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Smoke On The Waters of Kea
A Critical Study of Machine Head

Spathas vs Blackmore

Growing up in Athens during the dictatorship we had our own guitar heros. Guys like Mike Sadler, Dorian Kokas, Mike Sells, John Hronis and especially Yannis Spathas, the lead guitarist of the band Socrates Drank the Conium.

Now through the wonders of the internet I can get the answer to the question that has plagued me for the last thirty years. Who was better? Yannis Spathas or Ritchie Blackmore. Listen to both these guitarists and then send me an e-mail and let me know. (Not that it really matters.) It helps if you have a highspeed connection. In fact if you don't have a highspeed connection don't even bother unless you have something else to occupy yourself while the songs download.

Both songs are similar in that they are pretty much live in the studio which means unless someone really screwed up badly they just kept the tape rolling. Play them both as loud as you can stand it.

Ritchie Blackmore: Lead guitarist for Deep Purple in their Golden age. The song is Child In Time which was stolen right off the album by It's A Beautiful Day, rewritten and turned into a sort of rock anthem. To me this is the quintessential Blackmore solo. Fast, tough, loud, noisy and close to being out of control. This song came out about 1970 on Deep Purple In Rock. You have to get through a long organ introduction and an endless verse and some screams before you finally get to the solo but it is worth it. Click to Hear

Yannis Spathas: Lead guitarist for the Greek rock band Socrates Drank the Conium who were playing in the underground nightclubs of Athens during the military dictatorship. This album was pretty poorly mastered but we took the CD and remastered it so the song with the subtle title of It's A Disgusting World sounds pretty good. I would not say this is Spathas best solo but it is in a style that is similar to Blackmore's style so you can compare the two, though the guitar in the verses will remind you more of Hendrix. Click to Hear

Now send me an e-mail and tell me who was better:

You can hear more Yannis Spathas and Socrates at

Return to my critical study of Deep Purple's  Machine Head

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