all time top five friday

now playing: counting crows, “perfect blue buildings”

as a continuance of a conversation i had earlier this morning…and in honor of one of my all time, top five favorite movies of all time (high fidelity), today i present you with the first in what will become a series of personal all time, top fives:

top five, all time worst guitar solos

5. blue rodeo, “five days in may“.

the short version of this song is exquisite – concise, melodic, haunting – and the long version could have been an extension of that, but – sadly, no. the solo at the end sounds like an extended noodling session by a first year guitar student. it goes on far, far longer than it should for a solo that sucks as much as this one does. it sounds like the guy was trying to go for some of that raw, neil young energy but without any instrumental finesse whatsoever – seriously, just really, really awful.

4. sheryl crow, “every day is a winding road“.

“wow, look at that! someone left a pedal steel all set up and ready to go in the studio, here! hey, jimmy – do you still have that aluminum crack pipe on your keychain? cool! come take a couple of swipes at this with it while i go roll tape, ok? it’ll be totally fuckin’ bitchin’, man!

no, seriously – it’ll be a big hit! not because of your caterwauling on the slide guitar, but because the public has been successfully programmed to think that she’s packing some peculiar brand of indie credibility, and they’ll lap it up whether you suck or not!”

thankfully a short solo, but packs a LOT of annoyance into a very short timeframe…echoplex on steel guitar played really badly (dunno if it’s pedal or lap, it’s that bad) and not very well in tune, jerking wildly between open notes and high squealy ones.

a really bad idea that no one weeded out in time to save us from it.

3. anything…anything…by george thorogood. worst. tone. ever.

2. concrete blonde, “caroline“.

a great riff, great vocal, great song…but completely shitty guitar tone and accompanying solo. i have this problem with a lot of their music, but this song in particular stands out as a squandered opportunity to kick some serious guitar ass. pissed away by means of a nasty, nasal Pointy Metal Guitar Moment that completely ruined the song and took away all the momentum that the arrangement built up for it.

johnette napolitano kicks ass – i wish that the things she’s doing now got the attention that the band did in its heyday.

and number one (today) is:

john gorka, “blue chalk“.

i know that most of my friends are picking their jaws up off their spacebars right now – but yeah, a john gorka song made the list.

this is why.

the first time i heard john sing this song was on a sunday night at the legendary godfrey daniels at an open mike with maybe a half dozen people in the audience. he did “blue chalk” and “two good reasons” right about the time he was probably getting ready to make between five and seven, and i was sitting maybe eight feet from him, and the song just killed me. it’s been one of my absolute favorite gorka songs since that night, and that version is the version i hear in my head when the song crosses my mind.

which is part of the reason this song is on the list, but the real reason lies in the recorded version.

if i’d been home watching tv that night, and hadn’t seen that performance, there’s a chance i’d like the song, but the tandem wanking by the mandolin player and the guitarist on the recorded version of this song is absolutely inexcusable – especially from seasoned session players who are supposed to know better. the primary reason these guys get the calls is because they’re supposed to have some sense of what’s appropriate and what’s not – and believe me, there’s no thought wasted on tastefulness on this song. if you think that fleet-fingered instrumental masturbation is strictly the domain of the near-extinct poodleheaded headbanger, then by all means listen to the last sixteen or so bars of this song…a folk ballad gone terribly, terribly awry.

it still irritates me every time i hear it.


maybe this could be a regular thing, huh? all time top five fridays?

lately i don’t seem to be at a loss for things to rant about…privately, anyway…


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