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Author Archives: Dan Forte

Robben Ford

A Day In Nashville
 
Robben-Ford

Spontaneity is one of Robben Ford’s earmarks. So, recording nine backing tracks in one day, then adding vocals and finishing touches a week later (rarely attempted these days) played to his strength. To say the 62-year-old’s credits are all over the map – from Charlie Musselwhite in ’71, then ricocheting from Joni Mitchell to George […]

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Robben Ford

The One and Only
 
ROBBEN-FORD-HOME-MAIN-THUMB

There’s never been a shortage of young guitar hotshots, but in recent years, particularly among blues players, these phenoms seem to be promoted more for their age than their playing. The early work of Robben Ford helps put all this hubbub in perspective. In 1970, when the 18-year-old guitarist/saxophonist came out of Ukiah, in Northern […]

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Albert Lee

Live At The Iridium
 
Albert-Lee

Some find it ironic that Albert Lee, an Englishman, ranks as one of the all-time greatest country guitarists. Which is odd, since it’s a given that the Beatles and Stones are two of the greatest-ever rock and roll bands and Eric Clapton and Peter Green are among the top blues guitarists – both American musics, […]

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Jorma Kaukonen

Hot Tuna, Part 1
 
JORMA 02

Guitarist Jorma Kaukonen and bassist Jack Casady have been playing music together for 53 years – 40 of them as Hot Tuna. What started as an acoustic splinter group from their gig with Jefferson Airplane morphed into both acoustic and electric variations and myriad combinations.Released on the heels of Tuna’s successful “blues tour” with Charlie […]

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João Erbetta & Adam Levy and Panamericans!

Mad Flux and Panamericans 2
 
Joao-Erbetta-&-Adam-Levy

A glimpse at João Erbetta’s résumé brings to mind Harry Belafonte’s tongue-in-cheek introduction of Carlos Santana at the 2013 Kennedy Center Honors, begging for immigration reform because the Mexican native had squelched his hopes for a calypso revival. Since ’06, when he moved to the States from Brazil (where he was a member of the […]

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Son House, Willie Trice, Sam Chatmon, and others

Legendary Country Blues Guitarists
 
Legendary-Country-Blues-artists

“Treasure trove” is a label as overused as “genius,” “virtuoso,” and “Holy Grail.” But, how else can one describe 115 minutes of footage, containing 33 performances by blues legends Rev. Gary Davis, Big Bill Broonzy, Bukka White, and others (all long since dead, save Buddy Guy, in an amazing 1968 duet with Son House)? Collectors […]

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Buddy Guy

Keeping the Blues Alive and Definitely Kicking
 
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It was February 21, 2012. As part of the White House’s music series, “Red, White & Blues” featured a cavalcade of blues and blues-influenced greats including B.B. King, Jeff Beck, Mick Jagger, Derek Trucks, Susan Tedeschi, Keb’ Mo’, and guitar legend Buddy Guy. President Obama thanked the performers as they wrapped up the evening with […]

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David Grissom

How It Feels To Fly
 
David-Grissom

One of Les Paul’s favorite aphorisms when assessing other guitarists was, “Can his mother pick him out on the radio?” Or as Albert Collins put it, “Does he have an identification?” David Grissom passed those tests decades ago. His tone is equal parts crunch and definition. His style melds blues, rock, and country with tinges […]

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Various artists

I Heard The Angels Singing: Electrifying Black Gospel from the Nashboro Label, 1951-1983
 
I-Heard-the-Angels-Singing

With recent crossover success of gospel icons Mavis Staples and the Five Blind Boys of Alabama, along with the sacred steel school of slide guitar coming out of the shadows, this four-CD package focusing on more obscure acts of Nashville’s Nashboro label is indeed welcome. But be prepared for nearly as much frustration as enjoyment […]

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Calvin Keys

Electric Keys
 
Calvin-Keys

To some, Calvin Keys is already a legend; to far too many, he’s an unsung hero or, worse, an unknown. In addition to being honored with Pat Metheny’s tribute “Calvin’s Keys,” on the composer/guitarist’s Day Trip album, in his 50-plus-year career Keys has toured with Eddie “Cleanhead” Vinson, Ray Charles, and six of the heaviest […]

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