Monday, March 18, 2013

Two Sides of Peter Banks

Oh, 1970s—I do love you so.

Reason #293788: please to consider Two Sides of Peter Banks, a 1973 solo album by the late Peter Banks, the original guitarist for Yes, before he was booted aside in favor of Steve Howe. It's a lovely instrumental collection, with contributions from the like of Phil Collins and Steve Hackett, then both of Genesis, and John Wetton, then of King Crimson. Check out this, "The White Horse Vale: On the Hill/Lord of the Dragon," the LP's second track: note the Ye Olde Englishe track name and subtitles. Check the lute-like guitaring. It's pretty and engaging...and then 0:49 rolls around.

Fonky! Even Merrie Olde Englande couldn't escape the inexorable pull of the wah-wah in the early 1970s. It rears its funked-out head, like a badass pastoral Putin in a gritty urban environment, then drops back, but its presence is never fully forgotten, its magnetism too damn strong.

But we're not done! Wait until 2:57! Why, if that ain't a powerfully familiar damn riff—a riff Banks always claimed he himself had written. And the accompanying guitar cries, the volume fading up and down—a hallmark of his successor—shows that he may have gotten passed over by the band he helped create, but he wasn't going quiet.

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