Jangle bell rock

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Here is some advice on how to get a jangly, power-poppy sound out of your electric guitar:

Best guitars for getting a good jangly sound are Rickenbacker 6 and 12 strings (used by the Byrds, Beatles, Tom Petty, and REM's Peter Buck, the Godfather of Jangle). Also consider Fender Stratocasters, and Fender Telecasters (Bridge pickup, tone up, boost the brightness on the amp or processor). Success is also reported with other Semi-hollow body guitars such as the Gretsch Country Gentleman. Les Pauls, Ibanez's, Jacksons and other guitars with high powered humbuckers = no jangle. The Line 6 Variax, made by the folks who brought you the Pod amp simulators, have a setting called "spank" that produces a nice jangle.

(Would Eldon Shamblin's playing be considered jangly? He played a Telecaster and, later, one of the prototype Stratocasters. Tiny Moore's electric five-string mandolin was pretty jangly, too, I think.)

Yes, I'm supposed to be writing my column, and I'm procrastinating. I just got the latest edition of Hz So Good, Rich Appel's e-newsletter on pop music, which isn't helping my concentration. He had a link to this video of Badfinger performing "Baby Blue", which opens with an intro by a young Kenny Rogers, who looks just as unkempt as the Will Sasso parody of Kenny Rogers on Mad TV.

Badfinger's "Day after Day" (here's a video) was probably the first pop song to grab my attention. It was a hit in 1971, and I heard it many mornings carpooling from 11th and Garnett to Holland Hall in Mr. Ivers's VW wagon. (He was a KAKC listener. My family was strictly KRMG and KRMG-FM.) Maybe it stuck with me because I was a lonely kid, in my first year at Holland Hall, with a foot in two worlds but not fully at home in either one.

Just skimming the latest Hz So Good, I see a bit about Dolly Parton's early career (and an album cover of her and Porter Wagoner) and about when "Western" was dropped from title of the Country and Western charts. (I wrote about Porter and Dolly and detergent here.) And Rich asks if the "Western" in "C & W" was there "to refer to western swing, a la Bob Wills." (I write about Bob Wills incessantly.)

Hz So Good is always an interesting read -- e-mail Rich Appel at audiot.savant at verizon dot net to request a subscription.

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W. Author Profile Page said:

I asked a country music chat group that I'm on about why the "western" part of "country & western" was dropped. Brian Mansfield, who writes about country music for USA Today and is an adviser with the Country Music Hall of Fame, said this:

"Whether or not this is the official Billboard story or not, the Nashville folks who aspired to run in the same circles as their NY/LA counterparts were a little embarrassed by the big hats, spangly outfits and yodeling associated with the 'Western' half of the name. And, maybe it’s just me, but I think 'Western' was associated as much – if not more – with the silver-screen cowboys as it was with Western swing.

"You know those European fans who show up at country concerts wearing chaps and fringe? That's the sort of thing the 'Western' detractors were trying to avoid.

"Also, the argument has been made – by people who prefer 'Country & Western' as well as 'Country' - that they really are two separate musical trees, with entirely different sets of roots and branches that only occasionally intertwine."

Brian will be the first to admit that his opinion isn't definitive. But I think he's onto something here.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on March 12, 2007 1:38 AM.

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