Vintage Guitar - March 2018 - open - 116

Dave Hunter

The British Amp
Invasion

Chris
Hillman

A me r ic a n m a ke r s
may have pioneered
guitar amplifiers in the
jazz age, but when the
British builders jumped in during the late
1950s, they were primarily building amps
for the whole new world of rock and roll.
This is the story told by VG contributor
Dave Hunter in this excellent new book.
He begins by setting the scene, looking
back at the formative amps engineered by
Rickenbacker, Gibson, Fender, and others
in the United States. But the story changes
course as the music gets louder and more
rocking.
As the book's subtitle states, Hunter
examines "How Marshall, Hiwatt, Vox,
and More Changed the Sound of Music."
Those brands are all covered in detail - but
there's much more here. He looks at the
less-well-known creations form Selmer,
Watkins/WEM, Sound City, Park, Laney,
and Orange as well as largely forgotten
builders such as Elpico, Shaftesbury, Bird,
and Carlsboro.
The main text is a fascinating narrative
history of the scene, including the influence
of key designers plus the Beatles, Jimi, and
Pete Townshend in particular. Then, with
color studio photos and plenty of original
brochures and catalogs, Hunter highlights
standout amps from a '55 Selmer TV10 to
a 1960 Vox AC15 and on to a 2001 Hiwatt
Custom Studio/Stage 40.
A masterful history - and essential
reading for any amp aficionado or fan of
Brit music. - MD

Frank Zappa

Halloween 77

In late October
1977, Frank Zappa
played six shows
at the Palladium
in New York City.
Now you can hear the whole enchilada
- more than 150 tracks of soundboardquality audio - all loaded onto a candyshaped USB stick containing 24-bit .wav
files.
The box includes four shows with similar
setlists, as well as two special Halloween
gigs. A separate three-CD version captures
just the highlights.
At this juncture, Frank had a killer

FLYING HIGH

T

o understand this
album's significance,
it's worth recounting
the highlights of Chris
Hillman's distinguished
career. An admired West
Coast bluegrass musician,
in 1964 he picked up an
electric bass and joined the
original Byrds, the pioneer
folk-rock band founded by
Roger McGuinn and David
Crosby. He stayed four
years. Hillman and Gram
Parsons worked on the
band's groundbreaking
1968 country rock album
Sweetheart of the Rodeo
before leaving to co-found
the Flying Burrito Brothers.
In the '70s, Hillman
joined Stephen Stills in
Manassas, then J.D.
Souther and Richie Furay in
the Souther/Hillman/Furay
Band. The '80s brought
more collaborations as
he returned to traditional
country with the Desert
Rose Band with banjoist
Herb Pedersen, pedal-steel
great Jay Dee Maness, and
guitarist John Jorgenson.

VINTAGE GUITAR

116

This new album takes
on added poignancy
since it was one of Tom
Petty's final projects.
A lifelong Byrds fan, as
producer, Petty united
a number of Hillman's
bandmates to make the

Chris Hillman
Bidin' My Time

occasion special. With
Heartbreaker Benmont
Tench handling keyboards, Hillman revisits
"Bells Of Rhymney," a
track from the Byrds'
1965 debut album, with
Crosby adding vocal
harmonies. The acoustic
guitarists are Pedersen
and Jorgenson, whose

March 2018

restrained 12-string work
is a clear nod to McGuinn.
Jorgenson and Peterson,
joined by Maness' sharp
and focused pedal steel
and Hillman's mandolin,
tastefully frame the title
track, a Hillman original. On
four more of his compositions - "Given All I Can
See," "Such Is The World
We Live In," "Restless"
(with Mike Campbell on
lead guitar), and "Different Rivers" - the acoustic
work is light and tasteful.
Hillman's original "Old
John Robertson" appeared
on 1968's Notorious Byrd
Brothers album, a memoir
of an elderly man Hillman
recalled from his youth. He
gives Petty's "Wildflowers" a bluegrass flavor.
"Here She Comes Again,"
a Hillman-McGuinn original
they never recorded with
the Byrds, gets an impressive revival with Hillman
returning to electric bass
and the jangly, authoritative
12-string Rickenbacker of
McGuinn, Petty playing
electric (a photo in the
CD booklet shows him
with a Gretsch Duo Jet).
Hillman, Pedersen,
and Jorgenson revive
another Byrds number,
Gene Clark's "She Don't
Care About Time." Hillman
harmonizes with Pedersen
on the Everly Brothers '61
hit "Walk Right Back."
At 72, Hillman's made
enough history for several
performers. Nonetheless,
he demonstrated an ability
to both create new material
while honoring a distinguished past that put him
in the Rock and Roll Hall of
Fame. Not only does this
album admirably honor all
phases of Hillman's career,
it stands as one of Petty's
final musical achievements. - Rich Kienzle

Photo courtesy of Rounder Records.

HIT LIST REVIEWS


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Vintage Guitar - March 2018 - open

Contents
Vintage Guitar - March 2018 - open - Cover
Vintage Guitar - March 2018 - open - IFC
Vintage Guitar - March 2018 - open - 3
Vintage Guitar - March 2018 - open - 4
Vintage Guitar - March 2018 - open - 5
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Vintage Guitar - March 2018 - open - Contents
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