Rock Songs with Pedal Steel

OldFogeyOldFogey Road Warrior
edited June 2011 in History of Rock
Pedal Steel Guitar is one of those instruments that I think gets a bum rap from being associated purely with country songs. But, actually pedal steel can make a really nice sound in a rock setting.

I'm going to discount country rock (Eagles, Flying Burrito Brothers, Poco, Pure Prairie League, and the like). I'm looking for more rock material. But if people want to go there that's OK. Love me some Sneaky Pete.

I know the name Robert Randolph will come up and I love what Robert does but I'm trying to look for more obscure pedal steel work.

Couple of quick examples: Jerry Garcia's work on Sugar Magnolia and the song "Teach Your Children" from Crosby Stills Nash and Young. One of my favorites is the song "The Wheel" from jerry's first solo album.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FUe79PoUifg&fmt=18

Also -- Red Rider. Ken Greer's tasty work is a highlight of the songs Light in the Tunner and Human Race.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EWlCD68oeu0&fmt=18

BTW -- I don't count David Lindley as a pedal steel player -- he played lap steel, a different instrument entirely.

A slightly different issue is raised by Clarence Young, who invented an adaptation of the Telecaster that enabled him to bend the B string like a pedal steel player. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B-Bender

It's unbelievably cool what Clarence could do with the B-bender and a Tele:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m37-2eB-wj8&fmt=18

I know that kind of violates my thing about country rock, but I thought it was worth it because of the uniqueness of the instrument.

And just FYI, pedal steel is finding a place in jazz. Greg Leisz is phenomenal. And Brian Blades uses a pedal steel player, Dave Easley, in his band. It's a great sound.

I don't follow metal so I don't know if anyone has put pedal steel into a metal songs. Strikes me it could really sound cool. Has anyone done it?

Any other uses of pedal steel in rock y'all think are cool?

Comments

  • sg327sg327 Road Warrior
    edited October 2008
    I think I may be getting in a little over my head with this thread as far as knowing the difference between lap steel and pedal steel and all that but I did a little research and found out that Jeff "Skunk" Baxter contributed a little pedal steel work on this song.

    "Black Water" by the Doobie Brothers
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IbRj9OOD43g

    Wiki shows him contributing some pedal steel work on some other Doobie Brothers songs but couldn't locate which ones they were. He also played pedal steel on a few Steely Dan songs. Couldn't pin down exactly which songs they were either.
  • afterstasisafterstasis Washed Up
    edited October 2008
    youtube wasn't being agreeable, but there's a fantastic instrumental band called japancakes who uses pedal steel in a lot of their material.
    a lot of their early albums got lumped in with the post-rock craze that was so big at the time, but they've released material that pays tribute to everything from country western music to shoegaze (they did a full album re-record of my bloody valentine's "loveless").
    great band.
  • OldFogeyOldFogey Road Warrior
    edited October 2008
    sg327;1417813 said:
    I think I may be getting in a little over my head with this thread as far as knowing the difference between lap steel and pedal steel and all that but I did a little research and found out that Jeff "Skunk" Baxter contributed a little pedal steel work on this song.

    "Black Water" by the Doobie Brothers
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IbRj9OOD43g

    Wiki shows him contributing some pedal steel work on some other Doobie Brothers songs but couldn't locate which ones they were. He also played pedal steel on a few Steely Dan songs. Couldn't pin down exactly which songs they were either.
    That's a good call. One of his best pedal steel moments is on an instrumental cover of Duke Ellington's East St. Louis Toodleoo. It was originally a horn piece re-arranged for guitars. Skunk used a pedal steel for the slide trombone parts. Becker starts the song using a wah to simulate a trumpet with mute.

    The pedal work starts around 1:13

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=br4mB7VWf7E&fmt=18
  • AxlVanHagarAxlVanHagar Road Warrior
    edited October 2008
    OldFogey;1417539 said:
    I don't follow metal so I don't know if anyone has put pedal steel into a metal songs. Strikes me it could really sound cool. Has anyone done it?

    Any other uses of pedal steel in rock y'all think are cool?

    Heyas Fogey, nice to see you're still around. Cool topic.

    As to your question yea a few "metal" bands have messed around with it somewhat. I'm sure there are other bands that have used it other than these but these were the two that popped into my head right away.

    Mick Mars of Motley Crue used it to nice effect on the Dr. Feelgood album for the solo and main melody lines of Without You. He may have used it elsewhere on the album as well but that's the one I remember themost. I recall them having it onstage for that tour specifiaclly for this song as well.

    Without You
    http://ca.youtube.com/watch?v=NIyRk4_puyE

    Tom Keifer of Cinderella has also used it, quite a bit actually. Tom is a damn good slide guitar player and uses it often. Also been known to use lapsteel quite a bit. Not 100% sure of all the tracks he's used it on but I'm fairly certain of these.

    Title track from Heartbreak Station. Sounds like it was used on the solo but may have been lap steel.
    http://ca.youtube.com/watch?v=4tCi4No55ms&feature=related

    Also from Heartbreak Station One For Rock n' Roll
    http://ca.youtube.com/watch?v=Sint9yNKtSg&feature=related

    Give those a shot Fogey and post what you think. Actually you may like that album in general, really good stuff from them.

    And while not pedal steel here's a little of Tom's slide work.

    Dead Man's Road
    http://ca.youtube.com/watch?v=V8aI0XKBly8&feature=related
  • a21schizoidmana21schizoidman Prog-nosticator
    edited October 2008
    I think I remember seeing Steve Howe use a pedal steel guitar in the concert from their 30th Anniversary Tour I saw on TV, but it may have been lap steel, can't remember
  • thedoorsdkthedoorsdk Road Warrior
    edited October 2008
    I'm pretty sure Howe uses a pedal steel, particularly on And You And I and the Soon section of Gates of Delirium.

    Sleepercar is kind of an alt-country band that leans more towards rock, they use quite a bit of pedal steel.

    Also the Zappa song "It Just Might Be a One-Shot Deal" features a mindblowingly beautiful solo from Sneaky Pete.
  • OldFogeyOldFogey Road Warrior
    edited October 2008
    a21schizoidman;1418317 said:
    I think I remember seeing Steve Howe use a pedal steel guitar in the concert from their 30th Anniversary Tour I saw on TV, but it may have been lap steel, can't remember
    thedoorsdk;1419502 said:
    I'm pretty sure Howe uses a pedal steel, particularly on And You And I and the Soon section of Gates of Delirium.

    Sleepercar is kind of an alt-country band that leans more towards rock, they use quite a bit of pedal steel.

    Also the Zappa song "It Just Might Be a One-Shot Deal" features a mindblowingly beautiful solo from Sneaky Pete.
    I agree Howe does play pedal steel. I remember that now from when I saw them back in the 70's. THanks for the reminder, guys,

    I had also forgotten about that Zappa tune. Gonna have to dig it back out and listen again. Sneaky Pete is awesome.
  • OldFogeyOldFogey Road Warrior
    edited October 2008
    AxlVanHagar;1418268 said:
    Heyas Fogey, nice to see you're still around. Cool topic.

    As to your question yea a few "metal" bands have messed around with it somewhat. I'm sure there are other bands that have used it other than these but these were the two that popped into my head right away.

    Mick Mars of Motley Crue used it to nice effect on the Dr. Feelgood album for the solo and main melody lines of Without You. He may have used it elsewhere on the album as well but that's the one I remember themost. I recall them having it onstage for that tour specifiaclly for this song as well.

    Without You
    http://ca.youtube.com/watch?v=NIyRk4_puyE

    Tom Keifer of Cinderella has also used it, quite a bit actually. Tom is a damn good slide guitar player and uses it often. Also been known to use lapsteel quite a bit. Not 100% sure of all the tracks he's used it on but I'm fairly certain of these.

    Title track from Heartbreak Station. Sounds like it was used on the solo but may have been lap steel.
    http://ca.youtube.com/watch?v=4tCi4No55ms&feature=related

    Also from Heartbreak Station One For Rock n' Roll
    http://ca.youtube.com/watch?v=Sint9yNKtSg&feature=related

    Give those a shot Fogey and post what you think. Actually you may like that album in general, really good stuff from them.

    And while not pedal steel here's a little of Tom's slide work.

    Dead Man's Road
    http://ca.youtube.com/watch?v=V8aI0XKBly8&feature=related
    The first Cinderella tune sounds like lap steel to me -- don't hear the distinctive note bending you get with pedal. But the second one is definitely pedal. But I was a little disappointed that these were kinda countryish tunes from CInderella -- I mean it's cool they did that. Didn't know they did. But I was hoping to hear something heavy that used some pedal work. The sounds Red Rider gets just seems like they'd work really well for some metal.

    Not to take anything away from your contribution, Axl -- cool to see some of these bands using that instrument.
  • 360lover360lover Unsigned
    edited October 2008
    Breathe by pink floyd, Awsome
  • a21schizoidmana21schizoidman Prog-nosticator
    edited October 2008
    360lover;1422313 said:
    Breathe by pink floyd, Awsome
    im pretty sure there is no pedal steel in that, its slide guitar
  • OldFogeyOldFogey Road Warrior
    edited October 2008
    a21schizoidman;1422831 said:
    im pretty sure there is no pedal steel in that, its slide guitar
    Actually, I think it's lap steel, but on a stand, so Gilmour can switch back to regular guitar, at least live.

    Lap steel is pretty much like a regular guitar only with very high action for the slide work. It doesn't have any pedals for string bending. I don't hear any string bending in this work. But I do think Gilmour has played pedal steel on occasion.
  • CosmaCosma Opening Act
    edited October 2008
    I think Robert Cray uses pedal steel, not 100% certain though
  • sg327sg327 Road Warrior
    edited October 2008
    One of the side benefits I took away from this thread was learning how many talented session musicians contributed to the production of some of the Steely Dan albums. Figured if I learned something from it I might as well post it in case someone else might get something out of it.

    When I was researching and trying to find out which songs "Skunk" Baxter played pedal steel on I noticed the names Timothy B. Schmit, Lee Ritenour, Rick Derringer and Jeff Porcaro on some of the albums personnel credits. These are just a few I've heard of or am familiar with.

    I noticed you posted a video for "Green Onions" by Booker T. & The M.G.'s the other day and I'm familiar with the name "Duck" Dunn who's also another decent session musician and played bass on a lot of my favorite Blues Brothers songs.

    Anyway...didn't mean to de-rail the thread but over the course of a few days I ran across a few names I was familiar with and had no idea they had a part in some of the songs I've been listening to for years. It was fun research to read some of their bio pages on wiki and see some of the other songs or bands they've been a part of. Got a big surprise after reading "Skunk" Baxter's page on wiki and finding out what he does now (the man must be a genius).

    Link...www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skunk_Baxter
  • culturedogculturedog Road Warrior
    edited October 2008
    Greg Leisz plays pedal steel on a ton of Matthew Sweet songs. I admit the first time I heard him on the Girlfriend album I had that initial "Oh no, it's Country!" reflexive cringe, but obviously learned to love it upon subsequent listens.

    I don't have the new album Sunshine Lies yet, but I think Leisz plays on that one as well.
  • cantolinacantolina Unsigned
    edited July 2009
    If you haven't heard it, catch some great pedal steel work by pedal steel master Paul Franklin on some of Dire Straits later works...

    I have a pedal steel made by the late Buddy Emmons.....5 pedals, 4 levers....although I'm primarily a guitar player, I try to use it whenever I can...Its a very different instrument, to be sure...

    As mentioned, Skunk Baxter was impressive in his work with Steely Dan...
  • edited June 2011
    ya'll dont listen to Staind? they got a few songs with pedal steel guitar in them
    check out Tangled Up In You and The Corner. and the check out Dear God by Avenged Sevenfold. u'd be surprised in what bands use them in their material.
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