Walter Becker has passed away at 67. That’s sad – it seems young these days. He played his share of rock-n-roll and made some bad decisions along the way, but his friends stuck with him. By the time Steely Dan started touring again my infatuation with their seven masterpiece albums had mostly been diverted into other pursuits. On Saturday evening, though, I saw some folks on my Instagram posting photos of Fagen playing at ACL Live, and I thought to myself, “I should make an effort to see those guys.”
But by Sunday morning it was already too late.
Continue reading “Walter Becker, Steely Dan’s Guitar-Side”
I hate “the best.” It rankles me when people say it – always has. Superlatives (and even extreme comparatives – like “genius”) always make me pause. Only genuine experts in a subject should be able to reach that level of judgment, and even then it will be skewed by the data available, or their upbringing, or their path of study. And then the Dunning Kruger effect suggests that the more of an expert you are in a field, the more you realize that your answer is not absolute. Now we find ourselves in an era where bloviating about the “best wall” and the “best steaks” has empowered a racist administration who are rapidly turning the clock back to 1789.
Continue reading “6 Great Albums You May Not Have Listened To (But Probably Should)”
When I was working through my First Song First Side First Album: Who Did It Best? I remembered how much I love My Aim Is True by Elvis Costello. 30 some odd years since my original obsession with the album and I still know every lyric and every guitar lick by heart. So it seems like a natural choice for a Listen Along.
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My buddy Terry (who occasionally listens to every album he owns in alphabetical order) engages in exercises like this, so I thought I would give it a shot: out of all of the outstanding debut albums, what band leaped out of the gate with the best First Song First Side First Album.
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This record, Buzz or Howl Under the Influence of Heat, was my life in high school.
If asked who my favorite band was, I didn’t even stutter before saying “Minutemen.” There are about a million reasons why, and over time I acquired all of their albums and EPs, and the occasional compilation, too. Here are a few reasons why they were the best:
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I spent many years in my youth learning and playing blues guitar, mostly electric, but some acoustic. During college, I joined a band in my hometown of Nacogdoches called Cold Shot (with Danny Britton and Richard Suggs) and played a couple of shows a month, mostly at a club called Blank and Co. We would do three sets, one acoustic and two electric, and over the years we had tons of guests join us on stage and had a great time playing mostly blues standards, maybe a little rock and roll.
Continue reading “9 Texas Blues Guitarists, and What You Can Learn From Them”