Monday, October 30, 2006

Shake Your Money Maker

When I moved to Whitton in the mid Eighties there was a slim, but real chance of running into either Peter Green or Pete Townsend in the street in Twickenham. A deeply trivial observation of which I was reminded last night when - having finally invested in a freeview decoder - I dragged myself away from "The Kids are Alright" on ITV4 to go along the 60th Birthday Tribute to Peter Green at with the Robin Bibi Band at Bob Brunning's Sunday night blues club which is hosted at GJ's.

I may be in the minority here, but I have always been unimpressed with Pete Townsend. The genius of The Who - if genius it was - lay in the front man and the rhythm section. I think that they could have propelled any spotty Herbert's angst ridden adolescent jottings to a world wide audience, but "Rock Operas", God help us. I've got room in my life for the soundscapes of "Baba O'Riley", but the rest of Townsend's music and lyrics seems clumsy to me.

Compare and contrast Mr Green, who gave us prime candidates for the 60s' best:

  • instrumental - Albatross
  • pop song - Black Magic Woman
  • wig out - Oh Well
  • ballad - Man of the World
No contest. Speaking as someone who has never heard any difficult music without wishing it was impossible, another great thing about the Green oeuvre is that you can make a fairly decent fist of it without being a fantastically accomplished guitarist. Once you get your head around hammer-ons and pull-offs for example, the central riff of "Oh Well" is pretty much available to you regardless of the fact that the pyrotechnics of - for any local readers for example - Papa George's version are beyond you.

I had a chat with Bob Brunning late last year, and I was pleasantly surprised today to find that he has a Wikipedia entry. He was persuaded last night to man the bass for "Shake Your Money Maker", and said that he had invited Peter Green to the gig, but that he could not be tempted from his Swedish fortress of solitude. Someone also passed along to him a signed and dedicated copy of Precious Little, Jeremy Spencer's first new album in 35 years.

'Twas great just to have been there.

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