26 June 2012

A Virtuoso in Transition: David Lindley Leading El Rayo-X, "Quarter of a Man" (1981)

From Jackson Browne's lead guitar player in the '70s to band leader of El Rayo-X in 1981, through to today, David Lindley remains a unique force in the development of, well, Lindley music. Here's a track from 1981 off Lindley's first album on his own. (I've read that many consider this a Lindley solo album; not so, in my opinion -- just give it a listen. El Rayo-X was a true trio.) Also below is a sample of Jackson Browne at his best with Lindley in support.

Quarter of a Man is an excellent little reggae tune from back when performing reggae well was something most non-Jamaicans weren't able to accomplish. It took Eric Clapton and also the Stones years of development to play solid reggae, while it seemed to come naturally to Lindley. El Rayo-X nailed it first time out, along with a number of other genres on their only album. I bought the record after hearing it just once at a friend's house, and then proceeded to wear out that magical piece of vinyl -- listening, learning.

For some interesting reading and listening, David Lindley's website can tell you all you would want to know about this eclectic musician; it's well worth a visit or two. You can explore his remarkable instrument collection here.

And just for old times sake, below you can also check out David's trademark guitar solos and fills backing up Jackson Browne on a live version of the title track from the classic Late for the Sky album (1974). That title track still moves me to this day. I hope you take this modest post as an invitation to explore the world of David Lindley.


Jackson with David, circa 1974.