Finally got my hands on a copy of Cream’s re-union concert held at the Royal Albert Hall in May 2005. Overall, I felt disappointed. The performances are timid and a far cry from the wild energy of the seminal power trio‘s peak in the late 1960s. Age plays a part in this – Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker are no longer young and don’t play with the carefree abandon they once did. The musicianship is alright I suppose, but Clapton isn’t busy enough and without Baker’s frantic drumming, the music lacks the manic and mesmerizing quality it once did. This is particular felt on songs like Crossroads. On the upside, the sound quality is good.
As re-union’s go, I enjoyed Eric Clapton’s 2008 double bill with Steve Winwood at the Madison Square Garden better.
The Isley Brothers are awesome. Period. I like their music from the 1970s that featured Ernie Isley‘s excellent guitar work. Let’s Lay Together, a hit single from the mid-1990s, shows that the Isley Brothers can modernize they sound for the new generation and it is amazingly smooth.
I was searching for some Jimmy McGriff clips on YouTube and found this – a nice clip featuring Hank Crawford on sax and Bob DeVos on guitar. Despite it being a very pleasant performance, and I especially like DeVos’s solo, I just wished McGriff played more of the Hammond B3 organ. I really like that sound.
I wasn’t aware that Joe Satriani was once invited to join Deep Purple as the replacement guitarist for Ritchie Blackmore until the recent release of a tribute album to Deep Purple. The album received quite a lot of coverage, and my favourite track is supergroup Chickenfoot‘s blazing rendition of Highway Star. I especially like Satriani’s tribute to Jon Lord’s organ solo – very nice.
Back when I was in the States, I used to listen to NPR radio stations playing jazz and blues. The great thing about listening to these radio channels is one gets to hear rare recordings. One night the DJ played this hilariously sexy tune by Dinah Washington. And the great things about the web, is now I can listen to the very same radio channels via the Internet on the other side of the planet. Lovely.
I’ve heard good things about Boris (the band) for quite a while, but only managed to get my hands on some of their music recently. And in that process, I came across this little gem – Angel by Wata, from the Boris guitarist’s solo EP release. The ballad starts out slowly, with calm guitar strumming, but when the distorted guitar solo kicks in, man, I get those goosebumps. Very very nice song.
Mercyful Fate is one of those bands that get cited for being very influential. I managed to buy a second-hand copy of their classic 1983 CD Melissa, and boy, was the album amazing. The whole album runs for only 40 minutes (very short by today’s standard, but those were vinyl days), but there is absolutely no filler. Every single track dazzles. King Diamond is in his prime (his vocals are smooth and don’t sound strained despite the range), and the dual guitar attack of Hank Shermann and Michael Denner is unrelenting.
For me, the stand out track is the epic Satan’s Fall. According to Michael Denner, there are about sixteen different riffs in this song alone – many of these riffs are much copied. For example, the riffs towards the end of the 11 minute plus rocker are definitely recycled by Cradle Of Filth on their equally excellent Dusk And Her Embrace album.