Odds & Ends, Vol.1 appeared in this blog on September 30, 2010. I explained the purpose of that post in its second paragraph: “Looking back over my more recent posts, I’ve realized that there are a few things I wished I’d mentioned in some of them.”
Well, that has happened again and thus given birth to – drum roll, please – Odds & Ends, Vol.2!
After writing my March 30 This Historic Day In Music post on Eric Clapton, I dug into my collection of back issues of Acoustic Guitar magazine and found the September/October 1992 edition with Mr. Clapton on the cover.
The cover story was an article entitled “Unplugging The Stars” by Dale Miller about the then-very-popular MTV series Unplugged. On page 47, I found a quote from Eric Clapton about his preparation for the concert that would become not only his episode of the show, but a multiple Grammy-winning CD as well.
He told Mr. Miller: “When I started playing, I played a lot of fingerstyle. I could never really find the right combination of flatpick, fingerpick or thumbpick, so really the easiest way, although it’s quite strenuous on the fingertips, is to play fingerstyle. There is beautiful sound to be gained from the finger actually touching the string, but I haven’t done it for a long time on the acoustic – it’s something I just started to work on again recently…. You need surgical spirits to harden the fingertips up and witch hazel to take the sting out.”
On Sunday, March 31, I didn’t have my copy of the 1982 songbook 20th Century Masters of Finger-Style Guitar handy when I wrote the post with a link to the holiday-appropriate (or so I thought) recording of “Easter And The Sargasso Sea” by Leo Kottke.
If I had, I would have included this quote from the study notes by John Stropes that accompanied the book’s transcription of Mr. Kottke’s haunting instrumental.
“The Sargasso Sea is an area of the North Atlantic noted for its abundance of floating seaweed and its still waters. Since Columbus sailed through the Sargasso Sea in 1492 there have been stories of doom-ridden waters with ships ensnared in masses of impenetrable, floating weeds. The Sargasso Sea was said to be a veritable graveyard of dead and dying ships carrying crazed sailors, gaunt from lack of food and mad from lack of water.”
Leo Kottke added: “I was pretty disturbed about that when I was a little boy. And it was fascinating – the idea of sailors staring at one another, surrounded by kelp, slowly going nuts or thinking the other guy was going nuts. It appealed to my sense of romance.”
Thanks, John and Leo.