Friday, February 16, 2018

Sonny Sharrock - 1987-10-29, Schauburg, Bremen, Germany

This one comes from another dive into my Sharrock archives, and it's a corker. By 1987, Sharrock's celebrity was established via Last Exit and their noise madness, not to mention a stint with Ginger Baker's short-lived No Material band. I think they lasted like three gigs, which has to be some kind of record.

Anyway, when he wasn't ripping frets off alongside Bill Laswell, he was making some compelling solo records. Guitar is a solo record, picking up where he'd left off and giving things a bluesy, reverb-drenched vibe; Seize the Rainbow has a full band and some of his most magical moments as a player. Is it too obvious to cite the way he works up and down on "Dick Dogs," making his guitar ring like a church bell, shriek like a wolf and roar like a lion? It's some of the wildest playing on record, and Sharrock makes it seem easy.

This show is somewhere between those two poles. At times, Sharrock's playing is slow, deliberate and moody, at others it roars and sizzles with as much power as anything Neil Young's ever cooked up. And throughout, it showcases what a tasty blues player Sharrock was, easily as exciting as James "Blood" Ulmer ever was, and not as far removed from Elmore James as one may think: witness the way the both use an overdriven guitar and a slide to blast riffs like they're a wrecking ball.

There's exciting moments throughout: the lengthy Fourteen, she slow-burning "Seize the Rainbow" and a full-band working of "Princess Sonata," the four-piece suite from Guitar. The only bummer: the way "Dick Dogs" fades, right as Sharrock's playing hits the stratosphere. I blame NDR.


M. Milner said...
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anon'n'on said...

thanks mil. saw him w/ herbie mann

M. Milner said...

Nice! That would been cool to see

M. Milner said...