A regular Thursday feature of this channel.

Peter Baird


There is a sonic signature of RHCP music that only blooms when John Frusciante is playing guitar. It’s a compactness, a tight blending of four musical voices combined with a crystal-clear chime on top. One great side effect is that it guides Anthony Kiedis to deliver the lyrics in a very controlled, restrained, clear fashion that makes him part of the whole musical statement. Shoot Me A Smile is a delightful song, Flea is a joy to listen to.

Abilene is a thoughtful catalog of the things you hope for in someone but don’t get. “No couple acres/No screened in porch” “No turning the garden/No toys on the floor” “No life that we’re building/No weathering storms” Sounds like it could have been a good life. This is the debut album from Plains, Katie Crutchfield and Jess Williamson working as a duo. Another reminder just how good and underused 3/4 time is for songs with heartache floating just under the surface. Could have used more bass in the mix.

The most important feature of this cover of Far Wes is that it swings. Hard. Tim Fitzgerald loves all things Wes Montgomery, and his Full House ensemble is the best thing going for putting a fresh face on this 1958 tune. Solos are all in character for the tune. The bass solo is simply the melody played through the head down in the low octave and it rules. This is how I love to hear a jazz kit recorded—the ride and hats on the far sides of the stage, both of them feeling like the mic is right down on the crown of the cymbal.

Robyn Hitchcock’s Midnight Tram to Nowhere skirts dangerously close to Problem Child status by morphing the harp sounds into something not far removed from metals plates rending—not an issue in itself, but all of the energy is painfully concentrated in the vocal range, so you find yourself grabbing the volume control to save your hearing after cranking the beginning because the groove is so fun. “And when I get to nowhere/I know you’ll be there too/Nowhere in the universe/Is far enough for you.” I’m starting a campaign to convince Mark Knopfler to cover this because it will be an instant hit.