Number Fifty Two

The Playlist

A friend sent me a link to someone’s idea of the greatest rock guitar solos on record because “Baby’s On Fire”, one of my first posts, and a guitar solo I’d nominate for some kind of “best” list, was on it. I can’t remember what the other eleven tracks were, except I wasn’t familiar with most of them, or my response was, “What?!”. A brief email correspondence took place where I nominated a handful of solos that would be on my list, and got as far as promising it would be the theme for the next “Bullshit”. I started to jot down some ideas, a little disappointed that “Baby’s On Fire was already on Number Fifty when I realized I had no interest in compiling or listening to all that fretful wankery.
Also I’d collected the solo-less “Yummy, Yummy, Yummy” from Lux N Ivy’s Favorites and already earmarked it for Now That’s What I Call Bullshit 52.
All the Bullshits tend to follow the same pattern of eclecticism, so I lost the guitar solo theme. That said, a few of them made it onto the playlist. They are grouped together in a mini set consisting of “Old Pervert”, possibly my favorite Kimberly Rew solo from The Soft Boys Underwater Moonlight. Interesting because this version is not on the cd reissue, where it has been replaced by a vastly inferior rendition. This version is dubbed from a cassette copy I made in 1986 of the original vinyl release. Next up is “Lounge Lizard” from Ian Hunter’s first solo album featuring Mick Ronson on guitar. It’s really hard to narrow Mick down to a single solo, but I think this one stands out for all the right reasons. After that comes “Tit-Nan-Darag”, from Live, Love, Larf by French, Frith, Kaiser, and Thompson. Three out of four of those guys are well known for their guitar prowess. The other guy for the incredible drumming in Captain Beefheart’s Magic Band. I hear the album isn’t great, but this track smokes, and when Richard Thompson plays, I listen. It wasn’t destined for my list, but his solo on Fairport’s “Tale In Hard Time” is no laughing matter, either. It’s not a solo, but Blixa Bargeld’s guitar on “The Moon Is In The Gutter” is some of my favorite atmospheric noodling. Davy O’List plays some crazy shit on “The ‘In’ Crowd”, Mick Ronson shimmers tastefully on “Up To Me”, and the guitars on Acetone’s “No Need Swim” are as gorgeous as you-fill-in-the-blank.
Keef’s playing on “Honky Tonk Women” and Ron’s solo on “Twisting the Night Away” would have both made the cut, but I’ve heard them too many times, so here they are together on “Not Fade Away” from The Stones Stripped Deluxe, where no one in the band sounds like they plan on fading away any time soon. And then there’s Lou Reed on “You’re Driving Me Insane”, a song recorded by The Roughnecks shortly before forming The Velvet Underground, where he plays the practically same solo (if you can call it that) as “Run, Run, Run” from the “banana” album.
The Mekons always have good guitars, and are here because this song narrowly missed the cut on my post a few months back. One of the Mekons, Lu Edmonds, is currently playing guitar on tour with Public Image Ltd.
The Liquor Giants “I Don’t Mind” is a dead ringer for Big Star. Too bad it wasn’t covered by them on In Space.
Something by Chris Spedding would have found it’s way onto the guitar list, check out Roy Harper’s “The Game” on an earlier post, so I end the set with the Sharks hysterical “Kung Fu”, from Jab It In Yore Eye(1977). One of those albums that wouldn’t make it onto anyone’s all-time list, but for some reason I played to death way back when, largely due to Spedding’s incredible tone and economy coupled with Snip’s charismatic vocals.
There isn’t any guitar at all on Gene Krupa’s “Scandanavian Baby”, but it rocks nicely and comes from a history of Jazz record my parents bought at a supermarket when I was a toddler.
It’s really about the songs anyway.
Link in Comments.

The Birthday Party/RIP Rowland S. Howard


Nick Cave and Rowland S. Howard

Enough Bullshit! Let’s get to some real music.
I just found out Rowland S. Howard died of liver cancer on December 30, 2009, at age 50 (yikes).
He is best known for his work with The Birthday Party, one of the most powerful rock n roll bands to walk the earth.
Also present in the band was Nick Cave, whose long career tends to overshadow his not at all humble beginnings.

He had this to say about Rowland’s passing: “This is very sad news, Rowland was Australia’s most unique, gifted and uncompromising guitarist. He was also a good friend. He will be missed by many.”

Back in the mid ’80’s The Birthday Party was my favorite band. The sheer ferocity of their music made everything else sound like teddy bears.
The great part was that no matter how noisy and malevolent they sounded, the undercurrent of musicality and humor made it even worse. They wrote about darkness as if it were funny, and committing mayhem a joyous occasion, which made them even scarier.
Nick’s delivery was nearly Shakespearian, and the band muscular and impeccably tasteful for all the ungodly noise they created.

The Birthday Party hired famed “Rat Fink” originator, and hot rod artist, “Big Daddy” Roth to do the cover of their third album Junkyard (pictured).
Roth was a devout Christian at the time and knew nothing of the band when he created the artwork. Afterwards when he heard the album he regretted his contribution.

I'm glad "Big Daddy" didn't hear it first

Feel free to consult wikipedia for a Birthday Party bio:

Nick Cave’s albums post Birthday Party are okay. Some are excellent, his first, From Her To Eternity (1983/4), is brilliant.
His covers album, Kicking Against The Pricks (1986) contains a transcendent version of “Long Black Veil”, as well as a few decent others.
His appearance, wearing a tuxedo, was a little too reminiscent of Bryan Ferry, and a couple of his early ’90’s albums sound a little too much like wannabe crooner for my taste. The Murder Ballads (1996), on the other hand is one of his best, but nothing on it even comes close to the power of “Deep In The Woods”, from the Bad Seed (1982)Ep.
Nick’s albums post Birthday Party are better than any of Lou Reed’s, post Velvet Underground, at least.

Check out the tunes. First one, “Big Jesus Trashcan” kills me every time, even after a few thousand plays. Actually all of it does.

Big Jesus TrashCan
Deep In The Woods
King Ink
Nick The Stripper
Jennifer’s Veil
She’s Hit