Monday, May 28, 2012

Guitar heroes and footpedals of clay

A commenter on another blog, Ed Brayton's "Dispatches From The Culture Wars" (Free Thought Blogs) asked, on a thread about Teddy "Teabags" Nugent, whether I thought Jeff Beck or Eddie Van Halen was the better guitarist.

My reply to him, with some additional musings, appears below.
Michael Heath:

Since all I know about Eddie Van Halen is his rock ouvre, I'm gonna go with Jeff Beck. Van Halen is quite talented but I never heard him play jazz.

There's an aussie fella, Geoff Atchison, who played at the Oswego Harbor Fest a few years back that put on a show that was amazing. In an era of guitar players with so many foot pedals and effects boxes that they can't walk across the stage without tripping a switch, I watched him play two sets on consecutive nights with his guitar and a borrowed amp that were incredible.

Oz Noy,an Israeli who now spends most of his time in the states, is not the opposite of Geoff Achison but I saw him at the SUNY Oswego Guitar Symposium a while back and he had enough effects pedals to fill a music/electronics store--and used them all.

Loren Barrigar and Williman Yelverton are two great guitarists who I've only heard play acoustic. Barrigar has been playing all kinds of music for many years (he played at the Grand Ole Opry when he was six or seven); Mr. Yelverton, originally of Binghamton, NY now resides near Murfreesboro, TN teaching at Middle Tennessee State and performing. His classical technique is incredible.

Bobby Keyes/Bobby Keyes Trio* is on Thrillionaire Records. Bobby is someone I didn't see play for almost twenty five years (1976-2001) and hearing the first couple of tunes after that long hiatus I was thinking "Dick Dale meets Wes Montgomery.".

Those are just five guitarists of the hundreds that I've listened to in live venues over the past 40 years. I cannot play to save my ass nor do I really understand the process of doing so, but I can tell when I'm listening to someone who plays, at a consistently high level, across many styles of music.

I'm sure that there are hundreds, if not thousands, of guitarists who are favorites of other commenters. I don't generally rank players except in the sense that they're, to be be technical, FUCKING AWESOME!!

Give any of these five a listen or watch, "It Might Get Loud" with Jimmy Page, The Edge and Jack White. Regardless your musical tastes I think you will agree that all of these people are fabulous musicians and that Teddy Teabag is not in their league.

OTOH, none of them, afaia, know how to "jack" deer or shoot them over bait or shoot a bear and then leave it, wounded, in the bush instead of tracking it down and killing it.

*  I've seen the Bobby Keyes Trio about 10-12 times and rarely seen the same drummer or bassist more than a few times, although Marty Ballou, a great bassist, has played with him on probably 4-6 of those occasions.


Anyone else that has favorites, feel free to add them.  All of the people I mentioned are easily found by googling. If you can't locate them, let me know and I'll provide linkyloos. Oh, yeah. Zappa! Neil Young, Django Reinhardt...

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Memorial Day

Memorial Day, also known as Decoration Day*, has a long history (  It was--before the advent of the horseless carriage, mattress warehouses and other bigbox stores and the worship of beverage alcohol--a day of solemn reflection, windy speechifying and the decorating of veterans graves.

We should never forget our soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines who were killed and maimed in the wars fought by them on behalf of a not always so grateful public. The original Decoration Day was not observed in the former CSA (losers in the War of Southern Treachery*) and was only observed by them after WWI when the U.S. Congress legislated a national day of observance recognizing all U.S. soldiers killed in the numerous wars and "police actions" engaged in by the U.S.

The current situation in Iraq, Afghanistan and whatever other countries are currently being "helped" by S&DFP*** initiatives should not call for us to be hatin' on the U.S. military or its members. They go where they're posted and do what they're told--with notable exceptions--per their oath of service. That U.S. foreign policy is too often based on the proposition that we ARE the baddest asses on the block is, again, not their fault.

I honor our gallant and brave service members, while despising the old, mostly white, almost exclusively male, war mongers who see only an enemy when facing an adversary.

*      Not to be confused with Declaration Day, also known as the 4th of July.

**    I am afraid that I'm just not that P.C. where the war between the Union and the people who still wanted to own people is concerned. Sue me.

***  Stealth and Drone Foreign Policy

Saturday, May 26, 2012

And then there was Mittunswillard

Rancid Puke, er, I mean Ron Paul, announced recently that his campaign was dead (something most thinking people knew, well before the beginning of 2010). Paul and the other useful idiotz of the KKKonservative KKKlown KKKar Posse will now be able to spend more time checking their account balances and using other people's money to pay down their campaign debts.

Newt Gingrich's campaign and, according to at least one report (, some non-campaign ponzi schemes*, are going bankrupt.

Palin? Out. Bachmann? Out. Santorum? Out. It's a longer, and sorry, list. 

One thing that all of the aforementioned had in common, during their campaigns, was an unbridled passion for pointing at Romney--as if they were Podpeople in the "Invasion of the Body Politic Snatchers"--and shrieking about his nonKKKonservativenessosity. Now that Mittunswillard has all but assumed the mantle of heir-apparatchik of the Kochsuckersbrother's pending buyout of the U.S. gummint they have to make nice. It's entertaining, in the sense that watching the bad guyz get whacked in the final reel is entertaining, but it's not a sustainable buzz.

For my money, the best way to REALLY piss off the overlords is to VOTE, for anyone (preferrably someone who understands science, math, the Constitution and basic economic theory) that might actually have the interests of someone OTHER than the overlords in mind.

*  Promising people that HE will right the wrongs of the DCinsiders--when he couldn't/wouldn't do it AS a DCinsider.

Sunday, May 06, 2012

Music soothes the savage breast or makes the heart beat faster, faster. Take me home tonight....

And, no, I don't listen to that Eddie Money tune by choice, it just gets a lot of airplay on some local radio stations.

I was discussing something else entirely in an e-mail, yesterday, but the ADD thing...

Spring is here, the grass is riz, I wonder where the flowers is. I'm trying, today, to turn my "master bedroom" (a sheetrocked but not taped, sanded or painted 320 sq.ft. space) into a workshop so's I can get some friggin' work done on the rest of the house. Of course my ADD kicked in about 20 minutes into the process and I spent an hour going through cassette tapes with great music op them, most of which I've never heard before as it's on albums I never listened to back in the day. Mary Chapin Carpenter is on the box, to be followed by Pat Metheny; Ray Charles; It's A Beautiful Day's "Choice Quality Stuff/Anytime (the one with the R.Crumb cover art); "Half-Nelson", a bunch of duets by the "Redheaded stranger" hisself and various friends; the soundtrack to "Peter's Friends"--great soundtrack--which features Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry, fresh from their "Bertie Wooster" roles on BBC; the soundtrack from "Rainman", for one tune, "Beyond the Blue Horizon", a la, Lou Christie--of course, "Iko, Iko" and some other great tunes are on there and "Rhythm, Counrty & Blues" with duets like "Ain't Nothing Like The Real Thing", featuring Vince Gill and Gladys Knight--"How Time Slips Away" with Al Green and Lyle Lovett and "Patches" done by George Jones and B.B. King.

See what I mean about the ADD thing.
I buy a lot of cassette tapes and CD's at the local thrift stores for anything from .25 to $3.00--I just found out that I have three copies of Mary Chapin Carpenter's "Come on, come on"--and have picked up some great stuff, everything from Sergei Rachmaninoff to Warren Zevon. Almost all of the media is in good shape and there are lots of songs I've never heard of on the ta[es and CD's.
There are some unintended consequences of building one's library via "The Salvation Army".  One of them is that I've picked up several different cassettes by groups like the Rolling Stones and, later, discovered that they had pretty much the same 4-6 hits and another 6-8 throwaways.  After listening to the "Re-Mastered" Stones collection (three or four cassettes) I realized two things. The first was that Jagger and company made a LOT of music; the second was that a LOT of it was BAD. Oh, well, it's nice to know that even St. Mick can fuck up!
I avoid "Original soundtracks", as they were not, imo, interesting in  the case of about 100% of those that I've listened to. Soundtracks with other people's music? THAT, is a whole difurnt thang. I've got stuff from the "Commitments" (and another compilation of the same tunes done by the original artists), "Peter's Friends", "Naked in New York", "The Big Lebowski" and some others that kill. One tape I had and which I lost is the soundtrack from "The King Of Comedy"--there is a lot of great music on that one.

One of these days I'll get all of this music converted to digital files on my Ion Tape to PC deck, for now, just gwine enjoy them.  

Friday, May 04, 2012

What we have here is a failure to communicate

I've been spending a fair amount of time at another blog for the last six to eight months, mikeb302000. The blog's author mikeb, does a great job of spotlighting the irrational and obsessive behavior of gunzloonz. His blog has drawn a lot of flak from the gunzloonz dysintelliegentsia and continues to do so.

There is a lot of mudslinging going on over there and I have no problem with that. Dealing with lying sociopaths makes it difficult to concentrate on pointed arguments (which are not, in any case, what they want).

For the last couple of months, mikeb has turned off moderation on his blog and I have to say it has not been a successful gambit. There are a number of commenters whose only purpose in coming to the blog is to flame people, anonymously, and act like the gutless clownz that they are. Since their purpose is to NOT have any sort of genuine discussion but to merely push their NRA and various other gunzloonz talking points it is a waste of time to read them, or respond.  It's not that reading their comments is hard or particularly painful, it is that they say nothing that they haven't said a thousand times before. And, every time they say it they offer nothing in the way of support for their assertions.

As I said, on a thread here, a while back, you can insult me  and call me names, as long as you bring something to the table that ISN'T just your macho gunzloonz posturing. Considering that the majority of mikeb's commenter don't know how to do that I've decided to stop wasting my time there, unless he wants to turn moderation back on and, considering the number of "anonymi" that are commenting, a way of id'ing them.  I don't genuinely expect that these things will happen.

For the immediate future, sign-ins and moderating will be the rule of the day, here. If you've got something to say, have at it. If you're commenting anonymously and puking up the same tired NRA talking points that I've been reading at mikeb's for the last year or two, don't bother, they'll not be seeing the light of day.

I need to attend to business for the next few days; after that I'll be trying to put some stuff up.