The IM Saturday Monks Brunch: August 29, 2020 — Mostly Music Edition

Billie Holiday singing “Strange Fruit” at the Tiffany Club in LA (1952 photo by Bob Douglas). Displayed at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame this summer as part of their exhibit, “It’s Been Said All Along: Voices of Rage, Hope & Empowerment,” presented in support of the racial reckoning and social justice movements that are happening across America in 2020.

• • •

The IM Saturday Monks Brunch: August 29, 2020 — Mostly Music Edition

Peter Mayer’s
song set to transcendent time lapse videos of northern lights, the Milky Way, meteors and more. Video by John Ashley. Magnificent.

Praise to the Lord, the Almighty!

Tomorrow is the Sunday for what is perhaps my favorite Bach cantata. The hymn represented here is certainly one of my most beloved praise hymns. In a post I wrote in 2017, when we were sharing a cantata each Sunday, I said:

One of Bach’s cantatas for Trinity 12 takes a different form. Cantata BWV 137 creates variations on the five verses of Joachim Neander’s great hymn,“Lobe den Herren, den mächtigen König der Ehren,” which English hymn singers know as, “Praise to the Lord, the Almighty.”

This is one of my favorite hymns, so it is a special delight to meditate on Bach’s rendition. The overall impression of the piece is like that of a small stream that grows in depth and fullness as it moves toward the sea. The melody becomes more and more prominent as the cantata unfolds, until the chorale of the final verse, where the hymn is heard in all its glory.

Paul McCartney’s favorite song?

This week in 1966, the Beach Boys’ song God Only Knows peaked on the charts at #2 in the UK.

In an interview with David Leaf in 1990 Paul McCartney said, “I was asked recently to give my top 10 favorite songs for a Japanese radio station … I didn’t think long and hard on it but I popped that God Only Knows is on the top of my list. It’s very deep. Very emotional, always a bit of a choker for me, that one.”

Man, Brian Wilson can write beautiful songs.

Becoming Orthodox to the Sounds of Arvo Pärt…

I just learned that a friend, one of my teachers and mentors in my Lutheran journey several years ago, was chrismated into the Orthodox faith in May 2020 at St. Stephen the First Martyr Orthodox Church (an OCA parish) in Crawsfordville, Indiana. Dr. Robert Saler is a professor and dean at Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis. Journey to Orthodoxy did an interview with him this week. Here were some of his comments.

I wrote my first book in 2012 on contemporary Protestant theologians who convert to Roman Catholicism, so the issue of conversion has always loomed large with me. My first concrete encounters with Orthodoxy came in the form of St. Vladimir’s Seminary, where I became involved with the Arvo Pärt Project in 2014 (Arvo Pärt is an Estonian composer of classical and religious music). I began to become more heavily involved in Lutheran-Orthodox dialogue via the International Orthodox Theological Association, where I chair the Ecumenical Observers group. I began making prayer pilgrimages to Orthodox settings, in particular the Mull Monastery of All Celtic Saints on the Isle of Mull in Scotland. Trips to parishes and monasteries in Romania, Estonia, and Jerusalem, usually connected to my academic work, were also vivid and definitive. I don’t draw very strong distinctions between my theological work and my personal spirituality, so the deeper I went into the one the more the other would emerge.

Is there one person who most influenced you in becoming an Orthodox Christian?

For a variety of reasons related to personal journeys of repentance, I became intrigued by the story of Moses the Black. In particular, I was fascinated by the accounts of his martyrdom, in which he willingly submits to the violent hands of those whom he must have recognized as images of himself in a previous spiritual state. The peacefulness and power of that image both stayed with me and guided me. I should say too that the privilege of working so closely with faithful and brilliant Orthodox theologians through IOTA and St. Vladimir’s also gave me visceral encounters with what it means to have one’s theology operate in service to the church, and to think within the church on the basis of matters that are firmly settled and issues that remain contested.

What parts of Orthodox theology were most attractive to you?

As someone who has long wrestled with the question of discipleship (influenced perhaps by my teaching and writing about Dietrich Bonhoeffer), I became deeply struck by the ways in which the lives of the saints serve as a sort of “living exegesis” of the gospels. This may sound obvious to cradle Orthodox, but as a Protestant the idea that engaging Christ through the lives of the saints is more like a ladder than a barrier was new to me. To be clear, Luther and other Reformers thought that the lives of the saints were helpful models for the Christian life, but the more I walked alongside the saints in the path of discipleship the more I realized that I was not relating to their examples – I was relating to them. And it was a short leap from wanting to be in their company to wanting to share the same sacramental mysteries as them, especially the Eucharist.

Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,
Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down,
Christ in me, Christ when I arise,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me,
Christ with me.

Text from Saint Patrick’s Breastplate

45 years ago…


With their first two LPs—Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J. and The Wild, the Innocent & the E Street Shuffle, both from 1973—Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band cemented themselves as masters of both contemplative singer/songwriter elegance and triumphant orchestral rowdiness. Despite the mostly positive critical praise they garnered, however, neither record reaped the financial success and mainstream devotion the group deserved. Understandably, this led to a lot of internal and external frustrations and doubts, so all parties involved knew that—as the saying goes—the third time had to be the charm.

Luckily, 1975’s Born to Run proved to be precisely that, launching Springsteen and company into the hearts and minds of virtually the entire world. All of its songs became beloved radio/concert/pop culture staples—thanks in part to a $250,000 marketing campaign by Columbia Records—and it ended up not only reaching the #3 spot on the Billboard 200, but earning praise from Rolling Stone, the New York Times and The Village Voice. Since then, its ability to bring new levels of poetic phrasing, symphonic instrumentation and heartfelt slice-of-life narratives (regarding blue-collar struggles, youthful romantic idealism and urban rebellion) to heartland rock has led many to deem it one of the greatest albums of all time.

Speaking of the Boss, if you haven’t seen this yet, I urge you to not miss it.

MLB play of the week and an original you may have never heard…

Sign him up for soccer!


The greatest guitarists in rock history…

This week in 2003, Rolling Stone magazine named its top 100 guitarists. Here are the top ten:

  1. Jimi Hendrix
  2. Eric Clapton
  3. Jimmy Page
  4. Keith Richards
  5. Jeff Beck
  6. B.B. King
  7. Chuck Berry
  8. Eddie Van Halen
  9. Duane Allman
  10. Pete Townshend

Other guitarists on the list: George Harrison (11), Stevie Ray Vaughn (12), Neil Young (17), Les Paul (18), Carlos Santana (20). Chet Atkins came in at 21st, Prince at 33rd, The Edge at 38th, and Mark Knopfler at 44th. At 46th was Jerry Garcia and Steven Stills followed at number 47. Muddy Waters shows up at number 49. The guitarist many point to as the root of most great blues/rock guitar, Robert Johnson, is ranked at 71.

Looks to me like mostly a roots/rock/blues list. There are some great jazz guitarists who aren’t represented.

Let’s get some feedback here. Check out the complete list at Rolling Stone. What do you think about the rankings, and where would you put your favorite guitarist?

I always thought this guy was right up there with the best of ’em myself…

Oh, and by the way…

R.I.P. Justin Townes Earle…

From Rolling Stone

Justin Townes Earle, the singer-songwriter known for his mix of old-timey roots music and modern-day Americana, has died at age 38. A rep for Earle’s label New West Records confirmed the musician’s death to Rolling Stone, though a cause of death was not immediately revealed. [Later, police called it a drug overdose.]

Earle was raised in Nashville, but also lived in New York and, recently, in Portland, Oregon. According to a spokesperson, he died at his home in Nashville.

…Earle, a tall and gangly figure with a from-another-time aesthetic, was a captivating presence onstage, where he’d sometimes address the crowd in a carnival barker style. But it was his albums, like 2010’s soulful Harlem River Blues, 2017’s introspective Kids in the Street, and last year’s shuffling, ominous The Saint of Lost Causes that best summed up his man-out-of-time appeal. A favorite in Americana music circles, he was named Emerging Act of the Year at the 2009 Americana Honors & Awards, and nominated as Artist of the Year in 2012.

…Born January 4th, 1982, Earle was the son of the country-rocker Steve Earle, who named him after his friend, the songwriter Townes Van Zandt.

…Earle first came on the scene with the 2007 EP Yuma, and would release a string of albums on the Bloodshot Records label. The title track to his 2010 project for the label, Harlem River Blues, won Song of the Year at the 2011 Americana Honors.

This is my favorite song from his final album, The Saint Of Lost Causes.

There’s so much at stake
How far will it go?
Only a fool would place such a bet
On which way the winds are blowing

‘Cause there’s no way of knowing
What the damage will be
We can’t just live on hope
We’ll never get out alone

Storm coming
No way it’s gonna miss us now
Storm coming
Don’t be frightened by the sound

Finally, some sounds for your summer evening…

Let’s conclude with a piece from my favorite jazz guitarist and his group when they were at the height of their Latin/South American period back in the late 1980s. This is the Pat Metheny Group from the album Letter From Home (1989).

This is summer to me.

101 thoughts on “The IM Saturday Monks Brunch: August 29, 2020 — Mostly Music Edition

  1. Ok you inspired me to check out a few Keaggy YouTube videos. It must have been 1988 or 1989 when I saw him live. I really don’t recall much from the concert except something about fretboard slapping. My favorite Keaggy recording is The Wind And The Wheat, of which the title song is simply gorgeous.


  2. I have listened to a lot of Phil Keaggy songs over the years.

    I think this is my absolute favourite.


  3. Vai, Malmsteen and Batio are of the “shredder” variety. They play fast, and they are exclusively rock/metal players. I have never heard Batio’s music, but have some familiarity with Vai and Malmsteen. They are an acquired taste no doubt. Frankly I can only take so much of them. Like you said, more can be said with less. I like a few guitarists that are considered “shredders”…Tony MacAlpine for example. In Tony’s case, he has a classical music background and is very proficient in playing classical pieces on the piano. He can also play slower and with lots of feeling. He said in an interview a long time ago that his mother taught him to play something that she can sing to.


  4. That version I have never heard, but then again it wouldn’t surprise me. Urban legends have a life of their own and evolve/devolve over time!


  5. Yup, David Bainbridge. So very creative and musical, not just fingers clambering over the neck of the guitar.



  6. This will help the crankiness. (Our American Heartland still has a great spirit of joy and generosity and humane empathy and trump can’t take that away from our beloved Heartland, no. We are American strong.)

    Skip the ad, and ENJOY ! 🙂


  7. Let me do some shameless cribbing here:

    “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.”


  8. Thanks for the intriguing suggestion of Knaifel. Have been listening on You Tube to lesser known Classical composers lately. A Russian, Vasily Kalinnikov might have been a great had he not died so young. His First Symphony is very good and has joined my canon.

    Listened to a lot of Arvo Pärt in the 90’s. Need to get back to it evidently. Tabula Rasa can induce an alternate form of consciousness.


  9. sometimes you need to feed your soul in the midst of the worst of what is happening . . . . at least take a listen to the
    Arvo Pärt piece ‘The Deer’s Cry’ and find some rest for your weariness in it.

    Yes, I also heard today about trump’s ‘head’ of intelligence refusing to allow the Congress to orally examine the intel providers concerning voter manipulation . . . . that IS a blazing RED LIGHT SIGNAL that we can expect the worst to come

    also the post offices are still reporting that trumpist shortages have crippled delivery times for critical supplies and medicines for the public

    bad news? sure

    we do not know the half of the depth of the corruption, but at least we still have a CHANCE (?) in November, unless trump’s black-shirts arrive and close down the polls early (sigh)

    these ARE critical, strange days, and I know how you feel, but ‘The Deer’s Cry’ will strengthen your spirit to endure and to fight another day . . . .give it a listen 🙂

    Aarvo Pärt, he’s a world treasure indeed


  10. Gabriel Byrne played Keith Richards in a skit called “Cooking with Keith” which was really funny:

    This skit had me in stitches…


  11. Yes. David Gilmore has a style that has a certain level of proficiency but says as much with the notes he leaves out as he does with the ones he plays. I’ll have to look those three up!


  12. Fripp! Yes.

    Johnny Marr… I have several of his solo albums. Great music!

    Ya gotta add Adrian Belew, maybe?


  13. Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds (Shatner Cover).
    Always bottomed out Dr Demento’s Bottom Five.


  14. Ok lets’ get serious about guitarists.

    Nels Cline
    Robert Fripp
    Baden Powell
    Bill Frisell
    Andy Summers
    Ted Greene
    Roy Buchanan
    Johnny Marr
    Bill Harkleroad (Zoot Horn Rollo)
    Joe Pass
    Tom Verlaine


  15. If there are any Arvo Pärt fans reading this let me introduce you to my favorite obscure composer, the Russian Alexander Knaifel. He was a cellist who had had nerve damage in his hand and so began composing. Early on it was 20th century avant-garde but later, like Part, he got back in touch with his Orthodox roots. Unlike Part he didn’t abandon his modernism but combined all his influences into…, well you have listen. Khaifel writes silence into his pieces like it was a musical instrument.


  16. Segovia was a classical guitarist. He introduced me to classical guitar. Back in the Carter administration there were “command performances” at the White House, televised on PBS. I happened across Segovia playing at one of these, and was floored. I saw him live several years later, at the tail end of his career when he was in his nineties. He shuffled onto stage and sat down on the chair in the center. Then his assistant came out carrying his guitar and handed it to him. Honestly, the performance didn’t match his earlier work. He simply didn’t have the energy. But he still had the technique, which was amazing.


  17. Don’t know why but I favor John McLaughlin’s acoustic playing over his electric. My favorite portion of his career is the Trio he had in the late 80s into the early 90s.


  18. I don’t mind the diversion either. One of my relatives received some devastating health news this week. Cancer diagnoses in loved ones have a way of putting things in perspective.

    While I paid some attention to the riots which took place in Kenosha and Minneapolis, I didn’t pay much attention to the respective party conventions. Then again, we haven’t had a major party convention which made significant news since 1980.


  19. I didn’t see that skit, but I did see one where someone played Keith Richards, or it was actually him, and Mike Myers played Mick Jagger.


  20. I tend to agree here. The Rolling Stone article perhaps should be called “most influential”? I do understand why names such as Steve Vai, Yngwie Malmsteen, Michael Angelo Batio, etc etc are not on the list. Technically brilliant, but kinda one-dimensional players. Ask them to slow down and play with feeling and it’s a struggle for them.


  21. The man deserves the #1 rating.

    I so wish he’d lived much, much longer. Curious what kinds of music he would’ve put out through the 70s, 80s, 90s.


  22. I have heard of Segovia, but have not actually heard his material. I will check it out. I was glad to see Chet Atkins on the list, and rated pretty high.


  23. –> “Secondly, right or wrong, this seems like an attempt to not talk about all the bad stuff that desperately needs to be talked about.”

    This is not the site you always want it to be, and that’s probably a good thing. And I say that in regards to everyone.

    For me, I’m glad to come here for Saturday brunch and get a relaxing breather.


  24. Ever see the Saturday Night Live Episode of Weekend Update (Dennis Miller) where one of the actors played Bob Dylan? Miller tried to follow, but only understood a few words of Dylanese? He brought a translator in the form of Tom Petty (played by another actor). They started to speak and it was subtitled.


  25. I can’t believe Nigel Tufnel is not on that list!

    And Knopfler at only #44 is nuts.

    I’m not sure which is the worse crime.


  26. Agreed. Hate to say it, but yes, it is an urban legend. I have heard variations on the same story. Hendrix, Van Halen, or Clapton was asked how it feels to be the best guitar player around, and (so and so) would say “I don’t know, why don’t you ask Phil Keaggy”.


  27. Last night I played one of my favourite classical pieces to my girlfriend. Courtesy of my father I have a great affinity with some of the most modern classical composers.

    The Pines of Rome by Ottorini Respighi is a great piece. Playing “The Pines near a Catacomb” late at night, allowing the lonely soaring of the music to envelop you is an incredible experience.

    PS: The fourth movement, The Pines of the Via Appia is another favourite, very different to the 2nd movement. Evocative of the days of Empire.


  28. My two Metheny comments are not showing up. Anyways..check on online Pat playing his custom-built 42 string guitar. Very beautiful and mesmerizing.


  29. Agreed. Self-care in horrible times is important. One cannot engage with the infuriating stuff all the time. It will eat you up and you won’t “live to fight another day”.


  30. I’ve seen Phil Keaggy live. He definitely belongs somewhere near the top of that list. However, I’m not familiar with Pat Metheny.

    As far as other guitarists on that list, both Carlos Santana and Lindsey Buckingham deserve to be ranked higher than they were.


  31. I’m not sure the list is meant to be taken seriously. We know it’s only rock n’ roll, but we like it.


  32. I do agree that as Christians first and foremost, which is what we should be, we in general and this blog as well are right to focus on the negative contribution conservative American Christians have made to the current social and political turmoil. At the same time, I don’t think we can totally omit mentioning the turmoil being produced by, and the danger of some of the rhetoric and actions of, the other end of the political spectrum, especially since that end has support from non-evangelical churches. Remember, not all American Christians are evangelical, or on the political Right.


  33. Guitarists: I can’t take any list seriously that does not either include Andrés Segovia or is defined in such a way as to make him ineligible. Yes, this is de facto how it is set up. It is in reality a list of guitarists of a limited number of genres, which does not include classical. But that isn’t what it claims to be: a classic epistemological bubble.


  34. Take Me Out to the Ballgame: The familiar part is just the chorus. In isolation, it is a straightforward paean to the game. Add in the verses and it turns out to be a woman telling the guy courting her what it will take to get a date with her. The with the second verse the identical chorus is repurposed to encourage the home team.

    I leave as an exercise for the student what this reveals about scriptural interpretation, and in particular the use of proof texts in theological discussions.


  35. Pretty much where I’m at too… part of me would love to vent the anger inside, but this diversion is good. (besides, I got to do some venting last evening with friend/neighbor on a walk together)

    To Robert’s points; I agree somewhat that we’re caught between two extremist groups and I don’t condone any of it, either side… but the one side pretty much has all the power and is invoking the name of Jesus while doing it… that’s what has me the angriest… these “christians”, are blatantly anti-Christ and have no idea what they’re actually committing.


  36. I think my comment is stuck in moderation, so for the time being…

    Check out Pat playing his custom-built Pikasso guitar. There are several YouTube videos of him playing it. The guitar has a very mesmerizing and beautiful sound to it. It has 42 strings and 3 necks. Not all strings are on the necks if you watch carefully. It’s a real treat. I got to see him (playing as the Pat Metheny trio) in Minneapolis in the early 2000s. He played the Pikasso on several selections.


  37. They interpret the “turn the other cheek” text in such a way as to neutralize the idea that it’s universally applicable; in fact, they limit its applicability to only a very few situations. But, to be fair, that has been the procedure of most Christians throughout history in dealing with the seemingly radical and absolute demands of this and other teachings of Jesus in the Gospels. But Protestants, of which I’m one, and especially Evangelicals have limited its applicability more than earlier forms of Christianity. Dispensationalists even teach that such teachings are not applicable in our current dispensation.


  38. So much “turning the other check”. But then again, I have very little confidence that Trumpian Christians follow Christ’s teachings, especially those in the Sermon on the Mount. At the National Prayer Breakfast, our dear leader (their demigod) mock Jesus’ teachings.


  39. They had actually, however, been performing some of the songs on BtR in concert since well before its release, as can be seen by their mastery in performance of those songs during the Hammersmith concert.


  40. Lists like this, when undertaken with the right attitude, are just for fun. And, yep, Rolling Stone is a rock dinosaur whose era is nearly over, and will soon enough be extinct.


  41. But even during a revolution or war, it’s sometimes good to talk about the weather, or music, because, no matter what anyone on the Left or Right says, not everything in human affairs should be plugged into a political grid to determine if it’s acceptable or not, or relevant to the current crisis — that way lay totalitarianism with its rigid and unforgiving, yet capricious, morality.


  42. Bruce singing about the “Backstreets” at the Hammersmith Odeon in London in 1975. It was his and the E Street band’s first tour in Europe, undertaken in support of Born to Run.


  43. Frankly I don’t mind the diversion. Just too much going on to sustain my anger and trepidation at healthy levels. A diversion is needed.


  44. Much like the point I made about Clapton, there are a number of bigger named players who couldn’t touch some of his stuff without long practice and maybe then just barely. Roy Clark could have done it in his sleep but some on the top one hundred would just chuckle and say, “No thank you.” Lists are created by magazine writers more than actual players.


  45. I love lists, and you are right. Much of it is subjective. It’s a given Rolling Stone would publish a list that is almost exclusively rock/blues guitarists, and heavily focused on the 60s and 70s.


  46. Maybe I’m missing something but I think Clapton, whose music I love and some of which I play, is rated highly because he has appealing sound and a nickname. Very little of his material would place him in the category of “great guitarist “ amongst other players. Heck, if I can play it I’m guessing it ain’t that hard. I think there are known players in the hundreds and many, many thousands of unknown players who play more technically difficult stuff that he wouldn’t touch. He’s there on reputation, style and appeal, not on proficiency.


  47. Aaaaaa! Lists!!!!

    The whole concept of a ranking list, about guitar players or anything else, is fatally flawed unless specific measurable criteria are stated. Are we talking about inventiveness? Then Knopfler and Django Reinhardt should be at the top with Jimi Hendrix. And Joni Mitchell, for sure! Are we talking about guys who played with the most extremely mutilated digits? then it’s Tommy Iommi, Phil Keaggy and, again, Reinhardt. If the criterion is the rock ethos brought to life, then I need to see Rory Gallagher near the top. BB King was tremendously loveable. But he was extremely limited in his guitar playing.


  48. This week Court Evangelical Eric Metaxas sucker punched a protestor as he rode by Metaxas on a bike in D.C., then ran away backwards when the guy he assailed got to his feet and challenged him. The police intervened on Metaxas’ side, not having seen the initial assault but only the poorly dressed, scruffy protestor coming at and cursing the well-dressed, foppish Metaxas. Metaxas had just been with Trump. All caught on video and posted on Twitter.


  49. Jimi Hendrix

    Left handed on a right handed guitar. Not a lot of formal training available for that.


  50. I think I agree, although my agreement perhaps includes discussions you don’t have in mind. I’m alarmed by the Religious Right’s fealty to Trump, and by Trump himself, as you are; things are way past the threshold to the danger zone. Another four years of his “leadership” could easily lead into an authoritarian regime completely antithetical to the best principles of America. I will be voting against him in November. But I’m also alarmed by Leftist protestors erecting a mock guillotine across the street from Jeff Bezos home in Washington D.C. To intentionally invoke the most terrifying image of the French Revolution’s Reign of Terror is at the best piss poor choice of symbolism, made by those who are historically as ignorant as the average American; and at worst — which I suspect is the case — it is an expression of the violent revolutionary intentions of the hearts of those who erected it, and who know fully will what it symbolizes. This country is being driven to frightening extremes by two warring extremist factions, and it may already be too late to pull back from the brink of widespread civil chaos and violence.


  51. Christrumpians have formed a new cult around QAnon. Stay tuned for the next ‘revelation’ from Q


  52. This week, Jerry Jr. “resigned” as president form Liberty University. How soon will he appear in right wing politics?

    Trumpian Christians are very forgiving of their own but they don’t show the same towards those whom they are against.


  53. Sorry, can’t join in today. Firstly, I’m not a knowledgeable guitarist aficionado. Secondly, right or wrong, this seems like an attempt to not talk about all the bad stuff that desperately needs to be talked about.


  54. Yesterday on WERU I heard a recording of Bob Dylan live in Japan, doing Lover Minus Zero/No Limit, with very different instrumental backup, flute doing the A-E-D chords. Couldn’t find it on youtube, but I’m sure it’s still in the radio station archives, look up “Highway 61-The Dylan Hour” at

    This version is pretty good though, with George Harrison as backup. Somebody commented that George is trying to play If Not For You (well, that’s also a Dylan tune, although George adopted it).


  55. Glad to see that Richard Thompson and Joni Mitchell made the top 100. Also, in addition to Thompson a couple of other UK’ers that should be mentioned are Bert Jansch and John Renbourn.

    I agree with Jeff Beck that John McLaughlin is the best guitarist alive. His trio work with Al DiMiola and Paco DeLucia is absolutely astounding. Not to mention the time he spent with Miles Davis…

    Jerry Garcia said of himself that he wasn’t that good technically on the guitar. However, very few players could jam so imaginatively and ingeniously while painting a melodic masterpiece with 6 strings. And, as Santana said, he was able to go whatever direction needed to accommodate the other musicians. I miss Jerry so much.
    Also, Bob Weir as a rhythm guitarist is greatly underestimated. What he did with chord structure combined with the rhythmic underlayment is amazing and idiosyncratic. To get a good idea of this listen to his recent performances with the Wolf Brothers.

    Hendrix or Clapton as #1? It’s like comparing a voodoo acid trip dance around the fire to a Bach three part invention…


  56. Listening to Bach will get you those 71 minutes back, with interest.

    Very spring-y here in Tasmania too. My daffodils and jonquils are out and the fruit trees are in full blossom.


  57. BTW, on the Pet Sounds album the bass line was provided by one of the earliest female studio musicians named Carol Kaye.

    After a bassist failed to turn up to a session in 1963, she switched to that instrument, quickly making a name for herself as one of the most in-demand session players of the 1960s, playing on numerous hits.


  58. Thank you for the Bach. Superb.
    It just fitted with today’s touch of Spring weather and the chorus of bird song in my garden.

    I don’t know why but Bach always reduces me to tears.
    He touches something deep inside.

    Makes a lovely change from the Covid crisis and Trump.
    I wasted 71 minutes of my life watching him yesterday.



  59. I am also glad to see Prince on the list, and not surprised that Kurt Cobain is on the list…both are underrated players. Most surprising is to see Robert Johnson so far down the list. I think Stevie Ray Vaughan should have been in the top 10. Here are my favorite guitar players, a few of whom are on the list (not in any particular order):

    – Eric Johnson
    – Neal Schon
    – John Sykes
    – Tony MacAlpine
    – Brian May
    – Pat Metheny


  60. Thanks for highlighting guitarists. I saw the list and your comments and thought to myself…I sure hope Pat Metheny is on it…scrolled down…and saw you included a video of him! Awesome! I’ve had the privilege of seeing both Pat Metheny and Phil Keaggy live (not at the same time). Both very talented musicians.


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