JACKIE GREENE DEFINED: A LIST THAT MATTERS

This just in!
Tuesday night’s Jackie Greene show has been cancelled. If you have a ticket for Tuesday’s show, you may use it to attend the Wednesday night show. If Wednesday doesn’t work for you, the Sheridan Opera House will issue a refund. Please go by the Opera House or call 728-6363.

Guitarist and songwriter Jackie Greene has a blog post on his website in which he sets personal standards for and selects 10 records that define him. He is self-deprecatory about that sort of inward examination, but he perfectly spotlights the trajectory of his artistry. (We’ll get to those record choices in a bit.)

The California native is a solid Telluride favorite and will be settling into the Sheridan Opera House Tuesday and Wednesday, January 17 and 18, 8:00 pm both nights. He’s bringing a new treat to Telluride in opening act Nicki Bluhm and the Gramblers.
Now for a look at some of the records that make Jackie Greene’s Top 10 All-time Favorite Records list. He imposed excellent standards on his choices, such as longevity, setting a minimum of 10 years. It excludes steady listening to newer discoveries, but those could be candidates for future best lists. No bootlegs is another criterion. Live is fine. Generally released stuff, only. Compilations/Greatest Hits packages are cheating. The record geek in me gets this.

No. 1 on Greene’s list is Tom Waits’ Small Change. It’s his first Waits exposure and while the growling vocals didn’t enthrall at first, his admiration became devout. He discovered what excellent songwriting can be.

No. 6 is The Genius of Ray Charles on vinyl, again a Jackie Greene first. He was only 14 and had never heard the likes of blues, soul and R&B music, much less on vinyl. “It’s the record that started it all for me,” he writes.
Nevermind, Nirvana’s grunge rock standard, happened to Greene at the age of 11 or 12. He clicked into the attitude of it instantly. How propitious to have acquired his first electric guitar about this time. He paid for the cheap Strat knock-off a handful of dollars at a time. Yet another first.

No. 2 is electric blues guitarist Freddie King’s Gettin’ Ready. Electric blues, people. This is a great record to call an influence. You’ll hear this all through Greene’s work. Muddy Waters is on the list, too. Live At Newport caught the whole scene, including the girls screaming at Muddy from the audience, which he found both fascinating and frightening.

His particular generation’s perspective on The Beatles in general and Revolver, specifically shows where his deep appreciation for the rigors of studio work originated. Describing The Beatles’ attention to detail and the creative explosion of those heady, post-1965 releases as, “impeccable,” he also admits he resisted against the Fab’s appeal only to succumb, as so many do.

Greene is right – a list doesn’t mean much. But what music lovers can glimpse in this one, is the artist at the outset of his path. It’s what we’re looking for when we browse through the record or book collection at someone’s house. Who are you? How did you get here? What are you like?

This is a great list. It defines him better than anyone one else ever could. Welcome back, Jackie Greene.

Here is the man at work. I loved “Medicine” from his official website: www.jackiegreene.com/video

Tickets are available at www.sheridanoperahouse.com

Jackie Greene photos, Telluride Blues & Brews, 2009 by Clint Viebrock

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