Unplugged

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...

Peter Frampton Interview

British-born Peter Frampton (22 April 1950) is a guitarist, singer-songwriter and all-time rock legend.   Frampton began his career at 14 in The Preachers working with Bill Wyman of the Rolling Stones; he went to school (and later toured) with David Bowie; and then formed Humble Pie before going solo and becoming a global superstar,...

The Rolling Stones - Some Girls (1978)

By the end of the seventies, the Stones had become - in the eyes of a young, untapped and futureless youth - the maximum example of a dinosaur group. Punk splashed like spit in the face of the great rock and roll bands. Mick Jagger wanted to respond with one of the rawest records of the band, Some girls. Another fundamental fact of the album...

Derek Trucks

Normally there are two different points of view about life: one says that it is unjust and terrible, while the other says that itis beautiful; but it could be that neither are right and that life is unjust and terrible, as well as beautiful. Life took Duane Allman away from us at 24 years of age, a tremendous injustice and cruelty, but life gave us...

Ry Cooder - The Prodigal Son (2018)

It was always going to be interesting to see where Ry Cooder would head next, following his 2012 explicitly politically-oriented album, Election Special.     At first sight it might seem that Cooder has ‘been reborn’ in true Bob Dylan style, as he references Jesus, wrote and sings the title track, The Prodigal Son,...

Steve Vai

You just turned 20, you’ve spent the last 7 or 8 years of your life in your bedroom studying up to 15 hours a day, the last 2 you even dare to try transcribing the most complex pieces from a mind as twisted as Frank Zappa’s and now you are before him auditioning for a spot in his band as guitarist. You greet him, strap on the guitar, and nice...

Iron Butterfly - In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida (1968)

The 1960s USA were a tumultuous time of civil rights marches, women’s liberation, anti-war movements against the raging conflict in Vietnam, ‘flower power’ and the ‘summer of love’ in 1967 was when hippies (hair grown to the hips) denounced consumerism, protested the capitalistic system, and turned to “mary jane” (pot) and acid (LSD)...

Paul McCartney - Chaos and Creation in the Backyard (2005)

This album might have perhaps been called Chaos and Creation in the Recording Studio if some of the stories behind it are to be believed.   McCartney seemed to be looking for something fresh and new by hiring Nigel Godrich – of Radiohead and Beck fame – to produce his latest record, and he got precisely that when the producer...

Lenny Kravitz - Mama Said (1991)

Lenny Kravitz is something of a chameleon but not in the creative sense like Bowie, but rather in how he likes to camouflage into what he likes. At the start he wanted to be Prince, calling himself Romeo Blue and dressing like the author of Purple Rain, for his record debut he became John Lennon of the Plastic Ono Band, and for his second record he...

Paul Weller

Paul Weller is a restless fellow, always willing to take one step forward rather than settle down and live on his money. And believe me, if anyone can do it, it is the ‘Modfather’, one of the most respected and admired personality in British music, someone who has managed to create work as big as the greatest, the iconic figures from the 60s...

Arctic Monkeys - Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino (2018)

Nothing remains in Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino of the band that released the excellent Whatever People Say That's What I'm Not 12 years ago. And that's fine, because 12 years ago Alex Turner was a post teenager who just wanted to be one of the Strokes and is now a star with more than 30 years behind him. His world is no longer the...

The Who - Who's Next (1971)

Who's Next is usually considered to be the best Who record of their career but the circumstances in which it was created were quite difficult. At first, Pete Townshend was planning a new rock opera for the group after the success of Tommy, called Lifehouse, a gigantic project with which the leader of the band wanted to find the connection...

Mike Oldfield - Tubular Bells (1973)

Tubular Bells, the mesmerising masterpiece by Mike Oldfield was released 45 years ago (May 25, 1973), and was indeed ahead of its time and still stands as a monumental opus of progressive rock. In fact the album was meant to be called Opus 1, but was later reconsidered. It was recorded at the Manor Studios in Shipton-on-Cherwell, Oxfordshire, an...

Mike Oldfield

Michael Gordon Oldfield, born May 15, 1953, English multi-instrumentalist musician and composer, became a giant force on the music scene behind his symphonic masterpiece Tubular Bells release in 1973, where he played over 20 instruments on the multi-layered opus. But we’ll get to that later. Let’s start where he started, at age 14, after...

Neil Young - Roxy: Tonight's The Night Live (1973-2018)

“The first topless girl we get up here gets one of these boots, ladies and gentlemen” Neil Young says in his introductory words to the concert; something which seems somewhat inappropriate, particularly in the context of today’s #MeToo movement.        But in some mitigation, both the place and the time...

Johnny Cash - At Folsom Prison (1968)

Johnny Cash always had in mind to play his 1955 classic Folsom Prison Blues in front of the inmates crammed inside its walls. On January 13, 1968, his dream came true. There couldn’t have been a better audience for his collection of songs about guys who shot a man in Reno just to watch him die, a who murdered his woman after snorting cocaine,...

Dick Dale

If someone is called, deservedly, the king of surf music and the father of heavy metal it is because that someone is very important when we ‘talk guitars’. Dick Dale got his iconic sound, creating surf music on the way, by making his guitar sound like two of his passions - Gene Krupa's drums and the roar of the waves when he surfed them on...

Willie Nelson - Last Man Standing (2018)

The passing of time is a central theme on Willie Nelson’s latest album, Last Man Standing; and that is barely surprising as the wily old country singer-songwriter is now 85 years old. On the cover he stares warmly at his legendary ‘Trigger’, which looks nearly as old as he his. As lovers of Nelson’s life and music well know, it certainly...