Friday, January 22, 2016

Throwback Thursday: Pawnshop Guitars, by Gilby Clarke

In 1994 Guns N' Roses rhythm guitarist Gilby Clarke put out is debut solo album Pawnshop Guitars. It featured primarily original material, though there were covers from Rolling Stones and The Clash. Also on the record there were contributions by then-GN'R members Slash, Duff McKagan, Axl Rose, Matt Sorum, Dizzy Reed, and Pixies members Frank Black and Ryan Roxie among many others.

Pawnshop Guitars is fairly eclectic in sound, as it goes from metal, to hard rock, to blues, to country. It's kind of fun to be kept guessing what genre will pop up next. Clarke takes lead vocals on most of it and you get to hear a bit more of what kind of a guitarist he is than you did on the one GN'R record (The Spaghetti Incident). Clarke is definitely an under rated rock guitarist, to say the least.

Dead Flowers is in my opinion the track that sells Pawnshop Guitars. Even though it's a cover of The Rolling Stones it is done in such a fun upbeat way to where it far outshines the original and in some ways sounds like its own song. It's just three chords with some flourishes here and there, but with Axl singing background and Dizzy pounding away at the keys in the back it's hard to feel like this song isn't just one big party through sound.

Cure Me or Kill Me is a Clarke original that sounds vaguely Metallica-esque. The riffs are big and chunky in ways that make you feel like you're listening to thrash. I wasn't quite expecting to hear that out of someone who seems to be more hard rock oriented, but it still works with the aesthetic of the record quite nicely. Slash does an absolutely FANTASTIC job on the lead guitar work here. It's always astounded me how Slash can find ways of fitting his particular style of guitar playing into so many different genres.

Pawnshop Guitars is one of those albums where if you aren't REALLY into Guns N' Roses you probably would not have found out about it unless somehow Pandora turned you onto it through a genre playlist you already had going. That said, it is in my opinion one of those records that is a hidden gem. There are bound to be at least a few tracks on here that you will like, especially if you are even just a casual fan of GN'R. It's definitely worth picking up.

Pawnshop Guitars, by Gilby Clarke receives 3.75 out of 5 stars.

Track List:

1. Cure Me or Kill Me
2. Black
3. Tijuana Jail
4. Skin & Bones
5. Johanna's Chopper
6. Let's Get Lost
7. Pawnshop Guitars
8. Dead Flowers
9. Jail Guitar Doors
10. Hunting Dogs
11. Shut Up

Buy the album on Amazon:

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