My son Gavin, ten years old, is a true musician. He’s played piano for seven years and started playing guitar two-three years ago.
It’s fascinating to watch him slowly develop his own personal taste in music. The big hurdle is that at his age, Gavin simply isn’t familiar with a whole lot of music; doesn’t have strong personal associations with different tunes that might attach themselves to specific times, places, faces.
While I don’t mean to force-feed him my taste in music, I do try to expose the G-Man to a wide variety of sounds. Living under this roof, that’s going to happen naturally. There are also songs that I feel he’s got to hear, and know, and play. For example, the classic riff from “Shakin’ All Over.” The song was first popularly played by Johnny Kidd and the Pirates in 1960, and reached #1 in the U.K. charts. The riff belongs in any guitarist’s vocabulary.
I played a few different versions of the song for Gavin, Johnny Kidd’s of course, and The Who at Leeds, plus this new find, an alt-country singer who I’m pretty excited about, Eileen Jewell. I just picked up her latest disk, “Sea of Tears,” and think she’s the real deal:
She’s cool, don’t you think? I want to see that band in a small bar some night.
Gavin will then seek out various lessons on Youtube, which is just an amazing resource for musicians. Here Kim Mitchell explains the importance of this riff as it pertains to soloing in general, how it relates to the pentatonic scale, and in his words, “just wanking around”:
Then this English bloke, Dave Jones, who seems very nice, patiently offers a step-by-step lesson. You’ll likely find this boring, and I don’t expect many readers will look at it, but I think it’s fascinating, this man unraveling the mystery. (The “Shakin’ All Over” riff begins at 4:40 in the clip.) Twenty minutes later, Gavin is playing the riff and moving on to his spelling homework.
I want to add how grateful I am for the quality of these lessons — and many more that are available. These guys are teachers, givers, living examples; the league of gentleman, the brotherhood of rock-n-roll. It’s so cool that Gavin can learn from them. Thanks Kim, Dave, and all you others.