Yes, I know that Billy Gibbons' guitar parts on Just Got Paid were overdubbed. I'm sure he played the rhythm part first, then recorded the lead part over it.
I didn't mean to suggest that he played both parts at the same time. My point was that it's a measure of his ability that he was able to play both parts so well.
According to Wikipedia, the ZZ Top lineup of Gibbons, Dusty Hill and Frank Beard played their first gig together at a Knights of Columbus hall in Beaumont, Texas. Talk about humble beginnings.
has to be the studio version of this. It's on this album. Billy Gibbons sounds like Duane Allman and Dickey Betts in one.
I've said before that this might be the tightest rock rhythm section ever assembled. Watching the video linked above, all I could think is that they defined the term "loosely tight" (which was also a brilliantly named band from Arizona; unfortunately, they didn't even win the best-named band from Arizona contest, because they had to compete for that title against Billy Clone and the Same, which was without question the best-named band of all time, bar none).
Why were some bands so photogenic? The Rolling Stones sure were, IMHO.
I bring this up because of this great photo I just found. I think it's the only photo I have ever seen where Bill Wyman is smiling. I'm not sure I would have recognized Iggy without the caption. And any photo that includes both a member of the Stones and Elton is definitely worth a look.
Quick, without looking, who sang that line?
Give up? It was Ian Hunter. Remember who he was?
Well, the title of the song that line is from gives it away. The title is Ballad of Mott the Hoople.
The band changed lineups as time went on, but the nucleus of Mott the Hoople was lead vocalist and guitarist Ian Hunter, bassist Peter Overend Watts, and drummer Dale "Buffin" Griffin. If you remember any of their songs, the one you probably remember is All the Young Dudes, the glam rock anthem written for them by David Bowie.
I know, glam rock is probably really a bridge too far for for most of you. Only a real loser nostalgist like me is going to listen to any of that stuff now, right? Even my wife laughed when I mentioned that a box of old records that I discovered in our closet contained an album by Mott the Hoople (two, in fact).
Wait, stick with me here. Believe it or not, Mott the Hoople was a pretty fair rock ensemble, with, or actually because they had, you guessed it, a tight, quality rhythm section.
By the way, the lack of quotation marks in his name earlier in this post is not a typo. According to at least one source I found, Overend is Overend Watts' actual middle name, not a nickname.
Anyway, if you listen to their material, you'll hear that Overend and Buffin, and whoever was playing rhythm guitar (Hunter,or perhaps Mick Ralphs), made a tight ensemble. No, they'll never be mentioned in the same sentence as John Entwhistle and Keith Moon, let alone Geddy Lee and Neil Peart, but Overend and Buffin provided a solid accompaniment to Hunter's entertaining vocals. Even though you may wonder now why you wasted so much time listening to so much dreck, these bands that I'm talking about didn't become successful entirely by accident, as I like to say.
Just listen to any of the up-tempo songs on the two albums that are in the box I pulled out of our closet, "Mott" and "All the Young Dudes." You won't hear anything groundbreaking, but you will hear a cooking band. Buffin's playing on the intros to Violence and One of the Boys is particularly noteworthy,
Just forget about the whole glam rock thing and I think you'll find some enjoyable listening on those old Mott the Hoople albums. I'll confess, the fact that I thought David Bowie was cool I can only chalk up to being a socially undeveloped male high school sophomore at the time. But that doesn't mean I can't block all that out and enjoy the good music that came out of that place and time.
One last thing. I know it undercuts my whole argument about the glam rock business, but how can you not be entertained by a group that looked like these guys? Overend (he's the shirtless one in picture #5 of the collection at the link) really was (just) a rock 'n roll star.
I discovered a site called Retronaut that has all kinds of nostalgia on it. I found it when I came across a link to this fun piece on jazz album covers.
In addition to owning a few of the albums pictured, I had seen some of those covers before in a book my wife gave to me that's a collection of Blue Note album covers. But the Retronaut piece covers a much wider range of albums, including some really obscure ones.
I thought I had a pretty broad knowledge of jazz trivia, but I learned some things from these pictures. For example, I knew that Ralph Sharon was Tony Bennett's longtime accompanist, but didn't know that in addition to making records with the Ralph Sharon Trio, Sharon had at least one solo album, too.
The story points out that despite media limitations that you wouldn't even think of today, jazz album cover art (and particularly the Blue Note covers) was very innovative and forward-looking. Some of them, however, are fun just because they capture images of a bygone era, Here's one of my favorites, the cover of Home Cookin' by The Incredible Jimmy Smith.
I had wondered about that for years. The song I'm talking about is the great Dire Straits song on arguably their best album, Making Movies. The guitar at the beginning of the song sounds unusual. That's because it's a resonator guitar, a modified guitar invented in the 1930s in an effort to make the traditional acoustic guitar louder. I know that seems odd to those of us who were born after the dawn of rock, but remember, in the 1930s the invention of the electric guitar was still many years in the future.
Now I know what that unusual-looking guitar is on the cover of Dire Straits' later album, Brothers in Arms. It's a resonator guitar, specifically a National Resonator.
All of this is simply intro to the point that during the relatively short life of the band, Mark Knopfler (and his brother David on the albums Dire Straits and Communique) did a lot of great guitar playing. It's a subject I'll come back to, because I am still listening to those records 30+ years later after I first heard them ( and I think I got most of them almost immediately after they were released).
Andy, the anthem that marks the summit of side 2 of One Size Fits All, is in many ways the culmination of what you might call Frank Zappa's FM rock phase (although I remember his records getting surprisingly little airplay even on the most "progressive" radio stations). FZ always surrounded himself with great talent, but the band on this album was nothing short of awesome. By the time you get to Andy, you have already heard, among other highlights, an incredible workout by drummer Chester Thompson and (mallets) percussionist Ruth Underwood on Inca Roads, and a great vocal performance by Johnny Guitar Watson on San 'Berdino (backed by FZ and George Duke playing rhythm), but you will still won't be ready for this epic. One solo by FZ, with Chester Thompson providing superb counterpoint, leads to another, longer solo on the out-chorus, with the rhythm section pushing him all the way to the end. It's a tremendous performance, one that no doubt took a lot of time and effort to put together. It's one of FZ's finest moments, and one of his best solos.
Not only the greatest out-chorus solo ever (except a few by FZ), but possibly the greatest altered guitar sound ever: Dean Parks (according to Wikipedia) on Haitian Divorce, on one of my all-time favorite albums, The Royal Scam. That album is Steely Dan at their high point. Not many got higher.
It just occurred to me how much Fagen has come to resemble Ray Charles. I think it's the glasses.
A lawyer who likes to write music commentary.