Friday, August 28, 2009

"A poem is a naked person . . ."

-Bob Dylan

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Great Guitar Song.

In reality, it's impossible to name the greatest guitar song. It would be just as unlikely to come up with a top five for anything that is so completely dependent upon personal taste. That being said, I think there is a song that would be on everyone's top ten list after they heard it. The song is 'Machine Gun' by Jimi Hendrix.

There are two major recordings of this song available. Both are live, the first being from a New Years show at the Fillmore East 1969/1970. For this show Jimi was backed by the Band of Gypsys, which featured Billy Cox on bass and Buddy Miles on drums. The second recording is an epic version, clocking in at twenty- two minutes. The intro alone is three and a half minutes. This recording is from the Isle of Wight Fesitival, Isle of Wight, England, September 1970. For this show he was backed by Billy Cox on bass and Mitch Mitchell on drums.

Hendrix's two version of this song contain certain similar elements, but it's when we examine the stylistic differences that the true glory of the song comes to light.
One of the major differences between the two songs, is in the style of the drummers. At the Fillmore East show, Hendrix was backed by Buddy Miles, who's loose, deeply funky, driving style guides Jimi's guitar playing into a more sad, soulful direction. Hendrix sounds as if he's trying to comes to terms with the notion that there is no end to the tragedy of war in sight and in response he uses his guitar to try rip the universe in half.

Later in the year, Jimi would play the song with the newly reformed Experience, featuring Billy Cox on bass and the return of Mitch Mitchell on drums. Mitch's stylistic contribution to the song is to play in a more controlled, tighter, almost military style.

Even though Billy Cox plays bass on both versions his playing style varies as well. At the Fillmore East show, there are moments when Buddy Miles locks into a heavy funky rhythm and Jimi goes off on a riff, that Billy Cox is then able to find a serious groove that you can feel bouncing off the walls of The Fillmore. Where as in the Isle Wight recordings his bass playing is slightly more understated and less funky.

Another interesting difference between the two recordings is that during the Isle of Wight show, security announcements were made over the PA system during the song. This intrusion into Jimi's set adds an eerie military presence to the song that grounds the song and in a sense Jimi in the real world. He becomes a man frantically fighting for survival in the jungles of Vietnam.

Of course, most importantly, there is Jimi's guitar playing to consider. Many regard Hendrix as the greatest guitar player to ever live. 'Machine Gun' is the song in the Hendrix oeuvre that might make the strongest case for this argument. Jimi pulls out all the stops, unleashing all the apocalyptic fury that any human being can with a guitar. He makes the sounds of war, of life and death come screaming out of his Stratocaster until both he and the audience were emotionally drained, battered survivors.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

bitter earth initiates chaos at a laundromat

This is the 3rd video from The March of The Tongue Brigade by Casey Mensing with JUBANO! The video is a montage of the city of Honolulu and Casey's book signing last year. Enjoy!

Monday, August 10, 2009

The March of The Tongue Brigade

Listening to The March of The Tongue Brigade is like watching a Chimpanzee on a motorcycle jump twelve buses before passing through a ring of fire. So get your copy today.