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  • Writer's pictureGuy G. Gorman

Keith and Me

Updated: May 21, 2020

Thanks to Sean Daniel and his very cool YouTube guitar learning channel I have learned to play “Malagueña.” (To be more accurate it’s probably a sort of Malagueña.) “Malagueña” is the song that inspired Keith Richards to play guitar. (Sean and his buddy explain in more detail.) I can see why the song had the effect on Keith that it did. Right now you’re probably saying, “Mala-WHAT”? I don’t know “Malagueña” from the Malagasy Republic. (Okay, so you’re probably not saying exactly that unless you’re a geography geek and former history teacher like I am.) :-) You know the song even if you think you don't. Think Spanish guitar. The song that’s playing in your head right now--Yeah, that’s it! I’ve always thought of Spanish guitar players as seeming polydactyls that can play more notes in one song than I have played in my entire career. But the concept behind “Malagueña” is pretty simple. Thus it has opened up a whole new world of guitar playing possibilties. It has inspired me to pursue finger picking more vigorously--something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time. (“Malagueña” can be played with a two-finger style.) The basic melody can be connected to a minor chord progression that is found in popular music: i-VII-VI-V. Example am--G--F--E . Examples: “Stray Cat Strut,” “Blank Generation,” and “Twilight Zone” (by the Dutch band Golden Earring). I’m working on all sorts permutations that are new, yet familiar to me (the best kind of new.) I’m feeling the same excitement I did when I first heard “Cut Across Shorty,” the song that turned me on to rockabilly. I’m feeling the same sort of excitement that Keith Richards must have felt when discovered “Malagueña.” And that’s pretty cool.

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