Monday, 5 September 2011

Yet more home-grown music - after this I promise to desist for a while!

First up, the only genuinely brand new recording, my version of Marty Robbin’s  "Big Iron", a 1959 single that was the first track on the platinum-selling Gunfighter Ballads and Trail Songs LP.  Johnny Cash recorded an excellent acoustic version towards the end of his career, but I wish he’d done a classic Tennessee Two cover, with Luther Perkins doing his “boom-chikka-boom-chikka” guitar thing - so I’ve tried to do that here.
Vince Taylor
I recorded a version of Vince Taylor’s seminal British rock ‘n’ roll single, "Brand New Cadillac", some time ago. I wanted to re-record the vocal, but discovered I only had an MP3 version of it, so I’m stuck with the original voice(s). Not ideal - but I’m pleased with the instrumental bits (especially the drums).

Finally, another one I recorded a few months ago - apologies to all of you who had a bellyful of “Whisperin’” Mark Knopfler back in the 1980s, but I’ve always enjoyed "Walk of Life" - although I prefer the genuine Cajun cover by Charles Mann (Knopfler also preferred it to his own). Here, I just wanted to deconstruct and reproduce each bit of the Dire Straits record. I’m singing about as high as I can manage without doing myself an injury!


  1. Maybe it's because at every ball, birthday and obscure relative's wedding I was dragged off to in the 90s the covers band would always have a go at " Walk of Life", which was a cue to hit the dance floor, I've always associated it with the pain of being obliged to look as if I'm having a good time. Mind you, since picking up some tips from Roy Head's courtesy of your blog, it may be time for me to give it another try.

    I think your talent is more for recreating the music you grew up with, complete with slapback guitar, echo on the vocals, lashings of reverb. The 50s rock and roll vibe reallysuits your voice too. I really enjoyed "Big Iron".
    Friday, September 9, 2011 - 07:18 AM

  2. The same goes for "Brand New Cadillac" where you get the balance between the instruments and voice just right for that British 50s rock and roll sound. Joe Moretti would probably gone for a bit more treble on the guitar for the two solos but it fits well!

    What might have become of old Vince if he'd stayed off the recreational substances and kept the Playboys together? Joe is now mostly remembered for the brilliant guitar work in Shakin' All Over, although as session hotshot his sound is all over British hits of the 60s.
    Friday, September 9, 2011 - 07:50 AM

  3. Thanks, Ex-KCS – I genuinely appreciate your criticism (as well as your praise). I’m trying to get better and to discover what I’m any good at, so pointers as to what sounds good and what doesn’t are very welcome.

    As for Vince Taylor, if you listen to his other tracks, you swiftly realise that his voice was simply too bad for him to go any further (despite Golden Earring writing “Just Like Vince Taylor” about him). “Brand New Cadillac” was evidently a minor miracle, representing a sum massively greater than its parts – except, of course, for Joe Moretti, mention of whose name almost brought a tear to my eye. His work on Jonny Kidd’s “Restless” represents a true high-point of pre-Beatles British pop – and I once did a version of “Shakin’ All Over” which is so bad it will only released 50 years after my death. I think there’s a gap in the market for a definitive five-volume work on the contribution of session guitarists to the development of popular music here and in the States – I only began to take Led Zeppelin seriously when I discovered that the guitarist responsible for the blistering opening of Them’s “Baby Please Don’t Go” was Jimmy Page!
    Sunday, September 11, 2011 - 12:34 PM

  4. It wasn't that critical! It was more a comment on the choice of song. I am not sure Vince's voice is any worse than Adam Faith's and old Terry Nelhams made quite a career out of his Buddy Holly impersonation and John Barry's pizzicato strings. By the way, I'm glad you enjoyed Runk Bunk so much. it bears repeated listening. My favourite bit is where he fails to pick up that the instrumental break is 16 bars long and starts singing ""A well a Wunk Bunk's just like Wock n' Woll" 8 bars early.

    It's always been a mystery exactly what sessions Jimmy Page did play on. The Kinks deny that he did the power chord riff that starts "You really got me", which is often credited to him, but he certainly seems to have made a good living out of it before during and after the Yardbirds. If you do the post on session hot shots I've got a good one about Rick Derringer and "School's out" by Alice Cooper.
    Sunday, September 11, 2011 - 05:41 PM