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Land of Confusion – 21 years later

I was a big Genesis fan in my day and remember very well the Land of Confusion video with the Spitting Image puppets in 1986. The first concert I ever went to was the Invisible Touch tour at Hampden park in Glasgow. I must’ve been 14.

I just found a cover version of the song by a band called the Disturbed. Never heard of them but the video and song are still as relevant now as then. Judge for yourself.

Land Of Confusion – Genesis
Disturbed – Land Of Confusion

mp3eme VOX: Unplugged

Post an Acoustic Tune from Your Personal Library
Week 7
a·cous·tic (ə-kū’stĭk)
  1.  Of or being an instrument that does not produce or enhance sound electronically: an acoustic guitar; an acoustic bass.
   2. Being a performance that features such instruments: opened the show with an acoustic set.



The Lament for  the Viscount of Dundee / Dr MacPhail's Reel
Tony McManus
The first time I heard this I couldn’t believe my ears and knew immediately that I would start playing this kind of music on guitar. It’s an example of piobaireachd, the classical music of the Great Highland bagpipes, arranged for guitar. Tony gets the bagpipe drone sound by tuning three strings to A and capoing at the first fret to give Bb, the drone note of the pipes. The tuning is DAAEAE.

I’ve never learned to play this and really ought to. I do play some of Tony’s arrangements, but the tuning is a bit whacky and laziness means I don’t bother changing tunings. I can get to DADGAD and even CGDGAD easily enough, but DAAEAE just seems nuts.


mp3eme VOX: It Takes Two



[doo-et, dyoo-]

a. A composition for two voices or two instruments.
b. A group of two singers or two instrumentalists.


Tony McManus is one of the finest guitar players I have ever come across. He plays, among other things, fingerstyle arrangements of traditional Scottish and Irish tunes and was the first successfully to arrange Scottish highland bagpipe tunes for the guitar. This recording shows how well he can play accompaniment as well, backing up Scots fiddler Alisdair Fraser and getting jiggy (or rather, ‘reely’) with the flatpick as well. Enjoy.

Ross' Reel No. 4, Reichswall Forest
Alasdair Fraser & Tony McManus


Ye Banks & Braes

This is just me masel playing at the recent RMMGA UK gathering in Derbyshire. It’s based on Tony McManus‘s arrangement in dropped D.

UK10: Cams – Ye Banks & Braes

KT Tunstall – Black Horse and the Cherry Tree

Check out this – KT Tunstall from Scotland using looping to great effect. There could be a looper in my future! Amazing!

KT Tunstall – Black Horse And The Cherry Tree
This page reveals how she does it and what gear she uses:

Frets – KT Tunstall

Tunstall’s looper of choice is the Akai E2 Headrush, a footpedal device that offers 16-bit digital delay, simulated tape echo, and a phrase-looping audio recorder with unlimited layering. The Headrush (which Tunstall calls my “Wee Bastard”) boasts a maximum delay time of nearly 24 seconds, tap-tempo echo, and individual outputs for the box’s four virtual “tape heads.” As loopers go, the Headrush provides simple operation via two footswitches: One starts and stops the loop, the other turns the recording (or overdubbing) function on and off. To learn more about looping—its history, an overview of real-time looping hardware, and guitarists who make repeating audio the foundation of their music—read “Looping” in the April ’06 Guitar Player. Those shopping for a looper will want to read GP’s review of such devices (“Looping Pedal Roundup! Four Digital Repeat Boxes”) in the June ’06 issue. To explore the looper community, visit

The wee bastard:

Akai Headrush

I hurt myself today to see if I still feel

Here’s a video of me performing the Johnny Cash version of Hurt at the recent RMMGA UK gathering in Buxton, UK. The guitar is a SCGC Vintage Artist.


UK10: Cams – Hurt

Looking for a raven image

The name of my blog, Quoth the Raven, comes from my favourite poem, The Raven, by Edgar Allan Poe.

It would be fitting if I were to have an image of a raven as my avatar on Vox but, not being the artistic type, I’m not really sure how I would go about creating such an image. I could just Google Image search for one, but it would be kind of nice if a fellow Voxer were to throw something together for me. Just a silhouette of a raven sat perched on a branch, or, better, still, a chamber door.

Any takers?

Meanwhile, enjoy the Raven Simpsons-style!

The Raven
I also like this version of it from Lou Reed’s album, The Raven, inspired by the works of EAP. Read by Willem Dafoe:

Lou Reed


Mac ad spoof

This is funny!

Apple Mac vs PC Spoof Ad Part 1 –

Tony Thompson – guitar builder and player

I filmed this at the recent RMMGA UK gathering in Buxton, Derbyshire. Tony builds guitars and plays them. His instruments are stellar, and his playing is equally so. I had a great time at Buxton and shot loads of video, but this was one of the performances that touched me the most. It’s his own composition. Enjoy.

UK10: Tony Thompson – Invocation of the Love Goddess

Guitar practice season

Now that my monster translation is out of the way, I can really get back into my guitar playing again. The problem is that I have no focus to my practice and my time is limited, so I really need to put a schedule together.

Here are the things I would like to work on:

  1. Accompaniment – working through my Frank Kilkelly book (Accompanying Irish Music on Guitar), first brushing up on the four sets of tunes I’ve already worked on and then getting onto another set;
  2. Open mic stuff – since finding the local open mics and meeting a bouzouki player, I’d like to start playing with him more. This will involve accompaniment as well as some flatpicking and fingerpicking. I also need to keep working on my songs and have asked a girl at work if she’d be up for joining me on some vocals. I also know a violin player whom I’m trying to turn to the light of trad music. She’s coming around I think!
  3. Flatpicking – I noticed at a recent UK gathering I attended that if one does not practice flatpicking, one gets rusty. I thought I’d share that, just in case you didn’t know. My Parking Lot Pickers book is a heck of a lot of fun to work from, particularly playing along with the CD. This will cover accompaniment too.
  4. Fretboard knowledge – I really would like to finish Volume 2 of the Skeptical Guitarist, work through Steve Kaufman’s Figuring out the Fretboard DVD and work through Mary Flower’s Fingerstyle Ragtime DVD.
  5. Sight reading – I’d like to progress through my Fred Noad book. I’ve started going through it from scratch about four times, and each time I get a little farther. I’m about a third of the way through it and it gives me a great sense of achievement when I learn a new tune from that book. I know it will do a lot for my playing.
  6. I really must work on El McMeen’s arrangement of The Mist Covered Mountains of Home. It’s one of the most moving arrangements I’ve heard and I could play it fairly well a couple of years ago. I’d like to get it to performance standard.
  7. New tune to learn – I’ve had a desire for a long time to learn El’s arrangement of Fanny Power. There’s just something about it that moves me (as is the case with a lot of El’s arrangements, but this one in particular).

Fanny Power

So I’ve put together a spreadsheet of things to practice each day and will try to get in 30 minutes a day of what it says on the spreadsheet for each particular day. That will take the thinking about what to do when I get the time each day and should go a long way to helping me to progress.