This is a post in response to one over at Billy’s.
OK, no particular order.

  • Clapton. What can I say? There’s a mess of ’em, but for me a toss-up between “Old Love” on “Unplugged” for pure blues,(Perhaps the best acoustic solo I’ve ever heard) and “Cocaine” off of one of the live sets, (No, I don’t recall which… it melted on me years ago… but I can tell you it was kinda long) for pure power.
  • Leslie West of Mountain, for his “Stormy Monday” as recorded at the Atlanta Pop festival. 19 minutes of as good a musical description of a thunderstorm as I’ve ever heard… powerful, musical, playful, and nearly jazz-like at times, yet never forgetting to rock and roll. One of my favorite all time recordings. It’s a bear to find, anymore.
  • Pete Carr’s solo on Bob Seger’s “Like a Rock”.  A studio overlay from thousands of miles away, sure, but that and the lyrics made the song.  As I get older, I find myself really listening to what Bob was saying there, and the emotions that Pete layered into that solo. I’ll say I’m not a player, and therefore I can’t tell how technically perfect someone is, (though I can spot someone who is technically bad) but I do know when someone’s playing has emotion in it, and that does.
  • Santana. Here again, this is a target rich name for this kinda stuff, but… “Europa”, off “Sunflower”. If only Carlos were not so terminally weird.
  • Grand Funk Railroad’s Mark Farner on the live LP,(Atlanta pop festival, 1970) doing what is perhaps the quintessential Grand Funk opener… “Are You Ready”. Here’s a band that nobody would ever accuse of being subtle. What Farner misses in technique, (there are flaws even I can hear) he more than makes up for in what made Grand Funk a legend; raw energy. Strictly speaking, the solo itself wasn’t much… but (and this is the point) …this track (and “Into the Sun”, on the same LP) is a primer what what constitutes guitar playing in a power trio. That kind of playing means you have to be bloody well incredible to be able to pull off a solo of ANY kind, much less one memorable on it’s own.
  • In that same vein… “Cold Shot” Stevie Ray Vaugn. “nuff said.
  • Pink Floyd’s “On the Turning Away” from the concert recoded in Atlanta.  (That’s what, the third recording done in Atlanta to make this list? what’s up with that?) That solo on the end of the song could have gone on a LOT longer; I doubt anyone would have minded it. That recording is one of the very few where a live version actually blows away the arrangements on the studio version.
  • 17 year old Erik Braunn’ performance on Iron Butterfly’s “Inna-Godda-Da- vida”… A period piece, of course, but, it’s a favorite. That boy knew how to handle an effects kit, that much is certain.  Recorded just weeks after he snuck into the Whisey-A-Go-Go on Sunset to speak to Doug Ingle about landing the lead guitar slot with the band, it’s without a doubt the most recognizable riff in Rock… then or since. Braunn died back in July of 2003 at age 53. He was supposedly working on a solo disk. Sad.
  • The Outlaws’ “Green Grass and High Tides”, off the first LP… One of the best examples of back and forth between two really great players.  The whole album simply exuded confidence and power. The lot of them should have fire extinguishers nearby at all times when they’re playing.
  • The Isley Brothers Ernie Isley, on 1975’s “Hope You Feel Better, Love”. Here’s someone who leaned quite a bit from Hendrix, and sounds it.
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