Terra Sigillata

I’m not one for gratuitous, traffic-enhancing YouTube posts but my contemporaries (80s college folks), and especially indie rock musicians, need to catch these two videos (below) from British guitarist, Daniel Earwicker. Daniel performs his own music as Primrose League (MySpace page here) but I first learned of him while Googling when I was learning to play Billy Bragg’s, “Greetings to the New Brunette,” referred to most often as “Shirley.”

There is a killer 12-string guitar run under the duration of Greetings that Daniel suspects was not done by Bragg himself but rather Johnny Marr. Marr worked with Bragg as a session player after his most notable years with The Smiths and is best-known today for his work in Modest Mouse.

Forgive me but I am a huge fan of the 12-string guitar – The Byrds/Roger McGuinn, Tom Petty, etc. Daniel plays here his interpretation of the 12-string part of Greetings on a Rickenbacker 660/12. I had the chance to play one of these last Labor Day weekend with some psychiatry colleagues and wish I had the $3500+ USD to score a used one. Anyway, Daniel’s sound is terrific but for those of you players out there, look at how clean and effortless his fingerwork is.



Then, while I was surfing Daniel’s other offerings, I came to his version of R.E.M.’s “Radio Free Europe.” This song is from 1983′s “Murmur” – the first full-length album by R.E.M. following their EP. Radio Free Europe had been circulating around southern US college radio in various forms previously but the Murmur version is the most familiar. It is a relatively easy song to play on guitar but the clever bass guitar runs after the main verses (beginning at 0:28) by Mike Mills reflect his classical music training and comfort with playing out of key and making it sound sweet. Here, on a Rickenbacker 4003 bass (only $1,900-$2,200 on eBay), Daniel shows us how Mills does it:

Thanks for indulging me in some Saturday reminiscence of the college days.

Comments

  1. #1 Daniel Earwicker
    April 27, 2009

    Thanks, that’s a very flattering write-up!

    (A correction: I record my own songs under the name ‘The Primrose League’).

  2. #2 drdrA
    April 28, 2009

    Abel-

    Just one more reason why I like you. ‘Greetings to the New Brunette’ and ‘She’s Got A New Spell’ are two of my all time favorite songs. I’m also a huge guitar fan (even have one on in my closet that I don’t know how to play… perhaps after tenure?), and own every album that Marc Knopfler ever played on… as well as a few Tom Petty albums… my family is shocked that I know what a Rickenbacker is.

    I’ll have to check out Daniel Earwicker… wow, who knew he reads scienceblogs!

  3. #3 Abel Pharmboy
    April 30, 2009

    @Daniel Earwicker – Daniel, I’m so sorry about getting your band name wrong. I’ve now fixed it and also linked to your MySpace page.

    @drdrA – wow, were we separated at birth and you are my other sister?? Tom Petty, check! I think that it being his hometown subconsciously made me pick UF instead of Arizona for grad school. Knopfler? My HS friends say that I was the first to turn them onto Dire Straits – I have a 1979 Melody Maker ad on my studio wall next to a Sailing to Philadelphia poster. His album with Emmylou Harris was absolutely amazing.

    And if you like Billy Bragg, you’ll hate me for actually having a telephone conversation with him around Stetson Kennedy’s 90th birthday.

  4. #4 drdrA
    May 3, 2009

    Abel- Seems that way, doesn’t it? But then again- I have a weird mix of musical crossover with Bikemonkey as well- protest songs and all- so perhaps we are triplets??

    I have never seen Marc Knopfler in concert… but I would give my right arm too- I bet he’s awesome live. I love that album with Knopfler/Harris- I wouldn’t get in a fist fight over it, but I personally think it is better than the acclaimed Robert Plant/Allison Krauss album (raising sand) which I also like very much. But I could go on and on. As for the Billy Bragg- I do hate you. Alot. I once saw him in concert in Boston- and it was totally excellent!

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