Donald Stark's Story

Music for driving into trees: Sweet Wine

October 02, 2012

Laurie’s Records, Evanston.  I did a doubletake and snatched up this premier Cream album: If they sound like they look, this is going to be good.  This bomber-jacket Clapton was not you daddy’s Bluesbreaker or Yardbird. 
Back at the flat, I gave Side 1 a spin.  Ah, expectations exceeded. 
The phone rang, I picked up.  My friend Gregg.  Chat chat chat. 
Fifteen minutes in — Kaboom! — Clapton’s thunderclap launched the Sweet Wine guitar solo.  Whoa!  Was that a guitar?  Or a ballistic missile.  The wine glasses rattled. 
(On the other end of the phone, Gregg sounded like he was talking.)
I said, “Wait…”
And then — oh my darlings, then — those squeals so sweet, that soaring, sternum-slicing flight in the stratosphere.  Pure melodic, ear-piercing feedback. 
Was that a guitar?  Or a flock of gulls.  A wine glass shattered. 
(Chatter from the phone receiver on the floor.)
Oh, yeah, the phone.  I said, “Listen Gregg, gotta call you back…”  Click.
I dropped the needle right back at the start of that solo some 30 times and I. Did. Not. Get. My Fill.  And I am hungry still. 
Oh, I loved the current crop of rippin’ blues guitars, Danny Kalb, Mike Bloomfield.  But Clapton’s Sweet Wine solo built a ceiling in the sky just so he could break through it.

Categories:   Musicians

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