Friday, 6 April 2012

Jim Marshall: 1923-2012

I thought I'd write a short tribute on the passing of Jim Marshall from a purely personal point of view, recalling when it was that I switched over to using his amps and why.

Back in the 1980s I was playing in a pub band whose missions in life were simple: to have fun and to tackle some of the more demanding music that were favourites of the individual members. So our repertoire consisted of tunes by Tower Of Power, Steely Dan, Sting (in his jazzy first solo album days) as well as crowd pleasers like ZZ Top, Clapton and Stevie Wonder.

In any case, on this particular night we were playing at a pub in Sudbury, Suffolk and I had taken along my current 'rock' amp which was a transistor-powered Sessionette SG75 (Jan Akkerman had one too!) which I was very happy with as it provided just about everything I needed from a sweet clean sound to powerful overdrive via twin channels.

Meanwhile, back at the gig, the band steamed into 'Rosanna' by Toto. I had practised the solo up and was ready for launch after the keyboard solo in the middle of the song. At the appropriate moment, I hit the 'overdrive' footswitch and went for it. Trouble was, the dynamics had picked up to such an extent during the keyboard solo that my amp had nothing left and I doubt if anyone actually heard the solo I'd spent ages working on so diligently!

Needless to say I was pretty downcast by the whole affair and so the very next day I did the only thing I thought would solve the situation: I went out and bought a Marshall JCM800 50watt combo that stayed with me as my primary rock amp of choice until three years ago by which time my change to acoustic playing had relegated the amp to a lonely existence at the back of a cupboard.

As far as I know, it is now in Poland somewhere (because it was a Polish guy who bought it when I sold it on eBay) and doubtless still rocking loud and proud!

So thanks, Jim: you really helped me turn it up to eleven.