Vintage Guitar - February 2017 - Open - 109

Andersen's San Jose studio, Greaseland,
is fast becoming the hip place to record in
the Bay Area - this being another prime
example. - Dan Forte

The Subdudes

4 On The Floor

At its core, the
Subdudes' character sound is Tommy
Malone's sophist ic ated acou st ic
guitar blended w it h John Magnie's
keyboards, their soulful vocalizing, and
Steve Amadee's stripped-to-the-bone
percussion. At times Malone's playing is
so impressive it could inspire a reverse
revolution back to the early days of rock
and roll when an electric guitar and a
real amp were a dream and reality was
a contact mic slapped on a f lat top and
wired through the family phonograph.
Magnie and Malone's collaboration,
"Known To Touch Me," exemplifies perfectly how the easily identified elements
work together for a result that exists only
in combination. With Tim Cook sliding
smoothly into the place of late founding
member Johnny Ray Allen as bassist and
songwriter, a string of a dozen or so live
and studio albums continues with a successful hybrid of both.
The band usually ends shows by taking
acoustic instruments into the crowd and
performing family style. Recording live
around a couple of large-diaphragm condenser mics and using Malone's '79 Martin
HD-28 and a Magnie family Gibson J-45
of similar vintage, the band recreates the
intimacy of those sets, conveying exactly
why their followers are so passionately
loyal. - Rick Allen

Willie Nelson

For The Good
Times: A Tribute To
Ray Price
Soon after arriving in Nashville in
1960, Willie Nelson
signed a songwriting contract with Pamper
Music, co-owned by Ray Price, one of the
era's biggest stars. It launched a friendship
that endured until Price's death in 2013.
Spending much of '61 playing bass and
singing with Price's band, the Cherokee
Cowboys, Willie worked alongside guitarist
Pete Wade and, at various times, pedal steel
greats Jimmy Day and Buddy Emmons.

	

Honky-tonk remained Price's focus until his
controversial 1966 decision to record and
perform with lavish symphonic backing.
These 12 songs span both halves of Price's
career. On the honky-tonkers, including
"Heartaches By The Number," "I'll Be
There," "Night Life," and "Invitation To
the Blues," Nashville's Time Jumpers deftly
re-create the Cherokee Cowboys, down to
the three fiddles and distinctive 4 /4 shuffle
rhythm. Paul Franklin's pedal steel invokes
Day and Emmons, as Vince Gill and Andy
Reiss add guitar fills.
A larger studio band frames Willie's
performances of "Faded Love," "I'm Still
Not Over You," and Price's 1970 countrypop crossover hit "For The Good Times,"
complete with strings, Franklin, and guitarists Steve Gibson and John Willis.
Throughout, Willie's weathered-yetemotional vocals reflect his half centuryplus friendship with Price. - RK

Roy Orbison

The Ultimate
Collection

Playing the role
of a lonely, heartbroken teen, Roy
Orbison was the
Enrico Caruso of early '60s pop, his voice
gracing more than a few torchy hits. "Oh
Pretty Woman" from 1964 remains his
greatest moment and it has a riff for the ages:
the session featured multiple guitarists,
but you can hear Roy at the beginning on
an Epiphone Bard acoustic 12-string. The
song also marked the rise of "the riff" as a
potent compositional device in rock (along
with the Kinks' "You Really Got Me," from
the exact same period). It's essential rock
and roll.
On other tracks, you can hear great studio
players like Grady Martin, Harold Bradley,
Hank Garland, Velma Smith, Johnny
Wilson (adding the hot rockabilly licks on
"Ooby Dooby"), and even Scotty Moore.
"Mean Woman Blues" is an uptempo
cooker with piano, sax, and a blistering
guitar solo.
In the '80s, Orbison connected with ELO's
Jeff Lynne for a late-career revival, yielding
the Traveling Wilburys cuts included here
("Not Alone Anymore," "Handle With
Care"), as well as solo gems "You Got It" and
the thrilling "I Drove All Night." Orbison
died suddenly in 1988.
So, is this really the "ultimate collection"
of Roy Orbison songs? It's pretty damn
close. - Pete Prown

February 2017	

Johnny
Nicholas
Fresh Air

C ent r a l Te x a s
folks might think
of Johnny Nicholas as restaurateur;
others know him as one of the most experienced, authentic, and versatile blues
performers.
Growing up in Connecticut, he migrated
to Ann Arbor as a member of the Boogie
Brothers in the early '70s, later to land in
Austin after joining Asleep At The Wheel.
Over time, he recorded with Big Walter
Horton, Johnny Shines, Snooky Pryor,
Geoff Muldaur, and others.
In 1980, he opened the Hilltop Cafe, 90
miles west of Austin, in a converted gas
station where Nicholas still doubles as
host and bandleader, but you might see
David Grissom, Jimmie Vaughan, Kathy
Valentine, or even Billy Gibbons and Eric
Clapton enjoying a meal and sitting in.
Nicholas has released a steady stream
of solo albums, and his latest continues
the high standard they have set. While
he handles guitar, piano, harmonica,
and vintage National resonator, Scrappy
Jud Newcomb supplies additional guitars
and mandos. Sprinkled among 11 strong
originals are Sleepy John Estes' "Kid Man
Blues" (featuring Cindy Cashdollar's lap
steel and Nicholas' baritone guitar) and
a rendition of Howlin' Wolf 's "Back Door
Man" that makes you forget 90 percent of
the song's many covers.
You can't cop mileage and emotion -
both of which Nicholas has in spades. - DF

Book

Play It Loud

By Brad Tolinski and Alan
Di Perna
This new history of the
electric guitar should be
required reading for all
guitarists. And a joyful
one at that. Subtitled "An Epic History
of the Style, Sound, & Revolution of the
Electric Guitar," it's a creative, expansive,
smart tale.
Brad Tolinski and Alan Di Perna are
well-known as editors and authors of other
guitaristic books. But they've outdone
themselves this time.
Their prose is stylish and fun, clever
and insightful. The authors connect the

109	 VINTAGE GUITAR


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Contents
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