Top 7 Guitar Songs of the Week -March 4th 2013
- Ray Charles “X-Ray Blues” from Pure Genius: The Complete Atlantic Recordings
There is an amazing blend of blues and jazz licks in this guitar solo. There are moments where it takes off into lightening licks but always comes back to a melody. It doesn’t feel self indulgent, rather as a means to create tension and release. The guitar sound itself it worth checking out as well. Sounds like a P90 into what is supposed to be a clean amp. However the amp is breaking up just a little and it’s ambiance that’s coming through the other mics is delightful.
- Chet Atkins “Dobro” from Guitar Country
This is a great example of Chet’s whammy bar technique. He makes it sound like a slide. Some players just use the whammy bar without any consideration as to what note they’re bending too. Chet was clearly using it to embellish the melody and was very aware of how far he was bending. Chet was a genius of melody on the guitar. There are no disposable notes in his playing. You could sing everything he played. There is a lot to be learned from instrumental music that translates to playing great solos. This album deserves some attention.
- Slayer “Criminally Insane” from Reign in Blood
There is a moment at 0:48 in this song that is really cool. The way he plays the riff it appears as if the note it slowly being bent up higher and higher. In reality he’s fretting the notes, but it’s the placement of where they change that gives this illusion. That and the incredibly fast speed of the picking. This album should be in every Metal 101 class.
- Little Milton “Grits Ain’t Groceries (All Around the World)” from Stand By Me (The Blues Collection Vol. 48)
The guitar part in this song dances around the fairly big arrangement. I like that the guitar isn’t playing all the time. There is a lot of restraint. It pokes it’s way in from time to time. It servers the song rather then purpose-less noodling. It’s an example of how a guitar sound on it’s own might not sound great but sounds amazing in the mix. The parts are definitely from the Staxx philosophy. How about the tremolo intro? Too cool!!
- Dead Kennedy’s “Police Truck” from Give me Convenience or Give me Death
It’s no surprise how much I dig the Dead Kennedy’s considering my love of Surf guitar. The Dead Kennedy’s fused surf into punk in the same way the Ramones fused Doo Wop into punk. When I heard this track at an early age I was obsessed with East Bay Ray’s guitar sound. He was using a tape echo heavily on this track. Not just for delay but as a hot preamp. He has the feedback cranked surprisingly high for how fast of delay it is. He does not get enough credit as a guitarist. His work with the Dead Kennedy’s is fantastic!!
- Dick Dale “Let’s Go Trippin” from King of the Surf Guitar
The sound of the guitar on this track is so bad it’s good. It has a lot of personality though despite it’s sour lemon flavor. In some ways it’s not completely traditional of surf guitar parts. It’s being played really high up the guitar neck and the notes are pretty staccato. The intonation is out on the guitar and the amp isn’t flattering, but I really dig it!! There is beauty in things that aren’t perfect.
- The Band “Tears of Rage” from Music From Big Pink
I‘ll admit that I’m a sucker for any guitar run through a Leslie speaker. It tickles my fancy and I’m not ashamed of it. The song starts with one of the best guitar intros ever written. It’s so simple but creates this heavy feeling instantly on the first beat. Robbie is sliding sixths while playing though a slightly over-driven leslie. His choice of phrases is so tasteful. It’s amazing how someone can play such sensitive lines and turn out to be such a jerk. Richard Manual’s vocal on this is one of my all time favorite vocal takes.
Check out the previous Top 7 Songs of the Week