I’ve always thought Amos Garrett was responsible for one of the most brilliant guitar solos in pop/rock history – his amazing work on Maria Muldaur’s “Midnight at the Oasis.” No matter what you think of that song, if you aren’t struck by the brilliant solo, you and I are on different wavelengths.
I’ve heard Amos on lots of other records, playing sessions, and always thought he was good, but perhaps waiting to make a solo record. Those solo records have come out on occasion, but I never ran into one until now. And I couldn’t be more pleased.
The first feeling when you hear this is the relaxed attitude and fun that exudes from the music. It sounds like a bunch of good musicians sitting around a room and playing great tunes. Several of them deal with being a musician in funny ways. “Some Musician was to Blame” has a great lyric and top-notch playing. “Always Got Your Hands on That Guitar” is just plain wonderful – many a musician and wife will relate. Add an Amos solo through the jazzy changes and you’ve got a great tune. If there’s any doubt about the man knowing what to play, check out “Perfume and Tobacco,” or the stop-time playing in “She Don’t Go Nowhere.” I doubt many would play the unique choice of notes Amos does here. It’s totally unpredictable and sounds great. The instrumental “Bailey Hill Requiem” is beautiful in its melancholy. And his take on the classic Hoagy Carmichael tale “Small Fry” is one of the highlights of the record.
About Amos’ vocals: he is a fine singer, relaxed, and capturing the feel of the tunes perfectly. Whether serious or fun, his vocals always are a highlight. This is a nice introduction to a guy who deserves a bigger audience.
This article originally appeared in VG‘s Dec. ’04 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.