Alex J. Cavanaugh, blogger extraordinaire, one of the main co-hosts of the A to Z Challenge, and someone whom occasionally contributes to the Battle of the Bands, chose today’s theme…
Talk about waving a red cape at a charging bull… If you’ve read this blog for any length of time, you know that guitar solos are one of the things I live for. In fact, I had no trouble starting, but it took A LOT of effort to keep it at just ten, and I know that’s probably too many. I have a ton of favorite guitar solos, and every time I’d put one down I’d think of three or four others, and, well, you know how it goes.
So, here’s my playlist. Feel free to skip around and whatever.
- Hello, Mary Lou – Ricky Nelson: This song has one of the quintessential guitar solos of all time by James Burton. Short, to the point, good and twangy. He plays this on either a Fender Jaguar or Telecaster; the film shows him playing a Jaguar, but it sounds like a Tele.
- Apache – The Shadows: I featured Jørgen Ingmann’s original here a couple of weeks ago. This is the cover that went up the charts in England. Hank Marvin plays the solo on his red Fender Stratocaster.
- Walk, Don’t Run – The Ventures: A hit for this seminal surf band in 1960. Nokie Edwards does the solo here; I know he went to a Mosrite guitar at some point, but I’m pretty sure this is on his Strat.
- Everybody’s Trying To Be My Baby – The Beatles: My original guitar hero, the reason I played guitar (and still would, if my right hand would cooperate), George Harrison sings this one in a live version for the BBC. He most likely plays the solos on his Gretsch Country Gentleman, the one he used on The Ed Sullivan Show, although he also used a Gretsch Tennesseean at the time.
- Liberation – Chicago: This whole song is essentially a guitar solo by the late Terry Kath, one of my all-time favorites. Jimi Hendrix was said to have thought that Terry was better than he was. Most of my friends in high school thought otherwise. Shows what they knew. Terry is playing this either on his Gibson SG or a Fender Stratocaster.
- Black Magic Woman/Gypsy Queen – Santana: Santana’s cover of Peter Greene’s “Black Magic Woman” is better than the original, and the addition of Gabor Szabo’s “Gypsy Queen” just adds to the magic. I think Carlos is playing a Strat here, but he might have moved to a Les Paul by then.
- Albatross – Fleetwood Mac: Speaking of Peter Greene, here he is on this dreamy instrumental. This song was a bit of a “white whale” for me: I remembered it from the early days of FM Rock radio, when it got a lot of airplay, then it disappeared and I couldn’t find it for the longest time. Greene is using a Les Paul here.
- Jeff’s Boogie – The Yardbirds: Jeff Beck ripped this one off of Chuck Berry, who called it “Guitar Boogie.” Just guessing, I think Jeff played a Telecaster in his Yardbirds days, but this might have been on a Les Paul.
- Swing 42 – Tommy Emmanuel and Frank Vignola: A backstage jam session. Tommy shows he’s just as good with a pick as fingerstyle. Frank Vignola was a session man who played with Madonna, Leon Redbone, and Ringo Starr. He signed with Concord Jazz and has a number of albums to his name, as well as a few instruction books and DVD’s. I can’t read the brand on Tommy’s guitar, and Frank’s is probably custom-made.
- Limehouse Blues – Quintette du Hot Club de France: Belgian Gypsy Django Reinhardt was a remarkable guitarist, especially when you consider he did most of his fretboard work with two fingers, the other two having been crippled in a caravan fire when he was eighteen. Stephane Grappelli, who played violin for the Quintette, says that Django could use the two crippled fingers, mostly for comping. Django’s guitar of choice was a Selmer Maccaferri.
So that’s Monday’s Music Moves Me for Monday, March 14, 2016. Or, if you prefer, Pi Day. In fact, it’s 3/14/16, as in 3.1416, an estimate of pi to four decimal places.