The Danny Gatton files have so much great stuff that we may be hearing from the genius of the guitar for quite some time. These two amazingly cool discs are from live sets played at the Cellar Door in Washington, D.C. in January, 1978. Not only is Gatton in full bloom, but he’s joined by Buddy Emmons on pedal steel. If you aren’t familiar with Emmons’ considerable jazz skills, you’d be well-served checking out these discs, along with Emmons’ solo stuff and his work with guys like Lenny Breau.
This is Gatton playing a ’61 Gibson Les Paul, but that doesn’t really matter. He sounds, oddly enough, like Danny Gatton on the high-speed bop you’ve come to expect. “Opus De Funk” is a plain ol’ chopfest, as is “Rock Candy.” In fact, while a number of the songs start at a tempo where mere humans could perhaps play them, Gatton quickly gooses them into double-time. Emmons certainly keeps up, and bassist Steve Wolf and drummer Scott Taylor are with the music every step of the way. Whichever way Gatton goes, the fellas are right there.
A handful of jazz classics get a fine workout here. “Killer Joe” is 10 minutes of melodic and harmonic heaven. Horace Silver’s “Song For My Father” features one of those Gatton solos that make you want to either practice 12 hours a day or give up guitar altogether. In fact, there are a lot of those here.
This article originally appeared in VG‘s May. ’07 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.