Small Faces – Son of a Baker

I keep returning to this video, so thought I would share it here.

I think the reason that I keep repeating it is because of Steve Marriott’s performance.

The opening chords, how he strikes the guitar, his vocals on the refrain, his guitar solo. It’s magical.

The footage is taken from Colour Me Pop, recorded in 1968.

Here it is:

Lonnie Mack – The First Guitar Hero

The sound of the guitar hits you. It’s unlike anything you’ve heard before. After the song finishes, you skip back and start the track again from the beginning, listening to it several times over.

Lonnie Mack.

His name isn’t overly familiar these days, but if you have picked up a guitar within the past sixty years, you almost certainly would have been influenced by him, directly or not.

Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck, Duane Allman and Keith Richards were all inspired by his innovative guitar playing. He was a virtuoso, of a type that the world had yet to see.

His guitar solos swirl. Nothing chains them down, nothing anchors them: the notes are buoyant, free to do their own thing.

Lonnie Mack. Perhaps the first ‘guitar hero’.

Wilko Johnson – Interview

Wilko Johnson. For any fan of Dr Feelgood, the name itself conjures up images of a crazed man pacing a stage slinging a guitar around.

His influence on British music and the punk movement is incalculable and it was a pleasure to sit with him and discuss his songwriting methodology, guitar playing technique and music in general.

Click here to read it

Chuck – Chuck Berry (review)

Chuck Berry. The name means so much: rock and roll, some of the finest guitar playing known, inventive and playful songs. 

To think that everyone from Buddy Holly to The Beatles covered his songs is mind-blowing. Without Chuck Berry the world would be a different place. 

I was lucky enough to see Chuck Berry live on one of his later trips to London. Even in old age, he played the guitar like no one else, attacking the strings, duck-walking and bouncing off of the audience reaction. 

I was thrilled to write a review of his last album, Chuck, for Songwriting Magazine. Read it here.

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Playlist for July 2017

In June, Leigh-on-Sea hosts the UK’s largest free folk festival. On Sunday, I wandered to the Crooked Billet stage to see Martin Carthy. The whole area was packed, which meant I had to stand behind a railing at the side. Carthy played, picking his guitar beautifully, and introduced his songs by revealing some of the deep history behind them.

Halfway through his set, someone squeezed past me with a slight shove. I turned round to see if I could move in and let the gentleman pass. To my surprise, it was Wilko Johnson.

I say it was a surprise because I would have thought the pairing was unlikely. Surely Wilko Johnson with Dr Feelgood was musically the polar opposite to Martin Carthy’s folk leanings. But as I pondered it, they aren’t so dissimilar: both are incredible guitar players; each of their music has a rawness to it; both arguably pushed music into a new direction (Carthy allegedly inspired Bob Dylan’s Girl of the North Country, Dr Feelgood inspired the punk movement). After Carthy’s set, I watched as they both shook hands and chatted. Two men, hugely influential in their own sphere.

As you may know, I wrote about Zoe Howe’s brilliant Lee Brilleaux biography a week or so ago. It’s safe to say that I’m on a Dr Feelgood binge and this playlist would always have been weighed down heavily by R&B songs. But after seeing Martin Carthy, I couldn’t resist putting some of his songs in too, as well as other folk artists.

Here’s the playlist:

  1. She Does It Right – Dr Feelgood
  2. Mother Freedom – Bread
  3. Hangin’ Out – Betty Davis
  4. Wild About My Baby – Slim Harpo
  5. Big Boys – Chuck Berry
  6. Messin’ With The Kid – Junior Wells
  7. Roadrunner – The Pretty Things
  8. Bill Norrie – Martin Carthy
  9. Poison – Bert Jansch
  10. Let The Good Things Come – John Martyn
  11. White Freight Liner (Live) – Townes Van Zandt
  12. Scarborough Fair – Martin Carthy and David Swarbrick
  13. Sally Free And Easy – Oscar Dowling
  14. Wrecking Days – Kitty Macfarlane
  15. The Bedmaking (feat. David Swarbrick) – Martin Carthy and David Swarbrick
  16. Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood – The Animals
  17. The More I Give – Dr Feelgood
  18. Around and Around – Rolling Stones

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