Tag Archives: Little Wing

Blue Monday

I’ve been going through a heavy Jimi Hendrix phase with the bookstore playlist, balanced off with additional Seventies-vintage Eno tracks as palette cleansers. For years I favored Are You Experienced over any other Hendrix album, but I’ve come to realize how badly I underrated Axis: Bold As Love. I’m particularly taken with “Little Wing,” and apparently I have plenty of company. Lots of musicians and groups have put their own spin on the Hendrix classic.

This one by the Corrs is the biggest surprise:

I guess it’s only to be expected that Steve Vai would have a version. While there’s no denying his musicianship, I find Vai’s music often comes up short in the soul department, particularly in this case:

Now this is more like it:

I have never liked Eric Clapton’s bombastic take on “Little Wing.” Part of the song’s charm is its offhanded feel. It sounds like something that popped into Hendrix’s head while he watched a woman walk past.  I invariably skip past the Claptonized version when I listen to the Layla album, but for some listeners it was their way into the Hendrix catalogue:

But why should they have all the fun? Here’s your chance to play it yourself:

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Blue Monday

Like a lot of people, I first heard about the Chapman stick when Tony Levin started waving one around with Peter Gabriel and King Crimson in the Eighties. Last week I bought the December issue of Guitar Player in order to read the tributes to the late Les Paul, and found a profile of Stick creator Emmett Chapman that showed he may yet earn himself a place in the pantheon alongside the great player and inventor.

Does the Log lead inevitably to the Stick? Here’s Bob Culbertson playing “Little Wing” on an acoustic Stick:

How about something bluesy on an electric Stick?

Taking it back to the beginning (for me, anyway) here’s Levin leading his solo band through “Elephant Talk,” which helped launch the reconfigured Eighties edition of King Crimson into the stratosphere.

Adrian Belew sounded a bit like David Byrne when he sang the original version. To my ears, Levin occasionally veers toward Sacha Baron Cohen doing King Julien. But the man does make his fingers sing.

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