Covering the Peter Green title track may be a subliminal (or subconscious) way of reminding listeners of his early-’90s stint with Fleetwood Mac, but Vito was a Green devotee well before Green had vacated the band 20 years prior, let alone before joining the group himself. And that was just one stop on a road that’s also seen the guitarist popping up with Bob Seger, Roger McGuinn, Bonnie Raitt, Maria Muldaur, Jackson Browne, Glenn Frey, and the blues vanguard Green apprenticed with before forming Mac, John Mayall.
As the list above suggests, Vito can adapt to a multitude of situations, but here he and his Lucky Devils don’t stray far from roadhouse blues – the tone set by the opening Elmore James-inspired “My Baby’s Hot.” As evidenced by his original “The Lucky Devil,” Magic Sam is another of Rick’s heroes; he’s put words to Sam’s boogie instrumental “Lookin’ Good” – no mean feat, since playing the thing is hard enough, forget about trying to sing at the same time.
He reverses the formula on “A Change Is Gonna Come,” a moving instrumental arrangement of Sam Cooke’s timeless classic, featuring Vito’s haunting slide. The CD includes two other instrumentals: the relaxed, self-explanatory “Slide The Blues” and another Mac cover, “Albatross.” Even transferring parts of the melody to slide, as with “Rattlesnake,” Vito stays close to the original – perhaps a bit too much, instead of injecting more of his own personality.
As if merely playing guitar so well weren’t enough, the multi-faceted frontman also designed the Rick Vito Signature Slingshot axe he uses here, for Reverend Guitars. And if you want to get a handle on his slide style, Hal Leonard has released Rick’s Complete Guide To Slide Guitar DVD – well worth checking out.
This article originally appeared in VG‘s Jan ’07 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.