Author Archives: Dan Forte

Los Lobos

Gates of Gold
Never Left, But Back

Los Lobos have never put out a bad album; in fact, their artistic track record, spread over 20 albums and 37 years, is something major bands like the Stones and Van Halen wish they could boast. But there was a period when, like any (more…)

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Billy Gibbons and the BFG’s

No ZZ, Still Tops

A “solo debut” by Rev. Billy F. Gibbons, at age 65, is a bit like Satchel Paige being a 42-year-old “rookie” in major league baseball after two decades as the Negro Leagues’ greatest pitcher. Because ZZ Top’s longtime manager, Bill Ham, had some (more…)

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What’s Going On: Live At The Isle Of Wight

Taste was a criminally short-lived Irish blues-rock trio in the late ’60s, featuring bassist Richard McCracken, drummer John Wilson, and the extraordinary guitar and vocals of Rory Gallagher. They played 1970’s infamous Isle Of Wight Festival, in front of 600,000 people, immediately after deciding (more…)

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The Wrecking Crew (soundtrack)

The Wrecking Crew
L.A.’s Red-Light Masters

The Wrecking Crew, the documentary about L.A.’s well-paid but largely anonymous session players ranks with the very best music documentaries. Director Denny Tedesco, son of legendary studio guitarist Tommy Tedesco, did a fantastic job. The DVD, with tons of bonus features, should (more…)

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Joseph Rosen

Blues Hands

Surely, Joe Rosen isn’t the first music photographer to snap a shot not of a performer’s face but of his or her hands. The difference is he continued the practice and, with a keen eye, compiled those shots into a book. Its 128 semi-glossy (more…)

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Eric Bibb and J.J. Milteau

Lead Belly's Gold
Lead Belly Lives!

The September ’15 “Check This Action” column was devoted to an impressive box-set the Smithsonian Folkways label dedicated to Lead Belly, whom Eric Bibb and J.J. Milteau honored with this CD. Lead Belly’s importance to American culture can’t be overstated. He sang against (more…)

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Sean McGowan

My Fair Lady

On previous releases, Denver-based McGowan has interpreted tunes by such heavyweights as Oliver Nelson, Duke Ellington, Johnny Mercer, Jimmy Van Heusen, Charlie Parker, and Rodgers and Hart. He also dedicated his Sphere album to Thelonious Monk’s repertoire and released an acoustic Thanksgiving/Christmas CD. Exploring (more…)

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Rick Vito

Mojo On My Side
Who Needs Frets?

Rick Vito is one of the few guitarists who didn’t just put his name on a guitar as an endorser; as his own guitar designer, he came up with the art deco Streamliner, then the Slingshot for the Reverend company, and Reverend’s Rick (more…)

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Burton, Garrett, Lee, and Wilcox Join Forces

Telecaster Summit
Burton, Garrett, Lee, and Wilcox Join Forces

For guitar lovers and roots-music fans, the place to be in July ’13 was British Columbia. The Vancouver Island MusicFest held a true summit meeting of masters of the Telecaster (with an asterisk). Britain’s Albert Lee is acclaimed for his work with Emmylou Harris, Eric Clapton, the Everly Brothers, and others. Amos Garrett played the […]

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Mary Osborne

A Girl & Her Guitar

This isn’t just a reissue; the first CD appearance of Mary Osborne’s only solo album is an event. Osborne was not just the first major female jazz guitarist, she was arguably the best ever – Emily Remler and Mimi Fox notwithstanding. In the ’40s, (more…)

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