Friday, 8 April 2016

Top 5 Instrumentals - Chop's Picks

Hot on the heels of last week's collaborative results these are my five favourite songs without singing. This turned out to be much harder than I expected. The collaborative vote is brilliant for flagging up tunes I've forgotten but in this instance highlighted just how many essential instrumentals exist. For every entry in my final top five there's another song I agonised about leaving out.

5. "Moya" Godspeed You! Black Emperor - Fifth place was a shoot out between two of my favourite bands, Godspeed You! Black Emperor and Mogwai. Canadian post-rock collective versus Glaswegian post-rock punks. Both bands specialise in instrumental music which only made it harder for me to pick a stand out tune. Moya has long been my favourite GYBE track though and I really couldn't leave it out. Thanks to Wikipedia I've just found out it's a reworking of Polish composer Henryk Górecki's Third Symphony, which means I probably ought to track that down too.

4. "The Great Skua" British Sea Power - Originally a track from BSP's 2008 Mercury Music Prize nominated album Do You Like Rock Music?, it was then reworked as part of the band's soundtrack for the re-release of 1934 fictional documentary film Man of Aran. It's a soaring tune that works brilliantly with the black & white visuals and is simply magnificent live.

3. "Green Onions" Booker T & The MGs - This comfortably claimed the number one spot in the joint poll and rightly so. I got to know Booker T & the MGs via the Blues Brothers film and have loved them ever since. During the 60s & 70s they were the Stax Records house band and backed artists such as Otis Redding, Sam & Dave & Carla Thomas on a string of hit records. At some point during the late eighties or early nineties I saw them play live, at the Town & Country Club, under the Blues Brothers Band banner. Incredibly Booker T & Steve Cropper are still active.

2. "Theme from Midnight Cowboy" John Barry - As a child of the seventies who grew up in thrall to James Bond films, I was bound to include something by John Barry in this list. As with most of these artists it was hard to pick a favourite but this theme for John Schlesinger's 1969 drama is immaculate. I'm particularly fond of Toots Thielemans' haunting harmonica though, apparently, John Barry did not feel the same way.

1. "Rumble" Link Wray - 1958 this was first released. Take a listen to that guitar sound. It's so big & powerful no wonder it was banned. Link Wray has been credited with pioneering the sound that would later form the foundation of heavy rock and it's easy to hear why.

I could comfortably have included two other Link Wray tunes in this top five, Ace of Spades came close, but I particularly enjoy Jack The Ripper so here's a bit of added Link for good luck.


No comments: