Unplugged

Jerry Garcia

In 1959 Cortázar wrote a story called The Pursuer in memory of the great Charlie Parker, where a saxophonist tries to penetrate reality through the notes of his sax, it seems to me a good analogy to Jerry Garcia, an insatiable pursuer of notes, (possibly the rock guitarist with the most hours recorded) not always inspired but in search of nirvana...

Ray Davies - Our Country: Americana Act II (2018)

Ex-Kink Ray Davies is clearly fascinated by America’s contradictions of excitement and glamour on the one hand, and wild - often brutally violent - behaviour on the other.    Our Country: Americana Act II (released 29 June on Sony Legacy) explores these themes, but it is also part of a much bigger project. In 2013...

Lou Reed - Rock 'n' Roll Animal (1974)

In 1973 Lou Reed had recorded the most ambitious and depressing album of his career, Berlin. An album in which he depended on a number of elite players such as Jack Bruce, Steve Winwood, Aynsley Dunbar, and the Brecker brothers, and also a pair of ace session guitarists Steve Hunter and Dick Wagner. When Reed wanted to introduce the record live,...

Joe Satriani

Joe Satriani is the most commercially successful instrumental guitar soloist the world has ever seen. He has 6 gold and platinum records, has sold over 10 million copies to date, and has been nominated for 15 Grammy Awards so far. Impressive street creds indeed! So how did this all begin? On September 18, 1970, the legendary Jimi Hendrix...

Florence + The Machine - High As Hope (2018)

High as Hope (released 29 June 2018 on Republic/Virgin EMI Records) is the fourth studio album by Florence and the Machine, following 2015’s How Big How Blue How Beautiful. Both albums are intimate and theatrical in style, but to write her latest album lead singer/songwriter Florence Welch reportedly quit alcohol, read books and...

Johnny Winter - Second Winter (1969)

Johnny “the Texas Albino” Winter cut his second record for Columbia Records in 1969 titled Second Winter, an 11-song, 3-sided album (2 LPs, the fourth side was left blank) that some consider to be his finest work. It shows the famed bluesman in something of a transitional move towards rock and roll, honky-tonk, and swing, with raging energy and...

Roger McGuinn

Roger McGuinn is one of the most influential guitarists in history. Few have made more people buy a guitar looking to unravel his sound. McGuinn is to Rickenbacker what Chet Atkins is to Gretsch, the man who comes to mind when you think of one of these guitars. Perhaps there were others before him who played one, but it seems evident who Tom Petty,...

Wilko Johnson - Blow Your Mind (2018)

So the man is back with Blow Your Mind, (15 June 2018; Chess/UMC) containing 12 new songs, on an album he never thought he’d live to see.       Ex-Dr Feelgood guitar legend Wilko Johnson returned in 2012 following his ‘terminal’ pancreatic cancer diagnosis by recording Going Back Home with Roger Daltrey, which...

Syd Barrett

Of all the rock stories full of myths, legends, and tortured souls, perhaps none is more tragic than that of Syd Barrett, the crazy diamond who created Pink Floyd, and shone a brilliant light for a short time until completely vanishing into the darkness. It’s impossible to separate Barrett from his legend, unlike others, Barrett didn’t die...

Steven Van Zandt

Steve Van Zandt is known mainly for 2 things, his more than 50 years of friendship with Bruce Springsteen, more than 40 of those as his lieutenant in the E Street Band, and his celebrated role as Silvio Dante in one of the most legendary TV series in history: The Sopranos. But his remarkable solo work is often overlooked, whether writing or...

The White Stripes - White Blood Cells (2001)

Anyone who has ever dreamed of making a hit album might look at White Blood Cells (released 3 July, 2001) and wonder how the American duo, known as the White Stripes, did it.       Jack and Meg White spent just one week in a studio in Memphis to produce these 16 songs, which Rolling Stone magazine later placed in...

Dave Matthews Band - Come Tomorrow (2018)

Dave Matthews Band ninth studio release Come Tomorrow (8 June 2018, Bama Rags/RCA) has gone to number 1 on the Billboard 200 chart, reportedly making them the first group ever to have seven studio albums in a row hit that top spot. Not bad for this talented band of musicians whose strength is often considered to be in their live...

The Rolling Stones - Beggar's Banquet (1968)

Beggar's Banquet is the beginning of the fundamental period in the Rolling Stones career. Here they return to the roots of blues, country and early rock but this time with a sound of their own, the sound for which they are still remembered. Recorded in magical sessions between March and June of 1968, while the world burned with student...

Mick Jones

How can one explain the tremendous importance of the Clash? The Londoners were not, by any means, virtuosos on their instruments, but they had what makes rock & roll big, raw energy, rage, fury, heart, and most importantly, the songs. In a way, they were the face of the rebirth of rock & roll through punk. They were also the band who best...

Johnny Marr - Call The Comet (2018)

Johnny Marr released Call The Comet on June 1, his third and most self-assured solo outing following The Messenger (2013) and Playland (2014).   In many ways, lyrically, it is a reaction to Trump’s election, Brexit and other recent events such as the Manchester bombing, and is reportedly based on him imagining a better...

Pink Floyd - A Saucerful of Secrets (1968)

Fifty years ago this week Pink Floyd released their 2nd album A Saucerful of Secrets (June 29, 1968). It was the only Floyd album to contain all 5 legendary members, Roger Waters/bass, vocals, David Gilmour/guitar,vocals, Richard Wright/keyboards, vocals, Nick Mason/drums, and Roger “Syd” Barrett/guitar, vocals, and was produced by Norman...

The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society (1968)

At a time when the world had gone crazy with experimentation, the ‘loops’, the tapes played in reverse, psychedelia, and 17-minute songs, Ray Davies decided it was time to get nostalgic, to get lost in the days of our youth and memories of the English countryside on the way to extinction. Here there were no trips, nor LSD, nor long solos or...

Matt 'Guitar' Murphy

Matt ‘Guitar’ Murphy (December 29, 1929 – June 15, 2018) was such an elite guitarist, he was invited to play with a ton of greats who eagerly sought his nimble talents. It’s a long list starting off with Howlin’ Wolf as early as the late 40s to his appearance in The Blues Brothers 1980 hit movie with John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd. In this...

Parquet Courts - Wide Awake!

What would Brian Burton, aka Danger Mouse, - who has produced albums for bands as big as the Red Hot Chili Peppers, U2, and Black Keys - get out of producing punk band Parquet Courts’ new record Wide Awake! (Rough Trade, 18 May)?   The answer seems to be a strong candidate for album of the year.     Some...