Archive for September, 2008

Stump This!

Sunday, September 28th, 2008

You may not believe it, but I do get away from the computer occasionally. One such occasion was a couple of days ago when I was out mowing a section on the south part of the property. I was driving slowly through some weeds when all of a sudden the most horrible noise occurred underneath the mower. Just as this happenned, the mower stopped dead and the motor died. I was pretty sure I had hit a big root sticking up so I disengaged the blades and restarted the mower. It started right up, so I backed up a bit and turned the blades back on. The mower engine drug and it started to die. I figured there was something stuck underneath but I was really tired and didn’t feel like trying to get under it, so I just parked it.

Today I got out with my little tool box to work on it. I’m not terribly mechanical so I usually call my friend Chris at Shaw Motorsports to help me out with anything like this, but I was feeling frisky. I got on the mower and was driving it to where I was going to try to tear it apart and I heard a gnarly, but different noise underneath the deck. For some odd reason, I decided to check the blades and, low and behold, it worked just great. I turned the mower around to go see if I could see what fell off, secretly hoping it’s wasn’t something that was supposed to stay there.

I looked on the ground and found this:

Just to give you an idea, those are 2X6s that it’s sitting on. It reminded me of a big turkey leg. I guess I was extremely lucky that nothing important was broken.

Greatest Guitarists Ever?

Saturday, September 27th, 2008

I ran across a Rolling Stone article called “The 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time” yesterday and, being a musician myself, poured over the list.  I’m sure no one can put out a list like this without expecting criticism and disagreement over who they picked and what order they placed  them in.  I am here to fill this niche.  So lets get started, shall we?

  1. Jimi Hendrix
  2. Duane Allman
  3. B.B. King
  4. Eric Clapton
  5. Robert Johnson
  6. Chuck Berry
  7. Stevie Ray Vaughn
  8. Ry Cooder
  9. Jimmy Page
  10. Keith Richards
  11. I don’t have any major problems with the top 10, at least nothing that screams at me.  I think this may be a little high on the list for Ry Cooder and Keith Richards, but this is still the neck of the woods they need to be in.

  12. Kirk Hammett
  13. Kurt Cobain
  14. Jerry Garcia
  15. Jeff Beck
  16. Carlos Santana
  17. Johnny Ramone
  18. Jack White
  19. John Frusciante
  20. Richard Thompson
  21. James Burton
  22. Ok folks, here’s where my problems begin.  Kurt Cobain?  Great guitarist?  I just can’t buy it.  Influential songwriter, maybe.  But in my opinion, he was not a particularly accomplished guitarist.  So he definitely doesn’t go here.  I also can’t believe he is listed ABOVE the likes of Jeff Beck and Carlos Santana!

    My next problem:  Johnny Ramone.  Now don’t get me wrong, I LOVE THE RAMONES.  They kick major ass.  But their ass kicking is done with attitude, not with chops.  I can teach a 10 year old to play Johnny Ramone songs.  He shouldn’t be on the list.  Sorry.

    Now to one of my biggest problems with this list.  Jack White of the White Stripes?  Who did this guys manager pay off?  He shouldn’t even be on the radar.  Not even in the cut.  How did this guy make the list and Albert King didn’t?  I am assuming this was a joke that someone put in when they were stoned that they forgot to take out before publication.

  23. George Harrison
  24. Mike Bloomfield
  25. Warren Haynes
  26. The Edge
  27. Freddy King
  28. Tom Morello
  29. Mark Knophler
  30. Steven Stills
  31. Ron Ashton
  32. Buddy Guy
  33. This 10 is not QUITE as bad.  I am a little torn with The Edge.  As a straight player, I don’t think he’s that great, but he is a master of using effects well to make astonishingly full walls of sound.  That being said, I think that makes him the less talented version of Robert Fripp.  Fripp was doing this stuff in analog before The Edge ever picked up a guitar and Fripp is a straight up monster player.  This is one of those guys that’s good, but when you look at who didn’t make the list, I think he should be dropped to make room.  That’s really my main problem with this 10.  There are several who are good but there are many that deserved these slots more.  For this reason and this reason alone, I’d have to take out Tom Morello, Ron Ashton and Steven Still.  These are very tough choices, but when you put them next to Django Reinhardt or Steve Vai, who didn’t make the list, I would have to bump them, or at least bump them lower and get rid of some of the riff raff that shouldn’t be here in the first place.

    I do think Buddy Guy needs to be higher.  Hendrix is number one and Guy is the man who influenced what you see in Hendrix more than anyone else.  He needs to at least be to 20.

  34. Dick Dale
  35. John Cipollina
  36. Thurston Moore
  37. Lee Ranaldo
  38. John Fahey
  39. Steve Cropper
  40. Bo Diddly
  41. Peter Green
  42. Brian May
  43. John Fogerty
  44. Now here’s an interesting 10.  Dick Dale, the king of surf guitar may be a little high, but I definitely think he needs to be in the list.  There was no surf style before him.  John Cippolina of Quicksilver Messenger Service was a great player as well, but I go back to the ‘who’s NOT on the list’ argument before I put him on.

    The next two are the guys from Sonic Youth.  They are ok players, but not even approaching the level of what should be on this list.  You have some incredible players UNDER them.  In excusable choice.  Not as bad as Jack White, but approaching it.

    The rest of this 10 are fine with the exception of Bo Diddly.  As a guitar player, I think he is better than Chuck Berry, so if Berry is at number 6, Bo Diddly at least needs to be in the top 10.  (Although top 20 for both of them, I think would be more appropriate.)

  45. Clarence White
  46. Robert Fripp
  47. Eddie Hazel
  48. Scotty Moore
  49. Frank Zappa
  50. Les Paul
  51. TBone Walker
  52. Joe Perry
  53. John McLaughlin
  54. Pete Townsend
  55. Not since the top 10 have we listed 10 I can’t argue with.  All are great.  All deserve to be here.  All are in about the right spot, although some arguments could be made for moving a little.  Still, all and all, this one is pretty spot on.

  56. Paul Kossoff
  57. Lou Reed
  58. Mickey Baker
  59. Jorma Kaukonen
  60. Ritchie Blackmore
  61. Tom Veriane
  62. Roy Buchanan
  63. Dicky Betts
  64. Ed O’brien
  65. Johnny Greenwood
  66. …and we are right back to the problems.  Paul Kossoff of Free I can go with.  By looking at who isn’t on here, maybe he should open up a spot, but you could open the Grand Canyon in this 10 so let’s move on.

    Lou Reed?  Are you serious?  Lou Reed?  C’mon folks.  I love the music but Lou can’t really sing or play.  It’s about the cool, the vibe, the attitude of the Velvet Underground, not musical ability.  Sorry Lou, I love ya, but you got to go.

    Mickey Baker is probably one of the best guitarists you never heard of.  I say he stays.

    Jorma has at least got to move down the list.  The Airplane and Hot Tuna are great, but I just don’t think he goes here.

    Tom Veriane of Television, I must say, is one of the few I have never heard play, so I can’t really say if he goes here or not.

    Now let me get to Dickey Betts.  Dickey is WAAAY too low in this poll.  Dickey is one of the best all around players there is.  Just listen to ‘Live at the FIllmore West’.  The problem is that Dickey was in a band with Duane Allman.  So you compare him to the number 2 guitarist EVER and he will pale a little.  When the Allmans reformed, he played next to Warren Haynes, who, BTW, I think is also WAAAAY to low on this list.  He pales a little.  But he is by no means a bottom 50 player.  This guy is definitely top 20 if not top 10.

    Ed O’Brien and Johnny Greenwood of Radiohead?  Shouldn’t even be in the list.  Nuff said.

  67. Ike Turner
  68. Zoot Horn Rollo
  69. Danny Gatton
  70. Mick Ronson
  71. Hubert Sumlin
  72. Vernon Reid
  73. Link Wray
  74. Jerry Miller
  75. Steve Howe
  76. Eddie Van Halen
  77. So lets start at the top here with Ike Turner.  Great guitar player and song writer?  Agreed.  Belongs in the top 100 guitarists ever?  Sorry,  no.

    Zoot Horn Rollo from the Magic band, same as Ike.  Great player, absolutely.  Top 100, nope.

    Danny Gatton was a monster.  This guy is too low in the list.  Needs to be 10 to 20 spots higher, at least.

    Hubert Sumlin is a real favorite of mine, but I’m not sure he belongs in this list.  He backed up Howlin’ Wolf forever and was great, but in a list that is missing Albert King, I think we have to make some room.  I am truly sorry, Hubert.

    Link Wray is a tough one.  Very influential in incorporating distortion, but just not sure if that would be enough to do it for my list.

    Jerry Miller of Moby Grape.  I really love this band and Jerry’s playing, but c’mon guys.  You have him on the list ABOVE Eddie Van Halen.  Eddie definitely needs to move up the list.  This guy has done more on a guitar than most of us can even dream up.  He’s top 10.  This is a truly boneheaded oversight.

  78. Lightin’ Hopkins
  79. Joni Mitchell
  80. Trey Anastasio
  81. Johnny Winter
  82. Adam Jones
  83. Ali Farka Toure
  84. Henry Vestine
  85. Robbie Robertson
  86. Cliff Gallup
  87. Robert Quine
  88. This 10 is quite diverse and interesting.  Lightnin’ Hopkins is in at 71 which I think is about right.  Glad to see a folk player made the list in Joni Mitchell, who is a great fingerstyle, non-standard tuning player, but I think there were a couple of those who should have made the list and didn’t.

    Trey Anastasio is a great player and probably goes in the top 100.  I think his position here is about right, maybe even a little high, but he definitely makes the list.

    Johnny Winter is too low.  This guy is a monster.  He started out a monster and is a monster to this day.  Should be at least in the top 30 – 40.

    Adam Jones of Tool would never make my list.  I don’t listen to Tool all that much so I don’t want to be too critical, but I think I can easily fill a top 100 list with valid entries and never even think of this name or band.

    The rest of this 10 gets no real complaint.  I think Robbie Robertson’s contributions to music totally overshadow any contribution to guitar he may have had, but hell.  I love the guy.  I’ll watch ‘The Last Waltz’ and listen to ‘Music From Big Pink’ till they cremate me.

  89. Derek Trucks
  90. David Gilmore
  91. Neil Young
  92. Eddie Cochrane
  93. Randi Rhodes
  94. Toni Iommi
  95. Joan Jett
  96. Dave Davies
  97. D. Boon
  98. Glenn Buxton
  99. First let me say, Derek Trucks is too low.  Go listen to this guy.  He can pretty much outplay any living guitarist.  His playing is simply on another level.  If you haven’t listened to him do.  Easy top 20.

    David Gilmore is too low also.  His contributions to music in general and the guitar in particular are without question.  Top 30

    Neil Young is probably in the right place, as is Eddie Cochrane, but Randi Rhodes is definitely too low.  40s to 50s.

    Toni Iommi may be a little low, but I won’t argue it too much.  He’s on the list and deserves to be.  He’s not top 50 and shouldn’t be.

    Joan Jett??  Huh???  Great showman?  Hell Yes!  Great singer?  Hell yes!  Would I go see her live and buy the records?!  Have and will continue to do so.  Great guitarist?   Get real.  I’ll bet even Joan would say she doesn’t belong on this list.

    Dave Davies is ok.  The Kinks are ok and have been doing this forever.  But he is just not that great of a guitarist.  Off my list.

    D. Boon probably belongs on this list, right about here, but I would easily entertain arguments for elimination.

    Glenn Buxton is a good guitarist.  Love the Alice Cooper stuff.  Top 100 of all time, especially with the names that are missing.  No way.  Sorry Glenn.

  100. Robbie Krieger
  101. Wayne Kramer
  102. Fred ‘Sonic’ Smith
  103. Burt Jansch
  104. Kevin Shields
  105. Angus Young
  106. Robert Randolph
  107. Leigh Stevens
  108. Gregg Ginn
  109. Kim Thayil

Here we are at the end of Rolling Stones list.  Lets see if they go out with a bang or a whimper.  They seem to start out well.  Robbie Krieger definitely belongs on here, and maybe even a bit higher.  Wayne Kramer and Fred ‘Sonic’ Smith did some great stuff and probably deserve to be here as well.

Burt Jansch is a great player for the same reasons that Leo Kottke does and I probably would have given Leo the nod, but no real argument.

Kevin Shields?  Not on MY list, folks.

Now this brings us to Angus Young, one of the most copied blues rock players of the last 30 years and he rates 96?  Give me a break.  This guy is at least top 50, bare minimum.  Big drop of the ball here.

Robert Randolph is interesting.  Since it said guitarists, not stringed instrument players, I had not thought of him, although this inclusion would mean that Jerry Douglas MUST be added to the list.

Leigh Stevens, Gregg Ginn and Kim Thayil just don’t make my list.

Notable Omissions

We see who has been included, but who got snubbed?  There are some great, great names conspicuously absent from the list.  Here are just a few that I thought of:

  • Albert King
  • Django Reinhardt
  • Brian Setzer
  • Steve Vai
  • Eric Johnson
  • Joe Satriani
  • Yngvie Malmsteen
  • Sonny Landreth
  • Keb Mo
  • Leo Kottke
  • Charlie Christian
  • Chet Atkins
  • Jerry Douglas

There are numerous others but these guys definitely should have been on the list somewhere.

So there you have my take on it.  Let me know what you think.  Did I miss somebody? (I’m sure I did)  Is there somebody I under rated?  Leave a comment and let me know.

What’s up with VH1?

Saturday, September 6th, 2008

I was flipping through the TV channels this afternoon after getting home from Barcamp SA (more on Barcamp San Antonio coming soon) and VH1, yes, the ‘music’ channel, is running an apparent marathon of “Trading Spouses:? Meet Your New Mommy”.? So I thought maybe this was Rock n Roll famlies switching spouses.? Nope…it’s the same old sucky show from network TV.? It was bad enough in the first place, but I wish VH1 would stick to playing things that at least remotely tie into music

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