Various Artists – Night Of The Guitar – Live ! (1989)

FrontCover1.JPGAt the end of the 80s, the music scene was dominated as much in Europe as in the rest of the world, by mass phenomena that fought for first place in record sales. The lovelies Rick Astley, Pet Shop Boys, Madonna, Michael Jackson, Wet Wet Wet, Kylie Minogue jostled for the supersale throne with some groups – with guitar in hand- that defended rock licks, distortion and delays: Guns ‘n’ Roses, Def Leppard, U2, or Metallica were writing their own legends.

In those years, an event that went almost unnoticed brought together nine guitarists for seven gigs in Great Britain (from 20-26 of Nov., 1988) and peaked with a brief tour of Europe. You can hardly find any news about it on the Web and it was finally left to posterity on a double live record and a handful of videos. Guitars Exchange was there.

Before a wall of Marshall screens, getting on and off stage, alternating turns for 3 hours, were Steve Howe (Yes, Asia), Leslie West (Mountain), Robby Krieger (The Doors), Randy California (Spirit), Steve Hunter (Lou Reed, Alice Cooper, Peter Gabriel), Pete Haycock (Climax Blues Band), Andy Powell and Ted Turner (Wishbone Ash), and Alvin Lee (Ten Years After). The ‘nine axes’ enjoyed a rhythm section that clearly met expectations: Clive Mayuyu (drums), Derek Holt (bass and voice), Livingstone Browne (bass and keyboards) and Chris Bucknall (keyboards).

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The initiative all came from the record label I.R.S. No Speak, founded at the beginning of 1988 by Miles Copeland III, master of ceremonies of the night of the guitar and brother of Stewart Copeland (The Police drummer, who also took part as invited guest on the final number that closes the record). Copeland’s aim was none other than to shine light on instrumental rock in the hands of excellent musicians, giving them shelter on a record label devoted exclusively to his production. Somehow you had to protect yourself in a storm of disco, punk, New age. It was an ambitious purpose, musically valid, although financially risky: the label closed after 3 years with just 19 records produced.

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Night of the Guitar – Live! was perhaps the shining moment of the adventure. Pete Haycock’s semi-acoustic Höfner and Steve Hunter’s electric Neal Moser open the record with three numbers, Dr. Brown I Presume (Brown’s notable bass solo), The Idler and Lucienne. Three pieces on records both guitarists released the same year: Guitar and Son and The Deacon respectively. It’s a mixture of rock fusion that culminates in the delicate ballad (3rd track), passing through rock that hides a feeling of urban jazz in Hunter’s piece. He authored unforgettable bits of the soundtracks of our lives: such as the introduction to Lou Reed’s Sweet Jane or the acoustic on Solsbury Hill by Peter Gabriel, to name a couple.

To electrify the air after the ballad, we turn to Randy California and his Charvel, a brand of guitar made popular that decade thanks to high-end guitarists such as Eddie Van Halen, Randy Rhoads and Richie Sambora, among others. After Groove Thing, a brilliant intro replete with harmonies hammered out on the neck, Randy takes charge on a version of Hey Joe in a powerful tribute to his friend and colleague Jimi Hendrix, with whom he shared venues in New York nightclubs in 1966. This was during the militant times of Jimmy James & The Blue Flames, and before the worldwide success of the lefty, before he became known as Jimi.

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The fortunate fans were already set to welcome who was probably the most anticipated name on the ticket: Robby Krieger and his Gibson ES-355 from 1964- his favourite at that point in his life, the 80s, when he searched for more of a jazz sound- definitely brought the house down with a version of Love Me Two Times (The Doors, 1967) with a much ‘fuller’ guitar than the original.

And who better than Ted Turner and Andy Powell to re-establish order in the house? The bi-cylindrical engine of the Wishbone Ash, in perfect synchrony, unsheathed in a version of his classic from 1972 The King Will Come, where Turner’s fabulous Paul Reed Smith (the American brand had been making their gems for hardly 3 years) and the ‘classic’ Gibson Flyin’ V of his mate bring this guitar dialogue to life with an unbeatable connection.

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It was now Leslie ‘the mountain’ West´s turn and his Steinberger, which in his hands looks like a toy. He was in top form, for sure. The two pieces that appear on the record are classics from the Mountain album Climbing! in 1970: a very personalised version of Theme From An Imaginary Western by Jack Bruce and Never In My Life.

Then, once again, after the storm came the calm, from the hands of Steve Howe and his Martin 00-18. A master class of guitar technique on Clap Medley, the only acoustic number of the night without accompaniment. Then time to switch the Martin for a Gibson ES-175 (his main guitar during the militant years of Yes) and in the company of Pete Haycock, start up Würm, a 1971 classic from the English progressive rock band.

Alvin Lee and his Tokai Signature take over in the final stretch with a powerful instrumental No Limit, in probably one of the best moments of the album. With a hard version of Ain’t Nothin’ Shakin’ together with all his mates on stage, nine ‘axes’ for an unforgettable cover of the Dylan classic All Along The Watchtower, and a final medley of the great hits, Whole Lotta Shakin’, Dizzy Miss Lizzie, Johnny B. Goode, Rock & Roll Music and Bye Bye Johnny Bye Bye. A display of skill and real passion for our favourite instrument, genuine fireworks fit to mess up any Rick Astley who gets in the way…

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It was an unforgettable night. A night in which nine guardians of the guitar, nine rock gods, got together to reclaim -at the end of the 80s- a gender that they themselves made so very big and continues to be. (by Massimo D’Angelo)

And I was a very lucky guy … ´cause I saw all these guys during their shot Europena tour in Munich (feat. Jan Akkerman on guitar) … It was one of the best concerts I´ve ever saw !

And the wind beginns to howl … 

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Personnel:

On guitar:
Alvin Lee – Andy Powell – Leslie West – Pete Haycock – Randy California – Robby Krieger –  Steve Howe – Steve Hunter – Ted Turner
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Livingstone Brown (bass, keyboards)
Chris Bucknell (keyboards)
Derek Holt (bass, vocals on 08.)
Clive Mayuyu (drums)

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Tracklist:

Pete Haycock:
01. Dr. Brown I Presume (Haycock) 5.03

Steve Hunter & Pete Haycock:
02. The Idler (Hunter) 5.35
03. Lucienne (Haycock) 5.55

Randy California & Steve Hunter:
04. Groove Thing (California) 4.43

Randy California:
05. Hey Joe (Roberts) 5.01

Robby Krieger & Steve Hunter:
06. Love Me Two Times (Krieger/Morrison/Densmore/Manzarek) 4.58

Ted Turner &Andy Powell:
07. The King Will Come (M.Turner/Upton/T.Turner/Powell) 7.01

Leslie West:
08. Theme From An Imaginary Western (Bruce/Brown) 5.11
09. Never In My Life (Collins/Lang/Pappalardi/West) 5.07

Steve Howe:
10. Clap Medley (Howe) 5.55

Steve Howe & Pete Haycock;
11. Wurm (Howe) 4.08

Alvin Lee;
12. No Limit (Lee/Hubbard) 4.37
13. Ain’t Nothin’ Shakin’ (Colacrai/Fontane/Gluck/Lambert) 5.37

Steve Howe, Andy Powell, Randy California, Pete Haycock & Robby Krieger:
14. All Along The Watchtower (Dylan) 7.17

Alvin Lee, Leslie West, Ted Turner & Steve Hunter:
15. Rock N Roll Medley 8.39
15.1. Whole Lotta Shakin’ (Williams)
15.2. Dizzy Miss Lizzie (Williams)
15.3. Johnny B. Goode (Berry)
15.4. Rock & Roll Music (Berry)
15.5. Bye Bye Johnny Bye Bye (Berry)

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Various Artists – Reading Rock – Volume One (1982)

lpfrontcover1The twenty second festival possibly had a more attractive lineup than 1981, at least if one was a heavy rock devotee. The inclusion of hard rock guitar stalwarts Gary Moore, Randy California, southern rockers Blackfoot and erstwhile pub rockers Dave Edmunds and Wilko Johnson gave the lineup spine that was missing from the previous year.

   The headliners were also a tad more prestigious. The Scorpions/UFO former lead guitarist Michael Schenker, whose repertoire veered into the sort of metal jazz/rock territory inhabited by Jeff Beck- as well as delivering more predictable hard rock fare -gave Sunday night a touch of class .
   Budgie and Iron Maiden were guaranteed to deliver an exciting hard rock show, regardless of whether one thought of them as innovators within the genre or not. Maiden’s credentials were reinforced by the presence of Bruce Dickinson , the erstwhile Samson lead vocalist , who had taken over the vocal spot from Paul Di’Anno .
   All three of these artists were recorded by the venerable BBC and broadcast on the Radio One Friday night rock show in 1983 .
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Iron Maiden
Once again, Reading delivered a mid range experience for the punters , no top end acts like Pink Floyd or the Stones which needed a mega crowd to return the organisers a profit, but a solid workmanlike bill that would leave the attendees satisfied in the main . This was what Reading was about at the time, but the formula was about to change , as 1983 would be the last Reading for several years, at long last , the never ending story was about to come to a ( temporary ) stop (by ukrockfestivals.com)
It is strange that Mean Records chose to include a couple of tracks that weren’t actually from the 82 Festival – Whitesnake’s recording was from the 79 Festival and UFO’s from 1980. Yet, they neglected to include tracks from bands that did perform like – Iron Maiden, Gary Moore and Tygers of Pan Tang. Below is the (almost) correct running order of the 1982 Reading Festival, taken from the official festival program. Perhaps they had intended to release a Volume Two (based on the name for this release – Volume One) but as far as I can gather this did not happen. (by Mr. AussieRock)
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Michael Schenker
I add ten more songs from this great Festival (thanks to rockonvinyl.blogspot.de)
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Tracklist:
01. Whitesnake:  Walking In The Shadows Of The Blues (Coverdale/Marsden) 4.40
02. Terraplane: I Want Your Body (Morley)  5.47
03. Marillion: He Knows You Know (Marillion) 4.46
04. Jackie Lynton: Slow Rider (Lynton/White) 4.46
05: Budgie: Superstar (Shelley/Thomas) 4.07
06. Bernie Marsden: S.O.S. (Marsden/Hawthorn) 4.42
07. Chinatown: I Wanna See You Tonight (Chinatown) 3.58
08. Randy California:  Come On Woman (California) 4.07
09. Stampede: There And Back (L.Archer/R.Archer/Bond) 5.44
10. Twisted Sister: Shoot ‘Em Down (Snider) 5.07
11. Michael Schenker: Attack Of The Mad Axeman  (Schenker/Barden) 4.31
12. Marillion: Three Boats Down From The Candy (Marrilion) 4.40
13. Terraplane: Turn Me Loose (Morley) 4.13
14. Just Good Friends: You Really Got Me (Davies) 4.27
15. UFO: Hot And Ready (Schenker/Mogg) 3.25
16. Budgie: Panzer Division Destroyed (Shelley/Thomas) 6.20
17. Grand Prix: Keep On Believin’ (Lanzon/O`Donoghue) 5.10
18. Spider: All The Time (Burrows/Harkness) 4.07
19. Chinatown: Caught On The Wrong Side (Chinatown) 4.24
20. Jackie Lynton; Hedgehog Song (Lynton) 4.57
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21. Gary Moore: Nuclear Attack (Moore) 5.27
22. Iron Maiden: Wrathchild (Harris) 3.32
23. Praying Mantis: Nightmares (C.Troy/Potts/Carroll/T.Troy) 3.01
24. Tygers Of Pan Tang: Blackjack (Tygers Of Pan Tan) 3.04
25. Y&T: Black Tiger (Kennemore/O´Conner/Rush/Haze/Alves/Meniketti) 4.14
26. Gary Moore: Parisean Walkways (Lynott/Moore) 5.25
27. Iron Maiden Tush (Beard/Gibbons/Hill) 6.05
28. Praying Mantis: Flirtin’ With Suicide (C.Troy/Potts/Carroll/T.Troy) 5.28
29. Tygers Of Pan Tang:
Slave To Freedom (Cox/Dick/Weir) 5.18
30. Y&T: Forever (Kennemore/O´Conner/Rush/Haze/Alves/Meniketti) 5.47
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Various Artists – From Clarksdale To Heaven – Remembering John Lee Hooker (2002)

FrontCover1For the first of two tribute albums to John Lee Hooker, executive producer Arnie Goodman of Blue Storm Music has assembled an impressive list of British musicians from the 1960s who helped spark the ’60s blues revival that was responsible for the ascension of Hooker (among others) into legendary status. The biggest name on his own is Jeff Beck, who plays guitar on “Will the Circle Be Unbroken” and “Hobo Blues,” but other notable figures include Cream’s Jack Bruce, Leo Lyons and Ric Lee from Ten Years After, Procol Harum’s Gary Brooker, ex-Rolling Stone Mick Taylor, former Fleetwood Mac leader Peter Green, and Gary Moore. The performers are reverent toward Hooker’s music, maintaining its relentless rhythmic power and even at times re-creating the master’s haunting mumble of a voice. The set is not entirely given over to the Brits, however, as it opens with Inlet1A“I Want to Hug You,” sung by Hooker’s daughter, Zakiya, and ends with Hooker himself, accompanied by Booker T. Jones and Randy California, among others, performing a previously unreleased “Red House” that was cut for a Jimi Hendrix tribute album. There is also a newly written song (“The Business”) penned by Grateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter and Bay Area musician Greg Anton that was earmarked for a Hooker project never recorded due to his death. Such tracks provide some variety, but the strength of the album is still in the devoted performances of people like Beck and Green. (by William Ruhlmann )

From a child of his body and the children of his music, this is a chance to pay respects to the man who made his guitar a blacksmith’s anvil and pounded out rhythms of sorrow. Look for Jack Bruce’s Ozzy Osbourne-like sneer on “I’m in the Mood,” along with Gary Moore’s Godzilla footsteps on guitar. That’s Jeff Beck playing robot-metallic notes on “Will the Circle Be Unbroken” and “Hobo Blues,” and Peter Green’s vocal sounds like a decaying zombie obeying his master on “Crawling King Snake.” John Lee himself paints a “Red House” with something other than crimson pigment, and I’ve got to credit Robert Hunter’s composition, “The Business,” by Greggs Eggs vocalist Suzanne Sterling for giving the old man that special smile with a posthumous kiss. (by Mitchell Lopate)

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Personnel:
Jeff Allen (drums)
Michael Bailey (bass, background vocals)
Richard Bailey (drums)
Jeff Beck (guitar)
Gary Brooker (piano, vocals)
Jack Bruce (bass, vocals)
Randy California (guitar)
Dave “Clem” Clempson (guitar)
Vince Converse (guitar, vocals)
Tony Cook (guitar)
David Daniel (bass)
Bruce Gary (drums)
Earl Green (vocals)
Peter Green (guitar, harmonica)
Kenny Greene (drums)
Dave Hadley (bass)
Dick Heckstall-Smith (saxophone)
John Lee Hooker (guitar, vocals)
Zakiya Hooker (vocals)
Gary Husband (drums)
Johnnie Johnson (piano)
Booker T. Jones (organ)
Ric Lee (drums)
Andy Fairweather Low (guitar)
Leo Lyons (bass)
Godfrey McLean (drums)
T.S. McPhee (guitar, vocals)
Max Middleton (piano)
Dave Moore (piano)
Gary Moore (guitar)
Bobby Murray (guitar)
Matt Pegg (bass)
Henry Spinetti (drums)
Peter Stroud (bass)
Mick Taylor (guitar, vocals)
Nigel Watson (guitar)
Chris Wilson (bass)

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Tracklist:
01. Zakiya Hooker, Johnnie Johnson, Bobby Murray: I Want To Hug You (Hooker) 4.04
02. Jack Bruce + Gary Moore: I’m In The Mood (Besman/Hooker) 6.19
03. LLC-Vince Converse, Leo Lyons, Ric Lee: Bad Like Jesse James (Hooker) 7.07
04. Jeff Beck: Will The Circle Be Unbroken (Traditional) 6.08
05. Gary Brooker + Andy Fairweather-Low: Baby Lee (Bracken/Hooker) 4.48
06. T.S. McPhee, Dick Heckstall-Smith: Ground Hog Blues (Hooker) 5.44
07. Mick Taylor + Max Middleton: This Is Hip () 3.50
08. Peter Green Splinter Group: Crawlin’ King Snake () 5.41
09. T.S. McPhee, Dick Heckstall-Smith, Clem Clempson: I’m Leaving () 5.25
10. Gary Brooker + Andy Fairweather-Low: Little Wheel () 5.34
11. Greggs Eggs: The Business () 4.36
12. Jeff Beck: Hobo Blues () 5.52
13. Gary Moore + Jack Bruce: Serve Me Right To Suffer () 6.24
14. John Lee Hooker, Booker T, Randy California: Red House (Hendrix) 4.57
(Prevously unreleased song with J.L. Hooker)

 

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