Nev remembers his return to guitar rock.
I WAS CHUFFED when we came up with this month’s cover feature on a ’70s bluesrock theme. We wanted a UK and Ireland slant but not to go straight for the household names. I remember hearing these bands brand new, and I bet many of you recall a similar excitement back in the day.
I suggested groups that meant something to me; that had either pushed my playing on through emulation of an approach I hadn’t previously heard, or who simply inspired me to play their songs in my latest beat combo.
I’d grown up with The Beatles, got into The Kinks, The Who and so on; then Mayall and the British blues boom, then the original electric bluesmen like the Kings, then Cream, Hendrix, etc. But I went completely off heavier music at the turn of the ’70s and got into James Taylor, Joni Mitchell and Stevie Wonder, who used cleverer chords and more sophisticated harmony. It was only when a new breed of band arrived, that mixed the blues I loved with a bit of musical wit, a smidgen of that sophistication and a new attitude, that guitar rock regained its appeal.
New albums found their way into our house often by way of mates, or via my siblings and their friends; like Thank Christ For The Bomb by The Groundhogs with its mix of ‘real’ blues (they’d backed John Lee Hooker on his UK tours) and angular riffs and harmonies. Of course I knew Free from the single Alright Now, but my guitar-playing mate turned me on to Fire And Water; then brought round Bad Company and told me I had to hear this new incarnation (we learned every single). He also introduced me to Taste; and Rory Gallagher’s mix of blues authenticity, Celtic fire and a ton of flash just floored me. Then sometimes you’d hear a track on the radio that knocked you sideways - The Rocker and Whisky In The Jar by Thin Lizzy, both with Eric Bell whipping up a storm. And talking of storms - I didn’t see the film of Woodstock until the ’70s, but Alvin Lee and Ten Years After... good grief, Alvin and his ES-335 killed it that day. Incredible! But we also include Chicken Shack with Stan Webb, and early Whitesnake featuring Moody and Marsden, so it’s a broad round-up that should provide inspiration - and quite a few new licks. Have fun!
Neville Marten, Editor [email protected]turenet.com