Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Paul Kossoff

I started playing guitar in 1974. I thought I knew all the great guitar players of the time, the ones who I would spend hours trying to learn from. Paul Kossoff flew under my radar, even though I knew of him and of Free, from the hit "All Right Now."

I never listened to much of anything that he did until today. I sit here listening to him pour tons of emotion out of his guitar on the song, "Time Away", which came from his Back Street Crawler band, the last before his death at age 25 on March 19, 1976. This song was apparently influenced from his brush with death.

I went on YouTube and watched as much Free and other videos that are out there and have come away with the opinion that he had the best vibrato in rock, and did more with a Les Paul and a Marshall than most of us dream of. Not many effects - just straight in to the amp, maybe a touch of a Leslie rotating speaker here and there.

I have to say that the music that Free did sounds like it was recorded in the present. These songs came out in 1971! How did I miss this guy?

Now listen to Angus Young of AC/DC. You can tell he spent hours listening to Paul Kossoff, as the use of vibrato and the Gibson/Marshall tones are very similar. I love Angus and Malcolm's playing for just keeping it simple.

So many of the great musicians I have liked haved die young and left behind a legacy of music that carries onto the 21st century. Paul, Randy Rhoads (who also died on March 19), Duane Allman, and Tommy Bolin accomplished so much in their short lives, and even years after their passing, here we are still talking about them.

I hope the aspiring guitarists of tomorrow give a listen to Paul Kossoff and learn a thing or two about the art of simple, plug-in and play rock.

RIP, Paul.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Review of U2's BOY, from July 1981 Guitar World

I was going through a few of my other old Guitar Player magazines when I came across this piece of paper stuck in one of them. It is a review of BOY, U2's first album, from the July 1981 issue.
I became a fan of u2 around this time, after hearing a live version of "The Electric Co." on the radio one late night. It is amazing that this piece of paper has survived all these years.
I am still a fan of U2, although I did not really like the Zooropa and Pop phase.
I find their music inspiring and I am glad to say our kids like them, too.
I have another early article on Edge written around this time. I will look around for it today, as I am home today. We now have about 6 inches of snow on the ground, just waiting for me to shovel it out of the driveway.
Click on the image for a larger version.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Randy Rhoads, 1956-1982

Randy Rhoads died on this day in 1982. It is hard to believe it has been that long. I actually remember that day - my brother told me about it. I was not really a fan at that time, although I had the first Blizzard of Oz record. I got into Randy when I heard Diary of a Madman later that year. I mourned his passing then and have ever since. Randy was known for being humble about his talent, and wanted to pursue a degree on classical guitar. He was taking lessons while on tour with Ozzy. Not many guitarists would think of doing that.
Somehwere on my past writings I posted a few pictures that a coworker took at his last show at the Met Center in Bloomington, Minnesota. I never got to see him in concert, unfortunetly, and there is precious little video of him playing. There is a documentary being made about him, according to Randy Rhoads Talk, a forum dedicated to all things Randy. Rumour has it there is newly discovered video.

RIP, Randy. Thanks for your music.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Ads from Guitar Player, September 1979

I just found this old issue of Guitar Player, from my senior year in high school. I was playing a Gibson Les Paul Deluxe in wine red, my first really good guitar. Funny, I just had a dream this morning that I got it back.

Anyways, here are a few ads from that issue. Click on the pictures to open up a bigger view.

The Gibson ad is cool, as I remember being very impressed by The Paul guitar, a no-frills version of a Les Paul. That guitar was the one I was going to buy in January of 1979, but the Deluxe came in and I got that instead. The Paul was made of walnut, if I recall correctly, with Dirty Fingers pickups. Just a few days ago, I came across a "The SG", selling for $999, in well-used condition. These guitars would be comparable to today's faded line of Les Pauls and SGs. If I had a grand to spend, I would have bought that SG. I have never run across a Maurader or S-1, although if a famous guitarist starting using one, they would probably become collectable.

This ad with Les Paul is interesting as he is holding the sought-after silverburst Les Paul Custom, which are going for high dollars today. The amp is the Lab Series L-5, a 100 watt solid state combo. This was my first good amp, and was very warm sounding. Allan Holdworth used these, as does B.B. King, and the amp is responsible for Ty Tabor (Kings X) much copied tone from the late 1980's. The L-5 can still be found at reasonable prices, as solid state amps are still not as respected as tube amps, althought this one is, depending on who you talk to.

The Guitar Trader ad has been around on the net for awhile. I subscribed to the newsletter of used guitars back in 1978 and remember the days when a pre-CBS Stratocaster or Telecaster went for under $1000. I wish I would have bought one.

I would lust after the guitars on that newsletter, and it seemed that they always had a few 50's Les Paul gold top or sunbursts in stock, going for anywhere fron $1,500 on up. Most other guitars, which were at that time only 10-15 years old, where well under $1,000, just as the ad states. Who knew you could finance your kid's college with one of these "well under a $1,oo0" guitars today? My copies of the newsletters are long gone, but I have seen them come up on guitar forums before.

The Epiphone Genesis was a Japanese guitar, which appears to be a sort-of copy of a Les Paul. I included this because I have noticed people talking about them on a few guitar forums this past year. It looks like a cool guitar.

The Pignose amp is a classic. The Pignose was a decent small portable amp that was very popular back in the day. My old band director played his Les Paul Deluxe through one, and I recall it sounding good.

I used to have many issues of Guitar Player and Guitar World, but threw most of them away in the 1980's. Most of them were cut up, with the pictures going on my bedroom wall. Everynow and then, I find a few a used book stores, which is where this one came from.

I will post more later. Enjoy!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Jeff Healey Passes Away

I am very saddened to hear that Jeff Healey, the famed guitarist from Canada, died today of cancer. Jeff was an incredible guitarist who played a unique way, with the guitar on his lap, and with all five fingers on the fretboard.

I was fortunate to see Jeff play at the Guthire Theater in Minneapolis in 1989. I was fairly close, and could observe his style. He was on fire that night, and it remains one of the best concerts I have ever been to. He was very inspiring to watch and his guitar skills were formidable.
When I played in a blues-rock band years ago, one of my favorite songs to play was his "See the Light." I could never in a million years play it the way he did, but I sure tried to do my best on it.

RIP, Jeff.

Here are a few links of interest:

Canadian Bands

Official Website

Canadian Press