by John McBain
GREAT “MOMENT” #412: THE “I AIN’T NO MIRACLE WORKER” GUITAR SOLO
The Brogues were nothin’ special. Just another band. At times, completely forgettable. But anyway…. the guitar solo. The moment occurs as the solo starts to take off. First we hear a five or six notes. Nice. Melodic. Whatever. Then IT happens. SCREEEEEEEEEFIZZZZZZZZZZZ! WHAT THE HELL? Sounds like the guitar was dropped in a bathtub. Then, as if nothing happened, the song continues. And they left it on the record. How cool is that?
“COLLECT CALL FROM SATAN ON LINE ONE”
Led Zep was, is, and always will be a colossal bore, as I see it. And God how I hate Bob Plant. Ever see those “Vocal Eliminators” in the back of Rolling Stone? They’re supposed to filter out singers so you can sing along to Billy Joel records. I doubt that they work but if they did I would run every goddamn Zeppelin song through it. TWICE! He really did ruin that band, didn’t he? Does anybody remember laughter? Fuck you Bob. The moment” that I was trying to point out comes somewhere in the middle of “The Ocean” on Houses of The Holy. During a verse, I believe. IF you listen real closely you’ll hear a telephone ringing. Must be Bob Ezrin on the line, or Jimmy’s dealer. Regardless, its my favorite Zep moment. AGAIN, LED ZEPPELIN ARE A JOKE.
GEORGE HARRISON FALLS ASLEEP ON THE JOB
Ever checked out the solo on “All You Need is Love”? Starts out in typical George fashion. Fuzzy, thin, nice melody. But half way through he gives up, hits a few random notes, yawns, and calls it a day. Boredom has never been so audibly evident as it is here. Sounds like he hated this pile of manure ever since the “dead” Beatle first brought it to rehearsal. One more reason to love George Harrison.
LES FLEURS DES LYS….REFLECTIONS CD
First heard them on the Electric SugarCube Flashback record. I think it was “Gong With The Luminous Nose”. The guitar player took the solo to “Happenings Ten Years Time Ago” (Yardbirds) and tore it new asshole. Really amazing stuff. My friend Phil sent me a copy of the collection, Reflections. I crossed my fingers for one or two gems. I ended up with a dozen. I’m still not sure who played guitar on this stuff, but let me tell ya, he’s nothing short of infuckingcredible. Every song, mostly raw, overloaded garage rock, is like a two and a half minute non stop ass whuppin’. I can’t praise this band enough.
These recordings sent me on a quest to find an old tone pedal, to get the Fleur Des Lys sound. Not so much a wah wah as it is a guitars tone knob in pedal form, I consider its sound to be much more psychedelic than a wah pedal. More subtle. You can hear it on early Page session work, Beck period Yardbirds, and ultimately on Reflections. Of course things start to wane towards the end of this disc as the seventies near. But that’s expected. The seventies were not very kind this style of music. But anyway, the first half is ESSENTIAL. Pure, unadulterated guitar heroics. Oh yeah, once again LED ZEPPELIN WERE AN AWFUL, AWFUL BAND.
THE FIVE MOST IMPORTANT MUSICIANS OF ALL TIME – PT. 2 THE 60’S
1. HAL BLAIN
Without Hal on the scene the sixties would have been a complete waste of time. No Beach Boys records, no Ronettes, no River Deep, Mountain High, no Age Of Aquarius, the door would have remained closed for just about every garage band, riots would erupt in every major city, aliens would land and zap us out of existence simply because of Hermins Hermits, Paul Simon would rule over the smoldering embers, and on and on. You get the picture? Do yourself a favor and find a Hal Blaine website and take a look at his credentials.
2. KEITH MOON
Do I have to explain this one? Buy Live At Leeds.
3. STEVE MARRIOT
Tin soldier, afterglow of your love, and all or nothing are untouchable songs. Do not try to cover them. You can’t. Steve was the greatest singer of his time. Nobody came close. Robert Plant was a pussy. John Lennon was way too serious. Paul McCartney looked like a girl. The rest of ’em were just faking it.
4. FANG FROM PAUL REVERE AND THE RAIDERS/PAUL MCCARTNEY (tie)
Fang carried every great single. Huge, fat, compressed, and fuzzy. Sometimes he overdubbed three or four bass tracks, most notably on “Hungry”. Like your bass mixed loud? Look no further. Major influence on Wellwater Conspiracy.
Sure he looked like a sissy, yeah he wrote “When I’m Sixty Four”, and countless other slop. But what about “Rain”? “Paperback Writer”? The last couple of notes of “And Your Bird Can Sing”? The ending of “Lovely Rita”? Every note of “Penny Lane”? While we all secretly wish that Paul took the bullet instead of John, we are stuck with him so lets make the most of it. Bottom line is this; Paul McCartney is the best bassplayer of all time.
5. THE GUY WHO ARRANGED GREEN TAMBOURINE
So I’m sitting around listening to the local oldies radio station. The Lemon Pipers come on. Hot damn. Love all that tape echo (“so listen while I play, play, play, play, play, play, play…my green tambourine) my question is this; how did a completely fucked up song like this become such a huge hit? What were radio programmers thinking and, more precisely, what were they smoking? If this was a new record it would die a quick and painless death. The best song of the 1960s? Possibly. Bizarre ending? Absolutely. Sounds out of place regardless of the song that proceeds it on the radio? Again, yes.
The next musician was so important to the survival of 1960’s rock that I feel that he deserves a category unto himself. While the previous five deserve their place in history and are, in my opinion, tops in their categories, Rod Argent’s work in the Zombies (PLEASE go out and buy Zombie Heaven) place him well above the likes of McCartney and his ilk. Rod could do it all. He wrote the best song of his era, (She’s Not There) his Pianet solos on every early Zombies track show a harmonic understanding and sophistication that is untouchable to this day, his throwaway songs, (Walking In The Sun, She’s Coming Home) are absolutely perfect pop compositions, his hits, (Whenever You’re Ready, Tell Her No, The Way I Feel Inside) are masterpieces on every level, he worshipped the minor key, he looked cool, he could sing like a bird, and he was confident without being a showoff. I hereby award Mr. Rod Argent the first annual FreakFlag Award in The Field of Excellence. The Brits blew it when they enlisted the help of The Hessians in The Revolutionary War, but Rod, like any good soldier, fought the good fight, restored pride to Brittania, and walked off into the sunset. (Yeah I know, he went on to form Argent. But they really sucked so I’d just as soon forget that and remember the good times.)
NEXT TIME: GREATEST MUSICIANS OF THE 1970’s