Reading - November 2016

Midnight In The Garden Of Evel Knievel by Giles Smith (2000)
Collection of amusing television reviews, heavily in stylistic debt to Clive James's wonderful seventies columns (or more likely, the books - here's James himself on the same subject), but that's no bad thing at all. Since the remit is more limited (sport on television), the same subjects come up again and again - boxing, football, Formula 1 - but it's well observed and amusingly written, so doesn't become boring.
The Week (5 November 2016 / Issue 1098)
Guitar & Bass (December 2016 / Vol 28 No 03)
The Week (12 November 2016 / Issue 1099)
Guitarist (December 2016 / Issue 414)
The Week (19 November 2016 / Issue 1100)
A Street Cat Named Bob by James Bowen (and Garry Jenkins) (2012)
I hadn't heard of this at all until I saw a recent mention of the film that has just come out. Then I found it in our book exchange at work the other day; it has obviously been well read and done the rounds of many people - something I feel that the author would like. I can see why it's been so popular (over 3 million copies sold and translated into over 20 languages, apparently) - it's a quick, simple, pleasant read. Not much happens but there's a nice ending. From the look of trailer for the film, it looks like they feel they've had to invent some drama and a love interest, unfortunately.
Guitarist Presents 100 Great Guitars edited by Owen Bailey (2014)
Guitar porn, diverting for a few hours.
The Week (26 November 2016 / Issue 1101)


Solo of the Month #21

November 2016

A first this month: the solo section from a well-known classic. One of the players on the forum has been recording a very close version of Ace's "How Long". mainly (as far as I can tell) to learn the track for live performance.

I thought the challenge for everyone on this one would be to avoid reproducing the original solo, unconsciously or not. But when I went back to listen to it, I realised I didn't know the solo at all, even though I'm very familiar with the song. It's Paul Carrack's wonderful vocal I remember, and the lovely plodding bass that introduces the track. The solo seems like it belongs in a different song.

I was also surprised to find that most other participants in the challenge didn't know the song at all. That freed them to produce some interesting solos, but - for me, anyway - ones that would have entirely failed to work in the context of the overall track. My personal challenge, then, was to try and do something that could be fitted into the original song and not stick out.

Having some context was a nice change, actually. It meant that the melody of the verse could be used as a jumping off point for the solo. I dialled in a gently overdriven tone on the amp, and recorded it in two sections. I added a bit of EQ to thicken up the tone and gentle reverb to place it in the mix. The master had Melda's MLimiter on it to punch up the overall sound. And here it is: