Bend your mind one side at a time with 1977’s Guitar Boogie. Fix yourself a heaping plate of last night’s grub, pour out a pint of your favorite brew, dim the lights and drop the needle, because it’s damn near boogie time. Have you heard of these young, up-and-comers? Eric Clapton? Jeff Beck? Jimmy Page? Nah, me neither, but this comp of classic blues-infused slut-rock is essential Monday night listening material, or, at least it is around our household. Sometimes, Mondays need that extra boogie…
If you’re in the mood for sweet-low, (<— comma… please notice the comma…) quality instrumental guitar music with a hint of blues and a touch of country twang, look no further than Wisconsin native Les Paul.
The Now part is a bit arbitrary, but the Les Paul part is pure, unmistakable 6-string joy. Two things I learned from (very, very briefly) researching this album are 1) Les Paul came out of retirement to record this album for London Records and 2) by this time, Les and Mary Ford had officially split.
Released in 1968, Les Paul Now!, with its voluptuous purity, must have seemed somewhat out of step with the majority of pop music being produced in the closing years of the waning, hip-tastic 60s. Lucky for appreciators of prudent ear candy everywhere, virtue knows not how to tell time.
A mystical wizard of the electric 6-strings, Mark Knopfler and his merry pub-band, Dire Straits, present a “southern-fried-inspired” British album full of sexy swing and swooning rhythm on their 1978 debut appropriately titled, Dire Straits.
Brit bands performing their versions of Southern Rock can be a phenomenal experience if executed properly. The Kinks did it in 1971 with Muswell Hillbillies, and Dire Straits do it here. I’ve never considered Southern Rock an inspiring genre, but thankfully Dire Straits did. With tracks like Six Blade Knife, Down to the Waterline, Southbound Again and Wild West End, one would think Dire Straits shared a ridgeline with the groovy gents in ZZ Top.
I feel as though I’m doing Dire Straits a disservice by writing about them immediately after writing about the striking social impact of the Sex Pistols. Don’t feel bad for me. It’s my own fault… but you can send letters of encouragement to firstname.lastname@example.org to help calm my writing woes.
Dire Straits is a smooth sailing debut that showcases the unmarked talents of four, part-time musicians (music was the band’s “other” job before and while making this album). Years before free chicks and the lovable MTV, Dire Straits gave us arguably their most treasured gift, Sultans of Swing. With its expansive hook and its crooning delivery, Mark Knopfler and gang create a timeless song perfect for driving down the PCH (Pacific Coast Highway, aka California State Route 1), enjoying a pint at the pub with a silent stranger, or riding off into the sunset with your loved one resting on your arm.