Sunday, March 21, 2010

Oh My Soul

It’s funny what you can tell about a song by learning to play it. The opening song on Big Star’s Radio City, for instance, ‘Oh My Soul’, can be played almost entirely with one finger on the left hand: you just slide it up and down the fretboard, and that’s the song. It’s a boast, almost, or a joke, maybe about the fact that the record is on Stax – showing that Big Star can be soulful when they want, and look, one finger, easy peasy. And then on to the bright pop tunes. I got caught up in them in the wave of Big Star revivalism that attended Teenage Fanclub’s ascendency in 1991: it seemed then as though every TFC review (in Melody Maker at least) was also a Big Star review. Which was unfair – Teenage Fanclub were influenced by a whole tradition, not just a single band – but it led readers to Radio City and then Third / Sister Lovers, when it got re-released the following year, probably as a result of the Teenage Fanclub press. I loved the brightness of Radio City just as much as the darkness of Third, and after twenty odd years I still can’t find fault with either. Very sad to see Alex go.


Anne said...

Wow, I'll have to try that! Cheers!

Chris said...

No problem! I noticed a similar thing about your 'Drive in the Dark' - moving one finger one fret is enough there, very economical.

Blog Archive