Guitar Gods

Checking All The (Music) Boxes

This could go under Guitar Gods, Singer – Songwriters, or What’s Stuck In My Head.  This video checks all the good boxes on my theoretical checklists.

First, it’s one of my favorite Eric Clapton tunes that he co-wrote with Bonnie Bramlett, she being the Bonnie in Bonnie and Delany that Eric toured and recorded with.  Second, it has Peter Frampton who I’ve already featured on this here blog.  And lastly, it’s the Doobie Brothers without Michael McDonald.  I have nothing again Michael or his solo music, it’s just during his time with the Doobies, it didn’t come across right to me.  It was almost like the Doobies were his backup band.  But I do miss Jeff “Skunk” Baxter on guitar with the band.  I guess he’s too busy doing defense work now a days.

The song and its accompanying video were recorded virtually, with Frampton and every member of the Doobie Brothers contributing their parts remotely. “Let It Rain” is a perfect choice for the Doobies and Frampton, who add a little extra instrumental oomph — especially when Frampton and Tom Johnston start trading guitar solos — but otherwise remain faithful to the original’s cathartic pop-rock charms.

Johnston tells Rolling Stone how the collaboration came together, saying: “A couple of months ago, Peter and I were going over various tunes after deciding to do a song or video together. I tossed out ‘Let It Rain’ by Eric Clapton and he loved the idea. He’s a phenomenal guitarist and a fan of Clapton’s as am I, so it seemed a great idea to take to the rest of the guys. Peter, Pat, and I took verses and solos and John played some cool pedal steel and helped us put that together with Bill Payne on piano, John Cowan on bass, and Ed Toth on drums. Also Rob Arthur who did all the video work played B3. It was a team effort! We really enjoyed working together on this with Peter.”

https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-news/doobie-brothers-peter-frampton-eric-clapton-let-it-rain-cover-1081180/

Enjoy!

Peace,
B

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Skeeter’s Family

Guitar Gods – Chapter Five

Today’s featured guitarist will not be on a lot of folks’ radar, even if he did rank 28th on Rolling Stone’s 2003 list of “The 100 Greatest Guitarist of All Time” and then 47th on the 2011 list.  Not too shabby at all.

Mr. Stills has been around a while.  While known primarily for his work with Buffalo Springfield and the Crosby, Stills and Nash (with or without Young), he was part of the house band for the New York City club Café au Go Go, known as Au Go Singers.  While the groups name leaves some to be desired, the 9-part harmony was spot on.  At least that’s what I read; I was way to young to visit.  Plus, I lived several hundred miles away.

Since Stephen was a military brat (much like my boys) he travelled quite a bit as a youngster.  He spent several years in Florida and Central America.  You can tell he must have picked up his Spanish on the street and not in a class room by his basically unintelligible Spanish ramblings at the end of the CS&N hit “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes”.  Having grown up in Miami I had many native Spanish (Cuban) speaking friends.  Not a single one could figure out what he was saying.  They’d get words here and there, but nothing that really made any sense.

Stills has said that he intentionally made the final stanzas unexpected and difficult, even using a foreign language for the lyrics, “just to make sure nobody would understand it” (not even Spanish speaking people). 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suite:_Judy_Blue_Eyes

As much as CS&N or CSN&Y are a mainstay of my listening habit, Stills solo work can be just as good, and at times even better.  His eponymous titled first solo album features Eric Clapton and Jimi Hendrix, two other guitarists on this list of guitar gods.  It also had his biggest solo hit “Love The One You’re With”.  That track peak at 14 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1970.  His guitar can also be heard on Bill Withers major hit “Ain’t No Sunshine”.

I think my first remembrance of him doesn’t even feature his guitar.  It would have been with the Springfield and “For What It’s Worth”.  Neil Young played lead on that one.  I featured that song some time ago here

Stills is known for using the “Palmer modal tuning” when playing acoustic guitar.  I think I need to learn this method as he’s using it in the video below.  And this is one of his songs that I have tried to learn and could never get it even close.  I know he was using a different tuning than the standard tuning I was using, but still.  Palmer tuning has the guitar set to D A D F# A D (or E E E E B E according to some places), whereas standard tuning is E A D G B E.

Stills received an Honorary Doctorate in Music from the University of Florida in 2018.  I had heard that he was a political science student at UF but dropped out, but have not be able to verify that.

So here is Stills, solo, with 4+20.

Enjoy!

Peace,
B

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Skeeter’s Family

Guitar Gods – Chapter Four

Last night my dear older brother (whose birthday was Friday – so Happy Birthday again), texted me to go to you tube to listen to Europa by Santana.  He was impressed by the bass line.  Realizing that he was an amazing bass player in his day, but I wonder how he could avoid the absolute genesis of Carlos Santana.  I have written about this particular track some time ago, in Guitar Gods – Chapter One, so I guess it slipped his mind that I knew the song.

Over the course of the two hours or so we went back and forth via text (well I went on for two hours, he gave up about 90 minutes in) we talked many guitarists from Santana, where we started, to David Gilmore, Mark Knopfler, and Stephen Stills.  But these guys didn’t come up once until I stumbled on the video below.

Stevie Ray Vaughn is way up there on my guitar gods list.  As I’m sure I’ve mentioned before, son-the-younger was almost named for him.   Albert King, on the other hand, was not on the list.  But he is now.  I knew of Mr. King from the blues channels on Sirius.  But I thought he was, as a guitar player, of the B.B. King and Muddy Waters style.  By that I mean he would play little licks only when not singing.  Both King and Waters are amazing blues artists, but I find their guitar work not as strong as King’s.  Maybe I just haven’t seen the proper videos.  Leave a comment directing me to watch something to educate me. 

This is from a 1983 In Session recording.

In Session is a blues album by Albert King with Stevie Ray Vaughan recorded live for television on December 6, 1983, at CHCH-TV studios in Hamilton, OntarioCanada, when Vaughan was 29 and King was 60. It was released as an album on August 17, 1999 and re-released with a supplemental video recording on DVD on September 28, 2010.  It has also been released on CD and SACD.

It was the first of two collaborations captured for television, the second being as invited guests on a show led by B.B. King in 1987. It was recorded for one of a series of live television sessions recording the performances of various artists. The show was called In Session.  The album includes a few short segments of the banter by King and Vaughan between songs.

Initially, King was not going to do the show as he did not know who Vaughan was.  He did not realize that Vaughan was actually ‘little Stevie’, the ‘skinny kid’ that he let sit in when King played in Texas.  King talks about this on one of the conversation tracks.  When he realized who Vaughan was, he agreed to play.

The album’s material is mostly King’s concert line up, with one Vaughan cut, “Pride and Joy” on the audio CD (the DVD also features Vaughan’s “Texas Flood”).  King is ‘driving’ the session, but he features Vaughan’s guitar extensively on most of the songs. According to the introductory credits on the DVD, a number of the tunes are included there for the first time, having been omitted from the original TV broadcast for reasons of time.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/In_Session_(Albert_King_and_Stevie_Ray_Vaughan_album)

Enjoy!

Peace,
B

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