NEM#76: Phil Manzanera’s Impossible Guitar

Phil ManzaneraPhil was a core member of Roxy Music through the ’70s and early ’80s, has released 10+ solo albums since 1975 and many collaborations—appearing on around 80 albums in total—with an experimental yet tasteful guitar that’s sometimes mistaken for a keyboard or something else.

We discuss “No Church in the Wild” (feat. Sonia Bernardo) from The Sound of Blue (2015), which is a cover of the song by Jay Z and Kanye West (Feat. Frank Ocean) based around a sample from Phil’s song “K-Scope” from the album of that name (1970). We then talk about “Wish You Well” from 6:00 pm (2004) and the title track from Diamond Head (1975). Finally we listen to “Magdalena” from Live in Japan (2017), with The Sound of Blue Band. Intro music: “Over You” by Roxy Music from Flesh & Blood (1980), co-written with singer Bryan Ferry.
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Here’s the song “K-Scope” in full and Phil teaching us how to play the main lick. Here’s the Kanye/Jay Z/Frank Ocean version of “No Church In the Wild,” and here’s the video for the version we discussed.

Here’s a full, recent Sound of Blue band concert. Here they are playing “Diamond Head” live at the BBC. Among other things, they play some pretty accurate versions of Roxy Music tunes. Here’s Phil live soloing in 1992. Here’s his instrumental song “Impossible Guitar.”

Here’s Roxy Music’s “Over You” in full. Bryan Ferry is confusingly playing the main guitar riff in the video, but according to something I read, this came out of a jam with Bryan on bass and Phil on guitar. For some more of Phil’s Roxy Music writing contributions, here’s “Amazona”, apparently played live at some point in the ’70s, and here’s that other “trash” single Phil mentioned, “Trash.” I confusingly said that the beginning of Avalon was defined by Phil’s lick, but I meant the album, not the song; the opening track of the album is one of my favorite tunes, “More Than This.” (You may better know the 10,000 Maniacs version.) Phil has supported Bryan Ferry sometimes post-Roxy, as here.

Here’s a tune from his collaboration with Luis Brieva, and here’s his version of “Guantanamera” feat. Ana Maria Velez. Here he is playing with Jack Bruce. Here he is with John Wetton playing a Steely Dan cover. Here’s a song from his K-Scope album written by Ian MacCormick (Ian McDonald), whom we discuss in this episode; it’s sung by Tim Finn, whose second full album with Split Enz in 1976 was one of Phil’s early production jobs. Here are his short-lived collaborative bands from the ’70s: 801 (a rock super group featuring Brian Eno) and Quiet Sun (actually his band from before Roxy Music, but they recorded their album later).

Phil produced the final Pink Floyd album and David Gilmour’s latest. Here Phil follows David Gilmour’s solo with one of his own from a live 2006 David Gilmour show.

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