Guitar Gods

Another (Music) Box Checked

This could be posted under Singer – Songwriters or Guitar Gods as well. Just as my last Music Box was could have been. Maybe I need to start another series.

This time it’s Dave Mason on the hot seat. A quick reminder for those not quite up to speed with my music tastes. Dave is best known first, as a member of Traffic, then as a solo artist with “We Just Disagree” as his biggest hit. The other track of his that made it big, is covered here by Dave Mason And The Quarantines. Just like “Let It Rain” in the post linked at the top, this is a virtual performance. In fact, take Peter Frampton out and insert Michael McDonald and the backing band is damn near the same.

And take a look at the wall of gold and silver records in Dave’s home. Wow! Now that is impressive. I really like the double platinum album for The Jimi Hendrix Experience’s “Electric Ladyland“. Dave played the acoustic 12 string guitar and sang backup on both “Crosstown Traffic” and the monster hit “All Along The Watchtower” for that album. That was the only award I could identify in the video. Let me know if you see any others you can identify.

As much I give Michael McDonald grief as a member of the Doobie Brothers, I think he fits in quite nicely with this song. His voice seems to fit, not that you can understand half of what he says. But then Joe Cocker’s cover of this song isn’t all that understandable vocally either. The rest of bandmates are spectacular! Mick Fleetwood’s eyes are a whole ‘nother post!

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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