The following are some of the most influential guitar players in my life. Unfortunately they are all dead. Musicians either die from drugs or transport accidents which is a down right shame for all of us. I hope you enjoy this cross section.
1. Jeff Healey
Jeff lost his vision to retinoblastoma and died from lung cancer in 2008. The guy was a guitar genius and here is a version of a popular song that highlights some of his skills.
Jeff Healey – Roadhouse Blues
2. Stevie Ray Vaughan
Stevie was killed when his helicopter crashed and was probably at the height of his career. This song I have picked is my absolute favourite.
Stevie Ray Vaughan – Pride and Joy
3. Rory Gallagher
Wow, this guy had it. Whatever it is Rory just had IT. Died following complications from a liver transplant, shame on you Gordon.
Rory Gallagher – Messin with the Kid
4. Gary Moore
Gary captivated me by his smoothness on the guitar. I rate him with Carlos Santana and Larry Carlton. Yes, you may want to have heard Still Got the Blues but this version of Red House shows all of Gary’s skills. Died from a heart attack in his sleep aged 58.
Gary Moore – Red House
5. Roy Buchanan
Unbelievable player that didn’t get the commercial success he deserved. Committed suicide in 1988. This song is by Tyrone Davis and was a big hit in 1969.
Well here I go again showing my age but here is a seriously, get it, good album by Joe Walsh best know as one of the Eagles. Walsh himself has had his own successful career despite his fame with the Eagles in bands like the James Gang and of course his own solo career.
Now I came across this album by pure accident. Some of you may remember in the good old days when there was a thing called the record club. The offer seemed too good to be true, five albums really cheap then one a month for 12 months at full price. Since then I have come to believe in the saying that if something to too good to be true then it probably is. The record club deal was effectively too good to be true. So if you didn’t order your next album in time then you got record of the month. You could send record of the month back unopened with your next order for two albums but if you didn’t you were sent the bill. Well, you guessed it, But Seriously Folks, was record of the month. I didn’t send it back and I got the bill. So I opened it and couldn’t stop playing it and like a lot of other albums, I played it so much I had to later purchase it as a CD.
At the time I had a few mates that were right into Joe Walsh. They came to my place for a listen to his latest offering and absolutely hated it. They liked Walsh for his soaring guitar work on songs like Rocky Mountain Way whereas this album was subtle and witty. One of my friends told me that he had “heard” that this album was a contractual obligation and that Walsh simply threw together a group of songs to fulfill his part of the deal. Some parts of the album do reflect this however if you read other reviews of this work nothing at all is mentioned about the subject.
To me all the tracks are worth a listen and Walsh uses subtlety, humor and wit in songs like Over and Over where he delves into the repetition of some things in life and Second Hand Store where he reflects on things of great personal value that diminish over time. Tomorrow is a great song, the opening lyrics say it all “Tomorrow making a list of things to do, and when I wake oh ho ho ho, gonna cross all them through”, yeah, my kinda guy.
Released in 1978 and runs for just over 35 minutes. As usual most of the Eagles are backing Walsh on this album.
I thought I’d post two tracks this time. The first it probably the hit from the album Life’s Been Good the full length version. A shorter version was released for radio and if you have heard this song before you probably heard the shortened version.
This next track, well it is actually two tracks that merge together, Inner Tube/Theme from Boat Weirdos is what I have requested to have played at my funeral. This is an instrumental piece and Walsh has captured the ebb and flow of my life here, soft, loud, highs and lows plus excellent instrumentation and a lovely melody. Hope you enjoy.
PS: Tutu and I still listen to this album today. To us it withstands the test of time.
Here is a great album by Dan Fogelberg. I first heard it in 1979 when a friend who was sharing a flat with us at the time came home with the album. This was a bit of a shift in direction for me as this album was a lot softer then any thing else I was listening to at the time, apart from say America. Subsequently I played the album so much I wore it flat. Luckliy it was available on CD and now along with all my other music resides on my PC as MP3’s.
It was produced by Joe Walsh from the Eagles and Joe and the Eagles feature heavily on the album so the vocal harmonies are outstanding. Throw in Graham Nash from CSNY and Gerry Beckley from America the whole tone of the album is centered around the human voice. This doesn’t detract from the instrumentation as Dan is a great guitarist and in fact could play multiple instruments. Unfortunately Dan died in 2007 from Prostate Cancer.
While I didn’t follow every thing Dan did to me I loved this album and it brings me special memories from a time in my life that was less complicated than it is now.
Released in 1974, it has 11 tracks and runs for 43 minutes.
Here is a great jazz album from the seventies by jazz drummer Billy Cobham. Labelled as jazz fusion this was his debut album and the first time I heard it I fell in love with it. At this time I was drumming in a rock and roll band that predominately played the Rolling Stones and the Beatles. When I finally heard this album I wondered why I bothered with all the previous stuff and began to listen to different music to the mainstream pap that was served up in my hometown.
Before getting to Cobham and co I actually went through a heavy metal stage for my age group which consisted of Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, Uriah Heep and Led Zeppelin which were referred to at the time as the big four. Then something happened. I was invited to a 21st birthday party of a work colleague who came from Melbourne. As she was such a popular and wonderful girl we all jumped on a jet and headed down to Doncaster for the weekend and we all had the time of our lives. That weekend my work colleague’s boyfriend played a Steely Dan album called The Royal Scam from the time we arrived, in the car, on the beach, where ever we went until we left. The rock/jazz fusion of Steely Dan overtook my liking for metal bands and forever I was hooked.
A few years later the same fellow tossed me a cassette and said “Hey, you liked the Dan, you’ll like this” and hence I learned to like Billy Cobham.
This album runs for 37 minutes and was released in 1973.
There are many great tracks on the album and for any drummer out there this guy knew how to play. My favorite is Red Baron. Enjoy.
As a self-confessed Steely Dan fan I thought I would review this album while at the same time admit that I did not realise that it had even been released. So here is my hero putting an album out and I didn’t even know. Can you ever forgive me? Hope so, I can.
Sunken Condos is another Fagen solo album where again he gets freed of his life time music partner in Walter Becker. Becker and Fagen are the cornerstone of the Steely Dan brand however over the years that band has changed, in some ways for the better and in some ways for the worse.
Let me explain. At the start Becker was the bass player in Steely Dan and over time he turned himself into the lead guitar player at which he is very good however he is too busy. As a former lead guitar player it is something you have to learn, when to add a fill and when to stay silent. Becker seems unable to stay silent. The original guitarist, Danny Dias, is a brilliant player and he was the one that truly captivated me along with a session guitarist they used Larry Carlton.
Fagen, however, has drifted from acoustic piano and now almost all his music is electronic keyboard dominated. I liked his acoustic piano sound especially on Steely Dan’s early albums, Fire in the Hole on Can’t Buy a Thrill being a real standout. Duke Ellington influenced Fagen and sometimes when you listen to an Ellington piece you can hear that influence. This is what rock music needed, a rock and jazz convergence, I was hooked.
So to the album. Fagen seems to want to make a statement on climate change however this is not a concept album unlike Kamakiriad. Fagen focuses a lot on songs about relationships and I believe there are some rumors around that he and his wife split. I cannot substantiate this however some of the songs he has written since Steely Dan’s Everything Must Go do show a yearning for a former partner. The album has all the classic Fagen qualities, great hooks and many per track, brass, female backing vocals and that ability he has to create a patchwork of instruments to create the final sound.
The album has nine tracks and runs for 45 minutes and surprisingly Fagen does a cover version of an Issac Hayes song called Out of the Ghetto. It was released in 2012.
I have embedded a clip of Fagen playing Weather in My Head which is to me the catchiest song on the album that he played on the Letterman Show. I’d rate this album 3 out of 5 as of his four solo albums Kamakiriad is by far his best effort.
Donald Fagen – Weather in My Head
The album can be purchased here. I did and had no issues. The US$13 price tag becomes AUS$29 after postage and handling.