Monday, February 4, 2019

Paying homage to the slide guitar

In this latest installment of the "Exploring the world of music" series, we're recognizing the beauty and wonder of the slide guitar.

If I had to guess, I probably came across the sounds of the slide guitar for the first time when I was in late middle school or early high school while diving deeper into the blues and blues-rock genres and going further and further back in time tracing roots and influences.

The eight videos/recordings I've assembled here are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to this amazing style of guitar playing.

In the first one, we'll hear Sylvester Weaver playing "Guitar Blues." Recorded in 1923, Weaver is credited for not only the first known recordings of slide guitar, but also the first recordings of country blues.

From there, we'll listen to the legendary Robert Johnson's "Come On in My Kitchen," recorded in 1936. In a previous post, I discussed the legacy of another one of Johnson's songs, "Crossroads," also known by its original name, "Cross Road Blues," which became a big hit and popular cover on the rock circuit starting in the 1960s.

Next up is Elmore James' 1951 electrified rendition of "Dust My Broom," which is a cover of Robert Johnson's original "I Believe I'll Dust My Broom."

After that is "One Way Out," recorded live in 1971 by the original full lineup of The Allman Brothers Band. The song's writing credit is a little fuzzy. It's often attributed to both Elmore James and Sonny Boy Williamson II, who both recorded it around the same time. On the slide guitar in this Allman Brothers version is Duane Allman. Listen to that fun, lively, fiery solo of his. Awesome stuff. One of my favorite tunes of all time. Tragically, Duane passed away later that year (1971) in a horrible motorcycle accident. A year and some days later, in November 1972, original Allman Brothers bassist Berry Oakley met the same fate, just three blocks away from where Duane had his crash.

"Love in Vain," performed live by The Rolling Stones in 1972, is up next. Another Robert Johnson original, Mick Taylor launches into a slow yet riveting slide solo aching in the blues around the 2:50 mark. He comes back later around the 5:08 mark with a conventional (regular playing) solo.

Stevie Ray Vaughn plays a fun and upbeat instrumental jam called "Slide Thing" next. It was recorded live in 1980 at an Austin, Texas club.

Finally, we'll hear two versions of "The Sky is Crying," an Elmore James original that's been covered over the years by many in both blues and rock. Very popular song. Both of these versions here are performed live by The Allman Brothers Band. The first one up is from 2009, and the second is from 2011. In the 2009 performance, Derek Trucks begins his slide solo around the 1:20 mark, and things really start to heat up around 2:50. In the 2011 rendition, he starts around 6:40, and really opens up on fire around 8:00. To use the words powerful and moving would be an understatement.

No comments:

Post a Comment