I saw an incredible show in NYC last night, one of my all-time favorite artists, Cyndi Lauper, doing her all-new Blues show. It was truly great to see her, and she was in amazing voice, actually better than ever! But I’ll tell ya, the guitar player, whose name I don’t recall (sorry) just didn’t make it! He was okay enough at the rhythm parts, but when it came to lead, my god, was he awful! Problem is, this is a “Blues” show, and it was so obvious that Cyndi needs a real player who can hold down the fort when it comes to playing really great blues solos! Talk about frustrating…at one point, she brought out her “slide” dulcimer, and said she had to do this because she couldn’t get a slide guitarist! At this moment, I almost screamed, and stormed the stage! I was ready to grab her slide, push the guitar player out of the way, and let it rip!
I have always not enjoyed a band if the guitar is bad. I don’t care how good the front singer or player might be, if the guitar isn’t making it, I can’t be bothered. I can recall many Top 40 records in the old days that used to have the same effect on me, where I just couldn’t get into the guitar playing, and in fact, where the solo may have actually ruined an otherwise great song for me. For example, take “Sundown”, a classic record by Gordon Lightfoot…it cruises along, in perfect taste and beauty, and all of a sudden, one of the worst and most incongruous guitar solos seems to drop out of the sky and ruin the song. And not only that, it has to get repeated at the end again…so bad!
Hate to say it, but there are just so many times when I have a much better ear and level of taste than the “producer” or artist of many sessions I have heard, or even played on over the years, and that’s just the way it goes. If this is your situation too, you just have to hope that in most creative situations your ideas will be heard and used, and that someday, you’ll be in a controlling position where you have a “larger” say in things, and can make a true difference in the music that’s being recorded or performed. These days, I certainly have more of that “control”, but man, I sure wish I had some of it last night with Cyndi Lauper!! She deserves it!