telephone.

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July saw the release of a new studio album from Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers with Hypnotic Eye. Judas Priest dropped Redeemer Of Souls in July, their first without founding guitarist K.K. Downing. July also saw Weird Al Yankovic release his first number one album, despite his long career, with Mandatory Fun. Choosing to not release a single, but eight music videos simultaneously instead, obviously helped.

Weird Al Yankovic's Mandatory Fun

Weird Al Yankovic’s Mandatory Fun

Ace Frehley left KISS with the intention of kicking off his solo career. He left the band in 1982 yet August 2014 saw the release of only his fifth studio album since his departure, with the suitably titled, Space Invader.

Ace Frehley's Space Invader released in August 2014

Ace Frehley’s Space Invader released in August 2014

September saw new releases from music industry stalwarts U2 (Songs Of innocence) and Robert Plant (Lullaby … And The Ceaseless Roar). September also saw the welcome return of Canada’s The Tea Party releasing their first studio album for a decade, The Ocean At The End.

Canadian rockers The Tea Party return with The Ocean At The End

Canadian rockers The Tea Party return with The Ocean At The End

Returning in October with his trademark sneer and legendary guitarist foil, Steve Stevens, was none other than Mr William Broad, better known as Billy Idol. His latest album is almost semi-autobiographical in places, particularly on the title track, Kings & Queens Of The Underground.

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November was the month for the return of two industry giants. The first being the band mentioned at the start of this post, AC/DC. They released Rock Or Bust, the follow-up to Black Ice, sadly without founding brother Malcolm Young’s involvement due to illness. Somehow between recording and releasing the album they also seem to have left drummer Phil Rudd behind too, although I am sure that is for entirely different reasons. The one that pundits like me were most hanging out for was the new Pink Floyd album, The Endless River. Predominantly instrumental and recorded during sessions for 1994’s The Division Bell, it was a fitting swan song and a memorial to late keyboardist, Rick Wright.

The Endless River - released by Pink Floyd in November 2014

The Endless River – released by Pink Floyd in November 2014

In December legendary Australian musician Paul Kelly released his album, The Merri Soul Sessions. Some of the material was originally released on four double A-sided 7″ vinyl singles throughout 2014. The work is largely a collaboration with different vocalists chosen to suit the various tracks. Vocalists on the album include Vika & Linda Bull, Dan Sultan, Clairy Browne, Kira Piru and of course the man himself.

Paul Kelly presents The Merri Soul Sessions

Paul Kelly presents The Merri Soul Sessions

All in all a very productive year for older musicians with some still going strong, others returning to form and some just basking in their glory days. To quote Molly Meldrum, “do yourselves a favour” and get hold of some of these albums. Your ears will thank you.