Friday, April 24, 2015

#95. Michael Finnegan McGuinn Again


Roger McGuinn began life as Jim McGuinn but decided that Roger sounded more "rock". I can only assume that what he really meant was that Roger sounded more "folk"...as surely it does.

I like that Rog has popped up. He is the first since the towering, in both senses, Thurston to really spark my interest. By my measure, of course, he should be in here. Who does not know the 12-string, Bach-inspired (no less!) intro to The Byrds' cover of My Tambourine Man?

While I am somewhat indifferent to his guitar work, he created an entire genre of jangly guitar pop...and a passingly diverting genre it is too. I would reckon there are an awful lot of guitarists who picked up the axe because of Jim McGuinn. It should be noted, also, that while The Beatles loved you Yeah Yeah Yeah, Jim was inspired by Bach and nailing some pretty fancy picking in the process. The Beatles show up and everything is back to pleasing 15 year old girls (I can only assume George Harrison is somewhere in this list...but Roger's inclusion reminds us of the infantilising damage The Ruttles did to the advanced folk rock scene in the USA, when they showed up with 5 hit singles in a row).

And finally, and this one will be a slow burn until we get to him (and I assume we will get to him because I am intentionally not looking ahead, and if he is not somewhere pretty high on the list I will be...quite cross), Roger is the man who brought Clarence White's guitar work to prominence by recruiting him for the latter era Byrds. This was well beyond the early baroque pop, the mid-era hippy psych of The Notorious Byrd Brothers album, the Cosmic American Music defining Gram Parson single album majesty and in to the Dr Byrd And Mr Hyde and beyond hit-and-miss-celestial-highs-coupled-with-embarassing-shite roller coaster of the final five-odd albums.

But we will get to Clarence (I hope!) in good time. For now, here's to you Jim (Roger) for jetting in to number 2, for now, in my re-ordering of Rolling Stones' mess. 

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