Posted by Keef on May 29, 1999 at 10:36:23:
In Reply to: Re: Re: New Keith vs. old Keith posted by 2000 Man on May 29, 1999 at 08:23:10:
You make some really good points in your second and third paragraphs about the tours over the years. I disagree, however, with your comments about Keith's riffing during the Taylor years and the reasons for it. Yes, Mick Taylor was an incredible guitar player who played some amazing lead lines on top of Keith's rhythm. But even without Taylor's leads, Keith's playing could stand alone. Try this--listen to Ya Ya's with only the right speaker turned on--the one with Keith's rhythm guitar buzzing through. It sounds wonderful! His rhythm work was so complete, so relentless, so perfect. He created a rock solid rhythm foundation that enabled Taylor to play almost anything on top of it. If you listen to the Brussels version of Brown Sugar, you can barely hear Taylor's lead. It's just Keith wailing away--Taylor isn't even missed. On the '75 tour, Keith was still playing his jackhammer rhythm style with Ronnie and it worked very well. The overall sound might not be as grand as it was with Taylor, but at least Keith's playing is as good as ever.
Keith Richards' reputation as a guitar player was built on his incredible rhythm guitar playing. He's one of the few guitar heroes who rose to the top of his game without playing flashy lead guitar. During the '69-'78 years, he played great lead solos AND great rhythm work. Listen to any version of Honky Tonk Women from those years. He played rhythm when he was supposed to, took a stinging solo where it should be, then returned to doing what he does best--RHYTHM. My point is that the man should play the riffs when the riffs should be played. Brown Sugar is not meant to be played in a choppy, sporadic style where the strings are strummed a few times, followed by a pause of several seconds, and then more strumming. Listen to the studio version. That riff is non-stop. Same goes for JJF, Street Fighting Man, Happy, Start Me Up, and all the other great riff rockers. Too often, it sounds like Keith is just playing licks every now and then when he gets the urge. There is just too much space and too many gaps in the playing nowadays.
As for your comments about the guitar being up in the mix on the last couple of tours, that's true. It was mixed way too low during the Steel Wheels and Voodoo tours. I just don't think mixing them higher compensates for a lack of actual playing. I want to hear that rhythm monster of old--and I'll take him mixed high or low.
: I listened to Brown Sugar from the 72 tour, the 73 tour and B2B. The constant riffing you're talking about is because Mick T. is so busy snaking leads through the song that someone had better keep up the rythm, or there's no way anyone would know what song they're playing. Mick T. was a great player, but his style limited Keith to what he could do. Keith has more freedom with Ronnie, and can play leads whenever he wants to now. Your criticisms would be valid if this were about the 89-90 tours, but not the last two. The guitars are up in the mix, and the setlist is much more varied than 69 - 76 tours.
: And I really found this odd (from one of your other posts)
: Luxury" - clearly the best song on the record. "Dance Little Sister" the worst.
: Dance Little Sister is just the kind of simple non stop riff you lament. What gives?
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