Sir Duke by Stevie Wonder

Not much needs to be said about this song and certainly not about the footage itself. This is absolute gold in its purest form! To see it performed in a studio in a totally live format (and honestly, I don’t think there’s any overdubs here) is simply awesome! Sir Duke is hands down my favorite Stevie Wonder song. In fact, the album this was originally on, Songs In the Key of Life really has no bad moments but this one really shines for me. I mean seriously, does it really get any finer than that horn section popping out one of the finest runs of eight measures ever to be laid down on record? ( Count) Basie, (Glenn) Miller, ( Louis Armstrong) Satch-m-0 and king of all Sir Duke (Ellington)…What a blast!

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Wasted Years by Iron Maiden

So I never thought much about Iron Maiden back in the 80s except of course for the fact that they had the coolest album covers ever made. Somehow though, I saw them as nothing more than another band based on this “dark” image that I thought was a bit silly. In the years since, I have grown to really appreciate what they have done and just how good they were and still are. I mean, let’s face it, is there anything more badass than Steve Harris standing there perched with one leg on his stage monitor and his fingers a blur as he simply mauls his bass strings? There is a plethora of tunes that I could post here but I chose Wasted Years simply for the fact that it’s subject matter is far from anything “satanic” or any of that sort of thing. It also perfectly displays musically what they are all about.

Carnival by Natalie Merchant

First of all, this is a magnificant song. Natalie Merchant’s voice is, as always, a perfect blend of soft tones and quiet intricacies blended exquisitely with the music. But for me, this track is all about the guitar. Jennifer Turner is the guitarist and I really don’t know anything about her. What I do know is that this thing is full of great licks, chops and blurbs from start to finish. Then you get to the best part…the tone. I’m guessing by the sound that it is simply a very high quality guitar plugged into a nice warm tube amp. Perhaps a PRS plugged into a late 70s era Marshall? I really don’t think there’s a lot of processing going on. What I would give for that tone…absolutely fabulous!