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John Truba's Blog

Catch up with my musings on music and everything else in the world of Valve Amplifiers

50 year + guitar solo enigma unlocked .

If you were a teenager in the 60's as I was ,  doubtless you probably watched the "Monkies"  TV shows  which were the rage for a while , featuring songs , antics  et all . One song which heralded quality was " Last train to Clarkesville"  which had (has) a beautiful lead solo  which proved to be an enigma to the majority of us guitarists ( Yeah there's gonna be the clever dicks out there who sussed it out in 5 minutes )  but I personally did'nt know anyone who had it off pat .  We thought along the lines 2 or more guitarists doing a ascending G modal movement  , but try as I did  , could'nt figure it out , till last week  , through having to work it out for a new band project I'm doing and the other guitarist checking out You Tube  ( I've never done this before  always worked things out from just listening , god knows what rock I've been hiding under )  and telling me yes the guy that did the original solo has  done a video on it  . Wonderful !!!  I checked it out  and yes it was a chap called Louie Shelton  , it was his entrance to the world of session-work apparantly .  Within minutes of seeing this video  it all became patently clear  and the solo has been nailed  . Previously in a London based pub-rock band in 1977 we tried to do this very number  but were totally confused  ( 3 guitarists in the band )  ironically that is the amount of guitarists it took to do this wonderful sounding solo . One playing alternating  Gmaj7 to Fmaj7 chords and back again , the second guitarist playing a very simple motif  at the 10th  fret at the  top  E and B strings  and the main man himself  ( Louie)  playing arppegiated  inversions of  G and F ascending and descending  and finally ascending again  to what was considered by everyone I knew  to be a cracking good solo . We had thought this was done by a pedal steel player in conjuction with a standard guitarist because it is a very confusing solo to listen to , all sorts of guitar sounds emanating   so one would'nt be absolutely clear about what's actually going on  .  It's an absolute breath of fresh air to finally know how it was done , just imagine that they went into the studio probably not knowing what's expected of them  and coming up with this class of a solo , give me this sort of playing any day  to the boring crap done by todays modern "Tappers"  not forgetting the "Wammy bar"  merchants all trying to do a million notes a second   bumble bees and wasps stuck in a jar  come to mind .  Now where's that 14 gauge top string I was about to fit to my 335 .

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