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The Power of Influence: Nailing That Cover Tune to the F*cking Wall

Guitar heroes have made their name on claiming classics as their own: Hendrix with “All Along the Watchtower” and Clapton with “Crossroads” are two obvious examples that come to mind. There are infinite examples of those who have tried intentionally to do this or those who stumbled into greatness. This, brothers and sisters, is a time honored tradition that I hope never dies. 

How cool must it be to be a musician and say, “that song…that song I love so much…I need to play it…I need to try and play it my way without stepping on it’s toes. I am on fire to put my stamp on that tune for others to hear”. 

Damn…I wish I could play the guitar. 

As I said in a previous post, it is a not so fine line between influence and emulate. I stated that influence is “you with a twist” and emulate is “you trying not to be you”. That post was brought on by a podcast I heard where Mick Fleetwood talked about how the early Fleetwood Mac (the Peter Greene Fleetwood Mac) was heavily influenced by the blues. Based on some listening, I suggested that the Early Mac were in the emulate camp (have a read of that post to get the entire argument).

The point is that the versions that Hendrix and Clapton claimed as signature songs are not replicas, they are representations of the orignal…with a twist. What got me thinking about all of this? I was working with an artist named Peter Parcek. We just put Peter’s album out this past May. I have known Peter for close to two decades, If you want to know more about him or hear his new album, ‘The Mathematics of Love”, go here (his story is a rich and connected one). 

Peter is bluesman…but not your typical bluesman. He casts a very wide net when it comes to influence: from Buddy Guy to Django Reindhart to Carnell Dupree to Roy Nichols to David Gilmour and back around to the blues with Otis Rush.  I was watching one of his live in-studio videos the other day. I’ve seen it before, but I got transfixed. Again, full disclosure…I work with Peter. This is not an advert for him…this is in appreciation of his tremendous skill as a guitar player of which the videos here prove true. 

When I was watching this video, I thought of my post on influence and emulate and then I thought of Blind Lemon Jefferson. Now I am certainly not suggesting that Peter pulls a Hendrix or a Clapton here (Peter would cringe at the thought). What I am suggesting is that you kick-back and enjoy seeing one man carry on in that time honored tradition of laying down a representation of an original…with a twist.

In other words, Peter nails these cover tunes to the fucking wall. Enjoy.

(Peter Parcek vids courtesy of The Alternate Root)

Peter Parcek’s version of “See that my grave is kept clean”

Blind Lemon Jefferson’s original version of “See that my grave is kept clean”

Peter’s blazing take on the Fleetwood Mac/Peter Green classic, “Showbiz Blues”

The original Peter Greene barnstormer, “Showbiz Blues”

One Comment Post a comment
  1. George #

    Amen brother, and very well put too!


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