Vintage Guitar - October 2017 - open - 116

HIT LIST REVIEWS

Albert
King

SOUL MEN (AND
WOMEN)

"

Play it, Steve!" Just
a bend, four notes,
and it's instantly
recognizable that Sam
Moore is summoning Steve
Cropper in the Sam & Dave
hit, "Soul Man." And it's
equally recognizable that
this is Memphis' version

of soul music, specifically
Stax Records - different
from the city's Hi Records
stable, Detroit's Motown
label, Chicago's Vee-Jay, or
Philadelphia International.
The '67 session that
yielded it was produced
by David Porter and Isaac
Hayes, with the latter on
organ, Booker T & the MG's
(Cropper on guitar, Booker
T. Jones on keyboards,
Duck Dunn on bass, and Al
Jackson on drums), and the
Mar-Keys horns (Wayne
Jackson, Don Nix, and
Packy Axton) - a veritable

hit machine like few in the
history of pop music.
For Stax' 60th anniversary, current owner Concord
Records, in conjunction
with Rhino Records, will be
releasing rare recordings,
boxed sets, and live performances. The rollout begins

Albert King, Booker
T. & the MG's, the
Staple Singers, and
others
Stax Classics series

with 12-song best-of CDs
by 10 of Stax' flagship artists - Hayes, Sam & Dave,
Booker T & the MG's, the
Staple Singers, William Bell,
Carla Thomas, Albert King,
Johnnie Taylor, the Dramatics, and Otis Redding.
Not all Stax productions
were done in Memphis. For
instance, the Dramatics
were from Detroit, and
their hits featured Motown

effects specialist Dennis
Coffey on guitar (check
the multiple delays on "In
The Rain"). And when the
Staple Singers crossed over
from gospel to soul, hits like
"Heavy Makes You Happy
(Sha-Na-Boom Boom)" and
"Respect Yourself" were
recorded in Muscle Shoals,
Alabama, with the famed
"Swampers" rhythm section. "Little David," whose
funky bass line Mavis
Staples calls for on "I'll
Take You There," is David
Hood, following the bluesy
guitar bends of "Daddy" -
Roebuck "Pops" Staples.
Of course, the Albert
King volume packs the most
guitar punch. Born Under
A Bad Sign, teaming the
bluesman with virtually the
same backline as Sam &
Dave, was a watershed moment. The vocal-like bends
he'd pull from his Flying
V, the hip rhythm section,
and great material penned
by the MG's and William
Bell (who co-wrote the
title tune) proved unbeatable. But he later used the
Bar-Kays with great results,
and the live "Blues Power"
(his classic monolog
severely shortened here)
featured his lean road band.
There are other notable
guitar performances spread
across the 10 CDs, like
Skip Pitts' iconic wahwah riff on Isaac Hayes'
"Theme From Shaft," but
the Stax guitarist was the
aforementioned Cropper,
for his work with the MG's
as well as Redding and
others. Because he's often
justifiably called the greatest rhythm guitarist ever,
his lead work is underrated
(listen to "Soul Dressing").
But the art of rhythm should
also not be underrated.
And Cropper raised it to
a fine art. - Dan Forte

VINTAGE GUITAR

116

October 2017

Conquering his demons in the late '90s,
Hicks was amazed to find he'd become
an American music icon. Everyone from
Bette Midler to Elvis Costello and Brian
Setzer sang on his 2000 comeback album
Beatin' The Heat. He toured and recorded
with a revived Hot Licks until his death
in 2016.
Since Hicks' 2013 cancer diagnosis left
him unable to chronicle that final triumphant period, editor Kristine McKenna
did the honors in the final chapter. The
book ends sadly, yet Hicks's ability to
revive his career despite the odds renders
his story uplifting. - Rich Kienzle

David Weigel

The Show That Never
Ends: The Rise And Fall
Of Prog Rock
This journalistic dive
into the history of progrock follows the music
from its Beatlesque origins through the
explosion of the Moody Blues, the Nice,
Genesis, Rush, and dozens more. It's not
all original work - Dave Weigel footnotes
other writers' interviews as fast as Rick
Wakeman plays a Moog - but he covers a
lot of proggy ground quickly and it's an
enjoyable read.
The narrative hangs out plenty of dirty
laundry, such as when the talented Peter
Banks got booted from Yes for the more
talented Steve Howe, faster than you can
say "topographic oceans." Greg Lake is
caught flaunting a mammoth ego (he and
synth hero Keith Emerson came to blows
more than once), and guitarist Robert
Fripp has a bromance-gone-wrong with
singer Daryl Hall.
We see the genre's de-evolution during
the dark days of MTV and Phil Collins'
solo career, yet find hope with Marillion,
Porcupine Tree, and Spock's Beard. The
whole thing almost came to a dead-stop
with Emerson, Lake & Palmer's awful,
final 2010 gig in London. But happily,
prog has survived.
Weigel's biases are evident. He lavishes
attention on King Crimson and Gong,
while his omission of the important millennial band, the Flower Kings, is almost
unforgivable. Odder still, Pink Floyd is
barely mentioned.
Even so, the book is a seriously fun read
about rock's most pompous genre. Find
time to read it this summer while you're
chilling on Love Beach. - Pete Prown


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Vintage Guitar - October 2017 - open

Contents
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Vintage Guitar - October 2017 - open - IFC
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