Unplugged

Johnny Winter - Second Winter (1969)

Johnny “the Texas Albino” Winter cut his second record for Columbia Records in 1969 titled Second Winter, an 11-song, 3-sided album (2 LPs, the fourth side was left blank) that some consider to be his finest work. It shows the famed bluesman in something of a transitional move towards rock and roll, honky-tonk, and swing, with raging energy and...

Roger McGuinn

Roger McGuinn is one of the most influential guitarists in history. Few have made more people buy a guitar looking to unravel his sound. McGuinn is to Rickenbacker what Chet Atkins is to Gretsch, the man who comes to mind when you think of one of these guitars. Perhaps there were others before him who played one, but it seems evident who Tom Petty,...

Wilko Johnson - Blow Your Mind (2018)

So the man is back with Blow Your Mind, (15 June 2018; Chess/UMC) containing 12 new songs, on an album he never thought he’d live to see.       Ex-Dr Feelgood guitar legend Wilko Johnson returned in 2012 following his ‘terminal’ pancreatic cancer diagnosis by recording Going Back Home with Roger Daltrey, which...

Syd Barrett

Of all the rock stories full of myths, legends, and tortured souls, perhaps none is more tragic than that of Syd Barrett, the crazy diamond who created Pink Floyd, and shone a brilliant light for a short time until completely vanishing into the darkness. It’s impossible to separate Barrett from his legend, unlike others, Barrett didn’t die...

Steven Van Zandt

Steve Van Zandt is known mainly for 2 things, his more than 50 years of friendship with Bruce Springsteen, more than 40 of those as his lieutenant in the E Street Band, and his celebrated role as Silvio Dante in one of the most legendary TV series in history: The Sopranos. But his remarkable solo work is often overlooked, whether writing or...

The White Stripes - White Blood Cells (2001)

Anyone who has ever dreamed of making a hit album might look at White Blood Cells (released 3 July, 2001) and wonder how the American duo, known as the White Stripes, did it.       Jack and Meg White spent just one week in a studio in Memphis to produce these 16 songs, which Rolling Stone magazine later placed in...

Dave Matthews Band - Come Tomorrow (2018)

Dave Matthews Band ninth studio release Come Tomorrow (8 June 2018, Bama Rags/RCA) has gone to number 1 on the Billboard 200 chart, reportedly making them the first group ever to have seven studio albums in a row hit that top spot. Not bad for this talented band of musicians whose strength is often considered to be in their live...

The Rolling Stones - Beggar's Banquet (1968)

Beggar's Banquet is the beginning of the fundamental period in the Rolling Stones career. Here they return to the roots of blues, country and early rock but this time with a sound of their own, the sound for which they are still remembered. Recorded in magical sessions between March and June of 1968, while the world burned with student...

Mick Jones

How can one explain the tremendous importance of the Clash? The Londoners were not, by any means, virtuosos on their instruments, but they had what makes rock & roll big, raw energy, rage, fury, heart, and most importantly, the songs. In a way, they were the face of the rebirth of rock & roll through punk. They were also the band who best...

Johnny Marr - Call The Comet (2018)

Johnny Marr released Call The Comet on June 1, his third and most self-assured solo outing following The Messenger (2013) and Playland (2014).   In many ways, lyrically, it is a reaction to Trump’s election, Brexit and other recent events such as the Manchester bombing, and is reportedly based on him imagining a better...

Pink Floyd - A Saucerful of Secrets (1968)

Fifty years ago this week Pink Floyd released their 2nd album A Saucerful of Secrets (June 29, 1968). It was the only Floyd album to contain all 5 legendary members, Roger Waters/bass, vocals, David Gilmour/guitar,vocals, Richard Wright/keyboards, vocals, Nick Mason/drums, and Roger “Syd” Barrett/guitar, vocals, and was produced by Norman...

The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society (1968)

At a time when the world had gone crazy with experimentation, the ‘loops’, the tapes played in reverse, psychedelia, and 17-minute songs, Ray Davies decided it was time to get nostalgic, to get lost in the days of our youth and memories of the English countryside on the way to extinction. Here there were no trips, nor LSD, nor long solos or...

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...