One can only imagine the frustration of sharing a name with another famous musician. Not to be confused with the rhinestone cowboy, Glenn Ross Campbell (originally from Riverside, CA, relocated to London and now calling New Zealand home) carved out a unique niche for himself on the most unlikliest of instruments in a rock and roll concept: the steel guitar. Steel guitar is far more famous as an instrument used initially in Hawaiian music (as the lovely photo of Myrtle with her matching Gibson steel guitar and amp demonstrates), then later in Western swing. The steel guitar eventually evolved into the pedal-steel guitar, which has provided the twangy soundtrack to tears in beer since the 1950's.
Glenn has been quoted as saying "the steel for me was just a big experimentation' to be used "in every way conceivable". He certainly DID use it in every conceivable way on The Misunderstood's 45 "Children Of The Sun", a psychedelic meltdown of massive proportions. The Misunderstood formed in Riverside, CA (a desert community 50 miles inland from L.A), but found that their long hair and rebellious sound was doing them little good in their hometown. Daringly, the group moved to London and attracted the attention of Fontana Records through the help of John Peel. While the lineup heard on "Children Of The Sun" isn't the original (army drafts and poverty ended the original group before they achieved success), Campbell steals the show (pardon the pun) with his intense, downright apocalyptic playing. With a steel, such phenomena as semi-tones (heard in Indian music) and endless sustain were possible thank to the fretless instrument driven by a metal bar. lenn modified the group into Juicy Lucy, which continued on in a far bluesier direction with great results (Spacemen 3 'adapted' their track 'Just One Time' to become "Mary Anne' on their debut LP), including this ass-whipping version of Bo Diddley's perennial 'Who Do You Love'. Campbell practically melts down his steel for scrap on the track, and while this song has been bastradized so many times by lame wanna-be blues poseurs through the years, it ain't no Blues Hammer happening here.
until next week!