Sunday 13 May 2012

Donald 'Duck' Dunn 1941 -2011

What a sad day for music.

Donald was an unsung hero- his beautiful, minimal, melodic Basslines pushed forward hundreds of classic Stax tunes and he's played with so many great musicians you'd be hard pressed to list them all. 

As a budding Bassist, I'd listen to those great lines he wrote and try to copy them - the patterns were simple, but getting them to groove and flow the way Duck did was pretty near impossible. As a Bass teacher a few years later, I'd always get my students to listen to his lines- no wasted notes, no 'party tricks', just rock solid, meaty and melodic playing. I'm still using him as the template for many of the things I do and I'm not alone. 

One of the greats.

"Time is Tight" by Booker T and The MGs featuring Duck and Al Jackson (Drums)

Monday 7 May 2012

fIREHOSE: Live - Austin Alternatives, May 1988

Punk Rock. It’s got a lot to answer for. I’m all in favour of the empowering spirit of Punk and the whole ‘stick-it-to-the-man-we-don’t-need-yer-stinkin’-record-contract’-ness of the movement, but my Gawd, loads of it was utter dreck. For every one Clash/Pistols/Buzzcocks there were a million bands who had nothing to say and made a bloody row whilst saying it. But a few genuinely trailblazing and innovative bands emerged – most of them (I’m whispering this) from the U.S of Stateside. The UK specialised in three chord ramalama cartoon Mohican (Mohawk to my US readers…) Punk Rawk, but the US had a slightly more cerebral thing going on. That’s a massive generalisation, but it rings true, IM(H)O…

Where is this leading Rushbo, you little procrastinator?

To fIREHOSE. The little band that could. Their precursors The Minutemen were a bit too ‘out there’ for me, but when they regrouped following the sad and monumentally premature passing of D Boon (a true original) the music became more focussed and to use a Minutemen-ism - ‘mersh’. That’s not to say they started to sound like England Dan and John Ford Coley, but the band, now helmed by the lovely ed fROMOHIO, channelled their agit Punk/Jazz/Classic Rock vision into one cohesive er…thing. And it’s bloody ace. ‘Ragin’, Full On’ is one of the all time great debut albums and their live shows were aggressive, energetic, frenetic and surprising. I saw them at a short lived venue in Walsall UK – ‘Junction 10’ and they blew the doors off. Any band that has the nerve to cover ‘A Quick One’ by The Who is OK in my booklet. I did try and see them a little earlier – in a converted scout hut in Derby, but it was inexplicably cancelled. I did get to wave at Mike Watt tho, which made the dreary train journey worthwhile.

('Brave Captain' from 'Ragin', Full On')

To the show….it’s from May 1988 and features the band touring on the back of their second album ‘If’n’. This recording is a Pre-FM recording and sound quality and performance are superb. The star for me is always gonna be Mike Watt who is one of the greatest Bass players currently working the low end anywhere in the world. I saw him play with his current 3 piece band ‘The Missingmen’ recently and my jaw hardly ever left the floor. Whattaguy. And what a work ethic.

So yeah, this may not be the typical BPFE fare, but you really need to check this out. I’m delighted that the band have reformed recently and would love to see them again. Yeah, I know I’m a hypocrite, but some bands are just too good to stay split forever. fIREHOSE are one of those bands.

(Thanks to notsaved for the initial up)