Monday, November 19, 2007

Glenn Hughes

Thanks to my good friend and awsome guitarist, Jimmy Hoddinott, my attention has come once again to Glenn Hughes. You may remember him from Deep Purple fame; however, he hasn't let any moss grow on him in the time since their heyday. He's put out several albums, mostly with a who's who of rock legends.

Studying his work over the last few decades has been interesting, and if you're interested, a good place to start might be at his own website -

Jim started this adventure by sending me a link to a youtube video post of Hughes' song, Soul Mover, from the 2005 album of the same name. It's a really great tune in the hard rock genre, and shows that Hughes has not lost his vocal ability; indeed, he's far better than he ever was. A little more digging found that CD in its entirety to be particularly strong, with sophistication and nuance not found often in hard rock of any period. I liked it so much, in fact, that I actually purchased it. I have to tell you, that's no mean feat; it's the first disk I've purchased in years (music really stinks these days, don ya know?).

And a little more digging found interesting info on who's playing on the last couple of Hughes' disks (Soul Mover and Songs for the Divine): Chad Smith of the Red Hot Chili Peppers on drums, while JJ Marsh is on guitar. Not surprisingly, some of these tunes, even though written by Hughes and Marsh, have a decidedly RHCP feel, in the vein of their heavier, more funk/rock work. But this is much heavier, because it's Glenn Hughes of Deep Purple, after all. But don't look for RHCP; this is consistently good rock, good music, through and through.

Commentary wouldn't be complete without a mention of Hughes' bass work: better than ever. In my view, his work on Soul Mover is about as close as it comes to a standard for hard rock bass. What I like, as a bassist myself, is how he shows command of the chord by placing his bass note where it has the most impact. It's a lot more important than chops, or just playing the root or fundamental; that's the power and control of the bass, to define the chord with the bass note. Clearly, Hughes understands it; many do not.

iTunes has Hughes' work for preview and for sale, so be sure and check it out. If you like hard rock, that is. If not, turn on the radio and order yourself a pink lady.

So, don't look for Smoke on the Water, but Hughes et. al. are smokin' nonetheless.

Zebron and James