Monday, August 10, 2015

Just Like A'Ringin' A Bell, Go Go, Go Quiney Go!

Richard Hell & The Voidoids' "Blank Generation" is an absolute classic, a perfect snapshot of the NYC punk scene, a record that is almost always cited as one of the best of its kind.

The late Robert Quine, who plays guitar on "Blank Generation," while respected and oft noted as a brilliant player, doesn't usually end up on the short list of great guitar players alongside the usual cast of characters.

But after listening to "Blank Generation" this weekend, I've decided that, while I won't feel completely honest with myself if I now suddenly squeeze Quine's name on my "Fave Guitarists" list in between Jimmy Page & Richard Thompson, I do feel strongly that "Blank Generation" should be on a list of "Great Guitar Records Of All Time."

I was suprised by just how much Robert Quine has going on all over this record, but not because I think he is incapable. I'd been a fan for years, and his playing on Matthew Sweet's "Girlfriend" sealed that deal for me. But I don't think I had ever gone into "Blank Generation" with anything other than a need for a jolt of spastic energy. Yesterday, for no apparent reason, my ears focused on Quine and not the record as a whole. And man, it's crazy good playing.

Which brings me to this:

We've had lists of our favorite guitar solos time and time again, there one record, an unlikely choice or not, that you'd choose as a "Great Guitar Record?"

If had time to think about it, "Blank Generation" would probably had never made my list. But after the weekend spin, I think it's a comfortable choice.


Anonymous said...

Perfect Sound Forever has a lot of Quine-related material -

I was sucked into Al Stewart's and Sutherland Bros & Quiver's albums in the 70's due to Tim Renwick's playing, my fave being SB&Q's "Reach for the Sky." guy could play anything.

vanwoert said...

Montrose, The debut album. Just a great guitar record.

William Repsher said...

Aside from the title track, I think Blank Generation is garbage. I remember when I finally bought the album in the 80's, because you couldn't buy it for years as it was out of print, looking at the cover, thinking, wow, finally, this is it, just look at the cover. Only to be confronted by a guy who couldn't sing, at all, and could barely write songs, just turn one cool phrase per song and surround it by nihilistic blather. "Blank Generation" the song was like a blast of idiot savante genius surrounded by the musings of that guy from college who was a little too impressed by Nietzsche in his first Philosophy class. Actually running into Richard Hell a few times after that (at St Marks Church) only cemented that first take. Don't get it, never have, never will!

For me that seminal NYC guitar album of that time will always be Television's first album. Those guys could play, and it's pretty clear why they booted Hell from the band.

But I surely get Quine. I love his playing on those 80's Lou Reed albums, his tone added so much to the songs. I've always wondered if that's him or Lou doing that long outro solo on "Little Sister," possibly my favorite guitar solo. I'm assuming it's Lou as it doesn't sound like Quine, but don't know.

A more apt question might be limiting your question to the past 20 years? Where are the new guitarists? And I don't mean big players like Page or Clapton, I mean guys like Quine who quietly filled in the blanks and earned huge amounts of respect and work as a result.

Sal Nunziato said...

"Aside from the title track, I think Blank Generation is garbage."

Well, okay then.

William Repsher said...

Richard Hell is to Lou Reed what The Archies are to The Beatles.

Jobe said...

One thing I love about this site is the topics. I always read what everyone has to say. Before I get to today's topic I would like to add my two-cents to an older post. "Cool or just cranky" I pretty much agree with comments that say The Stones last good record was "Exile" but coming up with an explanation why, well that's the tuff part. And it's just not The Stones either, for instance I thought Bowie's "Heathen" was a huge disappointment, but I thought "Reality" and "Hours" were two of his best. Sorry but I won't even give Billy Joel a passing thought. As Mr. Joel himself says "It ain't rock and roll to me." But getting back to the Stones, and the old I don't know what "It" is but I know it when I hear it. The Stones just don't have "it" anymore. Occasionally they have shown signs of "it," "Luxury," "Time Waits For No One," "Bad Disposition," "Hold On To Your Hats," "Harlem Shuffle," even "Sweet Neo Con," but they can no longer sustain "It" through a whole platter of songs. I thought Keith did a good job with "Talk Is Cheap" but "Main Offender" was a big let down. But to get to today's topic when talking about Mr. Quine don't forget "The Blue Mask" one of the great Lou Reed records. So a couple of my favorite guitar albums would be Rory Gallagher's "Irish Tour," Iggy and the Stooges "Raw Power" U.F.O.'s "Force It" that's just three that spring to mind easy and given more time I could come up with at least twenty more. Thanks for the forum.

vanwoert said...

"I could have written "Sugar,Sugar", but you could never have written "Mr. Tamborine Man".
Bob Dylan to Reggie Mantle

Sal Nunziato said...

"I could have written "Sugar,Sugar", but you could never have written "Mr. Tamborine Man".
Bob Dylan to Reggie Mantle

Except Dylan couldn't write Sugar, Sugar. (See "Wiggle, Wiggle.")

WHT said...

Seconded TV - Marquee Moon. 11th Dream Day - Beet. Dream Syndicate - Days of Wine & Roses.

Sal Nunziato said...

RE: Marquee Moon--This record and both Verlaine and Lloyd's playing, has been lauded for years. It's a personal all time fave and I don't see it as a surprise or "unlikely" choice. For me, "Marquee Moon" is as obvious as "LZ II" or "Wheels Of Fire."

Shriner said...

Two unlikely choices (well one may be more obvious than the other):

1) "Get The Knack" Berton Avarre is the man. Tone, melody, style. That cat has it all. This -- as a guitar record, not just as a power-pop classic -- is the one I break out first and foremost when I pull the Strat out of it's case to play along with. It's more than just the awe-inspriing My Sharona solo...

2) "Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!" Most people think of Devo as the synth-happy "Whip It" band. Their debut album is chockfull of awesome guitar and a lot-less synth. My second go-to play-along-with guitar album.

And, yes, Marquee Moon is one of the most awesome guitar albums ever. So is "Live Rust", for that matter.

Sal Nunziato said...

This comment is from mauijim. I had to copy and paste, as it wouldn't let me post automatically.

James Taylor in the current issue o Mojo magazine with Keith on the cover chose Ry Cooder Paradise and Lunch as his all time best album because the guitar play. This was a surprise to me and made me dig it out and listen to it again. I am a sucker to the Les Paul sound and that would include the usual suspects, Page, Ronson and Taylor.
so how about the new guitar hero Gary Clark Jr and his Blak and Blu lp especially Numb and When my train pulls in. Could not get it out my car cd player so i just kept playing it.

buzzbabyjesus said...

Over the years, besides all the usual, obvious stuff, my favorite album is "Sailin' Shoes" by Little Feat, released in 1972.
I could write a whole blogpost on why I think this is one of the best albums ever made. That it exactly encapsulate's Southern Califiornia at the time, bridging the Beehheart/Zappa asesthetic with CSN, singer-songwriter's, and Country Rock
As the front man, singer, lead guitarist, and principle songwriter, Lowell George is the driving force in the band. Fired from the Mother's by Frank for smoking dope, and told to go start his own band Lowell took bassist Roy Estrada with him to form Little Feat.
Roy left after this to join The Magic Band. He was replaced by another bass player, a conga player, and an additional guitar player. Lowell became distracted by extra curricular activities, and the band took a new direction. Here is the closer, from "Salin Shoes". It's a great guitar album. Lowell's slide paying is out of this world. You can hear some in "Texas Rose Cafe"

Anonymous said...

Hello all…no, please remain seated,

Operating on the premise that a great guitar record doesn’t have to be about gymnastics, but about tone, note selection, ability to communicate emotion etc….
MY favorite guitar record (from my own collection) would be drawn from the following short-list:

1) Allman Brothers live at Fillmore East (the ultimate ’59 Gibson LP sound)
2) Get Yer Ya-Yas Out. You know who did this. (used to play the whole album only listening to Keith’s channel, then re-play it listening to Mick Taylor’s channel….heaven.)
3) Robert Gordon and Link Wray (I don’t know what rig Link was using, but he sure played the snot out of it)
4) Chris Isaak – the Baja Sessions (creamy, luscious acoustic guitars…just a gorgeous sound overall)
5) And from WAAAY out of left field….The Roches – interestingly enough, by the Roches.

Each of those records had me listening as close as I could to identify guitar parts, how they meshed together and how they served the song. Each, in their own way, had me playing air guitar (seriously, I can air-strum along to Hammond song). Gun to my head, hadda pick JUST one? Ya-Ya’s.


Anonymous said...

Hello,m please remain seated,

Before I get back to work.....
- Tin Renwick was a great call-out.
- laughed out loud "Susgar, Sugar" vs Tambo-man
- Marquee Moon +1
- the charms of the song "Sailin' Shoes" elude me to this day. But, otherwise, I'm all-in with the Feat.


Sal Nunziato said...

Came to the SB&Q very late, but man, I can't say enough about that band, the songwriting and Tim Renwick. First 5-6 records are just fantastic.

William Repsher said...

Not sure if that's Tim Renwick soloing on "Cygnet Committee" by Bowie, but I always loved the guitar on that song, and that album in general. Bowie always had great taste in lead guitarists.

He doesn't get mentioned much, but Davey Johnstone's guitar work was integral to the Elton John band in its prime. Any number of tracks, but I'm partial to the title track from Captain Fantastic and "Cage the Songbird."

Anonymous said...

I can tell you what was my first guitar album: The Yardbirds "Having A Rave Up!". Beck & Clapton schooling a generation. I just listened to it once again last week. It taught us from the 1960's how to really listen to guitar.

Captain Al

Anonymous said...

Pink Floyd's Animals.
The amount of mind-blowing, melodic, inventive, almost orchestral work Gilmour does on that record without once playing a single note that doesn't belong organically to the songs themselves is, to me, musically world-shattering.
I could listen to that record three times in a row without getting tired of it.
I could play along with it from beginning to end without feeling like it loses its mystery.
And if you've never listened to it on headphones while looking out an airplane window, or at ear-splitting volume on a long night's drive, then you, sir, are missing out.
That a band that didn't even like each other by that point could make music that sounded like it all came from one stream of thought is shocking.

Also, the tunes themselves, the keyboard parts, and the gorgeous production, not to mention the lyrics and vocals are pretty goddamn good too.
Play it again if you haven't heard it in a while. Play it loud, and not as background. Listen. No matter what you think of Floyd. Please.

jeff said...

I've been watching Woodstock the past few days -- the director's cut version with nearly an hour of extra time plugged back into it, and I think it's great, much better than the original, but talking about great guitarists who don't always get a mention: Richie Havens was marvelous, and Alvin Lee, my god, what a performance. I don't know what he was on while doing "I'm Going Home," but it worked. Then there's Stephen Stills, whose tone I've always found to be so gorgeous. He used to get mentions among the great rock guitarists, maybe not so much anymore but I think he deserves to be up there.

And a plug for my buddy, Barry Melton, who does a great solo turn on "Rock and Soul Music."

hpunch said...

Tim Renwick might be the second most underrated guitarist, right behind the mighty Ollie Halsall ( who was also the voice of the Rutles' Dirk McQuickly
No one mentioned Quine's fine work on Matthew Sweet's Girlfriend.

Sal Nunziato said...

"No one mentioned Quine's fine work on Matthew Sweet's Girlfriend."

I did, in the actual post. Told ya no one reads my blog. :)

Anonymous said...

long time quine fan…me and hpunch used to see him all the time down in rick kellys carmine street guitars…he was a guitarist by way of being a guitar historian…he could tell you what guitar and amp sterling morrison was using at the matrix, on a given night..or discuss the genius of mickey baker

he was essential

also just happened to listen to blank generation lp this weekend..and it was great as always…quine and ivan julian!…nice…not fair to compare to verlaine/lloyds great guitar based workouts…both different but special..a hip that's hard to find..

renwicks a great..and dont smirk..but some of his best stuff is with al stewart…stewart gave him free reign..and renwick just killed it

others of that ilk…informed guitarists--chris spedding, ollie halsall, matt pucci (rain parade), david lindley…

special mention to johnny thunders who was spellbinding on a good nite

and the verlaine i listen to the most is his first instrumental lp-warm and cool-..great

el nijo

Troy said...

A couple of favorites that I haven't seen mentioned:
1. Sonny Landreth - Outward Bound. Such an incredible sound from one guitar. Excellent batch of songs to boot.

2. Dave Alvin - Out in California. Really, anything by Dave including the entire original Blasters' catalog.

3. James Hunter - People Gonna Talk. Vocals that remind me of Sam Cooke, but the guitar work pushes this over the top for me.

4. Dire Straits - Making Movies. The debut album probably gets more credit as a great guitar album because it sounded different than anything before it. But I like this album better.

Alexi said...

I second the Stones' Get Yer Ya-Ya's Out. Best of Taylor and Keith, yes, heavenly. From a different genre: Steely Dan's Katy Lied. Sophisticated but exciting playing with great tunes, before they got too mushy. Those each got me when they came out and have never let go as guitar bliss.

William Repsher said...

I was just listening to some John Frusciante (Red Hot Chili Peppers) solo material, and he has a real thing for prog-rock/Yes style excursions. Try "Before the Beginning" and "Cinch" -- tell me you don't hear the Steve Howe influence.

Charlie Carr said...

J.J. Cale "Naturally"
Little Feat "Waiting for Columbus"
"Stephen Stills" (which might also fit in the newer BW post - great debut, awful follow-up)

I gotta go with those three, although a great many more come to mind. Gun-to-my-head pick one, dummy: Stills - for 'Go Back Home', if nothing else. (Personal aside - Toby Hall, SUNY Oneonta 1971, my buddy Wayne Winfield started every day with that track, so it's like ingrained in my aural mahogany)

Christine said...

I don't know about all that, but I sure did have fun listening to the song! Brought me right back to the two weeks I was a punk rocker--safety pins and all!

Anonymous said...

Two singles that I will never get enough of:

1) Harley and Cockney Rebel - Come Up and See Me; perfect guitar break for one of the perfect pop songs.
2) The Only Ones - Another Girl, Another Planet. John Perry's intro and solo do it every time.

Dave L, Berlin.