Vintage Guitar - March 2017 - Open - 125
and this 22-CD boxset (that's not a typo)
does a good job proving it. A pioneer of
British psychedelia and quirky Canterbury
sound, Steve was an explosive lead player
and mad experimenter with Echoplex
machines, loops, and dense studio layering,
long before many other Brit greats.
Check out the swirling guitar echoes in
1973's "The Golden Vibe" to hear his delay
magic, while "Aftagid" sports space-rock
loops and a howling Echoplex solo. His
live take on the Beatles "It's All Too Much"
remains joyous: Steve turned George Harrison's gem into a crowd-pleasing concert
stomper. Listen to the '60s acid-rock masterpiece Arzachel, cut when Steve was barely
18, as well as 1972's epic Space Shanty album
by the Canterbury assemblage Khan, both
revered as important pieces of British rock.
In this collection, you get posters, a book,
eight full solo albums, studio outtakes and
demos, and piles of rare '70s live material.
There's none of Steve's work with Gong, but
let's not get greedy - this is classic Hillage
and worth a long, deep dive into his guitarfueled past. The label is only pressing 2,500
copies, so move fast. - PP
Labor Of Love
Taj Mahal plays
all sorts of folk, keyboard, and percussion instruments
- and just about
anything with strings. His deceptively
easygoing approach to music - a trot rather
than a frenzied gallop - has made for a
long fruitful career. As a bandleader, he
introduced us to some truly fine musicians,
including guitar greats Ry Cooder and the
late Jesse Ed Davis. After nearly 50 years
recording, he's not only robust and vital
but perpetually interesting.
This album of audio snapshots, mostly
from 1998, has Taj revisiting favorites like
"Walking Blues" and "I'm Going Fishing"
and performing with some of blues music's
His duet with groundbreaking female
Piedmont blues guitarist Algia Mae Hinton
has the authenticity and charm that characterizes both players more than doubled
by the pairing.
On "Walking Blues," Taj reminds us of
his tremendously singular and compelling
way with a resonator guitar.
Taj's career has only sweetened with
time; his importance as a link between
blues generations is more significant now
than ever. But at the core he's a wonderful entertainer and masterful player. It's
always a pleasure to spend some time with
him. - Rick Allen
From the beginn i ng , fou r-t i me
Grammy w inner
masterful body of material has reflected a
gifted vocalist/writer infused with country
and roots music traditions. His previous
effort, Soul Searching, explored the sounds
of Memphis and Nashville. With Texas his
focus this time, he's backed by A-list Lone
Star sidemen including producer-guitarist
Tommy Detamore and guitarists Bryce
Clarke, John Carroll, and Chris Masterson
balancing various electric and acoustic
guitars. Detamore handles, among other
things, pedal steel and tic-tac bass. Every
number, referencing some aspect of Texas
country, is awash in shimmering guitar.
Detamore's steel honors Buddy Emmons
and Jimmy Day on the Ray Price-inspired
"I'll Still Be Around" and "Lost In The
Shuffle." Bob Wills swing drives "You Turn
As Detamore keens behind him, Lauderdale's voice invokes Lefty Frizzell and
George Jones on "The Weakness Of Two
Hearts," "It All Started And Ended With
You," and "There Is A Horizon." "Nobody's
Fault," starting with a sharp, clean guitar
intro, is one of two numbers ("Drive" being
the other) honoring the '70s Waylon and
Willie Outlaw sound. The Tejano rocker
"We Really Shouldn't Be Doing This"
features a brief, blazing Brice Clarke solo.
Taken together, it upholds Lauderdale's
reputation for excellence. - Rich Kienzle
Guitar Pickin' Man
Don Rich's recording career lasted only 13 years,
beginning as the
f idd le player on
Buck Owens' 1961 debut. But Owens
released as many as four albums a year,
and like Merle Haggard's Strangers and
Ernest Tubb's Texas Troubadours, Owens'
Buckaroos cut several albums without
This 17-track compilation - with three
cuts culled from Owens albums and seven
by the Buckaroos, in addition to the previously unissued title track, lifted from a '73
installment of "Hee Haw" - demonstrates
why Rich commands such high esteem
four decades after he was killed in a 1974
motorcycle accident, not quite 33.
As evidenced by the snaky Tele lines of
"Chaparral" and the tasteful gut-string
work on "Bossa Nova Buckaroo Style,"
Rich ranks among the all-time country
guitar greats. But unlike, say, session
great James Burton, his output was almost
completely confined to the Owens camp.
If Rich's vocal style reminds you of
Owens', it should. He supplied the high
harmony on nearly all of Buck's hits. He
and Owens were so close, musically and
personally, Owens admitted that after
Rich died, he was just going through the
motions. In fact, Owens ceased recording
in '76 and didn't come back until '88,
inspired by Dwight Yoakam. - DF
The Marcus King
It's easy to see why
Warren Haynes has
so much respect
for young Marcus King. The 20-year-old
guitarist, vocalist, and bandleader shows
on his second record a command of pretty
much all the major American music styles.
Before the end you'll hear songs that delve
heavily into rock, blues, jazz, country, and
everything in between.
Funk is everywhere. "Ain't Nothing
Wrong With That" is horn-driven soul
with a melodic solo and a plaintive vocal.
The slower, percolating funk of "Rita Is
Gone" highlights the great lyric. The
funky rock of "Plant Your Corn Early"
gives King a chance to showcase some
blistering rock licks.
As you might expect from a record
produced by Haynes (he also adds guitar
to the riff-based rock of "Virginia") and
one that features Derek Trucks on slide
on the airy "Self-Hatred," there's plenty
of Southern Rock roots on tap. In fact,
the minor-key instrumental "Thespian
Espionage" sounds like a long-lost Allman
Brothers track with its dual guitar line and
its jazz-meets-rock feel.
This band's second record sets them, and
King, up to be the latest in a line of great
musicians that started with the original
Allmans. - John Heidt