About Me

My photo
To listen to my latest recording, view my complete profile and then click on "audio clip" under "links"

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

#65: The Mt. Rushmore Series

Ever since Eric Clapton's guitar solo on Go Back Home - from the first Stephen Stills solo album - set me on fire again a few months ago, I haven't been able to stop thinking about this latest iteration in my oldest extant series. Which four guitar solos from any musical genre except jazz - I plan to cite four of those in the future - would you enshrine on your musical Mt. Rushmore? 

Mine are listed alphabetically by the last name of the guitarist. I also chose not to repeat any names; put your four in whatever order you like and disregard my no-repeat guideline if you want. 

1.) Jeff Beck on Cause We've Ended as Lovers: There are two non-jazz guitarists on my mountain who could have easily had a few slots; Beck-O and Carlos. Actually, on the same Beck album as this little-heard Stevie Wonder composition - i.e. Blow by Blow - Jeff plays so ferociously I could have easily picked almost any song on that landmark LP to carve into stone.

2.) Doug Fieger on My Sharona: Fieger is the least well-known of my guys - yeah, they're all guys I'm afraid - but this song is the most widely known of the four, maybe even over-played. No matter. Fieger blazes on both guitar solos and his second is a musical marvel. 

3.) David Lindley on I Don't Know Why: Without exaggeration, I have wept nearly every time I've listened to Lindley do his magic on this Shawn Colvin tune from her recording entitled Polaroids.

4.) Carlos Santana on You Can Have Me Anytime: If it were to come out one day that Carlos and Jeff Beck were brothers, I wouldn't be surprised. After all Don & Phil, Nat & Natalie, Judy & Liza were blood, right? I have played this Carlos gem - from Boz Scaggs's Middle Man LP - for every guitar player I've ever known. Carlos - like his maybe brother Jeff - has total command of his instrument. The closest analogue I've ever come up with is to compare his skill on the instrument to the writing skill of Julian Barnes, Toni Morrison, Anne Tyler. His solos are of a piece with the novels of those three modern-day masters. 

I will excuse any reader who is not a guitarist from commenting here, although I'm reasonably sure I can predict at least two solos my non-guitarist wife will cite. But I will not forgive any guitarist who reads this and doesn't weigh in. Come on, guitar geeks - show me what you got. 


25 comments:

  1. Comfortably numb. Song of the wind (Carlos)good bye pork pie hat (Jeff) and 1 to be named later

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous; Because the three solos you named are all so spot-on, I eagerly await the completion of your monument. Having only three on your Mt. Rushmore means you're leaving out either George, Thomas, Abraham, or Teddy; that's just not right. How soon will I learn of your fourth?

      Delete
  2. I wont be able to put in the time required to come up with the top 4 for Mt Rushmore, but 4 that come to mind that I love in no particular order are 1. Steve Lukather of Toto on Hold the Line; 2. Mark Knopfler of Dire Straights in Sultan of Swing; 3. Joe Walsh with the Eagles on Long Road Out Of Eden; and 4. Terry Kath of Chicago on 25 or 6 to 4. And Carlos Santana is a guitar hero.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous #2; Good choices all. I'm least familiar with the Joe Walsh solo so I'm going to have to listen more carefully to that one. Thanks for joining the fun.

      Delete
  3. Good morning, Pat. So many to choose from … oh, and having to limit it to only 4 —- gasp !!!
    My choices would be, in no particular order and staying in the Rock genre - 1: Duane Allman - Statesboro Blues, 2: Eric Clapton - Crossroads, 3: Eddie Van Halen - Eruption, and 4. Jimi Hendrix - All Along The Watchtower.
    And because I can’t help myself - honorable mention to: Stevie Ray Vaughan - Little Wing.
    Limiting it to 4 was very difficult. I would have easily gone on and on.
    I love these posts.
    Be well,
    Bob

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Bob; Nice work. I get the honorable mention thing (and I love Stevie's take on "Little Wing"), however, having a fifth guitar solo means - in order to maintain symmetry - you'd have to add a 5th Presidential visage to the actual Mt. Rushmore. OK, who would you nominate for that honor? I'll go with FDR.

      Delete
  4. FDR is an excellent choice. President during a very difficult time in our history. I would suggest possibly JFK because of the hope he brought to the country at that time and also Obama for very similar reasons. But I would agree with FDR

    ReplyDelete
  5. Wow. This is almost impossible, but I’ll go for it. And my answers will be totally different 5 minutes from now.

    George Harrison’s solo on “Something” by the Beatles. No explanation necessary.

    David Gilmour’s solo on “The Final Cut” by Pink Floyd. So simple. Only 16 bars. But really beautiful and not what you would expect from him.

    Alex Lifeson’s solo on “Red Barchetta” by Rush. Another 16 bar quickie, but so angular and interesting.

    Trey Anastasio’s solo on “Stash” by Phish from the album “A Live One”. It’s more of a collectively improvised jam involving all 4 members, but the guitar playing steers the ship. I’ve never heard such incredible tension and release communicated onstage. I was at this particular show and I’ll never forget it as long as I live.

    - SC


    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. SC; Two comments from you in less than a month. OK, you're back on the "A" list. And, of your four solos, I'm unfamiliar with the last two so I'm off to check both out as soon as I sign off here. P.S. "Something" was on my original list of 50 that I had to ween down to make my four fit on Mt. Rushmore. And, did you notice another reader above mentioned "Comfortably Numb" on his/her monument. That puts Gilmour into good company with the other masters mentioned twice (so far), i.e. Beck-o & Carlos

      Delete
  6. Eric Clapton - Crossroads. The epitome of a young man on fire. The execution and passion are unequaled by any other of his exquisite work.
    Leslie West - Mississippi Queen. At high volume, the solo could revive a heart attack victim. Or repel alien space craft.
    Jeff Beck - A Blue Fire. Not playable by any other human.
    Eddis Van Halen - You Really Got Me. I mean, jeez, could I please have a DNA transplant of the synapses that allow...but no, there will always be just him.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Steve; So glad you threw your hat into this ring (and at 2:44 a.m., no less!) With your winners, Beck-O has moved into the #1 spot at three nods so far - with three different solos - and both Eric & Eddie now have two nods each - with two different solos - tying them with Carlos & David Gilmour a four way tie for the #2 spot. Quite a line up. Counting my four - obviusly the best of the bunch - all of the commenting guitar geeks there are now a total of 22 mind-blowing solos to keep us all occupied with the only duplicate (so far) being Eric on "Crossroads", enshrined by you & Bob, above.

      Delete
  7. Hey Pat. Jim Rice here. The blog only let me comment as Anonymous.
    1. Doc Watson, Nashville Pickin’ on the album Southbound. This one I thought of immediately. What a great guitar album.
    2. Eric Clapton, The Sky Is Crying/Have You Ever Loved A Woman/Rambling On My Mind, on the album Crossroads 2. He's precise in every key!
    3. David Bromberg, Windin’ Boy on the album Try Me One more Time. Traditional style, so well done!
    4. Richard Thompson, Shoot Out The Lights, on the album Acoustic Classics. Wish I had his chops!
    5. And, if I may add one more, Jimmy Page, Communication Breakdown, Led Zeppelin. Because it's the first guitar solo I remember turning way up loud.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Anonymous" Jim; Sorry about the glitch and having to sign on as "anonymous"; Blogger/Blogspot gets quirky from time-to-time. As for your solos, I'm pumped to check out the two I'm unfamiliar with - the Doc Watson & David Bromberg's pieces. And, with your nomination of Slowhand (three songs, no less), he is now tied with Beck-o (3 citations each) for the most solos mentioned. Adding Jimmy Page as your fifth means you - like "Anonymous Bob" above - must now name a fifth president to carve into stone on the actual Mt. Rushmore. Who's it going to be?

      Delete
    2. Jimmy Page just got a shout out for being memorable. I name Obama though. The others will be in good company.

      Delete
  8. Rick Derringer keep playing that rock ‘n’ roll
    Dickey Betts Blue skies
    Jay Graydon peg
    Robin Ford my Little red rooster

    I hope this fulfills the requirement. I didn’t have my secret decoder ring on

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous; Good choices, all. I'm least familiar with the Robben Ford solo, something I will remedy soon. Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  9. Okay, I'll play, and I'm focussing on the 1960s. You may consider this a history lesson from an old guy. 1. Black Mountain Rag by Doc Watson, flatpicking an acoustic guitar. Recorded more than once, but look for an early version without his son Merle so you can hear every note, crisp, fast, and rhythmic. This song, and others to follow, inspired a generation of flatpickers and opened the doors for the guitar to become a lead instrument in bluegrass bands (although Doc never joined a bluegrass band). 2. Johnny B. Goode by Chuck Berry. A seminal intro and break with a huge influence in rock and roll history. How come I'm the first to mention it? 3. Star Spangled Banner by Jimi Hendrix, who turns an instrumental into an antiwar protest. And how the heck does he do those special effects? There weren't even any stomp pedals in those days. 4. For this, I have several nominees but no selection. There is Clarence White on the Nashville West album which Marty Stuart calls "true guitar genius," there is John Herald playing on Ian and Sylvia's Four Rode By, and so many more that I can't choose. If I have to chisel away one of the prexies from Rushmore to accommodate only three choices, I would eliminate Teddy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Red Spruce; With your estimable contributions both Doc Watson and Jimi Hendrix enter the five-way tie for second place (with two mentions each) along with Dave Gilmour, Eddie VH, & Carlos. Beck-O & Clapton retain the top spot with three mentions each, including the only duplicate performance cited so far = "Crossroads" by Slowhand (and that's not counting the sly reference to EC on "Go Back Home" - mentioned in my opening paragraph - the solo that got me started in the first place).

      Delete
  10. Pat, you asked me to weigh in on this post being a non musician but a big fan of music. I have many favorite guitarists that I think are amazing not for any particular song but more for their body of work which is not always limited to their published recordings but is also based on live performances that I have either attended or have listened to through various sources. So here it goes:

    My favorite of all time is probably a little known guitarist named Robert Johnson. This is not the same as the old time blues guitarist with the same name. This Robert Johnson came out with an album in 1978 called "Close Personal Friend" with a track call "I'll Be Waiting" that blows me away every time I hear it. If you listen closely, the guitar work and the layers are amazing.

    My second would be Dave Edmunds. He does a version of "Saber Dance" that you cannot believe that someone can play. It is also amazing. (Sorry for quoting your least favorite DJ on LSUG).

    Next would be Joe Bonamassa. His body of work is fantastic. One outstanding song would be "Sloe Gin" but seeing him live as I have done over the years, are some of the best live guitar performances I have ever experienced.

    My final guitarist that I would nominate would be Dick Dale. His performances of "surf guitar" style defined the genre and probably the highlight would be his performance of "Miserlou". This song stops me in my tracks every time I hear it.

    Honorable mentions would go to Carlos Santana, Tom Morello, Brian May, Samantha Fish and the incomparable Les Paul.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Chris; So glad you threw your hat in this ring. Not only are your choices the only instance when a commenter mentioned four solos I've never heard, all four of your guitarists had yet to be mentioned by any other commenter, including one guitarist completely unfamiliar to me - Robert Johnson. And though I've always enjoyed Dave Edmunds as a recording artist (more than as a guitarist) now I'll have to check out "Saber Dance". Thanks for the comprehensive comment. P.S. Love your honorable mentions. And, who is Samantha Fish?

      Delete
  11. Robert Johnson was a session musician who attempted to step into the spotlight in the late seventies and released one or two albums that recieved critical aclaim but never found wide spread acceptance. Sound familiar? There are so many artists that are worthy of greater acceptance but never were able to achieve that goal.

    Here is a link to the official recording: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GAou8TD9i_U
    and a link to how it was performed: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B6YfWTkYL2s

    Samantha Fish is a blues guitiarist who has released albums that don't always show what a great guitiarst that she is. If you search for some of her YouTube performances, you will see that she has great talent and her performances are outstanding.

    Here is a link to one of her performances: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mFtZDswYks8

    ReplyDelete
  12. Being a drummer I have a differnt take on this topic. My choices would be any solo by Terry Kath of Chicago. If he had lived he would be in the top 5. Also and this may be an unusual choice but solos by Don Wilson and Bob Bogle of the Ventures. If it wasn't for thse 2 guitarist along with Nokie Edwards on bass and Mell Taylor many of the names that others have mentioned would probably not learned to play guitar. At their induction into the HOF, John Fogerty said that he and others would not picked up a guitar. So because of that they should be included. As I said as a drumer I enjoyed playing all there songs-the first being Walk Don't Run and probably their most famous--Hawaii 5-0. Lastly they are considered gods in Japan.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Joe (Wait! I hear Jimi's guitar solo as I typed that greeting to you !!); Thanks for joining the fray. Did you happen to notice an anonymous commenter above cited Terry Kath's solo on "25 or 6 to 4"? And thanks for mentioning the two guitarists from the Ventures; you are right - they were guitar pioneers. Bigger thanks for taking the time to read and comment on my blog.

      Delete
  13. Hey Bob I get that a lot and my answer is "where you going with that gun in your hand". Again as I said if you ever need a drummer for your songs or just to jam with you and other guys you know where to find me-"on the roof top thanking all for the audition !! "

    ReplyDelete
  14. I'm not "anonymous" I'm Joe the drummer from the band FAZE V (that roman numeral for 5) -the BEST band in Queens NY 1967-1970

    ReplyDelete