The Delta Snake Review

The Delta Snake Review


Monday, July 18, 2011

Greatest Blues Car Song Continued: Numbers 3 & 4 (David Lindley, Jackson Browne, Bonnie Raitt)

Greatest Blues Car Song Continued: 3 & 4

As the number gets higher, I should note again that this top ten isn't in strict numerical order, but really just ten of the best. In view of how limiting a top ten is, I'll probably add an Honorable Mention list to cover songs that deserve to be on such a list, plus any I simply forgot to put on.

4. David Lindley El Rayo X: "Mercury Blues." One of coolest blues rockers ever, from one of the great cult bands of all time. Lindley had an acclaimed career before Jackson Browne, and with his band El Rayo X, continued to have one. The song opens with a pounding drum beat that's recorded so loud that it might as well be the lead instrument, and it draws the listener in (always a sure sign of a great drum beat). A propulsive rhythm track comes in, with as perfect a slide riff as you're ever going to hear. Lindley's voice is a perfect match for the cut, and the whole thing barrels along with an energy that never lags. This cut has never been off any portable music device of mine since the cassette days.

CADDY Spedometer Rating: Good at any speed, but will make 55 feel like 25, so listen with care.

3. Jackson Browne/Bonnie Raitt: "Poor Poor Pitiful Me" (Warren Zevon Tribute: Enjoy Every Sandwich). One of the hallmarks of a great song; just about any artist can cover it and sound definitive. Linda Ronstadt and Terri Clarke did wonderful versions (both on my iPod), but the best was on a Warren Zevon tribute CD, with that classic cut performed by Jackson Browne and Bonnie Raitt. Instead of opening with a twang, Browne and Raitt decided on the big bang (bad rhyme, but couldn't resist in my quest to avoid cliche). A pumping bass and drum intro lead into a great Browne vocal, and some of the hottest slide I've heard in a decade. Bonnie isn't the fastest slide player around, or the most dynamic, but she's not only one of the most unique (thanks to using a strat) but easily one of the most intelligent. She never plays a solo that's purely an exhibition of chops and speed, and in this case, it fits the song so perfectly that it functions as a song hook. I bought this song almost immediately after hearing it on the radio, and it's never been off my playlists since. Zevon was a great songwriter, and his friends here did one of his greatest songs justice.

CADDY Spedometer Rating: Good at any speed, but it will shorten any freeway drive by 50%.