Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 115

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Matthew
Stubbs

Baritone, a '56 reissue Les Paul gold-top
also with Don Mare
pickups, and a '62
reissue Thin Skin
Jazzmaster with a
Master y bridge."
The only amps used
were a mid '60s Ampeg Reverberocket
2 and a '66 Fender
Super Reverb.
St ubbs' m ajor
infuences include
blues and instrorock slingers, with
a wild card or two
thrown in: Lonnie
Mack, Duane Eddy,
Lin k Wray, Otis
Rush, Earl Hooker, Freddie King,
B.B. King, Johnny
"Guitar" Watson,
Ry Cooder, Robert
Ward, and Marc
Ribot. But rather
t ha n resemble a
patchwork quilt of
his heroes, his identity comes through
strong and clear.
Likewise, his originals aren't merely
riffs in search of a
melody - the downfall of too many instrumental revival bands. "Bastille Day" has a
Middle-Eastern feel, while "El Segundo"
would be at home in a Spaghetti Western.
"Over the past few years I have been listening to a lot of different styles of music and
some of that has made its way into my songs,"
he says. "I went through a big Afrobeat and
Cuban music phase. I'm a sucker for a song
in a minor key, so most of the tunes I've been
writing seem to fall into that vibe."
Another Boston guitarist (and producer,
engineer, mixer, and film-scorer), Pete
Weiss, formed The Weisstronauts in '99.
Since then, they've cranked out half a dozen
albums, as well as a best-of, Control Is In
Your Command.
On the new Flat Bottom Cold Greaser,
Weiss shares lead guitar duties with Kenny
Lafler and Jeff Norcross, who are joined by
Morphine saxophonist Dana Colley.
The twisted boogie-woogie of "BABACAB" digs into Jimmy Bryant/Phil Baugh

WHO SAYS
INSTRUMENTAL
ROCK IS DEAD?
By Dan Forte

Matthew Stubbs: Fran Brophy.

S

tepping into shoes once sported by
Harvey Mandel, Luther Tucker, Tim
Kaihatsu, Robben Ford, Fenton Robinson, Junior Watson, John Wedemeyer, and
Kid Andersen, backing blues harp legend
Charlie Musselwhite, is no mean feat. But
for 10 years, Matthew Stubbs has held down
the gig admirably.
In addition to being featured on Musselwhite's Juke Joint Chapel and I Ain't Lyin', he
has released solo albums Soulbender (2008)
and Medford And Main (2010). The new
self-titled CD by Matthew Stubbs and the
Antiguas is an eclectic affair displaying the
Boston fixture's mastery and range across
10 originals, including a few co-writes with
bandmates Mark Hickox (bass), Ken Clark
(keyboards), and Chris Rivelli (drums).
Stubbs is a bit of a collector, but, he details,
"I kept it pretty simple. I used a '62 reissue
Thin Skin [nitrocellulose lacquer finish]
Telecaster with Don Mare pickups for most
of the songs, but I did sneak in a Jazzmaster

June 2018

115

territory, before its space-out midsection.
Sans Tackle Box's lyrics, "Teenage Wedding"
marries a simple, memorable melody with
Ramones-worthy rhythm. It's one of only
two covers, the other being the "James Bond
Theme." Admittedly, it's been done a million
times, but it's still cool and the multiple
guitars supply a new slant.
I'm the last person to knock an act for
having a sense of humor, but the jagged "New
England Boiled Dinner," not the strongest
effort here, isn't helped by the spoken injection of ingredients and recipe instructions.
The whole CD - from the thundering "Don't
Get Him Mad" to the desolate "As It Stands"
and the herky-jerky "Nervous Ernie" - has
enough real musicality melded to a sense
of fun without any overt attempt to call
attention to it.
Lou Pecci has released albums dedicated
to Spaghetti Western soundtracks, songs
related to James Bond, and his own compositions. Typically featuring solo or multiple
guitars only, all are fascinating and worth
seeking out.
Pecci's latest, Rare Elvis Six String, focuses
on the more obscure songs Elvis Presley
recorded only once, during his movie period.
So you won't hear "Viva Las Vegas," but you
will hear "I Need Somebody To Lean On,"
from Viva - a beautiful ballad that deserves
more attention. And Pecci layers gut-string
guitars on "Marguerita," losing the mariachi
backing featured in Fun In Acapulco.
"All I Needed Was The Rain," from 1968's
Stay Away, Joe, bears more than a slight resemblance to "Ode To Billy Joe," and "Clean
Up Your Own Backyard" (The Trouble With
Girls, 1969) gives Pecci a chance to show off
his blues chops.
The CD also features four bonus tracks:
songs that were recorded by Elvis but did
not appear in any of his movies. "You'll
Be Gone" would fit comfortably into Dick
Dale's repertoire, while Presley introduced
Hank Williams' classic "I'm So Lonesome
I Could Cry" as "probably the saddest song
I've ever heard" when he sang it on 1973's
historic Aloha From Hawaii telecast.
It's always interesting to see what concept
Pecci will come up with next. But I'd love
to hear him in a nice ambient studio, with
a solid rhythm section, playing through a
tube amp - trading that thin, "direct" sound
for a fuller tone his formidable six-string
talents merit.

VINTAGE GUITAR

© 2018 Dan Forte; all rights reserved.


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