Another list

Wednesday, March 1st, 2006 05:20 pm
caddyman: (Default)
[personal profile] caddyman
Well, I am still at home having woken up this morning feeling manky. Right now I feel a bit of a fraud as apart from the occasional coughing fit I am OK, so I shall probably be back in work tomorrow. There's only so much daytime telly any sane person can take, and I don't want to screw over my recovery by venturing outside for anything more prolonged than dropping rubbish in the bin.

I had intended to make use of the time in starting a new NWO character, but the inspiration won't come right now, so I am leaving it a few hours in the hope that the creative juices will start flowing.

I thought instead, that I'd put together the vaguely promised list of my personal favourite 10 rock songs, which will of course be entirely subjective and be entirely changeable, especially the deeper down the ten you get. I like to think the range is quite wide, for rock is a broad church ranging from the heavy acid teeth grinding stuff at one end, to the melodic almost orchestral at the other, with some quite poppy stuff thrown in at the lighter end. If nothing else, compiling the list will keep [livejournal.com profile] telemeister quiet; he's been bugging me to make the list since I mentioned it in passing.

If you are interested (in fact, even if you aren't)

Starless: King Crimson, from the album Red. To my mind this track has it all and has never dropped off number one in my list these past twenty years. Doom-laden pretension in the lyric, John Wetton's driving bass line and growing maturity as a vocalist, Bill Bruford's drums slicing through the long grass; a percussive daisy cutter on full octane. Bob Fripp doing things to a guitar he's never quite managed since. Where else could you get a one-note guitar solo that's not boring?

I am the Walrus: Spooky Tooth, from the album The Last Puff. The first of two Beatles' covers that beat the masters at their own game. No longer a trippy psychedelic pop-rock song, Spooky Tooth come up with something darker, heavier and more atmospheric, with vocals that would have made Joe Cocker proud.

While My Guitar Gently Weeps: Jeff Healy Band. I have no idea what album this is from, as my copy is on a guitar compilation. A rawer and heavier take than the Beatles' version that retains all the important elements of the original. If you want an example of how not to do a cover, contrast this with Toto's attempt. It is to weep.

The Great Gig in the Sky: Pink Floyd, from Dark Side of the Moon. It doesn't feel right treating a single track from this album in isolation and I thought long and hard about it. Clare Torry's screaming vocals over Dave Gilmour's restrained guitar are quite literally breath taking. Check out the live version from Pulse, too where Joe Brown's little girl Sam, delivers an incredible performance.

Freebird: Lynyrd Skynyrd from any number of compilation albums... Despite [livejournal.com profile] boglin's accurate deconstruction of the lyric, still one of my favourite rock songs of all time. Not as over exposed in the UK as it probably is on US rock radio. Anyone who is old enough to remember the band's performance of this song in what, 1978 on The Old Grey Whistle Test, will know precisely why this has to be in the top ten.

Psycho Killer: Talking Heads from Talking Heads '77. I'm not sure this is strictly a rock song, but who cares? The eccentric lyric and vocal performance by David Byrne is worth inclusion all on its own. As far as I am aware, I was the first person at Wolves Poly to pick up on the Heads, and I picked up a copy of their double single release which included their take on Take Me to the River. I cleared the dance floor with Psycho Killer when I played it in the union Friday night disco. Years later the buggers were all hopping to the Heads, but for one brief, shiny moment, and for the only time in my life, I got there first.

Tales of Brave Ulysses: Cream, from Disraeli Gears. Unsingable lyrics set to music and somehow sung. Could anyone other than Jack Bruce have done that? And then Messrs Clapton and Baker, too. Magic all round.

Do The Strand: Roxy Music from their eponymous debut album. Fast, unpredictable, raw and raunchy, before Eno went mad and the band became a vehicle for Bryan Ferry schmaltz. Probably the only rock song to name check the rhododendron. Fantastic.

Mockingbird: Barclay James Harvest from the album Live Tapes. Definitely the live version rather than the over-orchestrated debut of the song on Once Again. With the orchestra taken away, the stripped down version of Mockingbird is an effective and melodic little number that became the band's signature piece. They were not the Poor Man's Moody Blues.

Band on the Run: Paul McCartney and Wings from the album of the same name. Where rock meets pop, and arguably two songs glued together in the middle eight. Nonetheless, this song, as well as the album it comes from is one of my all-time favourites and somehow it all cheers me up whenever I am pissed off.

Ziggy Stardust: David Bowie from the album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars. Slap bang in the middle of an outrageous artist's most outrageous period when it was hard to tell where Ziggy Ended and Bowie began. Just a good tune with a good melody and an interesting riff. Bowie was never quite as good again, though he's picking up now, thirty years later.

Helter Skelter: The Beatles, from their eponymous 1968 album, forever and unofficially the White Album. First of the unexpectedly heavy, fast and raw songs from the Beatles'later career, showing how they may have developed if the symbiotic Lennon/McCartney relationship hadn't broken down. Sadly this song will always be tainted by association with Charles Manson and Sharon Tate. But by crackey, it's a corker.

White Rabbit: The Jefferson Airplane from (I think) Surrealistic Pillow. I always forget that this is a very short song, but it manages to pack psychedelic imagery, social comment, an armful of LSD and an eerie feel into just short of three minutes of vinyl. There are longer live jams, but for once, the studio version is best. Who'd have thought, listening to this that Grace Slick could crash and burn so badly in the 80s?


Next time I do this, it will doubtless be entirely different. And it will only be 10 tracks, not 13. So I got carried away; sue me.

(no subject)

Date: 2006-03-01 05:26 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jfs.livejournal.com
I'm kinda surprised how many of these I've heard and liked. blimey.

I was watching Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas last night and White Rabbit started playing in the background as Thompson is falling apart in a bar on an acid trip. My first thought was "I really need to track down a copy of this" and my second was "but I never want to listen to it on an acid trip". It's far too reptilian.

(no subject)

Date: 2006-03-01 05:35 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] pax-draconis.livejournal.com
...whereas it's one of my favourite "altered states" pieces, second only to Passion.

(no subject)

Date: 2006-03-01 05:50 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jfs.livejournal.com
Forgot to mention - I've got a couple of Sam Brown albums, and I saw her live in Manchester back in 89. She came on stage, and in an even huskier voice than usual, said "I'm afraid I've got a bit of a cold, so I might not be able to do a full set."

She then sang for 90 minutes. In a fantastically husky voice.

My knees were weak.

(no subject)

Date: 2006-03-01 07:52 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] caddyman.livejournal.com
I can do you a copy if you'd like.

(no subject)

Date: 2006-03-01 05:34 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] pax-draconis.livejournal.com
I am also surprised, given our very divergent music tastes, by how many of these I found myself nodding about. White Rabbit, Ziggy and Psycho Killer are all strong reminders of my childhood - my uncle was a big Heads fan. Freebird is wretched, though; and not even a legendary OGWT performance prevents it being a whiny piece of framing to a long, indulgent (genius) guitar solo.

(no subject)

Date: 2006-03-01 05:47 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] caddyman.livejournal.com
I always thought my musical tastes were quite wide, jokes about Prog not withstanding.

I can never qute get my head around the concept of the no-solo rock song.

(no subject)

Date: 2006-03-01 06:25 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bluesman.livejournal.com
Neither can I. Gimme a ten-minute (non-w*nking) guitar solo any day.

(no subject)

Date: 2006-03-01 05:42 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ellefurtle.livejournal.com
You will have to educate me, if you are not so ashamed of me you wish to deny all association

I own a mere one of those tracks.....

(no subject)

Date: 2006-03-01 05:44 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] caddyman.livejournal.com
Ah, but many of them are from before your time, Young One.

Which one do you have, as a matter of interest?

(no subject)

Date: 2006-03-01 05:46 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ellefurtle.livejournal.com
The Pink Floyd, of which I am very fond

(no subject)

Date: 2006-03-01 05:48 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] caddyman.livejournal.com
I guessed it might be, but I thought the Heads might be there, too.

(no subject)

Date: 2006-03-01 05:50 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ellefurtle.livejournal.com
clearly a cunning guesser!

And I like young one - that happens to me less and less as time passes! hehe

(no subject)

Date: 2006-03-02 12:38 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] caddyman.livejournal.com
You should come up to the Athenaeum Club one day and I will flatten your eardrums with good old-fashioned (and largely obscure) rock music.

(no subject)

Date: 2006-03-01 06:32 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bluesman.livejournal.com
As you have ruthlessly, reciprocally goaded me in the text, I feel the need to say that I agree with some of the choices. I would choose Birthday from the White Album, rather than Helter Skelter because it's such a blast, and Red from Red rather than Starless and Helen Wheels from Band On The Run (yank version) rather than the title track, and Time from Dark Side Of The Moon rather than, etc, etc, etc. We all have our preferences.

Now for a list of Top Ten Guitar Solos Of All Time. Let's see, there's that ripping Val Doonican riff from his 1971 "Down In The Mosh Pit" concept album...

(no subject)

Date: 2006-03-01 07:10 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] caddyman.livejournal.com
I like Red for its uncompromising brutality, but the melody of Starless gets me every time.

In fact I'm off to give it a listen right now...

(no subject)

Date: 2006-03-01 08:53 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cybersofa.livejournal.com
Excellent, just all round excellent. I think I'll have to do this soon, although not too soon, because my list probably overlaps yours about 50 percent, artiste-wise at least. I blame that Adrian Belew.

Also, one of the tracks on your list (and indeed mine) is responsible for my daughter's name.

(no subject)

Date: 2006-03-01 10:51 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] caddyman.livejournal.com
You called your daughter ZIGGY!

Oh, Lor...

(no subject)

Date: 2006-03-02 12:12 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fractalgeek.livejournal.com
A very fine selection, though a couple I'm not that familiar with; willing to be educated, though.

Sitting at [livejournal.com profile] queenortart's office is a piece of deep indulgence - "Affinity", by Affinity. Ordered for "Mr Joy", Linda Hoyle is vaguely reminiscent of Grace Slick, and covers include a credible "All along the Watchtower" and "I am the Walrus".... Interested?

(no subject)

Date: 2006-03-02 12:29 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] caddyman.livejournal.com
I wouldn't mind a listen at some point, ta.

You have just reminded me that it never occurred to me to include any Hendrix in the list, and All Along the Watchtower, Purple Haze and Voodoo Chile are all contenders.

That would bring my top ten list to 16. Hmm.

What was the pair on my list you aren't familiar with? Starless and ...

(no subject)

Date: 2006-03-02 12:57 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fractalgeek.livejournal.com
I know of Spooky Tooth, but have none, ditto Barclay James Harvest. I used to really enjoy Talking Heads, particularly "Stop making sense" but for some reason they have paled.

Jeff Healy turned in a blistering performance on the film "Road House", where I'm pretty sure one thing done is "All along the watchtower". The Synchronicity!

(no subject)

Date: 2006-03-03 09:16 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] pauln.livejournal.com
Healey is excellent. While My Guitar Gently Weeps is on the second album Hell To Pay. I think it's on the whole not as strong as the first, See The Light, perhaps because of the number of "guitar god" guest appearances (including Harrison). Of the JH stuff, I'd go for the eponymous last track of that first album.

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