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Birds of fire

So I'm noodling around the web with my iTunes library on shuffle, and I hear a gong. Then it's struck a second time. And a third.

It's the Mahavishnu Orchestra's title track from their album "Birds of Fire." I buy music if it works its way into heavy rotation on my mental jukebox, and this song was playing often enough for me to buy the disc, even though I hadn't heard the album in more years than I could count. I had forgotten just how good these guys were. For one, Billy Cobham is a monster on drums.

Up until recently, I said Jeff Beck's guitar playing was sui generis. But after listening to Mahavishnu's John McLaughlin, I don't think I can say that anymore. In fact, Beck himself once called McLaughlin "the best guitarist alive."

There's an endorsement for you.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 7th, 2012 03:22 pm (UTC)
Billy Cobham
Now you're talking. Grab Cobham's '73 album "Spectrum" and listen to "Quadrant 4" and the great "Stratus." I can't recommend this album enough. Cobham is joined with Jan Hammer (also a Mahavishnu alum) on keyboards and Tommy Bolin on guitar. Listen to Bolin's '75 album "Teaser" alongside Beck's '75 album "Blow by Blow" and '76's "Wired" -- they're wonderfully similar (go ahead, give it a try). Not altogether surprising as Hammer played on Bolin's aforesaid album, and both played on, and produced, Beck's "Wired" album in '76 (and played drums on a track, too!).

You saw that a lot in the '60's and '70's -- musicians floating about -- joining different bands. It was more of a community then.
Aug. 8th, 2012 01:33 am (UTC)
Re: Billy Cobham
Man, there's just so much good music to listen to that I'll never get to. I've got stuff in my library that's been there for months and I haven't played it yet.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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