guitar

Jimmie Dale Gilmore – Darcy Farrow

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Jimmie Dale turns a quaint old Western folk number into a bombastic, larger-than-life rock song of the sort that’s turns even the most boring stretch of US50 into an epic moment. The catalyst is the drum track by Don Heffington (formerly of Lone Justice and Emmylou Harris’ Hot Band): the sound of distant, rolling artillery throughout.

“But her pony did stumble and she did fall.
Her dying touched the heart of us one and all.
Young Vandy in his pain put a bullet to his brain
and we buried them together as the snows began to fall.”

Chris Thile & Michael Daves – Rollin’ In My Sweet Baby’s Arms

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Hot damn these boys can pick, with a broken string no less! If you’ve ever seen anything like this you’re a lucky son of a gun. Recorded at the Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival in Oak Hill, NY in 2011.

I’m gonna’ lay around the shack ’til the mail train comes back
Rollin’ in my sweet baby’s arms.

Take heart. It comes into focus eventually. You came for the music anyway.

“Better than Jimi Hendrix:” guitarist in the Mzansi township style of Southern Africa

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A rhythm that’d set boots & booties shaking from Seattle to Senegal. The debate about whether this guitarist is ‘better than Jimi Hendrix’ is kinda’ pointless: comparing apples & bulldozers. A hell of a find on some random street corner in South Africa though. That knowing little look the busker shares at 2:15 is priceless.

Death of a prog rock legend

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Peter Banks –original guitarist for 70s-era prog rock masters Yespassed away March 8 at his home in London, UK. He was replaced in the band by Steve Howe, whose sound came to characterize the band’s biggest hits (e.g., ‘Yours Is No Disgrace,’ ‘Roundabout,’ &c). Here’s one of his recordings with the band:

Ernest Ranglin – She Cute

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Jamaican reggae-jazz guitar master Ernest Ranglin is just so damn smooth, people! You get a groove like this and must wind up ya’ waist. A hip-hugging skank for lovers and slow-rollin’ street cats alike. Must hear:

Dougie MacLean – Green Grow The Rashes, O

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Dunblane’s Dougie MacLean renders the Robert Burns poem “Green Grow The Rashes O” in song. MacLean’s voice folds itself in and out of the melodies in his guitar, a curiously perfect pairing. He’s a particular favorite of mine, among which this is one of his standouts.

There’s nought but care on every hand
In every hour that passes o
What signifies the worth o’ man
And ‘twer na for the lasses o

Green grow the rashes o
Green grow the rashes o
The sweetest hours that e’er i spent
Were spent amang the lasses o

The wardly race may riches chase
And riches still may fly them o
When at last they catch them fast
Their hearts can ne’er enjoy them o

Green grow the rashes o
Green grow the rashes o
The sweetest hours that e’er i spent
Were spent amang the lasses o

Gie me a cannie hour at e’en
My arms about my dearie o
And wardly cares and wardly men
Can no’ gae tapsalteerie o

Green grow the rashes o
Green grow the rashes o
The sweetest hours that e’er i spent
Were spent amang the lasses o

I couldn’t find the studio version to link here, but this live recording from 2008’s Clunie Concerts does the job. The response of the audience is typical. You quickly realize how universal Burns is, respect how easily his words form in the mouth of the crowd…

Eric Bogle – Glasgow Lullaby

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Eric Bogle

Eric Bogle (of ‘And The Band Played Waltzing Matilda’ and ‘No Man’s Land’ [aka. Green Fields of France] fame) couldn’t decide whether to be a poet or a musician so he became both. A Scot by birth, later Australian by nationality, Bogle has an almost supernatural power to humanize his ideas so broadly we hear them as inherently credible, as if muttered in the mystic, compelling tongue of the primordial brain stem.

In ‘Glasgow Lullaby’ Bogle presents a tale of two people, mother and father; the setting (divined by prejudice) a depressed, heartless, industrial Glasgow. The audience –their baby– is both object and subject for the mother, whereas for father everything is drink, to the effects of which he has surrendered his identity. Issues not only of substance abuse but violence, trust, delusion arise, yielding only the promise of further disappointment. In the end you come to suspect it’s not about the binary between mother and father, but the delusion of Babby’s present and the reality of his future as he takes instruction in ‘the Glasgow way’ of life.

Hush wee babby, for yer daddy’s comin’ in
Stumblin’ up the stair and missin’ every yin
Rotten wi’ beer and stinkin’ o’ gin
He’s drunk again — as usual

Oh my God, it’s a weary, weary life
Who wid be a drinkin’ man’s wife
Who wid thole a’ this trouble and this strife
Who but a silly woman

Hush wee babby, he’s comin’ in the door
Drunken big feet are skitin’ over the floor
He’s had a bucket, but he’s thirstin’ for more
He disnae ken when he’s beaten

Hush wee babby, listen tae him sittin’ there
Wi his bloodshot eyes and his tangled hair
Mooth fu’ o’ big talk and eyes fu’ o’ despair
And blaming me — as usual

Hush wee babby, yer daddy’s gone tae bed
The morn he’ll no’ remember a’ the things he said
But his tongue wis sharp and a’ the wounds they bled
But then I’m used tae bleedin’

Hush wee babby and close yer weary eyes
Cuddle intae mammy and stop yer tired wee cries
And in the mornin’ when ye decide ta arise
Yer mammy will be here waitin’.

I apologize in advance for the cheesy crying baby graphics OP used to bed this recording. What’re you gonna’ do? Click play, close your eyes, and just imagine Eric Bogle’s smiling mug.

All lyrics & music © Eric Bogle. All rights reserved.