As far as the tube v. SS thing is concerned, I think there is just a fundamental difference in the sound. The general wisdom, as I see it, is that tube amps are a little warmer, offer a bit better response, and have a fuller sound when pushed into overdrive, all of which I believe to be true. They also give a nice bell like sound on some of the older Fenders. However, I think with the advances in SS amplification, it is a lot easier to emulate, if not duplicate, that tube sound without the added cost and weight. For instance, I play though a Henrikson Jazz Amp when I'm playing my electric (2001 S.E. American Tele). It's got great tone, great volume (I played with it the big band and could be heard on recordings just fine) and it only weighs 16#. The question for me is this: Why would I spend thousands of dollars more on an amp that has marginally superior tone and weighs 4 to 6 times what my current one weighs.
Although, for the record, it sure is hard to beat a 60's twin reverb and a Fender Strat.