Vintage Guitar - July 2018 - open - 113

ranging from B.B. King to the Chantays,
and classic Johnson instrumentals à la Ah
Via Musicom. It's wide ranging and it's
impressive playing.
Throughout, Johnson's arrangements,
solos, and vast array of tones are orchestrated, practiced, and polished - as is his
usual M.O. This creates jaw-dropping
modern rock on originals like "The
Fade." And it makes for a stellar cover of
Stevie Wonder's "Up Tight (Everything's
Alright)," even while the version lacks in
straight-from-the-hip Tamla/Motown
soul.
Johnson's "Stratagem" sounds like an
arpeggio etude, but his cover of Jimi's
"One Rainy Wish" glistens with lovely
acoustic fingerpicking and sweet R&B
slides.
Similarly, the Beatles' "We Can Work
It Out," King's "Rock Me Baby," and
the Chantays' "Pipeline" are bravely
reimagined. Hate 'em or love 'em, Johnson's arrangements are bold, unique,
and visionary - and why bother coloring
within the lines? - MD

Robert Gordon

Led Zeppelin: Jim Marshall.

Memphis Rent
Party

There's no city
li ke Memphis
when it comes to
music. And thankfully, there's Robert Gordon to chronicle
its story.
Gordon has written books and helmed
documentaries about Muddy Waters,
Stax Records, and, of course, Elvis. But
his masterpiece - and at the same time,
perhaps most personal book - just may
be It Came From Memphis, a smart,
insightful, wide-ranging history of the
city's music and its demons.
He now adds to that legend and lore
with Memphis Rent Party - aptly titled
because it gets down and dirty with
figures who were primarily unsung local heroes, like Jim Dickinson, Charlie
Feathers, and Junior Kimbrough. And it
reveals another side of national figures,
such as Sam Phillips, Alex Chilton, Jerry
Lee Lewis, Cat Power and the like.
Fat Possum has also released a sort
of soundtrack to the book; 12 tracks of
widely varied music, which is also apt.
Furry Lewis and Calvin Newborn play
the deep blues while Feathers shows his
country side and Tav Falco's Panther
Burns burns down the house. - MD

Led Zeppelin in
Chicago, 1977.

GOIN' TO
CALIFORNIA

T

he members of Led
Zeppelin were of
course British, but
loved American culture
and had a special relationship with southern
California - both for epic
gigs at the L.A. Forum
and Long Beach Arena,
and infamous debauchery
at the so-called Riot
House (a.k.a., the former
Hyatt House hotel).
Fifteen years ago,
two SoCal gigs from
1972 were released as
How the West Was Won
and, as it's the band's
50th anniversary, the
collection received a
fresh remastering from
Jimmy Page himself.
Page has long disclosed how he and his engineer doctored-up these
tapes, which accounts for
the spectacular audio. For
example, Jimmy's single
guitar is split into left
and right channels - at
times sounding like two
guitarists - and they also
grafted song bits from
different gigs to assemble
some final tracks. In
that light, this is more
of a recreation of a Zep
concert than an actual
document, though to be

July 2018

113

fair, so many important
live albums were partial
forgeries (Frampton

Led Zeppelin

How the West Was Won

Robert Plant and the
Sensational Space
Shifters
Live at David Lynch's
Festival of Disruption

Comes Alive, Kiss' Alive!,
and many more).
The album opens
with blistering takes of
"Immigrant Song" and
"Heartbreaker," the latter
replete with Jimmy's joy-

VINTAGE GUITAR

ously sloppy solo. "Going
To California" and "That's
The Way" comprise the
acoustic set, with John
Paul Jones' gorgeous
mandolin matching Page's
sweet Martin. There's
a lumbering 25-minute
"Whole Lotta Love" (now
properly co-credited to
bluesman Willie Dixon),
plus "Stairway To
Heaven" and a pummeling "Over The Hills And
Far Away." In sum, if you
don't own this album
yet, by all means grab
it now. It's a remarkable sonic experience.
Some 45 years later,
Robert Plant has become
a musical journeymen in
his own right, weaving
global sounds together
with abandon. In this
DVD, taped at a 2016 festival in L.A., Plant and his
Sensational Space Shifters are in prime form.
Guitarists Liam "Skin"
Tyson and Justin Adams
provide rootsy six-string
firepower, while Gambian
musician Juldeh Camara
lends nyanyeru, a onestring African fiddle. Their
"Black Dog" rocks hard,
but adds a mad, folky jam
at the end. Plant further
leads the band through
Muddy Waters' "Hoochie
Coochie Man" and a stunning version of "Babe,
I'm Gonna Leave You."
As much as fun as the
Zep is, if you can only buy
one, Plant's DVD is vastly
superior. It's honest,
magical live music, rich
in culture and vision - in
many ways like the
original spirit of Led
Zeppelin. No question,
Page is gifted at keeping
the Zep legacy alive,
but Plant is still touring
and making brave new
music. That difference is
significant. - Pete Prown

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

Contents
Vintage Guitar - July 2018 - open - Cover
Vintage Guitar - July 2018 - open - IFC
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