Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Sifting Through Memory for a Song

Anyone who's deeply into music has those moments when you have a song that has implanted itself in your consciousness somewhere along the way, but you can't quite remember what it is. I've had this happen more times than I can count, sometimes such that my effort to figure out what the song is has become borderline obsessive. I still remember as a teenager having a guitar melody in my head that I knew I'd heard before but could not for the life of me identify. Over the course of a couple years, it would come back in my head periodically, and its source was so elusive that I almost convinced myself that I'd made it up. Then, when I bought Jeff Beck's Truth album, I realized the melody that had been haunting me all those years was "Beck's Bolero."

Today I resolved another such mystery. Like many a guitar nut who came of age in the '80s, I love the guitar playing of Michael Schenker. The platinum blond German guitarist made some great solo albums after he left the pivotal hard rock/metal band UFO in the late 1970s. His output started to go down in quality though, by the later 1980s, when he teamed up with one of those driftless frontmen that seem to have a knack for teaming up with ace guitarists, a guy named Robin McAuley. I bought their first McAuley/Schenker group album, Perfect Timing, when it came out in 1987 and then, disappointed, I stopped paying attention. But a couple songs from that album have always remained in my head even though I've hardly listened to it over the past 20-odd years.

This afternoon, after listening to some tracks from the much superior Michael Schenker Group record, Assault Attack, I put on Perfect Timing, wanting to listen to those couple songs. Thing was, while I remembered one of the choicer cuts being the first song "Gimme Your Love," I couldn't remember the other one I liked best. And I didn't want to waste 40 minutes listening to the whole album. So I started putting the needle down on track after track - yes, I own this one on vinyl - until I found the song that fit my memory.

It turned out to be the next to last song on the album, called "I Don't Wanna Lose." It's something of a power ballad, and overall the song is fairly unexceptional. But it has a dramatic guitar solo, classic Schenker, that tears the song apart and redirects it for the minute or so that it lasts until the surrounding ordinariness reasserts itself. I was glad I rediscovered it, and I'm going to listen to it again as I soon as I post this. For the curious, here it is.

2 comments:

  1. Michael Schenker Group - Live In Tokyo: 30th Anniversary Japan Tour

    For some great Michael Schenker Group material check out the new release of a live performance off their 30th Anniversary Japan Tour. The show has a great track list highlighting all stages of Schenker's career and is avaiable on CD, DVD, and Blu-ray.

    Check it out here:
    http://www.seeofsound.com/p.php?s=INAK6185-1DVD

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Steve,
    Just found your blog.
    I think the guitar solo is dramatic for the new key, double-time drums, and also the left-right stereo execution. Makes the soloists job a bit easier to play two measures at a time, yeah?

    ReplyDelete