söndag 2 december 2012

Humble Pie - 30 Days In The Hole


Formed in 1969 by Small Faces front man Steve Marriott, Humble Pie was at the time considered something of supergroup. Apart from Marriott, it consisted of The Firm's lead guitarist/singer Peter Frampton (who, of course, made quite a name for himself once he went solo), teenaged powerhouse drummer Jerry Shirley and Spooky Tooth bassist Greg Ridley.

Frampton left the band in '71 after a row of successful albums and was replaced by Clem Clempson, effectively making Marriott the creative leader. This meant that the band more fully embraced their jammy nature and really gave the rhythm section time to shine. The 1973 album Smokin' is perfect example of why Ridley and Shirley were considered one of the best rhythm sections in Britain at the time and nowhere is Ridley's feel and influence on the band's overall sound more obvious than in hit single 30 Days In The Hole.
 Starting off with an accapella rendition of the song's chorus, the song begins proper around the 30 second mark. The main riff with just drums and guitar doubles as both the intro and verse and Ridley doesn't enter until measure 14 in which he plays a fill that returns several times throughout the song. The next verse begins at letter C. Ridley plays an embellished variation of the guitar part, regularily spiced up with fills, culminating in measure 22's killer fill leading into the first chorus.
Letter D is the chorus, a simple two chord progression where Ridley settles into a simpler yet still very groovy line. Note the syncopated sixteenths at the end of each measure, they're a big part of the line that's easy to miss.
A slide from the D-string's 14th fret E leads us into the second verse at letter E. Similar to the first, but featuring even more cool Ridley fills.
Measures 34, 38, 42 and 46 each feature their own approach. Ridley never seems to be far from the 12th fret and always has fast and easy access to the upper register of his bass.
Letter F is short chorus, instantly leading into the bridge at letter G.
Letter H is the final verse and Ridley is back in full gear. Loads of energy and plenty of great fills. You can clearly hear him messing up at 62, going to the pre-chorus D-chord while still on the verse but he manages to  turn it into one song's coolest fills. So no harm done I guess.
Letter I is the chorus on repeat, in which Ridley makes a variation every other time on the A chord, the song then fades out.



Ridley, who passed away in 2003, is easily one the most underrated bass players of 70's rock and deserves a lot more recognition for his work. He was a soulful fingerstyle player at a time when such a thing was virtually unheard of, especially in England, and an essential part of Humble Pie's sound.

Thoughts or feedback? Drop me a line in the comments.

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